The Peculiar Case of the 2008 Texas Rangers

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Writer: Brandon Fuller

While the sweet melodies of “Crank That” by Mr. Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em were blasting through our stereos everywhere we went, the previously AL West last place, 75-87 Texas Rangers were crafting one of the finest offensive powerhouses of the 2000’s. Even then, this team that poured runs onto almost every opponent they faced didn’t even clinch a playoff spot. Let’s take a deeper look into this truly bizarre season that seems to have since been forgotten in the sands of time…

It’s time to turn back the clocks and get the nostalgic fluids flowing through your mind once again. Here’s what this team looked like on the roster:

Source: baseball-almanac.com

Hank the Tank. Hamilton. Murphy. Young. Kinsler. Bradley. All these names bring back tremendous reminiscence of the days of old. A team of young bucks ready to rewrite the history books for the historically struggling Rangers, and boy did they show out.

Lets just lay it out plain and simple. Out of the 15 offensive statistical categories recorded that season, the boys in blue led in EIGHT of them, including average, RBIs, runs, slugging, OPS, and hits. This lineup of primed sluggers were spraying the ball all over the field in an impressive style.

Source: Dallas Morning News

It didn’t hurt that they had the Texas-proclaimed Home Run Derby Champ, Josh Hamilton, taking big boy hacks in the cleanup spot. Seriously, let’s not forget this guy captivated the entire nation at the Home Run Derby that year by belting 28 fat ones in the first round alone. Sorry, Justin Morneau, we know who really won that derby, damn you.

The All-Star game included 4 Rangers that Year, (Hamilton starting and Young, Kinsler, and Bradley in reserve), making it a solid show out at the Midsummer Classic. With Hammy leading the AL in RBIs and Bradley in OBP and OPS, the team had a strong backbone that should have easily lead them to an inevitable playoff spot, but that’s where the problem lies.

Source: Fox Sports Radio

This will probably not come as a surprise to any Ranger fan, but the pitching was awful. The old man Vicente Padilla was the “ace” of the rotation with a 4.74 ERA and it went all the way to Matt Harrison who had a staggering ERA of 5.49. Oh, and it didn’t help that more than half of the bullpen had an ERA over 5. How can a team win when they have nobody to stop the other team?

Let’s take a peep at this strange game that was played on August 12th against the Red Sox. This absolute dysfunctional trainwreck of a game led to the Rangers losing to the Sox 17-19. They scored 17 runs and the pitching still failed. It’s occurences like this that halted the progress of this behemoth of a batting lineup.

We can only wish they had succeeded that year and hit their way into Rangers lore. Unfortunately, wishes don’t always come true.