Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Boston Red Sox - The Marathon

Yep. Just like that. I'm ready for baseball again. I thought perhaps I'd dread this day. I thought the wind might have been taken out of the sails. But after washing myself clean of the four game series that shall not be named, I waited with excited thoughts over these past three days, and now I'm hungry again. It starts again in Boston and I will dine on a most delicious second half of baseball. The appetizer was good, the main course is being served up now, and with any luck, we'll save a little room for dessert. 

I'm ready for baseball's second half. The really important half. The half with the pennant races and post season whispers. I want to see if Elvis can just decide to lead this team to a place we forgot existed just as easily as he decided he would get on base more this year and has. I want to see Ian Kinsler found again as one of our favorites. I want to see Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz and Vlad Guerrero and Michael Young carry this team like a hitting rotation. Each guy takes a turn. I want to watch Cliff Lee rolled out like a secret weapon every fifth day. I want Colby Lewis to see more ghosts if it means the team can exorcise its demons. I can't wait for a Joaquin Arias or David Murphy or Andres Blanco to have a defining moment late in September.

The sprint to the break is over. The Rangers can look over their shoulder at the nearest competitors. For once, they look rather small. For once, the Rangers are ahead of record pace. But do they have staying power? Do they have endurance? Here is where the Rangers must realize the race is not yet won. When they look of their shoulder they should know that objects may appear closer than they are. Bring on the grind.

Thursday, July 15 6:10: RHP Tommy Hunter vs. RHP Tim Wakefield

Friday, July 16 6:10: RHP Colby Lewis vs. LHP Felix Doubront

Saturday, July 17 6:10: LHP Cliff Lee! vs. RHP John Lackey

Sunday, July 18 12:35: LHP C.J. Wilson vs. LHP Jon Lester

The Red Sox are a really good baseball team. If the season were only one half long, they would lay claim to a division title in any other division other than the AL and NL East. This isn't really a surprise, however. We all knew going into this that the best three teams in the American League were in the East and one of them would miss out on the fun in October. Right now, that would be the Red Sox. A large reason why they haven't performed even better is because of injuries. The Red Sox have been beset by injuries unlike nearly any other contender. Here's a list of currently injured Red Sox players:

That's practically the entire team. Right now, the Red Sox have David Ortiz and Curt Schilling's bloody sock playing for them. If the Rangers have to go to Boston, where they are 3-10 the last couple of seasons, it might as well be now. It might as well be while that team is just trying to keep together instead of in September when they'll be healthy and destroying teams in hopes of fighting their way through the East.

For the Rangers, the good news is they have favorable match-ups in every game other than Sunday when Jon Lester will face off against C.J. Wilson. The last time Jon Lester faced the Rangers at Fenway, he had no-hitter type stuff. However, Hunter vs. Wakefield, Colby vs. Doubront, and Cliff Lee vs. Lackey all favor the Rangers. It also favors the Rangers that the Red Sox bullpen is as terrible as their rotation has been good. Other than Daniel Bard and some guy named Scott Atchison, the Red Sox essentially don't have a single member of their bullpen that has had any positive value going by WAR. Even Jonathan Papelbon is sitting at 0.0 WAR. The Rangers would be doing themselves a favor if they could get the Red Sox starters out early.

Boston2_medium

Boston Red Sox (51-37, 3rd place AL East)

Rangers' 2010 Record vs. Boston: 1-2 (At Fenway)

Boston's Recent Results: 2-1 Series win against the Toronto Blue Jays

SBN Red Sox Blog: Over the Monster

     Match-up: (as of 7/14)

       Rangers

Red Sox

Advantage

Batting

(RAR)

149.4

           (7th)

194.5

(1st)

Red Sox


Starters

(RAR)

59.6

(21st)

100

(1st)

Red Sox

Bullpen

(RAR)

26.2

(7th)

1.6

(26th)

Rangers

Overall RAR

235.2

296.1

Red Sox

Defense Runs Saved

11

-1

Rangers


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions to Ponder:

  • Did you know that Darnell McDonald has been pedestrian this season? Someone make sure to tell the Rangers that.
  • Is this the series Nelson Cruz finds his lethal bat speed and timing again?
  • Were you aware that Mike Cameron (-0.2) has a worse batting WAR than Daisuke Matsuzaka (0.1)?
  • The Rangers split the series, do you take it, or do you want at least three of four?
  • Why, Boston? Boston_medium Why?


Kevin Youkilis

#20 / First Base / Boston Red Sox

6-1

220

R

R

Mar 15, 1979

They're Not Saying: Boo


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