Tommy Hunter was really freakin’ good tonight in a 5-0 win
over the Tribe in Cleveland (well).
The Hefty righthander lasted 7 and 2/3’s tonight at what we once called Jacobs Field, earning his 5th win in 9 starts this season. His command has been surprisingly great since he was called up and he had it working again tonight scattering 6 hits and fanning 5. The best part you ask? No walks. Then C.J. came on and looked very sharp registering the final 4 outs. I like that he can go more that one inning. That gives the pen great flexibility.
So many other good things happened tonight in Cleveland, which is proabably not said that often. The Rangers offense, one night after getting blanked returned the favor scoring 5 runs. Without homering. You know you are a true Rangers homer if that makes you feel all warm inside. Josh Hamilton had a big night. We haven’t said that nearly enough this season, let’s make it a habit. Josh had 3 hits including a pair of doubles. The 2nd was a nice opposite field shot to give Texas an early 2-zip lead.
It really seems that Hamilton has finally found his stroke. He doesn’t seem to be guessing, hacking at first pitches, and ‘feeling’ for the ball as much. He looks like the Josh of ’08 with a real presense at the dish. Not to mention he is driving the ball with more frequency that will eventually lead to more going over the fence. But if not he is fast enough to get into scoing position.
Absolutely loved what I saw from Julio Borbon tonight in the leadoff spot and in LF. The rookie picked up a double and a WALK!! (which is what leadoff hitters do) On top of that he made a great diving catch in the outfield which endears fans to a young player. Hold that though for later.
We are so very lucky to have Omar Vizquel on this ballclub. He is the Rangers version of Yoda. Not physically emposing, but so wise and powerful in other surprising ways. Tonight he made a ridiculous barehanded play in the field (no shock), but he laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt to put Tommy Hunter closer to a ‘w’ in the late innings. I know he is 42 and might be done after this season, but if he wants to go one more, Texas should try to keep him here.
Tonight’s win was really good all the way around, and I didn’t even mention David Murphy with a pair of hits and a walk in the 3 spot at DH. Won’t mind that down the road if it happens again. This club has a youth and air of excitement about them. It’s that magical sense that something great is brewing in terms of success after 2009. I am the first to jump down someone’s throat if they start yabbering about 2010 and beyond and don’t look at the realities of the here and now. So to admit that takes a lot. When this team is a championship contender (or some version of a great ballclub) there are definite pieces already in place. In some ways it is reminiscent of the 90’s teams that won 3 AL West crowns.
Tonight I made a great decision to attend the Inside Corner watching Party tonight at Pappasito’s in Dallas / Irving. Evan Grant who runs the incredibly strong blog hosted the event. It was open to the public and 40-50 showed up for a great night of Rangers, decent mexican food, and great basebally concersation. Original ’72 Rangers Rich Hand and Ken Suarez were in attendance, along with my Diamondtalk buddy on 1310 Mike Bacsik, the great John Blake, and Ted Price of ‘Rangers Podcast in Arlington’ which is a must listen. The guest of honor though was my favorite Ranger as a kid, Rusty Greer.
All of the ex-players spoke with brief Q&A sessions between innings and Evan was forced to take a tequila shot after every Ramgers walk to help urge their want to improve their OBP. Good time with that, but things didn’t get J-Ham, Arizona, whip cream shot, bar crazy or anything. Which is definitely a good thing with Evan.
When Rusty spoke to the group he talked about the slight differences between the current group of Rangers and what composed the makeup of the 90’s team. The ‘Red Baron’ talked about how those 90’s teams had a strong veteran presense in the room with guys like Mickey Tettleton, Will Clark, Mark McLemore, and the like. He said that he didn’t really see that particual element in the current team. Even though he did gush about Michael Young and how he has already influenced some of the younger players on the roster. Rusty is glad that is happening, but he did admit that there was a lot more of that happening during “The Golden Years”. Pretty honest depiction of the two era’s if you ask me.
Rusty also talked about batting philosophy then and now. Joking that he and his teammates knew how to draw a walk from time to time. Also he compared and contrasted the pitching staffs from both era’s. Getting to hear him talk for 5 minutes was worth the gas, and the price of dinner and beers.
Really good Rangers night overall. Felt good to sit back and talk the great game with other guys who are addicted to this freakin’ team. Great game to watch, it had a little something of everything outside a homer. A crisp game of 2:36 too. Evan needs to have more of these gatherings. Overall a great experience for a Rangers dork.
And now just because I like it here is the greatness of Travis….
Good Times, Baseball, Cantina13 08 2009