A nice win yesterday, and the Rangers are now just 4.5 games out in the wild card race. They are, however, 4th in the wild card race -- trailing Minnesota, the BoSox, and the Yankees -- and are just a half-game up on Detroit, which makes actually winning the wild card a lot harder. BP puts the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs at 3.5%, with a 1.8% chance of winning the wild card.
So the upshot is...we're still not really contenders. But we're on the fringes of the race, and continuing to play well, and even if we don't have a real shot at the wild card, I think it would be nice to head down the stretch at least nipping on the leaders' heels and being in a position where a good finish gives you something to build on for 2009.
Richard Durrett says Michael Young was the hero last night. I do find it a little weird, though, that one night after Ron Washington decided to have Ryan Roberts hit against a lefty instead of Brandon Boggs, Boggs -- who homered earlier in the game -- was lifted for a pinch hitter against a lefty, while Frank Catalanotto was allowed to hit. Boggs, for whatever reasons, seems to have dropped to the bottom of the pecking order.
Evan Grant says the Rangers want starting pitching back if they make a deal, particularly for one of their catchers. Grant says the Reds would "probably" have to give up Homer Bailey to get Gerald Laird, and while Bailey's stock has fallen of late, that still seems real pricey.
Jeff Wilson says Jon Daniels thinks the Rangers may stand pat, and that the Royals aren't talking Zack Greinke.
T.R. Sullivan says much the same thing, with Jon Daniels saying he is expecting to go into August with the same group he has now.
My guess is that there is no trade, or if there is a trade, it involves giving away Frank Catalanotto.
Hank Blalock says he expects to play third base again. I have my doubts about that, personally.
Tommy Hunter starts on Friday. I had said a few weeks ago I expected Hunter to either debut in August of 2008 or May of 2009...my rationale was that they weren't going to just make him a September call up, and they'd have enough guys to sort through next spring that he was unlikely to make the team out of spring training if he wasn't on the 40 man, but if the Rangers were on the fringes and injuries forced their hand, he could end up making some starts or in the bullpen.
That appears to be what has happened...with Eric Hurley hurting, the team wanting to put Scott Feldman back in the bullpen, and Kevin Millwood's unknown status, Hunter is probably going to get to stay in the rotation as long as he can show he can handle it, and could well end up pitching out of the bullpen the rest of the way when everyone else gets healthy.