|Questions are yet to be
answered about this years Texas
Rangers, but after the first month of the season and the
beginning of the second we
been given a glimpse of what this year's team could become.
Interestingly, it has been a glimpse of the good and the bad.
Unfortunately the bad has been more prevalent so far.
So far, the Rangers have three
of their five starting pitchers on the disabled list due to injuries
and one pitcher called up to fill in during the injuries is also
down. Originally, the starting rotation was to be made up of Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon
McCarthy, Kason Gabbard and
started the season on the 60 day list and Jason Jennings, was just recently
placed on the 15 day disabled list with a strained elbow, this after an
0-5 start with a 8.56 ERA.
In addition to those two, Kason
Gabbard went down due to back problems and is out for at least
two weeks before we can even expect him to resume pitching on rehab.
brought up from Triple A Oklahoma, is also on the 15 day disabled list
with right shoulder inflammation.
Relief pitcher Eddie Guardado
also spent 15 days out with an early season injury.
If that seems like a lot to go through during the first 30 days of the
season it is, but that's not all the Rangers
have had to face. In addition to all the injuries to the
pitching, the team has seen Hank
Blalock go out for at least two weeks with a hamstring problem.
In addition, Marlon Byrd has
been on the disabled list for awhile now with a sore knee and Ian Kinsler has missed a couple of
games with a sore hamstring to start the month of May.
An yet, in spite of the injuries, the team seems to have turned around
a terrible start in April by going on a four game winning streak to end
April on a high note and get May off to a good start. As a matter
of fact, the team has won six of the last nine games both at home and
on the road winning the last three series against the Twins, Royals and Athletics.
So, it's still early in the season and the Rangers have a losing record, but I
guess I am a diehard fan and I am choosing to believe that the team is
going to keep things going in the right direction and have some
significant games in September. Is that wishful thinking or
what? Still, the team seems to be hitting better with men on
base, and is fielding without so many errors and the pitching seems to
be better in spite of the fact that the starting rotation is still a
question mark. Is that enough to see us through the heat of the
summer and past the all Star game? Who knows, but I like to think
The Rangers, on the plus side,
has seen Michael Young get
off to a good start and is looking like there is another 200 hits and
100 RBI's in his future this season. Ian Kinsler is continuing to mature
into a quality second baseman and Hank Blalock was off to a good start
before his injury. In addition, new addition Josh Hamilton earned the AL Player of the Month in April
while leading the league in RBI's. Throw in the contribution of
another new Rangers player Milton Bradley who is playing
at a high level to start the season and add the performance of Rookie
of the Year candidate David Murphy
and new call up Brandon Boggs
strong initial performance and you see a team that is starting to put
In recent days the bullpen has started living up to expectations with
Joaquin Benoit, Rangers Pitcher of the Year in 2007, getting his
act together with two strong outings against the A's. C.J. Wilson seems to be growing into
the closers role extremely well and Jamey
Wright is providing strong long relief during the middle
And, the good news for the starting rotation is
beginning to perform as expected or even better. with left hander A.J. Murray, having been brought up
from Oklahoma and pitching well in his first outing Saturday, May
3rd. Converted relief pitcher Scott
continues to impress with strong outings after being brought up from Rangers minor
league affiliate Frisco of the Double A Texas League.
So, the team pitching seems to have turned the corner and has had some
good outings to begin the month of May and the wins are there as proof
with the team going 3 -1 during the first weekend of the month.
I must admit, I really didn't think that the team had the talent this
year to have a winning record and maybe they won't see that kind of
improvement in their won loss record, but I think that we are seeing
that the Rangers do in fact
have the talent. We all knew that it was going to be a growth
process and that it was going to take time to get to where everyone
wants to see the team as a pennant contender. The addition of Hamilton, Murphy, Boggs, and
pitchers Feldman and Murray and their performances show
this team is growing in the right direction.
This may not be the year the the Rangers
play in October playoff games, but it seems that we are moving in the
right direction. Improvement in 2008 is a reasonable expectation
and important wins in 2009, maybe even meaningful September games is
also reasonable. Losing record aside, the Rangers have been entertaining and
will only get better as the season progresses and that is good