Pivotal, Crucial, Big

7 08 2009

Kendry Morales
Tonight the Rangers fire up a massive early August series
with the Halos in Anaheim. Texas is currently 4.5 back in the AL West.

So here we are friends. It’s been a fun, yet frustrating summer at times as our favorite club has managed to patch together solid pitching and get by with a not so great offense. This weekend we see if it’s time for the Rangers to crumble or stand up and fight in the resilient manner that they have all season no matter the adversity.

Avoiding a Sweep by the Bay

Yesterday afternoon it was refreshing to see a well played game after dropping the 1st 3 in Oak-town. Tommy Hunter bounced back nicely with 7 innings helping Texas to a 6-4 win as the ball jumped better off the bat during the day at the Coliseum. Hunter worked through some early trouble then settled down to help save the pen and pick up his 4th win. Michael Young extended his hit-streak to 13 games with his 18th bomb of ’09. Gotta say….if it wan’t for MY in the lineup, where would the offense be right now?? Josh Hamilton was bumped up to 5th, legging out and IF single and drew a walk (good signs).

Even though just called up 31 year old utility infielder Esteban German went 0 for 4, he did get on base and scored a pair of runs because of his speed. I know that he is a stop-gap while Kinsler’s hammy heals, but this dude is such an upgrade over the very frustrating Joaquin Arias, who was terrible in the Oakland series and was sent back to OKC for German. Yesterday German added a ‘Figgins’ like element on the basepath, and if you noticed….he didn’t make mental errors in the field (plus). I am not saying that he will be up here all year, but it is good to see some energy on base, and a guy that is not swinging for the fences for a change. Speaking of speed Texas might have Julio on board for the Halos….interesting.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was given the hook yesterday in the 2nd inning after missing Hunter on the mound allowing teh runner at 3rd to score. The attentive Ranger fan has noticed that Salty has the ‘yips’ right now on a simple throw back to the mound. On the telecast yesterday Josh and Tom reported that Salty has a shoulder issue. Apparently Texas will roll with Teagarden tonight as Salty tries to figure out what is up with the shoulder (if anything). Personally, I like Taylor working with the pitchers.

Halos up Next….

The Angels might be playing better baseball than any team since mid June. It seems that whenever the Rangers win the Halos do the same and ground is never made up in the West. Somehow their pitching has been good enough, but when you have the best offense in the AL (my opinion) the pitching doesn’t have to be stellar. I do think that ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian can be a bit annoying at times, but he does have a good write-up about the LAA offense. This paragraph stood out to me….. “The Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 and 9 spots in the Angels’ order are either first or second in the league in runs scored. The No. 5 hole has, by far, the most home runs (32) and RBIs (90) in the league. The No. 2 hole has 92 RBIs, easily the most in the league. Angels designated hitters are batting .303, the highest average in the AL. Their right fielders and center fielders have the most RBIs in the league. And Chone Figgins is the biggest reason why the Angels’ third basemen have scored the most runs (85) in the league. There simply isn’t a regular out in their lineup.”

This sums up why I love/hate the Angels. Drives me up the wall that this team is in the Rangers division. There is no way that I can say that I despise the Angels because I love how they play the game. I like baseball.

Scooter Feldman toes the hill tonight in Orange county, which gives me some optimism. Feldman has been very effective this season in 2 starts against LAA. T.R. Sullivan has a preview of tonight’s game and highlights of Feldman’s last outing against the M’s. The hot and cold Rangers offense has to deal with 9-6 southpaw Joe Saunders. Texas didn’t have a lot of success against lefties in Oakland. But we could see the big righthanded bat of Andruw Jones, who smacked 3 homers against the Halos last time in the OC. Just don’t expect Josh Hamilton to have that break out game that we have all been patiently awaiting.

The Rangers are 7-2 against the Angels this season, but that was before the calendar flipped to August. It’s a different game now. So let’s not assume the dominance will continue….but hey….this club has been surprising us all season long.

Wild-Card Bitches….

Just in case you forgot or are not paying close attention, the Rangers are thick in the Wildcard chase. Texa is not just 2 games back of the BoSox after the Yankees mashed Boston yesterday at the launching pad….I mean new Yankee Stadium. From that game we might have seen the last of John Smoltz in the RedSox rotation. Bravo to a great career. Cooperstown awaits. The ‘Bandwagon Nation’ is probably freaking out that they are 3.5 behind the Yankees. Love it. Oh yeah….don’t sleep on the Rays, they are playing some great baseball. At the moment they are .5 back of Texas for 2nd in the WC chase.

Gearing up for a fun series and hopefully one that will re-fuel the playoff hopes of the Ranger fan…..so with that I leave you with some good stuff as we push through Friday at the office.

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