After a tough season last year, the Rangers needed some new fire and excitement going into this season. Surprisingly, the man who brought that fire and excitement was new manager Jeff Banister. He brought in the attitude that the Rangers would never ever quit despite the circumstance. I thought the #NeverEverQuit was just a saying, but this was real for Banister and the Rangers.
Banister has been through a lot in his life including almost losing his leg due to bone cancer and breaking three vertebrae in his neck, which all occurred before he made it to the majors. His journey to the majors inspired the attitude of never ever quit, which was later used as a marketing campaign for the Rangers.
The Rangers have experienced a great deal of adversity over the past three years. In 2012, they lost in the Wild Card play-in game to the Baltimore Orioles after making it to the World Series for the past two years. In the 2013 season, they had a winning record (97-52), but did not make the playoffs. Last season was the worst of the three: losing record (67-95), Coach Ron Washington quitting, and plenty of injuries. Despite all the issues, they still had a desire to win and finished the season 14-8. The Rangers and Banister were a perfect fit; they both experienced adversity, but had a desire to win.
Losing Yu Darvish
At the beginning of the 2015 season one of the biggest blows to the team was losing Yu Darvish for the year. He was the Ace of the pitching staff and was poised to have a breakout year. Instead of the team giving up and quitting, the pitching staff stepped up. In particular, Colby Lewis with an amazing season going 17-9 filling in the gap. Not only did the pitching staff step up, but also the GM Jon Daniels stepped up acquiring Ace Cole Hamels at the trade deadline. Hamels was major for the Rangers playoff push going 7-1 down the stretch.
With injuries to other key players such as Adrian Beltre, Derek Holland, Robinson Chirinos, and Josh Hamilton the Rangers had another opportunity to quit and give up, but instead they rallied together and used a “Next Man Up” approach. Rookie Joey Gallo stepped in and played 3B doing a good job. Gallo had his struggles, but he had good numbers during his time replacing Beltre. When Derek Holland was out Rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez and Nick Martinez filled in for most of the starts going 11-13 collectively. 11 wins and 13 losses is not the best record, but the Rangers survived. While Catcher Robinson Chirinos was out, Chris Gimenez and Bobby Wilson stepped in and made major contributions. Lastly, while Josh Hamilton was out Will Venable and Mike Napoli played in Left Field. Napoli, showing his commitment to the team and #NeverEverQuit attitude, played Left Field for the first time in his career this year.
The Rangers started a few young players this year not knowing how they would perform. The expectation for these players was high and they did not let the team done. Delano DeShields Jr., a rule 5 draft player, was a key contributor this season. When he took over for the slumping Leonys Martin he never looked back, finishing the season with a .261 AVG and 25 Stolen Bases. Another young starter this season was the feisty Rougned Odor, who added power to the line up and a defensive presence. These two youngsters stepped in playing like veterans with swagger and an attitude that nobody could stop them.
Losing Record in August
The Rangers had an up and down season this year, but never let it get to them. Despite having a losing record in August, the team was determined to make it to the playoffs, which they did by winning the Division. This team believes in themselves and does not listen to the naysayers or media. With this #NeverEverQuit attitude I am excited about what the Rangers are going to do in the playoffs. They have gotten hot at the right time and are very dangerous.
Ben Sudderth III
Spark Sports MLB Analyst