Results tagged ‘ Boston Red Sox ’
In 2012 with the Texas Rangers, Uehara threw 36 innings, allowing only 20 hits, 3 walks, 43 strikeouts, only 7 earned runs and a 1.75 ERA.
In 2013 with the Boston Red Sox, Koji tossed 74.1 innings, allowing only 33 hits, 9 earned runs, 9 walks and 101 strikeouts with a 1.09 ERA and 21 saves.
In two post-season series in 2013, the amazing Koji has pitched nine innings, allowing one run on only 5 hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts, compiling a win, a loss and 5 saves. He was the Most Valuable Player in the ALCS series against the Detroit Tigers and is now headed to the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
By all accounts, Koji Uehara has had a pretty amazing last three years of baseball. And that really irritates me.
Because between his 2011 season with the Baltimore Orioles and his 2012 season with the Texas Rangers came the 2011 trade that brought him to the Texas Rangers in the first place. Orioles fans sure remember that trade. They got Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter out of it. Texas got what they were sure was going to be their 7th inning set-up guy to steamroll their way to the 2011 World Series Championship. They were willing to pay a steep price for it.
Nobody knows what happened. We do know Koji really loved being in Baltimore and was maybe a little stunned with the trade. If it was missing Baltimore or a physical issue, nobody knows for sure. What we do know is the Koji Uehara described above was not the Koji Uehara the 2011 Rangers got. His numbers for Texas in 2011? 18 innings pitched, 13 hits, 1 walk and 23 strikeouts. So far so good. Unfortunately, 5 of the 13 hits were home runs, accounting for most of the eight earned runs charged to him. Uehara compiled a 4.00 ERA with Texas. It got worse. He appeared in three post-season games in 2011, once against Tampa Bay and twice against Detroit. In the ALDS vs. the Rays, Uehara allowed 3 runs on a walk and two hits, one a home run. He failed to get an out. His two games against Detroit resulted in two runs allowed, both on home runs. Uehara did manage to retire four Detroit batters. Koji was so bad for the Rangers that when it came time to set the World Series roster to face the Cardinals, his name was not found, replaced by Mark Lowe.
The name of this blog is “One Strike Away…Twice!” It describes how close the Texas Rangers came to winning the 2011 World Series in Game 6 against St. Louis. After Neftali Feliz blew the save in the 9th inning (with the help of a horribly played fly ball to Nelson Cruz), the Rangers took the lead on a Josh Hamilton home run in the 10th. The Cards tied it back up in the bottom of the 10th and won it on a home run leading off the bottom of the 11th. The Rangers pitchers who faced the Cardinals in the 10th and 11th were Darren Oliver, Scott Feldman and Mark Lowe.
If the Koji Uehara at the end of 2011 was the same Koji Uehara that started 2011 in Baltimore and the same Koji Uehara that major league baseball has seen in 2012 and 2013 with the Rangers and the Red Sox, I can’t help but think the Texas Rangers would have been the World Series Champions.
If the Red Sox go on to beat the Cardinals in the 2013 World Series, Koji Uehara may very well haunt the rest of my days as a Texas Rangers fan.
- Unflappable Koji nets ALCS MVP honors (mlb.mlb.com)
- HBT: Koji Uehara is your ALCS MVP (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Koji Uehara Receives Champagne Shower During Red Sox’ Celebration After Advancing to World Series (Video) (nesn.com)
After your team’s eliminated, it sure is hard getting back to evenings with no Rangers baseball to watch. Sure I follow the playoffs and football is always there as a distraction, but night-to-night living is completely different. Fortunately there are still things like the Baseball Bloggers Association post-season awards to think about and write about to take some of the edge off.
There are five awards announced annually by the BBA and, being a blogger about an American League team, that is the only league for me to vote. Just as well, because I really don’t know enough about the season in the NL to vote with certainty. I would, however, feel strongly that Clint Hurdle should get honored for his work with the Pirates and Paul Goldschmidt, being a Texas boy, has at least staked a claim as the league’s best player this year. But enough about things I know not nearly enough about. Here are my picks for the American League honors.
