July 14, and the Rangers are tied for first place. And you know, it feels good to wake up in the morning after watching a 15-1 Rangers victory. Particularly when there's been no baseball (other than that exhibition) for three straight days.
What I don't get, though, is why MLB set up the schedule so that more than half the teams were off yesterday. I know that the schedule-makers prefer 3 game sets to 4 game series, but still...the day after the ASB, every team should be playing. It is like having teams off on Memorial Day (which happened to the Rangers a few years ago).
Big game yesterday for Brad Wilkerson, which comes on the heels of the news that Wilkerson and Kevin Mench are going back to playing regularly. I never thought that Buck's mix-and-match approach with them was making much sense, particularly when it was to get Jerry Hairston Jr. in the lineup. Hopefully, getting regular playing time will help those guys get it going again.
On, and that Mark Teixeira guy did okay, as well. 3 home runs, and another blast that looked like it had a chance to go back which was caught on the warning track. We've been waiting all season for a game like this from Teixeira...hopefully, this is a sign of things to come, rather than a tease. A hot Teixeira in the second half would go a long way towards keeping the Rangers in the playoff race.
Teixeira is now sporting an 827 OPS on the season, after last night's 30 point jump, and Wilkerson's is 819, with a 26 point jump from yesterday.
T.R. Sullivan has a piece on the Rangers shopping for pitching, with the added bonus that the article includes that picture of Jon Daniels in shades, where he looks like he wants to kick the ass of whoever is taking the picture.
Not surprisingly, though, the article is a bit sparse on details, other than to say that a big move would likely require parting with one of DVD or Eric Hurley. Sullivan suggests that, along with shopping for a starter, the Rangers would like to add a bullpen arm, but I have to think that that is an area that is less of a priority. Particularly since it seems like Kam Loe is headed back to the pen when he returns...with Cordero, Otsuka, Loe, Benoit, Bauer, and Mahay, you have six guys who would seem to be settled in there. And Josh Rupe, Frankie Francisco and C.J. Wilson are all working their way back, while Scott Feldman and Wes Littleton have been serviceable. I have a hard time believing that the Rangers would give up much of value to get a middle-man, given the internal options.
Jan Hubbard has a big feature piece on the Dumpmaster, and his unlikely rise from utilityman to starting right fielder. I keep waiting for DeRosa to come back down to Earth, and he just keeps on hitting...I'm starting to wonder if this might be the real deal, here...
Gerry Fraley ponders the wisdom of building a rotation around former Phillies, and seems to question Kevin Millwood's mental and physical toughness.