8-0: Rangers 6, Angels 4
Ho hum. Another stellar Tommy Hunter performace. It’s really getting tiresome, isn’t it?
When the Cliff Lee trade was first bering discussed, there were rumors that Tommy Hunter would have to be one of the pieces needed to make the trade happen. Thank God it didn’t come to that. I can’t imagine how one could trade a piece of the puzzle like Hunter, even if it meant getting a Cliff Lee. It just wouldn’t be that much of an upgrade. It would kind of be like the Angels trading Joe Saunders to get Dan Haren in return. Oh, wait. That’s what the Angels did!
Yes, I want to discuss the Angels trade, and their last trade before that as well. The purpose of a trade is supposed to be to improve your team, if not this season, then looking forward into next season. I can’t help but feel the Angels are already wrapping up this season and looking to next instead of truly trying to catch the Rangers in the West.
Trade #1: The Angels acquire Alberto Callaspo from the Royals for Sean O’Sullivan. Let’s see. The Angels were short-handed with their starting pitcher when Scott Kazmir went on the DL so they brought up O’Sullivan, who tosses a great game against the Yankees. Then, before O’Sullivan can start against the Rangers, they pack him up and ship him out for a 3rd baseman. Hmmm. Kinda strange to me. Without O’Sullivan, the Angels start Trevor Bell on Sunday against Texas. He doesn’t do well and the Rangers make it three out of four (6-3 on the season) against the Angels.
Trade #2: The Angels pick up Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Joe Saunders. This one may make sense next season, but for this season it appears to be a wash. Both Saunders and Haren are having poor seasons. In fact, their ERA’s are pretty close to each other. That doesn’t sound like good news for the Angels this season. When you consider National League pitchers generally have lower ERA’s than American League pitchers due to the lack of a DH, having an ERA almost as high as an AL pitcher could mean even worse results in the AL. Time will tell. Haren probably has more upside in the future than Saunders, but that just tells me the Angels are betting he’ll revert to his better form next year rather than count on him to keep them in the race this year.
All in all, a couple of questionable moves as far as I can tell. Meanwhile, back in Arlington, the Rangers keep rolling along- now 8-3 since the All-Star break. For those expecting the fictitious “July collapse due to the heat in Texas”, it doesn’t appear to be happening. By the way, it’s just as hot up here right now in Eugene, Oregon as it is down in Texas. Just saying.
Josh Hamilton has another three hits. And look out, Chris Davis is starting to contribute offensively. Two walks, a double, an RBI and a run. This club is on another roll right now and even a trip to the DL for Matt Treanor isn’t stoppimg them.
Another by the way, I’ve got to admit scratching my head at first over the Rangers decision to replace Treanor with Taylor Teagarden instead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Max Ramirez. Teagarden has sunk all the way to Double-A and still hasn’t improved his hitting. I understand the reasoning now, though. Bengie Molina will be the full time starter while Treanor is out. If he ever has to be replaced with a pinch runner, Teagarden is the best back-up the Rangers has when it comes to stopping another team’s running game. Other teams would steal with abandon against Salty or Ramirez so, in that regard, the move makes sense.
Finally, a day off on Monday, then the arrival of the only other threat to a Rangers playoff bid, the Oakland A’s. We’re off to a good start on this 16-game stretch against division rivals at 3-1. Keep this up and, dare I say it, the race may be as good as over before we even hit September.
I can’t believe how good I’m feeling about our chances right now. It’s starting to feel like 1996 again.