Tagged: Rich Harden

Eh

Around this time last year, I was living and breathing baseball.

I was so starved for baseball news in the 2009-2010 offseason that when Spring Training finally started up in 2010, I was ecstatic.

I spent the majority of my free time obsessing over all of the tidbits of news I had heard and using it to come up with new predictions about the 2010 Rangers team.

And all that obsessing got me nowhere.

Just to refresh your memory, here is what was happening at this point a year ago:

-the Greenberg/Ryan group was predicted to be the team owners on Opening Day.
-I was looking forward to a dominant year from the top of our pitching rotation (Scott Feldman and Rich Harden).
-I thought that Salty would finally be healthy, and that he would be the starting catcher for the Rangers all season.
-The Rangers were still reeling from the loss of Khalil Greene and had no idea who their utility infielder would be.
-I was still in doubt about CJ’s ability to be a decent starting pitcher.

And of course, all of those assumptions turned out to be false. So it didn’t really do me any good to spend so much time trying to predict.

This past off-season (2010-2011) was much shorter, since the Rangers continued playing all the way through the playoffs and into the World Series.

By that time, I was emotionally exhausted from venturing into uncharted territory. So I was okay with the lull in baseball news.

Then the off-season began to fill up with all kinds of drama, from Cliff Lee to potential DH’s to Adrian Beltre’s signing and a possible Michael Young trade.

Everybody seemed anxious about a disgruntled Michael Young rejoining the Rangers clubhouse, but I think the media whipped up an unnecessary frenzy in order to try to squeeze more stories out.

“Oh, no!!! Michael Young asked to be traded, but he wasn’t traded, so how is everyone going to react?? Will all the other players treat him like a traitor? Will Michael act surly because he doesn’t want to be there? This team should be celebrating the American League Championship, but this will put everybody in a sad mood! Uh oh!!”

Umm, no. That’s not how it works. I thought things might be awkward, but I never doubted that Michael would conduct himself as a professional and act with dignity.

Just as I predicted, Michael decided not to pout like a little kid. There are some ballplayers that would, but not Michael. He’s decided to try to make the best of the situation.

As far as the rest of the Spring Training spectacle, I’ve decided to wait a while before delving into all of the drama.

I mean, sure, I could spend my time trying to predict whether or not Julio Borbon will have a breakout season, or how much time Michael Young will put in at each infield position, but it won’t change the outcome.

Wow, I’m sorry if this blog is taking on a bitter/negative vibe. That’s not what I meant to do at all. I love baseball, and I love my Rangers. I am excited about my 2011 20-game mini plan, and I can’t wait to see all that the new ownership has in store for Rangers fans in the 2011 season.

And I promise that by Opening Day, I will be up to speed on every single player on the Rangers 40-man roster. I’ve just decided that it would be superfluous for me to dissect the Rangers at this juncture, especially since we’re only 2 weeks into Spring Training.

But just because I’m not breaking down all of the player performances, that doesn’t that we should all be in the dark! Evan Grant put out an updated roster prediction today, and I’m perfectly happy with his predictions.

Especially since he sees Michael Kirkman in the 5th starter role!

http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/03/rangers-roster-report-v30.html

Until we meet again!!

Days ’til Opening Day: 31
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2011 shaping up

I hope that all of you had a fantastic holiday season! I got some great baseball stuff for Christmas!

My Aunt Paula got me a dozen clear plastic baseball cubes so that I can display some more of my autographed baseballs, and my dad got me 2 more, so I was super excited about that. I still need at least another dozen, but it’s a great start! And I’m planning to keep getting autographs, so I hope my family keeps ’em coming!

But the best thing was that my dad got me one of the Michael Young bats that was designed when he became the franchise hits leader this season! They only made 2010 bats, and mine came with a certificate stating that it was number 109!!

My dad said he got it several months ago, so it has just been sitting at his house waiting for Christmas!

