The Message of A-Rod
So we've heard the reports and admission of Alex Rodriguez regarding his use of performance enhancing drugs. We've also heard President Obama state he hopes the message is clear that you cannot take shortcuts without tarnishing your legacy.
However, that is not the message that will be or needs to be sent. A-Rod will not be punished. He'll continue to get his tens of millions per year. He'll be an All Star. And he'll get voted into the Hall of Fame because he was honest about it when he got caught and didn't commit perjury like perhaps Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens did.
The message is the same one underprivileged children whose parents have worked hard without escaping the 'hood have heard for a long time: "Why work hard for nothing when we can take shortcuts for riches, especially when the cost is small?" It is the message heard by young people who turned to gangs and drug dealing because of the fast bucks to be made. It will be the message herd by many a young person wanting to get rich playing a game as well until there is incentive to mchoose another path.
The sports world is a microcosm of the larger world. Through the continuing steriods scandal it is clear how enticing the temptation can be. And it will continue to be as long as the drug makers stay out in front of the testing. And this will also continue on a larger scale until our life as a people begins to resemble that of one community which bridges the gap between rich and poor while looking out for and providing for one another so all an find a valuable lifestyle without shortcuts instead of the culture of greed, blame-shifting, and scapegoating that justifies greed in the face of poverty.
New Guy In SEC Country
Lane Kiffin was hired by Tennessee. Quickly hired assistants away from rivals to help himself snake recruits away from teams like Alabama and Florida. Accuses Florida's Urban Meyer of recruiting violations. Now, Tennessee has self-reported minor violations committed by Kiffin.
Has there ever been a quicker study on life in the SEC?
The New Mop Up Mav
The Mavs season is slowly slipping away. It will quickly be every fan's hope that the Mavs can luck into Blake Griffin in the lottery.
Meanwhile, a trade was made bringing a new center for mop up duty: Ryan Hollins. By now, we know this the 24-year-old from UCLA.
Sure, he is just a throw-in to the DeSagana Diop for Matt Carroll trade. But this guy might be fun to watch. He's certainly the most athletic center in Dallas working the pick-and-roll better than Erick Dampier and Diop ever did. The question is, can he do anything else. So far, the returns look unpromising.
But this was a decent move by the Mavs. You got the outside shooter in Carroll if he regain form. Plus you got Hollins to replace Diop. We know who Diop is. He has leveled off. Maybe even regressed. So why not get a younger, more athletic center and see what he might be able to give you.
At worst, he becomes just another of the many Mavs not named Dirk or Jet who can produce on occassion but more often lay eggs. Then, the Mavs drift closer to the lottery, a Josh Howard trade, and remain poised to make a free agent splash in 2010.
BCS, Plus One?
You look at the situation following Thursday's victory by Florida and it is clear a Plus One system would not solve the problem that is the B_S.
After the rankings were released Friday you have Florida and USC ranked in the Top 2 meaning they would battle for the title in just such a scenario. That's great for USC and its fans. I think it quite likely, however, that if the BCS rankings were refigured, it would be Texas, which is great for fans like me and the school and its alumni.
However, it still doesn't declare a clear champion. You still have USC with one loss who held opponents to nine points a game this season and undefeated Utah who made a much easier task of defeating Alabama than the B_S Champion while beating four ranked teams. Now, USC plays in what I believe is a very weak Pac-10 conference. Utah plays in what is perceived to be a much weaker conference. But what can say about the Big 12 after its four supposed juggernaut teams went 1-3 in the bowls, losing to the Pac-10 and SEC.
So can we say Texas or USC is the clear cut choice to play Florida in a Plus One format, with the loss to Texas Tech who was embarassed by Ole Miss, the attempted throwing away of the game against Oklahoma State, and late escape against Ohio State who was blown out by USC? Note the one characteristic of those games is crucial turnovers by Colt McCoy who had an otherwise surprisingly great season.
Hell, you watch the bowl games and continue to wonder if Florida and Oklahomawere clear cut choices to play in the so-called title game.
Shouldn't Utah have some say in this or even Boise State who had only one loss to ranked TCU and is part of the reason the voters should quit discounting the so-called lesser conferences in the BCS?
