Thursday night, the Cowboys kicked off the preseason against the 49ers. For Dallas sports fans, at least those capable of looking past the issues that make watching the NFL problematic, it was a good thing. The Cowboys’ first-team offense was ruthlessly efficient in a first-quarter cameo. The starting defense looked like it could be an asset this year too. That’s a welcome change from the past decade or so, thanks to youth and plenty of speed. Seeing a team that appeared to be going somewhere was a respite from what’s been an abysmal year-plus in Dallas sports, thanks to Rangers, Stars and Mavericks teams stuck between disappointing and downright awful.
For the most part this year, the Rangers have fallen into the first category. As they meandered through a nondescript offseason, the general thinking was, they were probably talented enough to compete for the American League’s second wild card spot if everything went right. Everything hasn’t gone right. Erstwhile ace Cole Hamels, traded to the Cubs at the deadline, proved incapable of pitching in Arlington this season. Right fielder Nomar Mazara, who seemed like he could make the leap from everyday player to star in his third full season, has been, as he was in 2017, just OK. Matt Moore, the talented reclamation project the Rangers acquired from the Giants in December, ended up being a disaster, putting up an 8.02 ERA in 12 starts before being banished to the bullpen.