Texas Rangers Are Some Kinda Good
Image: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
By Todd Kaufmann
Rangers Ballpark was still buzzing one night after Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish came up with his best performance of his young Texas Rangers’ career but the home team still had work to do.
The finale of a three-game set against the New York Yankees was looming and Scott Feldman was called upon to make his first start of the 2012 season. Though he was on a pitch count, Feldman still looked very solid getting through three and one-third innings pitched before giving way to young left-hander Robbie Ross who continued to impress.
The rookie faced eight batters and retired them all, looking more like a veteran than his very first season as a big leaguer. “He has no fear,” manager Ron Washington said after his performance on Wednesday night. “He throws the ball over the plate and has good stuff.”
But while Feldman and Ross did quite well, they weren’t the biggest story of the night.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre took the very first pitch he saw and drove it almost the entire way up the center field grass towards the Captain Morgan club. Beltre would end the night driving in three of the Rangers seven runs on the night, the other two coming on RBI singles in the third and against in the sixth.
While Beltre had himself a solid night, there was another who had himself a solid night. A night that was a long time coming.
Mitch Moreland decided that he was going to ditch the beard he had been sporting for most of the 2012 season and, instead, go with a five o’clock shadow type look.
Well, it worked.
Moreland would single in his first at bat, took a well earned walk in his second, and in his third at bat launched a fastball deep in to the right field seats. Leaving me to wonder, it had to be the beard, right?
“It’s a start,” Washington said. “We had a chance to get him some at bats against right-handers back-to-back. After an off day [on Thursday] he has a chance for two more. Hopefully he can get locked in. He’s one of the threats in our lineup and tonight he proved it by giving us an insurance run. That was a big run for us.”
Beard or not, the Texas Rangers have shown just what kind of team they are going to be this season. Say what you want about the New York Yankees, they still sport one of the more potent offenses in Major League Baseball.
They showed as much against the Boston Red Sox. After being down early 9-0 in Boston, the Yankee offense exploded for 15 unanswered runs to take home a 15-9 win.
In the first game against Texas, that offense showed up once again and, six innings and seven earned runs later, chased left-hander Derek Holland. Not that it was a surprise to some, Holland hasn’t had much success against the Bronx Bombers, sporting an earned run average that is somewhere near the double digit mark.
The Texas rotation has been outstanding from Colby Lewis at the top to Neftali Feliz at the bottom. Their bullpen has been as untouchable with guys like Mike Adams who, after working a scoreless eighth inning on Wednesday night, lowered his ERA to just a single run (1.00), Alexi Ogando and closer Joe Nathan.
But those aren’t the only pitchers who are doing their job.
Right-handers Mark Lowe and Koji Uehara, who some would call the lone wolves in the bullpen due to their struggles, worked three scoreless innings on Tuesday night, surprising just about everyone in the ballpark and those watching at home.
There seems to be no weakness, at least not to this point in the season, in this Texas Rangers’ ballclub. They have power up and down the lineup, they are putting more runs on the board than at any point in franchise history, their starters have been lights out, and their bullpen has done their job as well.
At the beginning of the season, there were split opinions on who would win the American League’s Western Division crown. With the Los Angeles Angels adding slugger Albert Pujols and former Rangers, C.J. Wilson, on paper it looked like the Angels division to lose.
Now, 19 games into the 2012 season, the Angels are eight and a half games behind the Texas Rangers and look no closer to being any better than they’ve been early on. Pujols is struggling, still looking for his very first home run of the season, and the bullpen hasn’t exactly been lights out.
This season is nowhere near over. In fact, it’s not even half way over. There’s a lot of baseball still to play.
One thing is for sure. This Texas Rangers team looks nothing like the last two who watched other teams celebrate a World Series championship.
This team is hungry and they look to be absolutely unstoppable.