So here's hoping Utah's Attorney General files a lawsuit and wins his case and we have a playoff system, a playoff system that allows all teams that are said to be a part of the highest level of college football and have a real shot at the national title.
You Just Thought the West was Tough
Did you see the NBA Lottery?
Neither did I. Watching it is the biggest kick in the arse. But I saw the results. And the results weren't pretty.
No, I'm not talking about how Boston and Philadelphia got the shaft in the lottery. After all, I'm not from the East coast so I don't the argument that the NBA NEEDS Boston, Philly, and NY to be good in order to survive. Those teams have history and that's good. But that's it. The NBA seems to being mighty well with the elite teams they have now. Though, if King James wasn't still battling they might be in trouble.
Actually, I'm talking about how Portland and Seattle, two Western Conference teams, hit the lottery and are in position to draft Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Add in the fact Jermaine O'Neal is like going to LA, and the West just got a whole lot tougher.
And the Mavericks better see this as a challenge. That doesn't mean they should necessarily blow up their roster. After all, they are a year removed from a finals berth. But they must be of one mind in understanding, if they don't address glaring deficiencies, they could fall back in the pack. If that means trading for Portland's third wheel Zah Randolph, then so be it.
Randolph averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds this season and has a well above average post-up game and a perimeter shot to respect. His presence could free up Dirk Nowtizki to do what he does best. He comes with baggage, but so did Rasheed Wallace and Detroit would not have won a title without him. And you tend to think Avery Johnson could mold him into a solid defender.
The good news is the Mavs and Trailblazers are already talking. Now, we'll see if they get a deal done.
Labels: Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph
Two Western Conference game ones have made my point about the Mavericks. Two running teams (Phoenix and Golden State) faced off against two teams that like to slow things down in the half court (San Antonio and Utah).
It's true that against a running team you have to be able to run with them. At the same time, you have to be able to force your style on the opponent at key moments. That's what the point guards (Tony Parker and Deron Williams) and the power forwards (Tim Duncan and Carlos Boozer) enabled the game one winners to do.
Now its just one game but it makes these series interesting to watch as we seek to make the Mavericks a championship team. Until then, a couple of names to consider:
Chauncey Billups- he is one of the best point guards in the league and could opt out of the final year of his contract in Detroit to pursue big money.
Anderson Varejo- Not sure if he'll provide the offensive punch down low, though he's shown flashes in Cleveland. Nonetheless, he provides grit both on the boards and on defense and has the athleticism to hang with these running teams.
Labels: anderson varejo, chauncey billups, Dallas Mavericks
What we saw the last two weeks was monumnetal but not in the way we imagined. The Dallas Mavericks were absolutely embarassed by the eight-seeded Golden State Warriors in six games and join us in watching the NBA Playoffs from home. And it must be made clear, this embarrasment was much bigger than the NBA Finals collapse of last season.
Yet, these two failures highlighted common weaknesses the Mavs must address in the offseason if they want to take the next step. Cuban says they won't panic and blow up the roster but he better listen to Coach Avery Johnson and realize changes need to be made to this squad if they are to achieve their goals. Here's what I suggest:
1) Add a power post-player- The Mavs need that guy who will draw attention to the paint and away from their jump shooters, since they want to settle for jumpers rather than attack the basket. It's time we stop waiting for Dirk Nowitzki to be that guy. He may be seven feet but he is not a post player. He's great at what he does and can create mismatches but let someone else take the pressure off Dirk so he can focus on raining in jumpers.
Kevin Willis says DeSagana Diop is gaining confidence on the offensive end and, by adding strength in the offseason, will become a force. He hasn't shown enough, as of yet, to throw all your eggs in his basket though. And Pops Mensah-Bonsu has potential but he may be undersized to reign in the paint. So seek outside help to go inside.
2) Get a TRUE point guard. Stop comparing Isaiah Thomas to Jason Terry. Thomas may suck as a front office wonk, but he had heart and skill Terry does not. If point is where you want him to play, he's best suited as a backup bringing points off the bench. The Mavs need to either put the ball in Devin Harris' hands full time and find out if he can do the job, while hoping his jumpshot continues to improve or get a new starting point guard in Dallas. As for Terry, you'll probably need to trade him.
