So let’s start with the Rangers. Yes I know they won one of the wild card spots but there is no reason that they shouldn’t have won the AL West and avoided going home after one game. As of June 30, the Rangers had a 13 game lead over the A’s. With one game left to play, the A’s and Rangers were tied. After game 162, the A’s won the division with a one game lead. This may not be as epic of a collapse as the Red Sox collapse of last year but it is pretty close. This is just further proof that you can’t go soft at any point in the season no matter how big of a lead you think you have. The Rangers led the AL West from the fourth game of the season to the 161st game of the season, 158 games. Now they are watching the Orioles play the Yankees, instead of playing the Tigers.
Another team that missed the playoffs in probably the most disappointing fashion of the season would be the Pittsburgh Pirates. Coming into this season the Pirates had had losing records for 19 consecutive seasons. This year looked like it would be the year to break that streak. At some point it looked like the Pirates were going to break the streak and make the playoffs. This however would not happen. The Pirates completely fell apart in the last month and half or so of the season and for the 20th season in a row, the Pirates finished with a sub .500 record. I didn’t really get the full magnitude of the collapse until one of the WGN sportscasters commented on it while I was watching the Cubs get their one and only road win against the NL West (7-2 over the Diamondbacks). He said that as of July 30, only two teams had a better record than the Pirates. As of last Sunday (September 30) only the Astros had a worse record over their last 20 or so games. The Pirates are young and talented so hopefully they continue to grow and maybe pick up a veteran to keep them grounded and we’ll see them in the playoffs next year. By the way the shirt in the picture can be purchased here.
Finally, a team that nobody expected to make the playoffs, well at least I didn’t. I’m talking about my Cubbies. When Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol blew the first two games of the season I knew we were in for a rough season. Our bullpen was atrocious and for while our closer was whoever was feeling the most confident that day. The relief staff was such a train wreck that early on our starters were going late into games unless they were getting shelled. We couldn’t generate any offense. For a while our only bright spot was our four starters (Dempster, Garza, Samardizja, and Maholm). There was a flicker of hope through June and July as the Cubs got red hot, owning one of the best records in the month of June. That all ended abruptly on July 31st when the Cubs were nearly not hit by A.J. Burnett and the Pirates. The Cubs traded pitchers Paul Maholm to the Braves and Ryan Dempster to the Rangers as well as some other position players including Geovanny Soto and Reed Johnson. The Cubs went 7-21 in August and would eventually finish the season with the second worse record six games ahead of the Astros and three back of the Rockies. The Cubs finished with 101 losses, the first time the club has finished with 100+ losses since 1967. There were bright spots along the way however. Darwin Barney tied the major league single season record for consecutive errorless games at 141. Unfortunately with 3 outs left to make in the sixth to last game of the season he rushed a throw to first and failed to set the record. However, he, in my book anyways, deserves the gold glove for second base this year and I will be severely disappointed if he gets snubbed. Starlin Castro started all 162 games at shortstop, the first player to do so in franchise history. Unfortunately, his fielding percentage was light years from Barney’s. All in all there is hope for the future as the young and up –and-coming players saw as lot of action over the last two months of the season but I’m not making any predictions for next year.
Alright, this has gone on long enough and thinking about the Cubs dismal season is depressing me. Also, I have to start getting ready for tonight’s exhibition game between the Pios and the University of British Columbia on the ice at the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver. I hope everyone has a great weekend! Stay safe, have fun, and watch lots of sports. Also, don’t forget to submit your vote for this month’s reader’s choice poll. Topics are up on the home page and voting will go through next Thursday at 7pm ET (5 pm MT). Have a great Saturday and thanks for reading.