My mom and step-dad also got me a framed picture that says “Texas Rangers,” but each letter of “Rangers” has a different picture. The first one is the famous Nolan Ryan picture with the bloody jersey after Robin Ventura charged the mound, and all of the other pictures are from the 2010 season, including Josh Hamilton, Vladdy, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Neftali Feliz, etc.

I think those were all of my baseball-related Christmas gifts, but a few days ago I purchased my 2011 20-game Mini Plan! Woo-hoo!!!

I know I haven’t blogged since Cliff Lee decided to go to the Phillies, so some of you may think that it caused me to go into a massive depression and I couldn’t bear to write about baseball.

The truth is that I just got busy. It’s easy to put baseball on the back burner when it’s not baseball season. And the longer I wait, the more stuff happens and I get farther and farther behind. So bear with me, okay?

Alright, in the last month (after Cliff Lee left), Zack Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and Matt Garza was traded to the Chicago Cubs. Uh oh. That means all the good pitchers are gone, right?

Wrong. (Hopefully)

After the Greinke trade but before the Garza trade, the Rangers signed Brandon Webb. When I first heard the name, I knew it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t remember why.

As it turns out, Webb won the Cy Young while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006. But he hasn’t played in a Major League game in the past 2 years because he’s been recovering/rehabbing from a shoulder injury/surgery.

I have a good feeling about Brandon Webb, and his surgery was performed by Rangers’ team doctor Dr. Keith Meister, so THAT’S gotta be good. But Brandon Webb could be to 2011 what Rich Harden was to 2010. Who knows, right?

The Rangers also signed lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes, and I knew his name was familiar as well. He is 41 years old! But he made it to the All-Star team for the first time last year as the representative from the Cincinnati Reds.

He has been in the Major Leagues since 1991, and his age doesn’t seem to be adversely affecting him. He missed all of the 2007 season due to Tommy John surgery, but in the last 3 years since the surgery he’s had a 2.32 ERA and an opponent’s batting average of .204. Not too shabby!

He’s also a native Texan, which is always nice.

But the Rangers’ biggest aquisition this off-season is at what was previously considered a very stable position: 3rd base.

Michael Young is the face of the Texas Rangers, having spent all of his time in the majors on this team and even holding the franchise record for hits. He is signed through 2013. But since his move to 3rd base 2 years ago, his defensive ability seems to have taken a hit.

It had been suggested by numerous blogs (maybe even mine, but I don’t remember) that Young might be better used as a DH. And that is exactly what MY offered to do when Adrian Beltre became available as an option for the Texas Rangers.

Beltre accepted a 6-year $96 million dollar deal from the Texas Rangers, and he will be our 3rd baseman of the future. I’ve always liked Adrian Beltre, but since he’s 31 years old, I’m not too comfortable with giving him such a long contract.

But Beltre has won 2 Gold Gloves at 3rd base and is obviously defensively superior to Michael Young. No offense, Mikey, but the Rangers now have the strongest left side in all of baseball with Beltre at 3rd and Elvis Andrus at shortstop.

The only thing that makes me sad about adding Beltre? No more Vladdy. Michael Young has become the DH of the near future, so there’s no longer an open spot for Vladdy.

I know his performance took a sharp downward turn midway through last season, but I just love Vladdy. His personality seemed to fit perfectly in the Rangers’ clubhouse, and his quick smile is so contagious. I’ll miss you, Big Bad Vlad.

Now the Rangers are rumored to be courting Jim Thome to take turns at DH with Michael Young. Since MY can play all 4 infield positions, I’m sure the Rangers can work out a schedule where Young spends half his time at DH and the other half giving the other guys in the infield a break.

Jim Thome seems to make more sense for the Rangers at DH than Vlad for 2011, especially in light of this article by BBTiA a few weeks ago. It predicts that Thome will probably expect 350-400 plate appearances in 2011, whereas Vlad would probably expect somewhere around 600 or so.

Thome is also generally regarded as a good clubhouse guy, so that’s promising. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The Rangers’ Winter Caravan has kicked off, and I’m planning to attend 2 of the appearances to gather some more autographs to my collection.