3) Get a mentally tough leader- As I said before, Dirk is great. But let's stop trying to make him something he's not. He's not Michael Jordan or Dwayne Wade or Steve Nash for that matter. He's shown some clutch tendencies but can be taken out of his game and lose confidence. I'd compare him to Scottie Pippen who was a great number two but wilted when the team was on his shoulders. That doesn't mean you need the next Michael Jordan. It just means you need that guy who refuses to fold.
Donnie Nelson, I've done you're homework for you. Now put what we've learned to work. We'll talk again in April.
Labels: Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, jason terry
Interesting questioning after this weekend in which the Rangers swept Toronto. It was their first sweep of the season. And the last five days have seen quality pitching that deserved my attention after my declaration of frustration last week.
Mike Wood 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (ND, 0-0)
Robinson Tejeda 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 6 K (L, 3-2)
Brandon McCarthy 6 IP, 2 H, ER, 4 BB, K (W, 2-4)
Vicente Padilla 7 IP, 6 H, ER, BB, 3 K (W, 1-4)
Kameron Loe 6.2 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 6 K (ND, 1-2)
Cumulative ERA: 2.23
Five Starters. Five better than quality starts. That deserves recognition. Now, it's not exactly the 1990's Braves or Yankees, so we take what we can get with this team. And, the way this season started, you must take notice when Padilla and McCarthy post victories. But don't get too excited about Wood. He had a good spring and answered that by performing in the Rangers Oklahoma City rotation. Nonetheless, he is an journeyman and the chances of him being the next Chris Carpenter are slim. And it was good to see Loe respond on Sunday, but expect some ups and downs and consider the verdict out as he is still approaching thirty starts in his career.
The bullpen hasn't been quite as sharp as it was in April, but they've been solid. One closer (Eric Gagne) goes on the disabled list and the next (Akinori Otsuka) steps in. It would just be nice to see Otsuka get the Yankees out at least once. Now, Wes Littleton and and Frankie Francisco are back so the bullpen should get even better.
It appears Michael Young and Mark Teixiera are back from the April dead and Hank Blalock and Brad Wilkerson have actually shown some life so the offense may be, at least, more productive. And Matt Kata has emerged as the newest Rudy Jaramillo disciple while Jerry Hairston, Jr., continues to demonstrate what he learned last season adding some depth. But this lineup still has holes so don't expect them to carry the team.
We have seen some positive things this weekend, but I'd temper any excitement for this season. The Rangers need to commit to the three youngsters in the rotation and take their lumps while hoping Kevin Millwood and Padilla pitch like the veterans they are. In the meantime, I'd trade Sammy Sosa when the deal is right. Either he continues to hit the long ball and a contender gives you prospects, or his continued struggles against offspeed pitches are finally fully exposed and you get what you can, ala Phil Nevin for Hairston, Jr.
Then, you hope Eric Hurley continues to make a move toward being a major league starter, and you don't trade you're top left handed prospect for anyone. (Do you hear me Jon Daniels?) You also hope Equiziel Astacio continues to pitch well as a starter in AAA. Finally, you rework your outfield in the offseason, even if it means you go from 20th to top 10 in payroll. (And, Tom Hicks, don't feed us that business about still paying A-Rod) And you prepare to make a run at next year, unless this team proves me wrong and makes a run at the playoffs this year.
With that, I stand by my previous blog. This team must prove much more to earn regular coverage, but we'll track our hometown team and jump in when the time is right.
Labels: Texas Rangers
For those that enjoy portents of doom, please take a moment to survey the great players arrayed at the tops of this page. Now, ponder the fates of the Dallas teams this season.
First, the infamous Romo
bobble that cost the Cowboys their first playoff win since 1996. What this does to the burgeoning young quarterback's psyche is anyone's
guess going into the 2007 season.
The Dallas Stars joined the fray with their ignominious
exit in the first round series against the Vancouver Canucks
. Goalie Marty Turco
must unfortunately be PERFECT in order to advance the Stars to the Cup finals.
