Ranger Update

Well hey! My apologies for having not written this whole month. Asher and I have been swamped with a lot of stuff that has been taking up all of my time as well as draining me emotionally as well as physically. But, I've finally found some time and want to acknowledge the Texas Rangers for not only beating the Tampa Bay Rays, but then moving on to defeat the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Congratulations to the Rangers on their first playoff home win, series victory, second series victory, an d their first trip to the World Series! Now, there are some matters worth discussing about the Rangers though. But I do want this to be a somewhat positive article (I know its rare to read a positive sports story in the DFW metroplex but try and bear with me) since no matter what happens in the World Series with the Texas Rangers, their season has been a huge success and far better than I or anyone else I knew honestly thought it would be. The most lethal weapon the Rangers hold in their arsenal is their ace on the mound Cliff Lee. Rangers fans are so behind Cliff Lee that a false fat cite, similar to the facts about Chuck Norris, has been created by local fans about the calm, but deadly left-hander. Another pitcher for the Rangers that can't go without mention is Colby Lewis. Besides having a great name, Colby has proved that he can handle the biggest of pressure situations, and will face another one as the Rangers come back home to face off against the San Francisco Giants in an 0-2 hole for the first ever World Series game played in the Ballpark in Arlington. Who here though a championship would decided in the Ballpark in Arlington before the spectacle down the street from it, none other than the house that Jerry built. But I will save for the Cowboys for another story, because like I said I want this to be positive, and there is nothing positive about the boys with the star on their helmets. Anyway, back to Colby Lewis, seemingly a nobody who is the number three pitcher in the Texas Ranger pitching staff, shows great command and doesn't have much of a razzle dazzle when he pitches, but above all he is efficient and gets the job done with minimal damage, and that is really all you can wish for. The second starter in the rotation is C.J. Wilson who, despite several good outings, has had many different things to happen to him after he is relieved from the game. Despite pitching admirably, either the bats don't show up for C.J., or the relievers decide to start walking in runs like they did game 2 in San Fran. the 4th sport with Tommy Hunter is really just a combination of middle relievers with Hunter lasting more times than not around 4 innings followed Derek Holland until the 7th, then whoever Wash draws out of a hat from there. In fact I think a few times in this series I saw Wash get on the phone and suddenly my phone rang...how else do pitchers like Lowe, Kirkman, and Rapada manage to get in the game? All in all the relief pitching has gotten shelled before but if there is any one characteristic that describes this team it is that they are resilient. They don't seem to get too low after a loss and stay loose in the clubhouse while being determined to make the necessary changes to go out and win the next game. Now, as for the bats the most surprising hitter to me in this playoffs has been none other than the speedster himself, Bengie Molina, who looked like a deer in the headlights when he stole 2nd base in the Tampa series and his team mates gave him the "antlers" It seems like every time Molina comes up to the plate, he has a good at bat or manages to leg out a single on shots to the outfield moving runners into scoring position. His clutch home run in the Yankees series, after TBS had showed his previous home runs versus the Yankees, proved to be the hit that finally put the Yankees away in the ALCS, and he continues to an efficient man at the plate for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton, on the other hand, has been streaky at best. Some days he will be hitting the laces off the ball, while other days he is chasing balls away in the zone, to shallow pop ups for easy outs. If there is anyone who cannot be an easy out for the Texas Rangers it is the ALCS MVP and possible AL MVP Josh Hamilton. When the series shifts back to Texas hopefully he can find that sweet stroke of his and make sure the fans in the outfield seats leave the game with smiles and souvenirs. Fielding wise, we discovered in game 1 of the World Series while Vladimir Guerro is a DH in this league. he just doesn't look comfortable playing in the outfield, and quite frankly has no business being out there since it takes him so long to finally get up and go causing him to get bad jumps on balls that drop that should be routine fly ball outs. But, now that the series has shifted back to Texas where Vladdy can play DH things ought to mellow out, and Guerro ought to go back to his typical swinging away ways in the bottom of the inning and resting on the bench in the top of the inning. A surprise is the play of Michael Young at third base. More times then not he seems to be just enough out of place to where he cannot make a play that costs the rangers extra bases to very well hitting teams. Multiple times Young has seemed to not be ready for the pitch, or is booting the ball off of the top of his glove for what should be a major league out. Perhaps, I have gotten too used to watching Elvis Andrus play shortstop where nothing gets past him and it is obvious that Young cannot cover the same ground that Andrus can, but it would be nice to see Young make some plays instead of letting them just barely slip away.
Going back to Texas, the Rangers are down 0-2 to the National League Champion San Francisco Giants. Another way that can be put is that the Giants are coming down to Texas to face one of the hottest pitchers this post season in a hostile Texas environment to face the American League Champion Texas Rangers. It feels so good to call them that. I don't know why but I feel a calm whenever Colby Lewis, C.J. Wilson, or especially Cliff Lee take the mound. We all know the feeling we get when Tony Romo drops back to throw. Every one of us thinks..."Tony don't mess up, please hold on to the ball and try and throw it to the guys in the same color jersey as you" With Cliff Lee, the bases could be loaded with no outs and I would still have faith in him to get through the inning. C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis are the same way in which I know they will not have two bad outings in a row, and that their play will only improve as the series goes on. That is why I am excited to see Colby Lewis pitch against the Giants, because he has nothing but lights out for the Rangers this post season. And I have a strong feeling the bats will wake up Saturday night thank to some home Texas cookin'. Don't forget that this Ranger team did hang 7 against the Gains in game one, and played them extremely close in game 2 with the exception of one inning. If the Rangers can string together a few good quality innings from their pitching staff, and some quality at bats from their hitters that can lead to an early lead, which will lead to some more confidence, which leads to good innings, which ultimately leads to a win, and hopefully a series of wins. So as for right now, claw and antler need not to panic for their resilient Rangers will take the field Saturday night with a quiet confidence in front of their home faithful and bring it to those bearded boys from the bay with the help of dominant pitching and consistent hitting.

-colby

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