Then on January 22-23, the Rangers will be hosting their first 2-day Fan Fest, and I can’t wait to see what that entails! Some good stuff coming up!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 34 days

Drive-by blogging

Hey there. I don’t have much time to blog, but I haven’t posted anything since Monday, so I’ll mention a few things real quick.

-The Rangers tried to claim Manny Ramirez on waivers, but the Chicago White Sox got him first. I’m glad. We don’t need a poisonous presence like his in the clubhouse.

-Michael Kirkman is awesome.

-Bengie Molina has a blog. I didn’t know that. Apparently he blogged for 3 years while he was with the Giants, so now he’s blogging for the Rangers. It’s pretty good stuff, and it just points out what a great guy he is.

You should check it out: http://bengiemolina.mlblogs.com/

-Rich Harden isn’t all that great. Yes, he threw a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings on Monday. But he also walked 5 batters and threw way too many pitches.

I think everybody is blowing this whole “no-hit” thing way out of proportion. He still needs to go deeper in games and control his walk totals.

-What’s up with Cliff Lee? Seriously! If you had posited the following scenario to me 6 weeks ago, I would have predicted a very different outcome:

“The Rangers will win 3 out of 4 against Minnesota. Rich Harden, Colby Lewis, C.J. Wilson, and Cliff Lee will be the starters in those 4 games. One of the starters will have a no-hitter through 6 2/3 in that series, and one starter will only go 5 innings and get the loss.”

Obviously I would have gone with Cliff Lee for the no-hitter and Rich Harden for the 5-inning loss. This is crazy.

-Playoff tickets are ridiculously expensive.

-I went to the game on Wednesday, and I had a great time. The weather was wonderful and the Rangers won. What more can you ask for?

-I’m going to the game on Sunday, and I’m really excited. I was dreading the prospect of an afternoon game at the end of August, but thanks to the cold front, it’s not going to be as hot! Sure, the high on Sunday is still going to be 97 degrees, but that’s better than 107!

And it will be good to put some more distance between ourselves and our closest competition in the AL West (Oakland).

Overall Rangers’ record: 72-55
My Rangers’ record: 14-8
Days ’til my next game: 2

It’s good to be home again!

Man, that was a tough road trip. At least we ended it with a win.

Dropping three straight to Tampa Bay was awful. We split the 4-game series in Baltimore, but we probably should have swept them.

So which do you think is worse? That the Rangers were humiliated against a team they will very likely see in the playoffs (TB)? Or the fact that they only took 2 out of 4 against the worst team in baseball (the O’s)?

I’m not giving up on my boys. They just really need to step it up.

Yes, we still have an 8-game lead in the AL West. As long as we win our division, we will get to the playoffs. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get past the first round.

If the season ended today, the Rangers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays would be going to the post-season. And the Rangers would have the worst win/loss record of all the playoff teams.

In the first round, Tampa Bay would play Minnesota, and the Rangers would again face the Yankees. And the Yankees would have home-field advantage.

We’ve seen this before, and it doesn’t end well for the Rangers. They need to prove that they’re not just the Yankees’ whipping boy. Because the goal isn’t just to get to the post-season, but to actually make it past the 1st round.

I really feel like the Rangers have a shot this year. They just need to be careful so that they don’t fade down the stretch.

Speaking of fading down the stretch, I’m concerned about all the injuries hurting our playoff berth. The Rangers currently have 6 players in the 15-day DL. If most of them are well enough to come back by August 31st, we should be good.

I’m sure that most of you know that the active rosters expand on September 1 from 25 up to a maximum of 40 players. But only the players who are on the Rangers’ 25-man roster on August 31st can participate in post-season games, unless there is an injury and someone has to be called up.

Kinsler’s been out since July 29, and hopefully he’ll be able to come back at the end of August. The Rangers could really use Kins in the post-season. Cristian Guzman was pretty useless as Kinsler’s initial replacement.

Taylor Teagarden has been doing a great job filling in for Matt Treanor, so it will be interesting to see what happens if Treanor can make it back before the 31st.

