Although the 2011 season ended in a disappointing fashion for the Texas Rangers, there is still plenty to be proud of from this group of guys. It was the most successful season in franchise history, reaching Game 7 of the World Series. The Rangers improved on their 2010 appearance in the Fall Classic by winning an additional two games.
Despite being one strike away from a championship twice in Game 6, the Rangers were unable to close the door. Let's not discount the fact that the Cardinals were a great team. St. Louis came back from 10.5 games behind in the standings to make the playoffs on the final night of the regular season and then went on to beat the favored Phillies in the NLDS.
In the end the Rangers' pitching staff just could not come through when it mattered most. Texas was unable to hold two separate two run leads late in Game 6 and then could not preserve the two run lead the Rangers had after the top half of the first inning in Game 7.
Despite the pitching struggles, there is still plenty to look forward to from the pitchers in 2012. Derek Holland might have had his coming out party with his stout Game 4 performance. Matt Harrison had a great regular season and has now experienced the postseason for the first time. Alexi Ogando will be able to go through an off-season specifically focusing on being a starting pitcher. He will be able to build up more strength and be stretched out even more. Mike Adams now knows what the postseason feels like and can settle in as a member of the bullpen.
The Rangers had their best regular season record in club history in 2011. They won the AL West division for a second consecutive season. After losing Game 1 of the ALDS to the Rays, the Rangers won the next three to advance to the ALCS. There the Rangers dispatched of Justin Verlander and the Tigers in six games. Finally, the Rangers made a return trip to the World Series. Although the Rangers were so agonizingly close to finishing the job, there is something to be said for appearing in the World Series in back-to-back seasons. The disappointing end of the 2011 season will just make the Rangers even hungrier to seal the deal in 2012.
It's now time for the off-season which means free agency and maybe even some trades. You can bet that Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan will be active in any and all discussions just like they always are. Ranger fans should be confident in the direction that Daniels and Ryan are taking this team. Whether it's through free agency, trades, or improving from within, you can feel confident that this front office will put the best team possible on the field next season.