Connie Mack Award (Manager)
I don’t hate honoring a manager, but I do hate the game that’s played for that honor. Face it, the manager who receives this award annually is more often than not the man whose team had either a surprising year or they had the biggest turnaround of the year. Thus managers like Joe Girardi or Ron Washington, whose teams have been consistently good for several years, will seldom get any recognition and when they do, such as when Ron Gardenhire won it for the Twins in 2010, it really should have gone to someone more deserving (Wash should have won in 2010). I voted for Girardi a couple of years ago because of how well the Yankees did despite several key injuries. I think Washington should get strong consideration this year for his work with the Rangers, considering the injuries to the pitching staff and how much weaker they were offensively due to no fault of his own. Through all that, he still managed Texas to 91 wins and within an eyelash of the official playoffs. Still, as much as I love the Rangers and as much as I respect Ron Washington, there’s no doubt who will win, and probably should win this year. It’s the Red Sox’ John Farrell. While he was once pitching coach for the Sox, this was his first season as a manager and he turned Boston from worst to first in one year’s time. Maybe that’s a sign of how bad a fit Bobby Valentine was a year ago, but I’m willing to give Farrell his due. Terry Francona gets an honorable mention along with Wash, not because of the overall turnaround for the Indians, but the fact he did it with a starting rotation that included Ubaldo Jiminez and Scott Kazmir, two pitchers who were on the verge of being put on the junk heap a year ago.
WINNER: John Farrell, Boston Red Sox
Willie Mays Award (Rookie)
This was not the strongest rookie class in the world. Offensively, there wasn’t a rookie in the AL who topped 60 RBI. Only one scored as many as 60 runs. Fourteen home runs was the top power number and 18 steals was the tops in the speed department. Most rookies considered for a top honor will put up numbers in one of those categories that resembles a fulltime starter. This year’s class had numbers befitting platoon players at best. So instead of Wil Myers or Nick Franklin, I’m looking at pitching this year. There I see two more deserving candidates: Dan Straily of the Oakland A’s and Martin Perez of the Texas Rangers. Both players won ten games for their clubs, tops among all rookies. Both were pretty even in ERA: Straily at 3.96, Perez at 3.62. The edge, though, goes to the guy who had a better WHIP (1.24 vs. 1.33) and led all rookies in innings pitched. Rangers fan that I am, reluctantly that means the guy with Oakland.
WINNER: Dan Straily, Oakland A’s
Goose Gossage Award (Reliever)
I’m going to concede the odds are long that the guy I vote for here is going to win. That’s because I’m going strictly on stats for this one. The guy who most likely is going to win had a great year in 2013. It was also his last year before retirement, so I suspect a lot of people are going to vote for him as a goodbye honor, kind of a Lifetime Achievement Award that will last the five years it takes before he’s enshrined in Cooperstown. The thing is, I don’t like Lifetime Achievement Awards like this. The Hall of Fame will be award enough. Fact is, the best reliever this year didn’t play in the Bronx. He played in the worst possible market to play in in the American League. We’re talking Kansas City here, folks. Greg Holland was filthy good for the Royals this year. 47 Saves, better than everybody except one. A 1.21 ERA. I thought Joe Nathan was outstanding for Texas with a 1.39, but Holland outdid him. Then you add in 103 strikeouts in only 67 innings of work, a 0.87 WHIP, and only 40 hits allowed. That is one ornery closer my friends. Mariano Rivera deserves all kinds of accolades for the career he had, as well as the way he came back in 2013 from a serious injury to post the numbers he posted. They don’t top what Holland did for the Royals, though and Holland shouldn’t get penalized because a guy who didn’t match his numbers is retiring.
WINNER: Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
Walter Johnson Award (Top Pitcher)
Wins don’t mean anything. That’s what the SABR crowd says. They’re probably right. After all, all kinds of great pitchers get tagged for losses they don’t deserve. Yu Darvish lost four games this year 1-0. They also get credited with wins they don’t deserve. When you give up six runs in five innings but your teammates put up nine, you may have gotten the win but you won’t necessarily sleep well because of it. A couple of months ago, the debate was already beginning to form because the numbers of Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale and even Yu Darvish were right up there with Max Scherzer, but Max was the guy with all those W’s on his ledger compared to the other guys. The thing is, the other three guys all started having their problems shortly after the debate started. Hernandez in particular got shelled by the Rangers to the tune of nine runs (8 earned) in only three innings of a late August start. From August 17 on, King Felix was a pedestrian 0-5, 6.46. Darvish was only 1-4 over that span but with a decidedly better 3.38 ERA. Chris Sale was 3-3 with a 4.02 the last month and a half. And Scherzer? He closed out with a 4-2, 3.08. There may have been a debate in mid-August, but only one of the four players in the debate made it count down the stretch. In this case, the guys with the most wins gets the award AND he deserves it too.
