Nod to Booyakasha at Lone Star Ball for this awesome gif:
Rangers 7, Red Sox 3 (Sunday)
Red Sox 3, Rangers 1 (Saturday)
Yes, Jed Lowrie is a wuss.* I was thinking this exact thought yesterday as I sat up in the shade, approximately 5000 rows back from the BAPL VIP seats in the 103 degrees at Rangers Ballpark. I mean, COME ON, I was doing just fine with a water drenched bandanna wrapped around my neck, dooshy little mist fan a-blowin’, and six-pack of ice cold Ozarka in the ice chest….jeez.
I was also there for the 102 degree sweat-fest the night before, but was Jed Lowrie? Nooooo! He was all dehydrated or some lame excuse from the night before, a game that, yes, you guessed it, yours truly was also at, sweating away 10 lbs of salt and lard.
ANYway, Saturday’s loss to my numero two-o team, the Boston Red Sox, wasn’t that hard to swallow. Jon Lestah pitched a gem (as did Colby Lewis), and t’weren’t no one was gonna hit that Beantown Badas$ on Saturday night.
What WAS hard to swallow was 1) The Ranger’s bullpen letting the BoSox get two more runs in the ninth, and 2) Vladdy’s ill-timed attempt to steal during the rally in the bottom of the ninth. BAD Vladdy, BAD!
Sunday’s scorcher saw another great pitching duel between Dice-K and C.J. Wilson. I gotta hand it to Dice-K, he pitched one helluva game when I thought he’d wilt by the 4th in the oppressive rising sun of Arlington in August. Sunday was also a bit of a reversal from Saturday night’s duel. This time, it was the Ranger’s CJ Wilson who did the out-dueling, with the Sox bullpen folding in the late innings.
I left the ballpark yesterday sweaty, happy, and probably mildly strokey.
Speaking of strokey:
One of the few benefits of risking heat-stroke in an August day game is the rampant lack of clothing on display by the fairer sex patrons at Rangers Ballbark:
* Multiple tanky-top wearing, flat-tummied, well-to-adequately cleavaged SWILFs baking their sweaty selves in the oppressive heat whilst hosing themselves down with mist bottles and mist fans.
* Several scantily clad original ILFs, of the young motherly sort, distracting me from the proceedings on the field.
* LILF night at the ballpark. Several drunken, scantily-clad Latinas generously displayed their assets during Saturday night’s contest. Muy bueno!
* A traffic directing PILF, of the gun-toting, badge carrying variety to and fro the stadium Saturday night. I was tempted to start a ruckus at the cross-walk with some hapless Bostonians just so she’d have to take me down.
Speaking of Boston fans, while your “LET’S GO RED SOX!” chants get annoying, I’ll take you folks at the ballpark any day over the obnoxious New Yorkers.
* For the sarcasm/humor-impaired, I’m only kidding. I don’t blame Jed for sitting out the rest of The Scorcher Series. I love Nolan Ryan but his down-playing of the eff!ing Texas heat is ludicrous.
If the Boys in Blue (or that horrendous bright red, depending on which night you catch them) can get through the upcoming AL East gauntlet of Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and yes, Buckified Orioles, and remain 3-4 games up in the division, you may very well see a twinkle of optimism in my cynical Ranger fan eye.
Reasons for stretch-drive optimism:
1. Ding-Dong, the Hicks is Dead
It appears, save for a few formalities, that this club ownership ordeal is over. Tom Hicks has been vanquished, and Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan are poised to take us to the promised land. This is a huge load off the players minds… now everyone can focus on the stretch drive, and not on whether their paychecks will clear the bank.
2. Cliff “Bad Mo-Fo” Lee
Since his acquisition the dude has gone at least eight innings in all of his starts. His strikeout to walk ratio is downright Kryptonian. If the bats would just wake up on a consistent basis, it’s almost a guaranteed “W” every time he takes the mound. Barring a complete Rangers meltdown between now and October, Lee’s presence alone could very well mean getting past the ALDS for the FIRST TIME EVER.
3. The AL West is full of Suck.
I’m purdy sure the Angels are done and we can stick a fork in ’em. I doubt that even His Scioscianess can right the sinking ship that is Los Anaheim.
The Oakland A’s, especially Trevor Cahill, have definitely got the Rangers number, and with seven more games remaining with the Oaklanders this thing could get scary quick. Unfortunately for the future San Jose A’s (it could happen), they just don’t have the bats to get-er-done, IMHO.
The Mariners? I weep for Seattle baseball fans.
All of this is well and good. The 2010 Texas Rangers are easily the best iteration I’ve seen in Arlington during 30+ years of following this team.
