If ever there was a place to get the bats going and build off a winning series in Anaheim, it should have been the thin air of the Mile High City, right?
Yes, the Colorado Rockies have been an early-season surprise in the National League. But Coors Field is supposed to be a good spot for a lineup that, at least on paper, is expected to have power. Instead, the Rangers were blown out in consecutive games without many offensive highlights (maybe the biggest plus was Mitch Moreland's clean inning of work on Tuesday and hitting 93 mph on the radar gun).
It's not all on the bats, of course. The Rangers' arms, especially some in what seems like a thin bullpen these days, couldn't get the job done. The team also booted balls and didn't exactly put on a fundamental clinic, either.
But there was one thing in particular that seemed troublesome watching this club: The players lacked a spark. They seemed almost like a team waiting for something good to happen to turn things around rather than going out and aggressively making it turn around.
Sparks can come from a variety of places. And in baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, they have to come from different parts of the club. It's a 162-game season that presents a mental challenge on a nightly basis. Expecting players to be fully into every game just isn't realistic. So you need a spark from one area one night and from another the next.
But this team, at least right now, doesn't seem to be getting enough of it on any kind of consistent level. Elvis Andrus has always been good about being a spark when needed, but he's trying to get out of his own slump. Adrian Beltre is a key leader on this club, but he hasn't hit the same since returning from the disabled list.
Prince Fielder has enough ammunition to provide more than a spark, but nothing has fired at this point. As for the pitching staff, it's been up and down of late. Jurickson Profar being out hurts, too. His youthful exuberance was good for this club, even when he wasn't hitting consistently. Maybe not having some of the craziness of Derek Holland in the clubhouse and in the rotation impacts that spark quality, too.
Put it all together and you've got a team that has still done enough to hang in, but hasn't shown the energy level to put up a streak of nine wins in 11 games, for instance. Look back at this club's recent playoff teams and you'll see that had some of those stretches as players fed off each other and found a way to create momentum. So far, this team hasn't shown that ability.
It's early and that's worth remembering. There's plenty of baseball left. But this team needs a spark. Who do you think provides it?