It's nice to be back, I've missed you guys (well, most of you). In lieu of writing any meaningful piece on baseball, I present to you a random collection of (mostly) Rangers observations I made while on the road with my four year old son for the last nine days.
The Week: Although the White Sox are struggling this season, this was an incredibly tough matchup week for the Rangers due not only to the quality of starting pitching they faced, but also by the quantity of lefties. Yes, I completely understand that the Rangers offense performed poorly over the last seven days, but if you asked me last Sunday if I would take a 4-3 week against that list of pitchers, I would have signed that contract in a heartbeat.
Centerfield: Leonys Martin is struggling, going 0-21 before today's game tying homerun, which speaks more about his poor splits toward lefties than anything else, but also lets us know how much we miss Delino DeShields, which is still very strange to say.
Moreland: Mitch is silently having a fantastic season. He is hitting .294 with 8 bombs and an .848 OPS, but his pinch hit on Saturday spoke volumes about the player he has become. Moreland will never be an All Star, but he is showing his worth and proving a great number of doubters (including myself) wrong.
Close games: All of the Rangers' losses this week have been heart breakers, starting with the Balk Game. This was the only game I was able to watch in its entirety this week (Hard to find Rangers games on TV in Florida) and when I first saw it, I did not think Kela balked. I am not sure if it was because of the low quality TV where I was watching or because of the high quality beverages the place offered, but I was convinced Kela did nothing wrong. Then, I watched it again today. Crap. That was a balk.
The Roster Issues: I am not stunned by the Smolinski DFA. Yes, I understand that he had options, but the Rangers suddenly have this beautiful issue of an overcrowded 40 man that most franchises would dream of having. There are so many moves that need to be made in the coming weeks; with the return of Beltre, Hamilton, DeShields, Harrison, Perez, and Holland all looming. Who goes? Who stays? Honestly, I am in over my head on this one. Normally there are obvious roster cuts to be made, but at the moment, I don't see much other than Detwiler.
Beltre: Speaking of moves, Adrian Beltre, he still cannot grip a bat following his thumb laceration. He is attempting different grips and taking ground balls in hopes of returning, but things are not looking good. However, with such a young roster, how much do you think his presence on the bench is meaning to the rest of the team? I cannot imagine the wisdom he is imparting on the Rangers youth.
Chi Chi: I love it when prospects live up to the hype (I'm still holding out to secret hope that Profar comes through.....wait, it's not secret anymore). Gallo is also exactly what we thought he was; huge power, low BA, high enough OPS to make him stick in the bigs, low enough splits against lefties that I wouldn't mind seeing him see some more time in the minors.
Mets Fans: Completely unrelated to all things Rangers, I attended the Mets vs Braves game in Atlanta on Saturday and was thoroughly impressed by the Mets fans in attendance. Honestly, as a Virginia native, the idea of Mets fans in general is foreign to me, but this group, @The7Line, showed up in full force, with more than 750 fans from 17 states., and dominated the stadium with organized chants throughout the entire game. I was impressed, they were able to drown out the home crowd until the tomahawk chop took over in the 9th inning. (Related- only doing the tomahawk chop and the wave for 8 innings is REALLY annoying. Why do people still do the wave? More importantly, why are Rangers fans doing this God awful rally light thing? Stop it.)
And with that thought, I am done. Vacation was nice, put there were too many days without Rangers baseball (and far too much windshield time with a four year old). The Rangers have a recovery day on Monday and so do I, so let's get this thing rolling again.
See you Tuesday.