Random sports thoughts
Image: Rick Yeatts/Getty Images
By: Dustin Dietz
This week I have quite a bit of sports related topics on my mind that I will quickly touch base with all of my devoted readers. I would title this article Scattershooting, but naming the article that would be stealing the name of another popular segment titled the same thing on a beloved local sports radio show. I would go with What’s On Dustin’s Mind?, but that would also be considered a form of journalistic larceny. So, I will just give this article the generic name Random Thoughts By Dustin Dietz. Yes, I realize the title is similar to a former Saturday Night Live bit, but I promise this is in no way, shape, or form similar to what Jack Handy ever delivered to inebriated adults and acne faced teenagers up close to midnight watching the idiot box in the early 1990’s.
Rangers enjoy latest road swing
The last time the reader read an article written by me, I was praising the Rangers for their non-waiver trade deadline acquisition of former Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster.
Well, my praise looked quite ignorant after Dempster’s first Ranger start last Thursday night against the rival Los Angeles Angels. The newest Ranger allowed 8 runs, all earned, on 9 hits while walking 3. The Angels potent lineup bashed two home runs off of Dempster as he left way too many pitches up in the strike zone.
Fortunately for Dempster, the Rangers offense awoke from their two month long slumber and scored 15 runs that game to defeat the Angels going away 15-9.
The Angels won the first two games of the four game series quite easily, and were up 7-1 in the third game before the Rangers made a valiant come back. Ian Kinsler homered off of unhittable closer Ernesto Frieri in the 9th inning to tie the game at 7. After the Angels countered with three runs off of the exhausted Joe Nathan in the top of the 10th, the Rangers fought back and scored four runs off of the now vulnerable Angel bullpen to win 11-10 in 10 innings.
The Ranger win prevented the Angels from pulling to within two games of Texas, and with the 15-9 victory the following night, the Rangers lead over the Angels was exactly what it was before the 4 game series started, 5 games.
The Rangers then embarked on a six game road trip in Kansas City and Boston. The club managed to win the first two games in Kansas City with heroic performances from Mitch Moreland, who hit a clutch 3 run home run in the 7th inning in the first game in KC, and newest Ranger phenom Mike Olt, who drove in two key runs on Saturday in a 4-2 Ranger win.
In the win Saturday over the Royals, Scott Feldman pitched 7 2/3 solid innings while allowing only 2 runs on 6 hits and striking out 4 in earning his sixth consecutive victory, the longest active streak for the Rangers.
Feldman (6-6) has been the club’s most consistent pitcher in the second half of the season as he has lowered his ERA down to 4.52 since it was over 6.50 in mid-June. Scooter’s last three starts have been nothing short of brilliant, 22 2/3 innings and 3 earned runs allowed.
The club lost the final game of the Kansas City series 7-6 in 10 innings after some questionable managing decisions in the late innings by manager Ron Washington. In particular, asking Elvis Andrus to execute a suicide squeeze in the 9th inning of a tie game with no one out and the go ahead run on 3rd base, and allowing left hander Michael Kirkman too pitch to three consecutive right handed hitters to start the 10th inning.
After pitching two effective innings on Sunday, former starter Roy Oswalt informed Ron Washington he was physically unable to pitch a third inning. Washington was reportedly miffed by Oswalt and his inability to pitch any longer than 2 innings. Oswalt was reportedly upset over being demoted to the bullpen.
Yu Darvish was terrible in the first game in Boston as the Rangers lost the game 9-2. Yu (11-8) allowed 6 runs on 11 hits and his ERA is now 4.57, 0.05 higher than Scott Feldman. Darvish is fourth in the league in strikeouts with 154, but second in the league with 74 walks. Yu simply has to establish better control and regain his early season form as his ERA in the last month is well over 7.00.
Texas would win two close games over the Sox to close out the road trip 6-3, and 10-9. In his second start with the Rangers, Ryan Dempster was much better as he pitched 6 2/3 innings, struck out 6 while allowing 3 unearned runs. Had Ian Kinsler had not played cavalier defense and booted a routine ground ball, Dempster would have made it through 7 innings and not allowed a three-run home run to Will Middlebrooks.
In the final game against the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon, Matt Harrison struggled and was unable to pitch out of the 5th inning. The club informed the media Harrison was experiencing stomach issues after the game. Roy Oswalt came into the game for Harrison and pitched well until allowing four 7th inning runs as Boston tied the game 9-9. Texas would score a run in the top of the 9th to take the lead, and Joe Nathan would close it out in the bottom of the 9th for a 10-9 victory. The Rangers went 4-2 on the six game road trip and extended their lead over the Angels to 7 games, and 5.5 games over the now second place Oakland A’s.