Reasons for stretch-drive pessimism:
1. The aforementioned schedule.
I only mentioned the upcoming 12 game stretch with the AL East (who the Rangers are a mere 9-16 against this year). Even if they come out of said stretch alive, four out of the next five series are against teams that have kicked Ranger butt the last few years: 4 vs. Minnesooota, 3 against Oakland, 3 more at Minnesooota, 4 at Toronto, and 3 more at home against the Ranger-killing Yankees. This ain’t good, folks.
I’m not even talking about the infamous Texas heat here. The Rangers arrived at this August eight game lead on the backs of their bullpen, who have logged ten zillion innings thus far, and it is starting to show. Darren Oliver, who was pretty much lights-out before the All Star Break, has seen his pitch control deteriorate of late and he pretty much cost Colby Lewis what should have been win numero ten-o on Sunday. I hope Oli can turn it around, I really like this dude.
At the plate, and “god” I hope I’m wrong about this, Vladdy looks downright worn-out. Which is a good lead-in to…
3. Inconsistent Offense
I never know what version of the offense is going to show up these days. I’ll give ’em a pass against Trevor Cahill, that dude just has their number. But against everyone else, this on-again/off-again crap has got to stop. Otherwise, even if the Rangers make it into October, they’ll be partying like it’s 1999. (not a good thing, folks)
4. Starting Rotation
Even with his Leeness leading the rotation, this bunch is spotty at best. When they do manage to shine, the offense usually drys up. CJ Wilson can look brilliant one night and frightening the next. Rich Harden, unfortunately, is toast. Scott Feldman, now in the bullpen because of a gawd-awful season, is not the answer.
On the bright-side, Lee-Lewis-Tommy Hunter might just be enough to stave off the usual August meltdown and POSSIBLY get this team past the first round.
For this reason, the Jonestein Outlook Alert System will remain at:
It’s a start, folks.
Hilarious 2001 Texas Rangers Comic Book pic from here.
By now, most of you have probably read the news that Rangers manager Ron Washington has admitted to doing some blow during the 2009 season, done the “I’m very sorry” thang, and has Nolan & co “standing behind him” on the issue.
Which is fine with me, your friendly neighborhood Rangers blogster because honestly, I don’t give a flip what Ron or anyone else does in their spare time. As long as Ron isn’t coked up during game time, I don’t give a shiite, it’s no different than him getting drunk on his own time vs. being drunk in the dugout.
That’s all I really have to say on the matter…I’ll spare your my libertarian rant on the miserable failure known as the “War on Drugs”.
Picture of Ron Washington by Ron Jenkins of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Yesterday’s hella-exciting NFC Championship game should have been one-to-two Minnesota touchdowns less exciting. Why? Because the New Orleans Saints have apparently forgotten one huge football fundamental that even I had drilled into my head as early as JUNIOR high football: when the ball is loose, FALL ON THE $*&#$& THING! Every time the Vikings flubbed the ball last night, not ONCE did a New Orleans defender adhere to this simple, proven, pee-wee football fundamental! Instead, their egos tried to scoop up the ball and run with it…GAHHHHH!
Even one of their 5-ton defensive lineman tried to play Walter Payton last night…I was screaming at the top of my Cowboys-fan-get-revenge-on-the-run-up-the-score-Vikes lungs…ARGH! Oh well, the Ain’ts have finally made it to the Supe…way to go guys!
In other news…
* Looks like my Texas Rangers are nearly out of the ownership woods – yesterday, Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenburg and Rangers legend Nolan Ryan cleared the first hurdle in buying the Rangers from Tom “Too-Many-Irons-in-the-Sports-Franchise-Fire” Hicks, i.e. they’ve reached an agreement with the Hicks Sports Group, the same group that is destroying the Dallas Stars and Liverpool FC. The deal still needs approval from 75% of MLB owners, the NHL, and the army of banks that Hicks owes money to. Hopefully, all of the above are just formalities and the handoff can happen before opening day.
* Due to my writing inspiration woes of late, I haven’t said much about the Hot Stove here in Arlington. In a nutshell:
1. The Rangers acquired Rich Harden from the Cubs, but it cost us Kevin Millwood(who went to the Orioles in a salary dump move). If Harden works out, it will definitely be an upgrade to our numero-uno spot in the rotation. Millwood was, at best, a very good number three starter.
2. We got Vlad from Los Anaheim of California. Hopefully, that bat he’s used to bludgeon the Rangers with over the years still has some bludgeon left in it. We’re gonna need it, seeing as how Seattle‘s hot stove has been cookin’ with gas this off season. The M’s look mighty mighty on paper. Hopefully, like Communism, they’ll just look good on paper.
3. Our other limited budget, risky business moves include reliever Chris Ray (from the Orioles in the Millwood deal), presumed number-three starter Colby Lewis (from Japan’s Hiroshima Carp), former Ranger and fan favorite reliever Darren Oliver (from Los Anaheim), and utility fielder Khalil Greene (apparently from the loony bin).