It will be good to get Dustin Nippert back too. Matt Harrison is a great lefty long reliever, but Scott Feldman is not a good option for a righty long reliever. Dustin is no longer having headaches, so I’m not really sure what the hold-up is.

But the player that the Rangers need the most is Nelson Cruz. They need his boomstick as well as his range and strong arm in the outfield. Seriously, I can’t wait for Nelly to come back.

Luckily, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero seem to have emerged from their slumps, lessening the need for Nelly’s bat. But just think how much better we will be with Cruz!!

The Rangers are back in Arlington today, and they are set to play 3 games against Joe Mauer the Minnesota Twins. The Twins are a good team, but the Rangers have been great at home this season.

Rich Harden is starting tonight for the Rangers. Again? I thought we got rid of him! I thought he was gone for good when the Rangers put him on the DL this last time. I mean, how many chances are we gonna give this guy?

He’s just too unpredictable. He’s only had 2 good starts all year long. Enough already!

But then again, maybe he’ll have another stellar performance this evening and continue it all the way through the post-season. Miracles can happen, right?

After Harden, Colby Lewis is expected to pitch on Tuesday night, followed by C.J. Wilson on Wednesday.

My prediction is that we will lose the game tonight (and then hopefully we’ll really be rid of Rich Harden)! Then Colby will finally get his 10th win on Tuesday, followed by another spectacular show by C.J. Wilson, earning us the series win on Wednesday.

I’m going to the game Wednesday, and I’m really excited because I just looked at the 10-day forecast. It looks like tomorrow will be our last day of 100+ degree weather! Yay!!

My dad mentioned that a cold front is supposed to come through on Tuesday night, so I figured the temperature might drop a bit on Wednesday and then climb right back up. But the forecast predicts 93-95 degree highs every day through Wednesday, September 1! Woo hoo!!!

Bring on the Twins! It’s gonna be downright chilly!!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 69-54
My Rangers’ record: 13-8
Days ’til my next game: 2

The Tampa Bay Debacle

This is very frustrating. I want my team to do well, and they’re not.

I’m not a fickle fan who will stop watching the Rangers if they lose. Even if they lose every game for the rest of the season, I’ll still watch every single game. It’s just frustrating.

What’s up with all the injuries?? Ian Kinsler’s obviously been out for a while, but it looks like he’s not coming back any time soon. Hopefully Dustin Nippert and Matt Treanor will be rejoining the Rangers shortly.

Then there’s Nelson Cruz and Cristian Guzman. We’re not missing too much with Guzman gone, but losing Nelly for 2 weeks hurts. Bad.

And Josh Hamilton can’t play defense on Astroturf because of his knees? Yeah, let’s put Vladdy in there, because his knees can take it, and his defense is so great! Gimme a break!

They should have just left Vladdy on the bench and played Brandon Boggs. It’s not like Vlad’s bat is all that stellar lately either.

Wow, I’m being really negative! Sorry about that, it’s just hard to find good things to talk about right now.

 
Michael Young is having trouble with neck stiffness. I can’t be mad at Michael Young, because he always wants to play and he never misses because of injury. I’m just saying it’s bad timing.

Cliff Lee hasn’t been too lucky when starting for Texas. I think it’s time for us to give him a day off here and there, instead of always starting him on the 5th day no matter what. We don’t want him to be burned out before we get to the playoffs.

Tommy Hunter is perplexing. It’s understandable that he wouldn’t do such a great job last Friday, because he was throwing up. But what happened on Tuesday at the Trop??

And Derek Holland yesterday! I didn’t get to watch the game, because I was at work, but I listened to it. He threw 106 pitches in just 4 1/3 innings and gave up 5 earned runs on 6 hits and 4 walks.

We all know that Rich Harden doesn’t have it, and that Scott Feldman doesn’t either. What happened to our multitude of starting pitcher options in Spring Training??

I think we should get Matt Harrison out of the bullpen and give him another shot at starting. It could be a good thing.

Everybody just looks really tired. Half the team is already on the DL, so I think they should just bring up the entire AAA roster for the next couple of weeks. They couldn’t be much worse than the big league team right now.