While I am not at all concerned about the Rangers making the playoffs, or winning the division for that matter, one is deeply concerned about what will happen in the playoffs. At this point, the club simply will have trouble matching up with other team’s rotations. Teams do not win many 10-9 games in the playoffs.
No disrespect to Scott Feldman, but if he is your best pitcher for any amount of time, your team might be in trouble. Derek Holland has continued to be inconsistent in 2012 as his ERA has ballooned up to 5.18 with an FIP over 5, and at the time of this writing, has allowed 21 home runs in 18 games this year. The Dutch Oven only gave up 22 home runs in 32 games all of last year. If Holland and the pitching staff do not begin to improve, the post season will not last as long as in the past two years, especially with Colbra Lewis no longer in the picture.
Cowboys training camp
The main story so far in Cowboys training camp has been all of the injuries the club has had to deal with. There were so many injuries on the offensive line that the Boys had to go sign former Cowboys Daniel Loper and Derrick Dockery off of the street just to have enough linemen to practice. Mackenzy Bernadeau, Nate Livings, Bill Nagy, and Kevin Kowalski are all currently hampered by an ailment and not practicing.
The secondary is experiencing health issues as rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne sprained an MCL ligament and will probably be unable to play in the first preseason game, and Mike Jenkins has not been cleared to practice after receiving offseason shoulder surgery.
Wide receiver Miles Austin is already having hamstring issues in 2012, and with the wide receiver position already suffering from a major lack of experience, an injury to Austin is the last thing Dallas needs. Does any Cowboy fan trust Kevin Ogletree to start for a significant amount of time?
After Dez Bryant and Miles Austin on the wide receiver depth chart, no receiver on the Cowboys’ roster has caught a touchdown pass in the NFL. The club would be prudent to add an experienced wide receiver to add competition to the current group of receivers. Mike Sims-Walker is available. I am just saying.
I am very poignant when I write this, but I have not had much interest in the London Summer Olympics at all. I have been too consumed with the Rangers, pennant races, and Cowboys to pay much attention.
It’s not that I despise the Olympics because I really admire them. In fact, some of my fondest sports memories are from the Olympics. For example, the original Dream Team winning the gold medal in Barcelona and Dallas native Michael Johnson breaking world records in Atlanta in 1996.
I guess I am just really turned off by the delayed broadcasting of events just to air them in primetime (London is 6 hours ahead of DFW). I loathe having to wait to hear the results of any sporting event, and in the back of mind knowing the events have already taken place when I watch them in the evening annoys me.
Once I see the results on Twitter in the afternoon, I do not have much interest anymore. In other words, I cannot stand prerecorded sporting events. I realize NBC has to do what they have to make money, but expecting fans to sit around for hours at a time when we live in an age of instantaneous information and social media is foolish. With Facebook and Twitter, staying out of the loop is next to impossible. Air the events live, and if certain fans wish to stay out of the loop and record the events with the novel invention known as the DVR, they have that prerogative.
Also, to the people who become indignant with other people who tweet the results before one watches them, maybe you should take a vacation during the Olympics or something. Or, you know, stay off of Twitter or Facebook.
Fantasy Football is approaching
It is almost the time of the year where most wives consider divorcing their husbands. Yes, fantasy football is approaching, and to the members of The Huge Ten Fantasy League, I hope you are doing your due diligence and are preparing accordingly.
Be on the lookout for the upcoming Sport Page Weekly’s fantasy issue.
I know what you are thinking, “What does HG Wells have to do with sports?” Well, the answer is absolutely nothing. I promise this will not be like Oprah’s Book Club.
Since I was a young boy, I have always been fascinated with time travel. The Back to the Future movies were so enthralling, and I still stop down and watch them when any of them are on television.
I have read a quite a bit of HG Wells’ work recently, and I think his most intriguing work is his description of what he thinks the future will be like, in particular, The Time Machine and Tales of Space and Time. For a man who was writing in the early 20th century, some of his descriptions of the future are utterly ridiculous, but some of his writing is eerily similar to our present time. If one has not read any of HG Wells, and one aspires to travel through time like Ted Logan and Bill S. Preston Esquire, I encourage one to purchase some of Wells’ work on his or her Kindle. The books are free, but the Kindle or Nook will cost you a little money. You will thank me later.
Follow Dustin Dietz on Twitter @DustinDietz