On the hockey front –
* My new-found love for hockey continues, unfortunately, the Tom Hicks owned, 25th-in-the-NHL-in-salary Dallas Stars suck this year, and will likely continue to suck as long as Hicks owns the team.
* The Texas Brahmas continue their up-and-down season and despite a barely .500 record, are clinging to third place in the CHL-Southern Division.
* I was rummaging around in my pile of barely played/never played PS2 games this weekend and discovered I had NHL 2001, still in the shrink-wrap. Like the real-life game of hockey, I’m kicking myself for not discovering the game years ago! Mrs. J and I were up all night on Saturday playing the game. Fortunately, my PS2 hockey procrastination payed off – since this was NHL 2001 , the PS2 Dallas Stars roster was that of their 1998-2000 glory years with Brett Hull, Derian Hatcher, Ed Belfour, and in-their-prime Mike Modano & Jere Lehtinen. Much fun was had.
I’m probably jinxing muh boys here, but I can’t think of anything else to write about since my Clever Blog Muse seems to have taken a vacation….good thing I don’t believe in superstition.
Anyway, *puts on prophet hat* here’s the different playoff scenarios I see for the boys in blue (Note: I’m assuming that New Mordor takes the AL East in all of these scenarios…I just don’t think my #2 Red Sox can catch ’em):
1. Best Case Scenario – Rangers Win AL West, Angels Win Wildcard
I’m also assuming here that the Yanks have the best record in the AL. This is a good scenario for the Rangers because it would pit the Angels against the Yanks in the ALDS, and the Angels seem to own the Yanks. Plus, historically, the Rangers don’t seem to fare well against the Ogres from Mordor, especially in the ALDS (see 1996, 1998, 1999).
Assuming we make it past the AL Central champ in the ALDS(I’d rather face the ChiSox than Detroit), this would pit us against Los Anaheim in the ALCS…and surprisingly, we seem to own the Angels this year.
Unfortunately, I just don’t see this scenario playing out, because while the Rangers seem to do well against the Angels, there hasn’t been much consistent winning against anyone else, so only a sweep of the remaining seven against Los Anaheim would get this done…and the Angels seem to take at least one from us in each series this season.
Odds of this scenario happening: very slim.
2. Next Best Scenario – Angels Win AL West(with best AL record), Rangers Win Wildcard
This scenario would at least give the Rangers a shot at appearing in their first ever ALCS, assuming they continue to semi-own the Los Anaheim….and we could proudly go edit the Texas Rangers Wikipedia entry that accurately says “The Texas Rangers are the most unsuccessful team in MLB” (by virtue of the fact that they are the only team to never reach a league championship game). Unfortunately, if the Rangers made it past Los Anaheim, they’d likely face New Mordor in the ALCS, and as history shows(1996, 1998, 1999), things don’t go well for the Rangers against the Yanks in the playoffs.
Odds of this scenerio happening: Possible. Los Anaheim isn’t that far behind the Yanks in the W/L department, and still have a 3 game series with them in September…in Anaheim…AND as I said earlier, LA seems to own the Yanks this year.
3. The Late Nineties Scenario – Rangers Win Wildcard, Face Yanks in ALDS
Pretty much the same as above, but the Yanks have the best AL record and subsequently boot us in the ALDS instead of the ALCS. On the bright side, the Rangers could at least say they made the playoffs in a year no one expected they would.
Odds of this scenario happening: Pretty darn good. If the Rangers will get just a little more consistent, this is the likely playoff scenario that will occur. Sure, we’ll lose yet another ALDS to New Mordor, but I wasn’t expecting anything resembling a playoff game at Rangers Ballpark this year.
4. The “Until they prove otherwise”, Pessimistic Fan Scenario – Rangers Tank
If you look at the last half of this decade(and the majority of seasons in the life of the franchise), this is what most of us in Rangers (Stag)Nation would tell you is likely to happen. Heck, I’ve been “waiting for the shoe to drop” since the All Star Break. But one non-transaction gives me hope for this season and beyond: Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels did NOT make a deal for Roy Halladay and trade away our future. They are sticking to their three-year plan, and home-growing us a championship team via our badd-a$s farm system.
If this scenario does play out, then I at least hope my #2 Boston Red Sox get in…they are the only reason I’ve had someone to root for in October this decade.
Odds of this scenario happening – Very likely…until proven otherwise.
Side note: Last night at the bowling alley, some 18 yr oldish kid in the lane next to me got absolutely livid over my Rangers pessimism when I suggested that the Rangers couldn’t take the Yanks in the playoffs. Ah, the joy of youthful optimism, oh how I miss it.