With their spectacular collapse in the first round, the Mavericks joined their Dallas team brethren in first round playoff exits. The Mavs
made it into the history books as the first number one seeded team to lose to the number eight seat, the Golden State Warriors, in the seven game series format. Nice.
And last, as Powerhouser
J.D. so astutely points out, the Texas Rangers are bad. Kansas City Royals bad. Their performance against the Yankees last week marks a new low in horrendous defense and hitting ineptitude.
As for the Rangers, this led me to ponder a few things. I get tired of hearing Cubs fans whine as much as the next sports fan about their "Lovable Losers" team. The Rangers, even in their previous incarnation as the Washington Senators, are ALSO historically bad. Now, even though the Cubs have over 100 years of history compared to the Rangers 45 years, we can still take a look. Let's compare:Chicago Cubs (1902-present)
Number of postseason
appearances (series) : 14
Number of National League Championships: 10 (last one in 1945)
Last appearance in postseason: 2003Washington Senators (1961-1971)
Number of winning seasons: 1
Number of postseasons appearances: ZEROTexas Rangers (1972-present)
Number of postseason appearances: 3
Number of American League Championships
Last appearance in postseason: 1999
Why are the Rangers so bad? I point to Dubya
, Tom Hicks, John Hart, and Jon Daniels. The Cubs may have their goat, but we have the worst owners and General Managers in baseball history.
"Maybe."--Tom Hicks, Dec. 12, 2000, when asked if he overpaid for the services of Shortstop Alex Rodriguez. To date, Tom Hicks is still paying parts of Rodriguez's salary to play for the Yankees.
Labels: Cowboys, Dallas Stars, Mavericks, Rangers, Senators
Jones Passed on the Passer
Decisions made last Saturday by Jerry Jones parallel recent Dallas Cowboys draft days. None more than trading down instead of taking a highly rated offensive player.
You saw what happened. Notre Dame alum Brady Quinn slid inexplicably to the Cowboys at pick 22. A golden opportunity, right? Should Tony Romo, with all his seven NFL starts, falter, the Cowboys have a plan B. Except the Cowboys went with plan C. They traded out of that slot to pick up what should be a high first round pick in next year's draft.
Perhaps you recall three years ago. Dallas was in desperate need of a running back. And a dream come true presented itself. The Cowboys had their pick as all the top backs slide to them. Stephen Jackson, Kevin Jones, Chris Perry. The Cowboys has Julius Jones rated just below the top three.
Instead of playing it straight and taking the best player available, the Cowboys traded down, obtained a second first round pick the following year, and settled for Julius Jones. So far, he hasn't filled the backfield void.
You can review the other aspects of the move. Kevin Jones and Perry haven't panned out either and the Cowboys did get DeMarcus Ware with the pick they received from the Bills the next year.
But what have now eleven years without an offensive first round pick brought the Cowboys? Nothing. And don't forget that Stephen Jackson has emerged as a premier all-around back in this league. You may say defense wins championships, but I say a dominant offense with a clock-controlling running game makes your defense better by pressuring the opposing offense to answer on every precious possession.
And you cannot underrate the quarterback position. If the Cowboys speak truth when they say Quinn was the eighth player on their draft board (Jackson was rated higher three years ago) you have to take him there.
This is no slight to Tony Romo. I am excited by what he showed last season. But there's no guarantee he maintains that level of performance next year. If he flops, it's sure be nice to have Quinn to turn to late. You think the Lions and Raiders wish they had Matt Leinhart or Jay Cutler?
But apparently Jerry Jones decided Quinn had more value by trading the pick. I disagree. He has more value being on your roster as a safety net. Then, if he can show his potential in the preseason and it turns out you don't need him, you can probably get at least the same if not better draft picks package for a QB that showcased something on a pro field. Instead, we're left hoping the Browns suck on toast next year.
And QB mistakes are lethal. Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star Telegram and ESPN Radio's Dallas affiliate reminded us of that today. He pointed to Tom Landry's biography. Specifically, it was the year 1979 and a young QB from Notre Dame fell to the Cowboys in the third round. And the Cowboys loved his talent.