Monday night’s game seemed to be going pretty well for Rangers’ fans. Cliff Lee was motoring along as usual, and although David Price was great, the Rangers chased him after 6 innings.

They were able to get 2 runs each in the 7th and 8th innings because the Rays’ relief pitchers weren’t necessarily as good as Price. But then again, who is?

Then the bottom of the 8th inning happened, and it all fell apart. The Rangers lost 6-4.

There were several squandered scoring opportunities by the Rangers all throughout the game. If the Rangers had more of a cushion, those 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th wouldn’t have hurt as badly.

I think if the Rangers had been able to pull out a win on Monday, they might not have lost on Tuesday and Wednesday. A win on Monday would have given them some momentum. Oh well, I guess we’ll never know.

Tuesday’s game was just bad all around. We lost 10-1. Blech!

Wednesday’s game looked bad when the Rangers were down 7-2, but then they rallied in the 8th to make it 7-4. And in the 9th they added 2 more runs to make it 8-6. But then the game was over.

Tonight they’re heading to Baltimore for 4 games with the Orioles. No problem, right? The O’s suck.

Except that the last time we faced them, we were swept in a 4-game series. In OUR ballpark. Now they’ve hired Buck Showalter as their manager, and they’re on a hot streak. Great.

Tonight it will be Colby Lewis (9-9, 3.28 ERA) against Brian Matusz (4-12, 5.28 ERA). It looks like Colby’s got this one sewn up.

But Colby has a 2.72 ERA in his last 5 games, and he hasn’t gotten a win in that time. It’s about time Colby got his 10th win, because he’s been pitching really well. He just seems “snakebit” lately, as my dad would say.

A win for Colby would definitely help to get the Rangers out of this funk they’re in. We could use some cheering up! Go Rangers!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 97-52
My Rangers’ record: 13-8
Days ’til my next game: 6

Finally!!

It’s been a week since I last blogged, and there was a HUGE development that I neglected to address. Late Wednesday night (actually early Thursday morning) the Rangers were sold to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan.

HALLELUJAH!!!

This has been a very long time coming, and I’m elated that Rangers Baseball Express (a.k.a. the Greenberg/Ryan group) decided to stick it out. They had to pay more than their primary bid ($575 million back in January), but it’s finally over.

$70 million of that initial $575 mil bid was alloted for the parking lots around the stadium. So, in essence, RBE was going to spend $505 mil for the team (and acquired debts) and $70 mil for the parking lots.

But in order to free up more money for the actual team, RBE scratched the deal for the parking lots. The final amount decided Thursday was $593 million, not including the parking lots. This bid includes $385 million in cash and the assumption of $208 million in debt owed by the club.

As far as I can tell, there are 3 options as far as the parking lots go: 1) RBE acquires the lots in a separate transaction, 2) Hicks Sports Group (a.k.a. Tom Hicks) refuses to sell them (which would create tension), or 3) RBE and HSG split up the profits somehow.

I’m just glad it’s over. This has been 15 months in the making. Now the Rangers can just focus on winning!

Okay, back to the Rangers’ actual baseball performance. They just finished a 9-game road trip against all 3 of our AL West opponents, and they didn’t fare too well. But they’re still leading the West by 7 1/2 games!

They played the first series of the road trip in Anaheim, winning just 1 out of 3. No bueno. Then they headed to Seattle and won 2 out of 3. Of course, cause the Mariners suck! Next they went on to Oakland and they only won 1 out of 3. Come on, guys!

That means they went 4-5 on the road trip, which isn’t great. They were off last night, but tonight starts a 2-game series in Arlington against the Yankees.

Out of all the teams that are coming to Texas this year, the Yankees are the only ones I’m not seeing. And that’s not because I couldn’t get tickets; it’s because I didn’t want tickets!

It’s so sickening to go to RBiA when the Rangers are playing the Yanks, because at least half of the crowd is dressed in Yankees garb. Disgusting.

