Texas Rangers outfielder David Murphy explained it pretty well, I thought, in regards to one reason this club seemed unable to get a big hit or a consistent offensive effort to help them to continue their season.
"At some point we just ran out of gas," Murphy said. "We stopped playing like the Rangers. I don’t know why that is. It just happened. It’s disappointing when you don’t perform."
Murphy also indicated it wasn't because the club didn't give maximum effort.
"Just because we ran out of gas, I don’t think we took our foot off the gas," Murphy said. "The effort has been there. I don’t know if you talk about momentum. We lost it. I don’t know if I can explain what 'it' is. Things just stopped going our way."
It was as if the club was doing everything it could mentally and physically to try to win games, but the body and mind weren't responded like they did the past few seasons or even earlier in 2012. So what do the numbers on games played look like this year? Let's take a look as Ben & Skin discuss this issue right now on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.
Let's use some of the key offensive players as an example. Here are their games played in 2012 and the games they didn't play in the final months of the season. Players will tell you they get off days on the schedule and they want to be out there every day. But after playing in two straight full Octobers, you wonder if the wall was coming quicker than expected. Here's a look:
Ian Kinsler: 157 games played* (3 games off in final two months)
Nelson Cruz: 159 games played* (1 game off)
Michael Young: 156 games played (2 games off)
Elvis Andrus: 158 games played* (1 game off)
Adrian Beltre: 156 games played^ (2 games off due to injury)
Josh Hamilton: 148 games played# (6 games off due to injury)
* Career-high games played in a season
^ Most games played since 2006
# Most games played since 2008
So how does that stack up to the 2011 season, when the Rangers made it to their second-straight World Series? The reality is the club's every day players were dealing with more injuries in 2011, so they got built-in time off by no choice. Check out the numbers:
Ian Kinsler: 155 games played (1 game off in final two months)
Nelson Cruz: 124 games played (17 games off due to injury)
Michael Young: 159 games played (1 game off)
Elvis Andrus: 150 games played (2 games off)
Adrian Beltre: 124 games played (miss all of August due to injury)
Josh Hamilton: 121 games played (3 games off)
Manager Ron Washington did what he could early in the season to get his regulars off. And he hoped to get them time off down the stretch. But with the team never able to put the Oakland A's away, Washington went with his regulars and felt they had to be played to try to keep the team in front. The Rangers were challenged much more this season than they were in 2010 and 2011 in the final weeks. In the past two years, Washington could get his team full breaks after they clinched (with more than a week left in 2010 and five games left in 2011). That didn't happen this year as they played until Game 162 before the division was decided.
Of course, players are expected to stay healthy and play full seasons. And Washington did rotate the DH at times to get guys half-days off. Perhaps the difference for the Rangers was that the club had a large group of players who played in two straight World Series and might have been a little more fatigued than other teams and players because of it.
Is rest the only reason this team didn't get it done? No. But it was a team that looked physically and mentally tired down the stretch and into the postseason. The goal this season was to keep the regulars healthy and that happened. But perhaps in the process, they got rundown a little earlier than expected.
Do you think the Rangers were tired? How much did that contribute to how the season ended?