WINNER: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
Stan Musial Award (Top Hitter)
One year ago, another traditional vs. new era debate raged and it concerned the top player in the league. Traditionalists loved Miguel Cabrera, who was the first to win the AL’s Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in the 1960′s. On the SABR side was the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout who, according to WAR, had one of the best seasons anyone in baseball history has ever had. Cabrera won the vote of the sportswriters so the traditional won out. In the blogosphere, however, Trout was the decisive winner over Cabrera in the BBA vote. So what happened in 2013? Cabrera had an even better batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage than he had a year ago. Trout nearly doubled his walks from a year ago from 67 to 110. He also had a higher on base percentage and OPS. Then there was a new guy in the mix: Chris Davis of the Orioles, who exploded for 53 home runs. There was also a bit of love for the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, who had a torrid July and August and helped ease the loss of the suspended Nelson Cruz. A year ago I voted for Cabrera myself because I like my top player playing for a contender, plus Cabrera had a much stronger September than Trout did and that counts for something. So let’s compare Septembers for my top four in 2013:
Cabrera: .278 BA 1 HR 7 RBI
Trout: .281 BA 4 HR 15 RBI
Davis: .216 BA 6 HR 16 RBI
Beltre: .262 2 HR 10 RBI
Cabrera was battling injuries the last month, Beltre’s hamstring issues caused him to lose his power stroke in the late stages, Davis hit for power but not much average. That leaves the guy who missed out in the sportswriters vote a year ago. Yeah, he still wasn’t playing for a contender but he was a big part of a late surge that nearly brought the Angels back to .500 with a lousy pitching staff, no Albert Pujols and a mostly ineffective Josh Hamilton. I’m not as conflicted this year as I was a year ago.
WINNER: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
There you have it. I may be a homer when it comes to the games, but none of my Rangers quite measured up in the end for the post-season hardware. As 29 teams always say on the last day of their seasons, there’s always next year!
I had modest hopes. To me, a World Series appearance wasn’t in the cards for the Texas Rangers in 2013, but entering the extended regular season finale, I had hopes my boys would be able to extend their winning streak to nine to get a shot at the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. David Price put in a gutty performance and the Tampa Bay Rays ended the Rangers’ season at 163 games.
Still, it was a helluva year. Who would have thought the Rangers would be capable of winning 91 games in a season where:
2) Berkman was a bust and the team’s best power hitter, Nelson Cruz, got suspended for the last 50 games of the year.
4) #2 starter Matt Harrison only managed two ineffective starts before going down to injury for the year.
6) The big pitching acquisition, Matt Garza, had many more poor performances than good ones.
The Rangers handled all this adversity and still won 91 games. They did it with a new infusion of youth that will only get better in the next few years, particularly Leonys Martin, Jurickson Profar and Martin Perez, who all showed signs of being major contributors.
Meanwhile, there are some players who won’t return for another round in 2014. David Murphy will most certainly be allowed to leave via free agency. Adam Rosales will also go. The pitching staff may say goodbye to Jason Frasor and even Joe Nathan leaving is a possibility.
Others are iffy. Nelson Cruz will be a free agent. He has stated often over the years he wants to stay in Texas, yet management never saw fit to make him an offer these past three years. Still, they may relent and bring him back as the team’s designated hitter because this team desperately needs some power. I’d love to see utility man Jeff Baker return. AJ Pierzynski could be gone as the Rangers keep getting linked to a free agency pursuit of Brian McCann. After his year ended so poorly, I can’t see Mitch Moreland as part of the plan for 2014. Whether that means Texas will ask Ian Kinsler to move to first (which also opens up second base for Jurickson Profar) or they pursue a free agent like James Loney remains to be seen. And, of course, there could be trades in the future that could see others leave the organization. Maybe the aforementioned David Price could come Texas’ way via trade.
This off-season I expect the Rangers to address their offensive needs as there are only a couple of modifications needed for the pitching staff. Four starters and at least five bullpen pieces are already set. Then I expect Texas will be a better team than they were in 2013. The window isn’t closed yet. It still has a few good years of being open left.
Anyone can vote for the All-Star team. It’s a pretty easy process. Most fans stuff the ballot boxes at their home ballparks and online with votes only for players on their favorite team. Others, like me, vote for who we feel are the most deserving, despite our fanhood. Before going further, here are my picks for this year’s AL All-Star team:
2B: Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians (sorry, Ian)
SS: J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles (sorry, Elvis)
C: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
LF: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
CF: Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
RF: Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers (FINALLY!)
See? That was pretty easy. And most of the picks would get little argument, except from die-hard fans of other teams.