Anyway, the Yankees are coming, and they’re going to be a tough team for the Rangers to beat. The last time we played them was in April, and that series was in New York.

And the Rangers got swept. Lovely.

At least this time they’ll be in our house instead of the other way around. Then, after another off-day, the Red Sox are coming to Arlington. Now that’s a game that I am going to!

The BoSox are my 2nd favorite team, but I won’t be cheering for them at the game I go to on Saturday. I want my Rangers to win. But I love Big Papi and Terry Francona and Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

C.J. Wilson will be starting tonight (10-5, 3.30 ERA) against A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.93 ERA). The numbers seem to speak for themselves in this matchup, but we must remember that C.J. hasn’t been doing so hot lately. He only went 3 innings in his last start, and that’s not typical C.J.

Tomorrow it’s Cliff Lee (10-4, 2.44 ERA) against Javier Vazquez (9-8, 4.63 ERA). Yeah, I know how it looks too. It looks like the Yanks don’t have a chance. But Cliff is only 2-2 in 6 games as a Ranger. Hopefully he’ll pick it back up, but the Yankees are a hard team to face.

Before I sign off, though, I should address Rich Harden. When we last left off, I was very impressed by his first start after getting off the DL. But unfortunately, he pulled another “Rich Harden” in his last start.

He only went 2 1/3 innings, walking 5 and allowing 3 earned runs. I don’t know what we’re going to do with him.

They will probably skip his next start, because there was some leeway in the schedule with a day off before and after the 2-game Yankee series. Or they could bring up Derek Holland from AAA.

I think Rich should get one more chance to prove himself, but if he tanks next time, I think he should be gone. Either he should go on the 60-day DL, go to AAA, or be outright released. We don’t need to keep screwing around with this.

And I think the higher-ups realize that they can’t let him flounder indefinitely. This is a legitimately contending team. Go Rangers!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 64-47
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days ’til my next game: 4

Off-day ramblings

Yesterday was an off-day, so there was no Rangers’ game for me to dissect today. Instead, I want to address a couple of things that I’ve meant to talk about but haven’t gotten around to.

First and foremost is the Rangers’ ownership situation. Today is August 3, and an auction for the team is set to take place tomorrow (August 4). It is very rare for a major league ball club to be auctioned off, so this kind of puts us in uncharted waters.

I have been planted firmly in the Greenberg/Ryan camp from the beginning, and that hasn’t changed. I still really want them to get the team, but apparently, it doesn’t seem likely that they will get the team.

All of this ownership stuff has been very confusing, what with the bankruptcy situation and all of the angry creditors and such. So I’m not even pretending to know what’s going on or what might happen.

But other people (who may or may not know more than I do) don’t seem to think that the Greenberg/Ryan group will be victorious tomorrow.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is said to be deeply rooted in the mix of other potential bidders. The notion of Cuban getting the Rangers absolutely infuriates me.

Yes, he has plenty of money. He’s been very smart with his money. After the Tom Hicks Debacle and dealing with a team that has been flat broke for the past several years, this appears to be quite an attractive possibility.

But ultimately, you have to realize that Mark Cuban is a tool. And we don’t need another George Seinbrenner in Texas.

I’m not trying to imply that George Steinbrenner was a tool. But he did get really involved with the Yankees in areas that ownership doesn’t usually go. He was known to be hotheaded, hiring and firing people at the drop of a hat.

George Steinbrenner set up the Yankees so that they have the highest payroll in all of Major League Baseball by $44 million dollars. A-Rod is being paid $33 million this year, which is almost the entire budget of the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2010 (the Pirates are at $34.9 mil).

I’m not saying that there should be a salary cap in baseball. But I am saying that if you have a bottomless pit of money, then players are just going to start asking for more and more money just because they can. And it drives up prices all over baseball.

This is the whole premise behind why I hate the Yankees. I realize that the Yankees have a rich history, especially going back to the days of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and Yogi Berra and Lou Gehrig.

But now they’re just the team that has the most money, and the elite players go there because they’ll get paid the most there.