Nonetheless, they already had Roger Staubach and Danny White so they passed. Joe Montana became a 49er, Staubach was forced into retirement by concussions a year later and thus began the collapse of the Landry era in Dallas. Landry said it was the most regrettable football decision he ever made. (didn't mention how he passed on Dan Marino in the first round in 1983)
So, you have to draft the quarterback.
Then there's the parallel of drafting two linemen in the middle rounds. Here's hoping James Marten and Doug Free turn out better than Jacob Rogers and Stephen Peterman. And the late round cornerbacks are surely pegged to replace former late round picks Jacques Reeves and Nate Jones.
But maybe there's hope in a fourth round project who probably would have been drafted earlier if not for an injury that left many wondering if he'd ever being able to play football. No, I'm not talking about Chris Canty who appeared to take step back last season but still shows a ton of upside. This year it was former Washington QB Isaiah Stanbeck who will convert to wide receiver, ala Matt Jones and Antwan Randle-El, if he can comeback from a serious foot injury. I expect he can play if healthy. The NFL consensus is that he can.
So there's a little hope in this draft. But Dallas should have taken the quarterback.
Labels: brady quinn, dallas cowboys, Jerry Jones, tony romo
Very Brief Rangers Report
Well, sometimes you consider what's worth doing. For me, life has been busy, the Mavs may be out of the first round shortly after the Stars bowed out in the first round, and the Rangers have a firm grip a piss poor AL West cellar. I've decided it's not worth updating the Rangers every five days or so.
But maybe I have the heart to report monthly on the thus far failed Ron Washington-Jon Daniels experiment.
There is not one part of the team clicking at this time: offense, defense, bullpen, or starting pitching. The Rangers' all stars Michael Young and Mark Teixiera have posted pitiful first months. The overrated Hank Blalock is sliding into the mediocrity we should expect from him. Veterans Brad Wilkerson and Kenny Lofton have faltered. Young starters Nelson Cruz and Gerald Laird are struggling. The lone positives: potential all star Ian Kinsler and the now ageless Sammy Sosa.
As for the starters, Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla have underachieved. Kam Loe and Brandon McCarthy appear overrated. Bright spots? Robinson Tejeda is looks like Jon Daniels' one great trade. Mike Wood made a solid spot start against the Yankees today despite taking the loss.
So take a deep breath and laugh folks. It's all we have.
Well, we could talk about about the Mavs absolutely passionless loss tonight. But it's one game in a seven-game series. If it repeats in Game Two, then we have a story.
We could talk about the Rangers big win and the fact they face Cha Seung Baek, who helped bring their near-miraculous 2004 season to an end, tomorrow. But we'll recap the Ranger's last five games tomorrow.
The topic du jour is the Dallas Stars going to British Columbia for Game Seven against the Vancouver Canucks. They have fought back from a 3-1 deficit and now look to get Dave Tippett's and Marty Turco's first round monkey off their backs.
And what an incredible way to reach the elimination game. First, they snap their playoff overtime losing streak. Then, the Stars snap their home playoff game losing streak. I say they. But, for once, it has been Turco's doing with back-to-back shutouts. It also has a little to do with Coach Tippett finally remembering that Mike Ribeiro and Vladislav Nagy make for a formidable duo on the ice.
But it's Game Seven, Turco has three shutouts in the series and you have to think the pressure is off the goaltender. I mean, he's the only man on the team that has played at a high level. The pressure is now on the mates to do something. Doesn't mean Turco can take the night off. Just means we better lay off Turco whatever happens.
So, Mikie Mo and the boys. We're calling you out for Monday night. Make us proud.
Labels: Dallas Stars, Dave Tippett, Marty Turco, Mike Modano, Mike Ribeiro, Vladislav Nagy
Is This Who The Rangers Are?