What I love to do here every year is pick a different kind of All-Star team. This is a team picked strictly on the basis of how they’ve done this year against the Texas Rangers. No Rangers allowed on this team. This year, no Baltimore Orioles player stands a chance either, as the Rangers have yet to play the Birds in 2013. The fun part of this exercise is at times seeing the most unexpected names that just happened to have had inordinate success against the Rangers. Against everyone else, they settle back down to the mediocrity we’ve come to expect from them.
Herewith is the AL All-Star team, based only on their 2013 results against the Rangers:
1B: Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays
Lind’s been injured this season and many have labelled him as one of those players who’s never going to consistently play up to his potential. You could have fooled Texas with that assessment. Lind has blistered the Rangers to the tune of a.433 BA with 3 HR and 10 RBI , 1.188 OPS.
2B: Howie Kendrick, Los Angeles Angels
Kipnis has done well in limited AB’s vs. Texas, but Kendrick, who has been a pest against Texas for a few years now, in more AB’s has 2 HR, 6 RBI and a 1.052 OPS.
SS: Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros
This position was pretty equal top to bottom. The now minor-leaguer Gonzalez gets extra points for the 9th inning single that broke up Yu Darvish‘s perfect game bid. Over a .400 hitter vs. Texas in 10 AB’s.
3B: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
No doubt about this one matching up with reality. Cabrera has torched Texas pitching for a .563 BA with 3 HR, 6 RBI and an astronomical 1.861 OPS.
C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Boston Red Sox
Former Ranger Salty is hitting .294 against his former team with a home run. The likely true AL All-Star, Joe Mauer, is 0-15 this year against Texas.
LF: Seth Smith, Oakland A’s
Smith has been a thorn in the Rangers’ side in 2013, blistering Texas pitching for a .368 BA with four doubles, a home run and 5 RBI.
CF: Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox
Nope, not Mike Trout, who has mostly played CF against the Rangers. He’s hitting a meager .130 against Texas in 2013. Ellsbury, on the other hand, is at .421 with a couple of doubles and a stolen base.
RF: Ichiro Suzuki, New York Yankees
Believe it or not, Josh Hamilton had this one locked down with a .360 mark against Texas (albeit with 0 HR and 0 RBI) until the Rangers visited New York this week. Ichiro looked like the All-Star of old, going .462 with two home runs and 3 RBI in 3 games against Texas.
DH: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
Travis Hafner had the better batting average at .375, but Ortiz gets the nod at just .250 because it came with power: 2 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs, along with 8 RBI. Ortiz made every hit count against Texas: 5 of his 6 hits were for extra bases.
There you have it. Only two of nine positions are players that are likely to represent the AL this year in the All-Star game. Of the other seven, probably only two of them will even make the All-Star team as a substitute. That’s two at best. Thanks to ESPN for providing the splits to compile these stats.
- A.L. All Star Game VotingThe latest voting numbers (thesportsscript.com)
- Vote For Your Texas Rangers In MLB All-Star Voting (dfw.cbslocal.com)
Here’s a wrap-up of the week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.
Rangers Record: 4-2
Overall: 20-11 (1st Place AL West) (+2.5)
Mitch Moreland .450/.542/.650 1 HR 2 RBI
Ian Kinsler .407/.429/.630 3 2B 1 HR 5 RBI
A.J. Pierzynski .118/.167/.118 7 K in 17 AB
Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):
Derek Holland 1-0 0.00 ERA 9 Strikeouts in 8 IP
Raspa Frio (Pitching):
Nick Tepesch 0-1, 6.75 ERA in 6.2 IP
Believe it or not, if Yu Darvish was on the list based on ERA alone, he’d be in the Frio column. Instead at best he gets an honorable mention in the Caliente column for accruing 23 more strikeouts in just 13 innings of work.
The Rangers started the week at home in a continuing funk at the plate, Tuesday’s 10 runs notwithstanding, and dropped their first series of the year when the White Sox took two of three. Pessimism reigned entering Friday night’s play. Of all the teams the Rangers had played thus far, only Friday’s opponent, the Boston Red Sox, was over .500 entering play. So, the skeptics said, here’s where the Rangers get exposed as pretenders and not contenders. All Texas did was sweep the Red Sox in convincing fashion. Derek Holland was dominant in Friday night’s shutout win, Alexi Ogando didn’t look dominant but was more than good enough in limiting Boston’s high-flying offense to a single run. Finally, on Sunday, Yu Darvish gave up two home runs early, putting the Rangers in a 3-0 hole, but shut down Boston the rest of the way, allowing Texas to tie in the 7th and walk off with the win and the sweep in the 9th.
