You were surprised by how far you made it the year before last. There you were, within eyesight of the summit before the oxygen tanks ran empty. It was a shame to have to abandon the trek so close. But it was no surprise that you'd be back for a second go at reaching the top. When you made your way back to the same spot again with ease on your next attempt it was all familiar ground. This time, however, you had to make it to the top.
When you reached up for that final ledge and began to pull yourself up to the pinnacle of the world and your ability it was going to be so great. A dream realized. A lofty goal accomplished at last. But then with your equilibrium one moment away from stabilizing your balance and completing your ascent to the heavens, you lost your grip. You slipped from the world. You fell from the mountain. The drop was steep. It was unlike anything anyone had ever seen.
But you lived. You've been labeled a survivor.
There's been time now to recover. You've made it out of the coma. You've gone through rehab. Physically, you're stronger. Mentally, there's been some scarring. A hint of the depression of failure lingers. Maybe it always will. But tomorrow you embark on the climb once again. The goal has not been reached so there is nothing else to do but try. It's going to be more difficult this time. Even if it takes the same amount of time to get there, it's going to be a long time before you reach for that ledge again. But each step has its own reward. Each step brings you closer to another chance.
The chance to climb that mountain again begins tomorrow against the Chicago White Sox. This is the best the Texas Rangers have probably ever been coming into a season. That's exciting. Coupled with the ability to finally watch a baseball game that means something besides those that ended so bitterly, I can't wait for Texas Rangers baseball.
Another chance begins.
Here's a breakdown of the first of many pitching match-ups (2011 stats):
- John Danks: 8-12, 7.13 K/9, 2.43 BB/9, .313 BABIP, 70.1% LOB, 3.82 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 3.2 WAR
- Colby Lewis: 14-10, 7.59 K/9, 2.52 BB/9, .265 BABIP, 73.0% LOB, 4.54 FIP, 4.10 xFIP, 2.3 WAR
Advantage: A Colby Lewis with a fully rested hip who pitches like he did in 2010 or any October would probably best John Danks, but Danks has a statistical edge.
- Jake Peavy: 7-7, 7.66 K/9, 1.93 BB/9, .317 BABIP, 63.9% LOB, 3.21 FIP, 3.52 xFIP, 2.9 WAR
- Derek Holland: 16-5 7.36 K/9, 3.05 BB/9, .305 BABIP, 72.8% LOB, 3.94 FIP, 3.76 xFIP, 3.6 WAR
Advantage: Five years ago, this would have been Peavy. It is not five years ago.
- Gavin Floyd: 12-13, 7.02 K/9, 2.09 BB/9, .278 BABIP, 67.7% LOB, 3.81 FIP, 3.73 xFIP, 3.6 WAR
- Matt Harrison: 14-9, 6.11 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, .290 BABIP, 72.3% LOB, 3.52 FIP, 3.85 xFIP, 4.2 WAR
Advantage: Statistically, these were the best two starters (with C.J. Wilson moving on) from these teams last season and they're both going in the third game of the season. I like Matt Harrison because Gavin Floyd doesn't look like much of a reader.
Chicago White Sox (0-0, 1st or 5th Place AL Central)
Rangers 2011 Record vs. Chicago: 4-4
Chicago's Recent Results: 14-18 in Cactus League
Chicago's Road Record: 0-0 (43-38 in 2011)
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Park Factors (last season) (LHB/RHB): HR: 119/114 - wOBA: 103/107
SB Nation White Sox Blog: South Side Sox
|Match-up: (as of 04/06)||Rangers||White Sox||Advantage|
|Batting (RAR)||0.0 (1st)||0.0 (30th)||?|
|Base Running (RAR)||0.0 (1st)||0.0 (30th)||?|
|Starters (RAR)||0.0 (1st)||0.0 (30th)||?|
|Bullpen (RAR)||0.0 (1st)||0.0 (30th)||?|
|Defense (UZR)||0.0 (1st)||0.0 (30th)||?|
|Overall (UZR + RAR)||0.0 (1st)||0.0 (30th)||Rangers (?)|
Questions to Answer:
- How many arrests will there be from the LSB tailgate on Saturday?
- Who is your pick to lead the Rangers in Pizza Dongs this season? (Since it always seemed like Adrian Beltre hit the Pizza Dong, I'll say Adrian Beltre.)
- Over/Under: 3.5 "You can put it on the boooooooooard YES" in this series?
- How many home runs does Adam Dunn hit this year?
- Should the Rangers retire the Nolan/Ventura fight video forever?
- Is this the first game in a Texas Rangers championship season?