An ugly go round for the Rangers as poor pitching killed momentum the Rangers built against the Red Sox and Devil Rays. The Rangers are fortunate their AL West rivals have been unable to create any space at a time when the Rangers aren't really clicking in any phase of the game.STARTING ROTATION
Millwood: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K (2-1)
Padilla: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (0-3)
McCarthy: 2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 ER (1-2)
Tejeda: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K (2-1)
(Composite ERA 5.14)
First, let's consider how the rotation has been pieced together. Millwood was signed to be the number starter at a good market value. Padilla was acquired for out of the majors Ricardo Rodriguez. Tejeda was acquired for utilityman David Dellucci. All those are good acquisitions. Millwood is looking close to a number one starter and is having his best April in years leaving us with hopes he can be the pitcher he was two years ago in Cleveland. Tejeda has had one bad inning. Otherwise, he is 3-0 and we quit talking about Dellucci. You can even argue resigning Padilla was a bargain considering the crazed offseason even if he hasn't yet earned his keep this season.
That brings us to Brandon McCarthy who was acquired along with a minor league outfielder for top pitching prospect John Danks and prospect reliever Nick Masset. Considering Jon Daniels underestimating Danks' readiness to go pro, the spotlight shines bright on McCarthy at this time. So far, he is wilting in the heat. The most frightening thing is how he proved his scouting report true in his last start surrendering three dingers. Daniels is hoping...praying that McCarthy can recover so he doesn't post his second Tom Grieve-esque trade in two years.BULLPEN
(Composite ERA: 6.23)
This time around the bullpen has struggled. You can blame the bulk of the badness on Bruce Chen, C. J. Wilson, and Kam Loe. Loe prepares for a starting role in place of Jamey Wright, but only after struggling to post a 5.40 ERA in long relief. Bruce Chen stays on simply because Wright went down. Wilson is overrated as a big league pitcher.
It's hard to blame the others, with Scott Feldman, Akinori Otsuka, Joaquin Benoit, and Ron Mahay stifling hitters. And Mike Wood, Wes Littleton, and Frank Francisco are really putting it together in the minors.
Oh, and don't forget the Texas debut of Eric Gagne. He was throwing at around 94 mph rather than 100 mph, but his stuff was killer, at least for one game. If he stays healthy, late leads may rarely be in doubt.LINEUP
One man is due credit here: Ian Kinsler. The sophomore second baseman is in the early running with Alex Rodriguez for AL MVP. Yeah, yeah. It's way early. But Kinsler's .359 BA, 7 HR, and 13 RBI are off the charts good.
Meanwhile, everyone else is struggling. Five regulars have at least 9 K's in the season's first 13 games. The team that led the majors in spring training BA is sporting a .234 average in the early part of the real season.
You assume Michael Young and Mark Teixiera will emerge, but how long will it be? Are Spring at-bats missed due to injury to blame. You think Kenny Lofton, Frank Catalanotto, and Hank Blalock will be better? But Lofton is 41 years old. Cat may not be adjusting to his new team. And Blalock has been anything but reliable since the All Star game in 2004.
Brad Wilkerson and Sammy Sosa have shown flashes in the last couple of days but they showed those at times in their last miserable seasons. They've shown just enough at this time, however, to keep Jason Botts in the minors.
Nelson Cruz and Gerald Laird are young hitters learning the art of major league hitting, so they have a bit of a leash. Cruz just has to stop striking out and Laird has to quit swinging at the first pitch all the time.
And the team as a whole has to play better defensively than the error per game they've committed. Ron Washington challenges his pitchers to put the ball in the play and let the defense work for them. If the pitchers can't trust their teammates, they'll try to overcompensate and it will be one helluva long season.
Yet, as bad they've played, the rest of the division has managed to stay even with this team. So, while we brace for the worst, having been conditioned by 35 years of Ranger baseball, we can still hope for the best, even if that's the historical Rangers' pinnacle of a playoff birth and first round defeat by the Yankees. I mean, is it too much to ask that the Rangers be as good as the Dallas Stars?
Labels: Texas Rangers
Stars, Turco Dominate
Don't look now Stars fans, but Marty Turco posted his first postseason shutout. In Game One, he looked like the playoff Turco of old at times. Tonight, however he stood on his head to protect the early lead his mates handed him.
Now, the Stars have taken the all-important game on the road an retrun to Dallas for two against the Vancouver Canucks. Despite the split in British Columbia, Dallas has clearly skated better and the Stars scorers hasve gotten to young Roberto Luongo who is in his first NHL playoffs.
