Category Archives: Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers ended their west coast travels by sweeping the hated Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County. Before that the Ranger took 2 of 3 from the division leading Oakland A’s, and are now tied with the A’s for the division.
Just 2 weeks ago the Rangers were 6 games back, and haven’t been a top the division since July 1st. But even with a suspended Cruz, the Rangers have been able to keep the bats hot and the base runners stealing like swiper on Dora. (sorry, I have a 1yr old) It also doesn’t hurt that the Rangers absolutely own the Angels this season, with a 10-2 record against them so far.
Time will tell if this surge continues, or the Rangers might in fact start missing Cruz as much as we all figured they would. But one thing is clear; these Rangers aren’t going out without a fight.
The Texas Rangers have a long history of bashing the baseball, with stars like Juan Gonzalez, Pudge Rodriguez, Rusty Greer, Hank Blalock, Michael Young, and even Josh Hamilton all hitting dingers in the Texas heat. If chicks dig the long ball, then the Texas Rangers have a history of bringing the ladies to the park. This season, however, the Rangers strength is not the long ball, but instead the pitching rotation. With the addition of Matt Garza, the Rangers might possibly have the best rotation in baseball. Yu Darvish and Derek Holland have been flat out studs at the top of the rotation, but the rest of the rotation has been a real MASH unit. Injuries to Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, and Matt Harrison have hampered this rotation, making the Matt Garza trade a must. But with Ogando back in the rotation, and Lewis looking like he’ll be back soon, this rotation all of a sudden looks as deep as any in baseball.
The rotation down the stretch for the Rangers should be Yu, Holland, Garza, Lewis, and either Ogando or young thrower Martin Perez. Who’d a thought that last year’s opening day starter Colby Lewis would be #4 at best in this rotation. And if Matt Harrison comes back, Ogando and Perez could end up being pushed to the bullpen. The Rangers bullpen has already pitched well, and adding a few starting arms couldn’t hurt. Neftali Feliz also might be coming back in August, meaning the Rangers have an embarrassment of pitching riches.
With the offense struggling and with a pending Nelson Cruz suspension it’s clear that the heart of this team is no longer in the batter’s box. Now don’t be surprised if the Rangers also trade for a bat, but even if they do trade all they’ll be doing is trying to replace Cruz’s production, not really improving the struggling batting lineup. These aren’t your daddy’s Rangers, or even your older brother’s Rangers. Then again, offense wins games, but pitching and defense wins championships.
The Texas Rangers made a lot of headlines this off season, and most were negative. Take that back, all of the news was negative, as the once powerful Rangers were falling apart at the seams. Josh Hamilton split to the rival Angels, and bashed the Dallas/Forth Worth fans along the way. Longtime Mr. Ranger himself Michael Young was traded away for little, and another fan favorite Mike Napoli also left Texas. The Rangers made no big free agent splash, and no big trade. And to make matters worse, the Dallas media created another bad story for the Rangers. It was “reported” that Rangers part owner, CEO, and hall of fame face of the franchise Nolan Ryan was leaving the organization.
The newly built solid foundation of one of the best franchises in sports looked to be crumbling, and all in 1 offseason. The thing is, once a great foundation is built, its easy to rebuild, or in Texas, we prefer the term reload. The Rangers didn’t make a big free agent splash, but they did sign two veteran bats, Lance Berkman to DH and AJ Pierzynski. Both have fit in nicely, and have added the pop needed after losing Napoli and Hamilton. The Rangers decided this was enough to reload the former back to back AL champs, and it turns out they were right.
The season is only a month old, but the Rangers have jumped out to the best record in all of baseball. The young rotation has looked solid, and Yu Darvish has looked like a true Ace. The bats haven’t always been hot, but they’ve exploded when needed too. All in all the Rangers are a far more balanced team than last season. The faith the Rangers put in guys like Darvish, Kinsler, and Andrus has paid off. The Rangers have battled early injuries to their rotation, but rookies Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm have been a very good band aid until Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison come back. So good that they have made a case to stay in the rotation no matter who gets healthy. The depth on this rotation might be the deepest in team history.
Hamilton’s and the rival Angels struggles have been icing on the cake, as has the current 6 game lead the Rangers enjoy in the AL west. The same Dallas/Fort Worth media that claimed the castle was crumbling, and even tried to kick out the king, haven’t been as vocal at the success that the front office has done reloading. The season is still very young, and the Rangers could fade, but as of now the Rangers front office have seem to made all the right moves.
The Texas Rangers had a ton of off season changes, and one big one was trading away Michael Young. Young had been the heart and soul of the Texas Rangers for 13 seasons, developing into the kind of leader that the entire team could lean on. Young was the old man, with all star credentials, the man willing to move from 2nd base to short stop, then to 3rd base, and finally to designated hitter in his final two seasons with the Rangers.
With Young gone, someone had to step up and be a clubhouse leader, and the face of the franchise. As soon as Michael Young was out of Texas, Ian Kinsler became the most tenured Ranger on staff, with eight seasons under his belt as a Texas Ranger. ESPN had a “face of the franchise” tournament, and picked Kinsler to represent the Rangers. Kinsler hasn’t asked for this role, but has embraced it. The question is, would his teammates and fan base accept it as quickly as ESPN would.
In order for Kinsler to be taken serious as a locker room leader, he had to get back to his all star status. Kinsler has got off to a quick start to the season, with 3 home runs in 6 games, including a huge 3 run shot in Sunday’s game against the Angels, which put the game and series away for Texas. Kinsler is batting .333, and if he continues this hot streak he could be back to playing in All Star games. Being an All Star is a big step in becoming a leader, as players tend to follow the best players.
Kinsler was given a long term extension, so the question as to would he be a Ranger long term should’ve been answered. But with Jerickson Profar, the best minor leaguer in the MLB farm system sitting in Round Rock, many feel kinsler is trade bait. Profar is a middle infielder, and with short stop Elvis Andrus signing his long term extension, Kinsler quickly became trade bait, at least in the rumor mill. But Kinsler has seemed to learn from his mentor Michael Young, and has stated he is willing to move positions on the field to make room for Profar. If Profar looks ready to play in the big leagues, don’t be shocked if Kinsler is in right field next season, or perhaps 1st base.
So far Kinsler has shown everything needed to fill the huge locker room void left by Young. Time will tell if he can keep up his all star numbers, or if he truly is willing to change positions for the good of the team. But as of today, Kinsler has all the right moves, and is proving ESPN right that Kinsler is indeed the face of the franchise.