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 Dallas Cowboys started camp in Oxnard California this week, and this figures to be a big camp for the defense with the switch from a 3-4 to a traditional 4-3 defense. The Cowboys will now use 4 down linemen, hoping to keep blockers away from linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter. Sounds like a great plan, but there is only 1 problem. The Cowboys defensive linemen can’t stay on the field.
Anthony Spencer might need surgery on his knee, which hurts since Spencer was penciled in as the starter. Spencer’s top back up and possible depth chart buster Tyrone Crawford tore his Achilles and is out for the season. Starting defensive tackle Jay Ratliff isn’t practicing due to a strained hamstring, and his top back up Josh Brent “retired” due to legal issues.
Second year defensive end Kyle Wilber is taking snaps with the 1st team defense, and will probably play every preseason game with the 1st team D. Wilber was drafted to be an outside rush linebacker in a 3-4, but in this new defense will be asked to be a hands down rush defensive end. DeMarcus Ware is also making this transition, but with the recent rash of injuries Jerry Jones is considering wrapping Ware up in bubble wrap for the remainder of camp.
Injuries have seemed to plague the Cowboys in the Romo era, and it looks like the nightmare continues in 2013.
Texas A&M Heisman winning Quarterback Johnny Football has had quite the offseason. Whether its cheering for the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, showing off his Longhorn tattoo (it might be fake), or blowing off the Manning camp as a counselor, it’s been quite the reality show for the sophmore to be. Lets not forget the tweeting, most notably saying he can’t wait to get out of college station Texas.
The problem though, is their has been one constant in this rockstar behavior, and that’s alcohol. Mainzel seems to enjoy the booze, like 90% of college students do. The problem is now he’s blowing off a football camp due to a hangover. It’s one thing to get drunk during your online courses, or celebrating a Cotton Bowl victory. But with the most important season in A&M history coming up, Mr. Football should now be focused on what made him a rock star in the first place. When you start missing football related events due to a hangover, it goes from “kids being kids” to a real problem.
Whether it’s privately or publicly, A&M coach Kevin Sumlin needs to reign his QB in. Texas monthly reported earlier this summer that the A&M coaching staff had to beg the university not to kick Manziel out of school, and now Johnny Football might feel invincible. After all, he is the biggest celebrity in Aggieland history (sorry Gov Perry). Now, with all this said Johnny Football might turn it on when the season starts, and tear up the SEC again. Maybe without all the free time that the offseason brings Manziel might not have as much time to throw down some shiner bock. I have no idea if shiner is his brand, but as a Texan I hope so. Time will tell, and the SEC media days might tell us a lot about the character of the Heisman winner. Stay tuned into the Johnny Kardashian show, it should end with a bang.
The San Antonio Spurs went into this offseason with a good amount of cap space. This excited the Spurs fanbase, especially after getting oh so close to ring #5. The Spurs were rumored suitors for several free agents, but in the end the Spurs decided to take care of the players in house, adding just 1 new piece to the Western Conference Championship roster.
First order of business, retaining Tiago Splitter. Now this wasn’t a very popular choice, mainly because Tiago had a bad Finals series. Fans tend to forget about Tiago’s solid defense in the Memphis series. When the Spurs played the Grizzlies two seasons ago in the 1st round, Zack Randolph destroyed the Spurs. This time around, with Splitter starting at center Randolph was a no show and the Spurs swept the series. And with Dwight Howard landing in Texas and in the Spurs division, having a good defensive center is more valuable than ever for the Spurs.
This next signing wasn’t much of a surprise, although the money was. Manu Ginobili will probably retire a Spur, but not before collecting 14 million over two seasons. Manu faded in these playoffs, showing age is catching up with him. His 12 turnovers in the last two games of the Finals really put the Spurs in a bad spot, a spot that ended up dooming the Spurs. Manu means so much to this franchise, so I do understand re signing him. 7 million a year however, was too much for sentimental value. With Duncan and Manu having 2 years left on their contracts, I guess the Spurs will have some serious cap space in 2015.
The only new blood the Spurs brought in was bulls swingman Marco Belinelli. Now this was a solid pick up, swaping a spot shooter in Gary Neal for a more athletic role playing shooting guard. Belinelli passed up on 3 better offers to join the Spurs, mainly due to the international culture of the team. This minor upgrade gives Coach Pop a chance to sit Manu more, hopefully to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
The Spurs will again drive for five, and are content doing so with the same team that was 28 seconds away from #5.