The Yankees have the top 4 players with the highest salary in all of baseball (A-Rod, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, and Mark Teixeira), and just their 4 salaries alone is over $100 million. That’s just ridiculous.

Cuban, like Steinbrenner, has more money than God. And Cuban is way too emotionally invested in every aspect of the game. But then again, Steinbrenner actually liked baseball. Cuban doesn’t. I’m just going off of what Cuban has done with the Mavericks.

Yes, it’s true that since Cuban has done great things with the Mavericks. Since he bought them 10 years ago, they have been to the playoffs every single year. He has paid obscene amounts of money to get great basketball players to come to Texas.

But he also sits courtside at every game (home and away), screaming obscenities at the officials and at the other team’s players. He has had to pay at least $1.665 million in fines because of 13 separate incidents, including as recently as May 22 when he spoke out against LeBron James. The Rangers don’t need that kind of publicity.

Okay, I’m going to stop ranting now. I hope that what I’ve just said makes sense. When I get this heated over a subject, sometimes I make connections in my head that don’t exactly translate to the written word.

In other news, the Rangers are 8 games up on both the Angels and the A’s, because Oakland won yesterday and LA had an off-day (just like the Rangers did).

I kind of feel bad for poor Seattle, because they’re 22.5 games back in the AL West. I was predicting them to be more of a threat this year than the Angels and the A’s.

Speaking of Seattle, Justin Smoak has recently been demoted to AAA Tacoma, where he can hang out with fellow trade-bait Blake Beavan. Beavan was recently promoted from Seattle’s AA affiliate to AAA Tacoma.

Michael Schlact posted a great blog today about the impact of all of these trades on the Rangers’ minor league system. It’s a great insider’s perspective. You can read it here.

It’s probably about time I started talking about Rich Harden. I was not at all impressed with how he started off the season for the Rangers, and I was about ready to give up on him when he surprised everyone with a breakout performance in Oakland on Monday, May 3.

I was willing to give him a bit of leeway after that stellar game, but by the end of May, I had given up hope again. I was praying that the Rangers would get wise and send him back to AAA until he learned his lesson.

And in the middle of June, Rich went on the DL with a “left glut strain.” I’m sure Rich was a little sore, but he may not have been injured enough to actually go on the DL under normal circumstances.

I think the Rangers said, “Okay, here’s the deal, Rich. You’re not producing. So you can either:
  1)go straight to AAA (do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200) or
  2)go on the DL, get some rest, get your act together, and try again.”

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Rich was legitimately injured. Either way, he made his post-DL debut on this past Saturday in Anaheim, and he was the same guy from May 3 against Oakland!

He allowed just one run over 7 innings of work, and he only threw 88 pitches (62 for strikes). He ended up getting the W, and I would venture to say that it is only the 2nd win that Harden has actually earned this year.

Scott Feldman has generally been producing like Rich Harden had been this year, meaning that he just hasn’t had commanding stuff, wasn’t going deep enough in games, and has been generally ineffective. But with Harden and Derek Holland both on the DL, there wasn’t really anyone who could take his place.

Something had to be done about Feldman, though, if the Rangers were going to continue their post-season bid. I figured that Harden would make a couple of starts until Derek Holland came off the DL to permanently take Harden’s/Feldman’s spot in the rotation.

But instead, Rich blew everyone away with his performance. Now let’s just hope it stays that way. But I suppose if Harden tanks again, we can still replace him with Holland.

Tonight kicks off a 3-game series in Seattle, followed by a 3-game series in Oakland this weekend. Then the Rangers come back home, but they have to face the Yankees and the Red Sox. Yikes.

Tonight it’s Colby Lewis (9-7, 3.40 ERA) against Seattle’s Jason Vargas (6-5, 3.20 ERA). According to the numbers, they seem about equal. So I guess we’ll have to see!

I’m actually grateful that the game doesn’t start until 9:10 Central tonight, because after I leave work today I have to ride the DART bus/train for an hour to Garland so that I can pick up my car from the shop. Hey, at least the A/C is finally fixed! Go Rangers!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 61-44
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days ’til my next game: 11