This week, it’s back on the road with three different teams on the schedule. Today it’s a make-up game with the Chicago Cubs, facing former Ranger Scott Feldman. Tuesday through Thursday, another interleague matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers. The week closes out with three games at Minute Maid Park against the lowly Astros. Despite all seven games being on the road, considering the competition, anything worse than a 5-2 record this week would be a disappointment.
The Texas Rangers were not as good as their initial 16-8 record seemed to indicate. Conversely, the Texas Rangers are not nearly as bad as they’ve shown in their last five games, four of which were losses.
What we do know, however, is that right now, today, May 3rd, 2013, the Texas Rangers are not very good against left-handed pitching.
Regular readers of this page know this is not something new that has cropped up with the Rangers this season. This has actually been a long-term problem over the past three or four years, particularly if the lefthanded starter is either A) a finesse pitcher; B) a rookie they’ve never faced before; or C) both.
In losing their first series of the season to the Chicago White Sox, after opening the year with five series wins and three series ties, Texas has now dropped four out of their last five contests. They’ve also faced left-handed starters in four of their last six games and will face two lefties in three games when they face the Red Sox this weekend.
Out of those four left-handed starters, Texas had some success against the Twins Scott Diamond, going 12-27 with five doubles and a home run, but still managed to score only three runs off him. Since then (and including relief pitchers), the Rangers are a meager .224 against southpaws in their last 98 at bats against them with 8 walks and 23 strikeouts over 27 innings. In last night’s series finale against the Chisox, Adrian Beltre had a 2nd inning home run against emergency southpaw starter Hector Santiago, but managed only one other hit in 5.1 innings against him.
If there’s any silver lining, it could come tonight against the Red Sox. Boston is sending Felix Doubront to the mound. Yeah, he’s another southpaw, but Texas has scorched him to a career .388 batting average and 1.040 OPS, explaining Doubront’s career 10.32 ERA against the Rangers. If I were managing against the Rangers and they struggle again tonight against Doubront, I’d just continue to throw lefthanders against them until they can show any kind of success against them.
The first free agent rumor salvo has been fired.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox tweeted the Texas Rangers have “serious interest” in maybe soon to be free agent David Ortiz, most recently of the Boston Red Sox. Ortiz, according to Rosenthal, would fill the power void of the most-likely departing Josh Hamilton.
Color me skeptical. And color me uninterested.
While it’s true Ortiz’ hitting coach the past six years is now the Rangers’ hitting coach, I don’t think that would be enough to pry him away from a team he loves and a city he loves. And even if he was truly interested in leaving Boston, I do not want him in Texas.
Sure, he’s a left-handed bat which translates well at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. But Ortiz has also spent considerable time on the disabled list the past two seasons and, at age 37, isn’t likely to find optimal health on a regular basis again. Additionally, as I pointed out a couple of months ago, I’ve changed my thinking on the designated hitter as it applies to contending American League teams and I don’t want the Rangers’ DH as one of the main power positions in the offensive line-up.
Should the Rangers get back to the Fall Classic, having one of your premier power hitters as the DH would pretty much ensure you must put them on the field at the NL ballpark. Ortiz has only played a handful of games in the field over the past two seasons and would be a huge defensive liability. Instead, I prefer a DH that is no better than the fifth most productive hitter on your team. That way, having him on the bench on the road in the World Series wouldn’t significantly affect your offensive line-up.
This Rangers-Ortiz rumor is probably just a plant to help Ortiz’ bargaining power with the Red Sox. I see Ortiz signing to finish his career in Boston.
Now if you want to talk about a free agent slugger, how about talking Adam LaRoche, who just turned down his mutual option with the Nationals. He’s got power and he could play the field.
- MLB Rumors: Rangers Interested in David Ortiz as Replacement for Josh Hamilton (bleacherreport.com)
Nothing becomes official, of course, until after the World Series concludes. I know the score, though.
The day after a new World Series Champion is crowned, free agency begins. Everyone knows Josh Hamilton will become a free agent. Rangers GM Jon Daniels has already announced Texas will “allow” Josh to shop for the best deal instead of Texas trying to make him a preemptive offer to stay in Arlington.
Josh’s agent has further allowed that after Hamilton has done his shopping, they’ll give the Rangers a chance to top the best offer.
But come on. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. The odds are 99% in favor of Josh Hamilton wearing someone else’s uniform in the 2013 season.
