Don’t Forget About the Rangers
If you have been glued to social media and the internet watching every move the Dallas Cowboys make during training camp, I can relate. There were many years when I covered two practices a day for weeks at a time. What I learned from those eleven training camp experiences is that after the Blue White scrimmage, training camp is boring. I know it is football and we love football, but if you are glued to Cowboys camp to the exclusion of all other sports you are missing something exciting…wait for it…the Texas Rangers.
The truth is, if you haven’t watched the Rangers lately, then you haven’t watched the Rangers. Sounds like a ploy to get you to tune into Fox Sports SW for Rangers baseball doesn’t it? The truth is I always want you to watch because it helps put food on the table. But this time my motive is more grand, more universal, it is downright charitable. Do yourself a favor and consume some Rangers baseball.
Since the All-Star Break, the Rangers have won 70% of their home games. Ok it is only one home stand, but they went 7-3 against the first place Yankees, the first place Astros and the World Series Champion Giants. If you were paying attention a month ago this may seem hard to believe. After all, there was a stretch in late June and early July where the Rangers won all but 10 of their 11 home games. Did you read that right? They were 1-10 at home from June 23rd to July 12th.
This is a different team. They have been empowered by the trade deadline acquisitions that strengthened two areas of weakness. They traded for a starting pitcher, Cole Hamels, who will be the ace this year and could be for three more years. They also got two relievers, Sam Dyson and Jake Diekman, who will bolster a bullpen that was statistically the worst in baseball when they arrived.
We have already seen positive results from each of the new men. Dyson has two saves in his career, both have come in the last four days with the Rangers. Diekman is a lefty with filthy stuff and tons of power, a much needed addition. Hamels is a lefty who will abdicate the ace role only when Yu Darvish is completely healthy. So the pitching is better because of trades. The hitting is better because of, because, it is better because….well we aren’t really sure why. But it is. And that’s the thing about hitting – it comes and goes. Right now Elvis Andrus might be in the best hitting zone on the team. Of course Prince Fielder is chugging along with the second best batting average in the league at .327. Adrian Beltre is still wearing a huge pad on his injured thumb but, after a home stand where he hit for the cycle again, he has his average up to .267. With Delino DeShields and Rougned Odor at the top of the order and Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland waiting in the weeds, this has become a batting order that goes seven deep.
So enjoy the Blue White scrimmage tomorrow from Oxbard, but don’t forget about these little Rangers. They have reinvented themselves and they are only two games out of the wildcard.