So will they go far in the playoffs? Hell if I know. But it ought to be a lot more fun to watch this time around.
Labels: Dallas Stars, Marty Turco
Kam "Loe" Was "W"right All Along
It's been a good day Ranger fans. Kevin Millwood gave us another strong performance. Kam Loe was rightfully moved into the starting rotation. Eric Gagne looked hella dominant in his first save opportunity. But we'll save that analysis for five days or so from now. Let's review the past few days:STARTING ROTATION
Millwood: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K (W, 1-1)
Padilla: 7 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (L, 0-2)
McCarthy: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (W, 1-1)
Wright: 2.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K (ND, 0-0)
Tejeda: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (W, 1-1)
(Composite Era: 6.41)
This turn started so promising. I feared the worst with Jamey Wright coming and tose fears rang true. Apparently, he has a sore arm and is headed to the 15-day DL. Hate to see a guy go down, even briefly, but it will serve to right a wrong. If Ron Washington has made one mistake in the early going of his first season, it was his failure to run with Kam Loe in the opening roptation from the beginning. At least, with Wright's sore arm, Loe steps into the five hole the next time it comes up: April 21.
The encouraging news was the recovery of Padilla and McCarthy from poor opening starts. The bad news was Tejeda's poor follow up to his mastery of the Red Sox. We are left to wonder if this triumvirate on who the season rests can pitch consistently. But you have to consider the promise both McCarthy and Tejeda have shown to rebound in poor outing's to stretch outings and help the bullpen. Just what Washington wants his starters to do.
Trade follow up: John Danks takes the mound a second time for the White Sox tomorrow. Jon Daniels has to be hoping this trade doesn't come back to bite him. McCarthy appears to have some goods, but he made the assumption Danks wasn't ready this year and he gave him up as well as Nick Masset (whose name was mistakenly omitted from the last post) who the Rangers believed might be a late inning reliever. Masset is also on the Sox major league roster.BULLPEN
Eric Gagne is for the next post. This bullpen looks ready to carry this team when needed. Joaquin Benoit is approached by the new manager with hope instead of doubt and his performance has benefitted. He's been near untouchable early and Washinton considers him one of the setup men. Bruce Chen has even been productive in long relief making it easier for the Rangers to move Kam Loe where he needs to be.LINEUP
The Rangers bats have started to come to life of late though they continue to struggle with men in scoring position and are hitting just .235 as a team. The offensive leader is sophomore second baseman Ian Kinsler who already has five home runs. Once Michael Young gets right, the Rangers may have the league's best offensive middle infield. The lineup as a whole could swing on if Sammy Sosa and Brad Wilkerson ever amount to anything. The early signs are poor as the pair have combined to hit below. 200 with just 5 BB and 6 RBI's while striking out 16 times in ten games. The question will soon become when it the right time to cut bait with these guys. He's toiling right now in AAA but the Jason Botts watch has officially begun.
On a positive note, the Rudy Jaramillo legend may be growing yet again. We've seen Gary Matthews, Jr., Mark DeRosa, and David Dellucci become serious major league jitters in recent years. Now Matt Kata and Jerry Hairston, Jr., may be emerging under Jaramillo's tutelage. We'll keep an eye on this.
Right now, you watch the team and hope for the best. You know they will have to click on all cylinders at some point if they want a shot at the playoffs in the AL West. The problem is, we've read this script before and it doesn't end well.
while wondering whatever happened to Rafael Septien
Kevin Durant finally makes the right choice
and enters the NBA. His studied waffling provided a few more days of bloviating
by the sports gurus, so I am glad he finally decided to go for the payout. He can always finish his degree later. As a Longhorn, it pains me to admit this, but what could he possibly gain by staying another year at Texas? A catastrophic, career-ending injury, or another ignominious March exit courtesy of Mr. Barnes?
Maybe he can settle into the comfy confines of Mark Cuban's
embrace. I doubt it, but a man can dream.
This is obviously the lesson I want to teach my baby boy. Go for the money, my son!
Now I must go change my future NFL star's diaper, while I ponder the eternal question: When will the Rangers will flame out this season?
Labels: Kevin Durant, Rafael Septien, Texas Rangers