Apologies for not having the time to write much on here during this awesomely fun and exciting part of the baseball season.
Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and Derek Holland combined to throw 23.1 IP, surrendering just 4 ER on 12 hits, with a 25/4 K/BB ratio during a weekend sweep of the fast-fading Orioles. In just his 3rd start since returning from a shoulder issue that's sidelined him since Opening Day, yesterday Holland tossed his 8th career shutout.
Winners of 4 straight, 7 of 9 and 21 of 30, the Rangers are rolling right now. They are two games clear in the loss column for ownership of the WC2, and just two games behind division leading Houston (72-59) in the LC. With 29 of their final 35 games coming intra-division -- including 7 against both the Astros and Angels -- Texas's focus is being American League West Champions in 2015, something I never thought I would be writing the last day of August.
Jamey Newberg says, "JD, you the real MVP" in his latest post, writing:
"... someone asked me on Twitter after Sunday’s game who I thought the Rangers MVP was this year.
My answer: “Could it be the guy who hired Banny, Rule 5’d Delino, and traded for Hamels, Dyson, and Diekman?”
He's right, and I don't think this can ever be lost about 2015: Jon Daniels has had an A-plus season as President/GM. The deck has been stacked against the Rangers organization for the last two years, it seems like. Sprinkle in a couple play-in game misfortunes, and World Series tragedy, and over the last half-decade you are looking at MLB's most easy-to-feel-sorry-for franchise, even with all the success.
So it makes sense that, when presented with an opportunity to go for it, Daniels has exhausted every possible avenue to improve this team for a September -- and perhaps October -- run. From Hamels and Jake Diekman, to Sam Dyson and Mike Napoli, to Will Venable, to getting Perez and Holland back healthy.
Texas suddenly has a roster capable not only of staying in this race long enough, but sustaining to the point where the AL West is in its sight.
That is a remarkable thing.