That was a very nice win last night. It made me happy. And it put the Rangers in sole possession of first place, .5 game ahead of Oakland and 1 game ahead of Anaheim.
Last year, on May 21, I said that the Rangers didn't have the same feel, the same vibe, to them that the 2004 Rangers had. You never got the sense last year that the 2005 Rangers were anything special, the way the 2004 Rangers seemed.
That happens sometimes. Look at the Stars, and their playoff series with Colorado that ended yesterday. You never got the feeling (or at least, I never got the feeling) that the Stars were going to win that series. Part of it was the lackluster Stars performance, compared to the Avalanche. But at the same time, it seemed like every bounce went Colorado's way, every break went to the Avalanche. The Stars seemed snakebit.
So far this year, the 2006 Rangers feel a lot more like the 2004 Rangers than last year's version, or like this year's Stars' playoff team. Even with the hurdles, the injuries, the imploding closer, I like this team. I think it is going to be in the race come September.
Richard Durrett takes an overview after one month, going over the unexpected changes that have occurred since the end of spring training, and pointing out some questions that still have to be answered, namely what to do about the setup situation in the pen and how the catching situation should be handled.
Kat O'Brien says that the Rangers would like to get Fabio Castro more work, but they aren't going to use him in a close game.
That may end up changing shortly...Robinson Tejeda is going to be called up for the start tomorrow, which means either Rick Bauer or C.J. Wilson likely gets sent out. If it is Wilson -- which seems most likely -- then the Rangers will have only Ron Mahay from the left side in the pen.
That would seem to provide an opportunity for Fabio Castro to get a few appearances in a LOOGY role. While I'm not advocating putting Castro in high-leverage, high-pressure type situations, I think it would be worthwhile to get him into a game when there is a lefty or two coming up, even if it isn't a blowout.