Another win, and a quite unexpected one, given the matchup. Jamey Wright wasn't good, but he managed to allow just a couple of runs. Roy Oswalt wasn't bad, but he allowed more Rangers to score than Wright allowed Astros, and then the Astro pen fell apart. A lineup missing two key bats continues to score some runs, and the Rangers now have a winning record in the month of June.
The Rangers now have a better record than both the Royals and the Reds, and with a win today, would draw even with the Astros.
Of course, Texas is about to start an 8 game road trip against the two best teams in the American League, so this little bit of euphoria is likely short-lived. But at this point, I'll take what I can get...
With the Rangers winning and getting some decent starting pitching, Washington has some love for his much-maligned catcher, who had caught heat earlier in the season for his pitch-calling:
Washington said after Saturday's game that Laird deserves some of the credit.
"He's matured a lot," Washington said. "He's using pitches in any count. He's not always calling a fastball in a fastball count."
Gil LeBreton has a whole column on Laird, discussing his improving after his early season struggles, along with the irreverant personality that led Laird to choose number 15 because, as Laird explains, it describes himself -- "one player, five tools."
At the end of the day, I think catchers end up getting too much credit when pitchers are going well, and too much blame when they aren't -- remember how Pudge supposedly morphed from an awful pitch-caller in Texas to a great one in Florida and Detroit? -- but it is good to see Washington offer some praise to Laird.
Jan Hubbard thinks the Tigers and Rangers match up perfectly as trade partners, with Eric Gagne or Akinori Otsuka possibly heading to Detroit, and suggests that C.J. Wilson take over as closer if/when the two vets depart.
The problem with Hubbard's suggestion, though, is that he lists Nate Robertson, Chad Durbin, and Zach Minor as potential trade targets.
Robertson turns 30 in September, and isn't that good...he has a 5.07 ERA this season, and as I wrote last October, his solid 2006 ERA was a fluke. Robertson is useless to the Rangers, would be a bad fit here, and should not be part of any Tiger trade.
Miner is more interesting, a 25 year old groundball guy, but he's a middling prospect, and I don't see what he brings to the table that the Rangers don't already have in Kam Loe.
And Chad Durbin, like Robertson, turns 30 this year, and has mediocre peripherals (30 walks and 41 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings, with 12 homers allowed), along with a track record of mediocrity.
If one of those guys is the best Detroit has to offer, I'd rather keep Otsuka and Gagne.
The Detroit Free Press says Otsuka, Gagne and Wilson are all pitchers that interest the Tigers, but indicates that Gagne's no trade clause would likely be invoked in a Detroit deal unless the Tigers agreed to allow him to take over for Todd Jones as the closer.
The Chicago Daily Herald says that Jacque Jones probably isn't heading to Texas or the ChiSox, which makes sense.
Joel Sherman's column in the New York Post chastises fans who think that the Yankees will get something for nothing:
"And don't put three Grade-C prospects together and expect anything back just because of quantity," an AL executive said. "Garbage plus garbage just means you are giving me more garbage."
So don't think the Yanks, for example, can take Eric Duncan, Bronson Sardinha and Colter Bean and spin it into Mark Teixeira.
Sherman suggests that Philip Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy aren't going to be available...and if that's the case, I don't see the Yankees and Rangers making a move, since I don't think Teixeira or Otsuka (the two most likely Yank targets) are going to be sent to New York without at least one of those guys being in the deal.