Like CJ Wilson before him, it’s a pretty sure bet the Rangers brain trust already knows the top dollar and contract length they’re willing to give him. More than likely the scenario will be this: The annual dollars won’t be the issue, the length of the contract will be.
Texas would love to have Hamilton back, but I doubt they’re willing to offer him more than four years, unless the fifth year and beyond are for lower dollars with heavy performance incentives. Texas could very well be willing to pay Josh $90 to $100 million over the next four years. But someone else is going to offer five or six years at $110-$125 million. Guess which one he’ll take.
Nope, the Rangers are already preparing for life without Josh. They started the other day by hiring Dave Magadan away from the Red Sox as the new hitting coach. Magadan is very much a Ron Washington philosophy type: do what the game asks you to do. Magadan’s Red Sox teams were known to be patient and took a lot of pitches, something the Rangers stopped doing in 2012, especially Josh Hamilton. He also has a reputation for getting the best out of young batters coming up. This lends credence to the possibility of Jurickson Profar and/or Mike Olt being on the roster for Opening Day 2013 and pretty much a certainty that Leonys Martin will be on that roster too.
While he wasn’t the only one for whom this was said, Hamilton has never been one to worry too much about instruction. He doesn’t watch much video, he loves swinging at the first pitch. He likes being the guy with the big bat, so much that he’d rather swing for the fences all the time than settle for a solid single even when the game situation calls for the base hit.
This isn’t to hate on Josh because he’s been the spotlight guy that’s led Texas to two World Series appearances. He’s put up MVP numbers in the past and still may in the future. If and when he goes, I won’t tear up or throw away my Josh Hamilton jerseys. Whoever signs Josh, though, know this: When his decline starts (and who knows, it may have started this year), I don’t think it will be pretty. Josh has succeeded because of his pure athleticism. He plays the game all out, which is good. On the other hand, because he trusts his athleticism, he’s also slow to make adjustments. When the inevitable decline comes, it could be a much steeper drop than most players have. But that likely will be someone else’s problem, not the Rangers.
A couple of days ago, I tweeted that it WILL get harder but I like seeing my team at the top of the hole looking down while my main competition is looking up from 4 1/2 feet in the hole.
Now the hole is six feet deep. Again, I have no expectation it will always be this way, but it sure is sweet.
The Angels are proving to have a significantly shallower bullpen than the Rangers. So far, even the starting pitching for Texas has been superior to the vaunted Angels staff. Texas starters have yet to lose a game (8-0 at this point) and the Rangers lead the majors in run differential, although the 15 run beatdown of the Red Sox Tuesday has a lot to do with that.
You could make the case the Rangers have feasted on the White Sox, Mariners and Twins. While that is part of the story, the other part is the Angels are losing to the Twins, the A’s and the Royals. Beat the teams you should, break even against the rest is the recipe for a pennant. The Angels aren’t beating the teams they should and the Rangers are.
What’s scary to think about- this Rangers team hasn’t even hit its stride offensively, but it’s starting to come around. Just days ago, Mike Napoli was hitting .118. In just three games, he’s hit four home runs and a double and upped his average into the .270′s. Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus have yet to get going. The Rangers running attack has actually been pretty dismal thus far. Ian Kinsler has been caught stealing two of three times, plus he got picked off first last night. Craig Gentry is 0-1 stealing. The Rangers as a team have only four steals in 12 games, and two of those belong to Yorvit Torrealba and Adrian Beltre.
Without a doubt, the starting pitching won’t continue to be this good. Oh, they’ll be good, but they’re throwing quality starts out there at a level I don’t think can be sustained over the long haul. But the offense still has room for growth.
Texas is now 5-0 on the road. The only better start by a Rangers team in road games was 23 years ago, when they started 6-0. They have a chance to match that record tonight when they visit the Tigers in Detroit with Yu Darvish getting the ball for the opener.
Texas has a 4-game rematch of the ALCS with the Tigers this weekend. The Angels play the A’s at home tonight, followed by three games at home against the Orioles. If Texas ends this week with a larger lead than they have now, the Angels could be in a heap of trouble, even if it is only April.
Josh Hamilton. Michael Young. Nelson Cruz. Adrian Beltre. Mike Napoli, twice.
All went yard in the Rangers rout of the Red Sox as they improve to 4-0 on the road in 2012. Seems like an appropriate time to rerun this oldie but goodie:
Colby Lewis went another 7 strong innings, giving up two in the first and none the rest of the way, striking out 9 with zero walks.
This team excites me.