I apologize for the extended period of no posting. I’ve been on vacation and have placed my family as a priority. So, if you’re mad about that…well you’re a horrible person.
Actually, I doubt anyone reads this blog enough to care one way or another. But here’s to wishful thinking. I do get a hit every day from someone looking for information on the Sonic Slam Inning. So, there’s that. I am proud to provide that public service.
The Rangers are back in the hunt after a pretty depressing month of July. At one point they were back 6 games and now, thanks to a resurgence of the offense, some very exciting evenings of baseball against the hated Angels, and a new addition to the rotation in Matt Garza, they have managed to gain ground very quickly on Oakland and have cut the lead to 2.5. They went 32 games without gaining ground on the A’s. They’ve gained 3.5 games in four days. The question is, do they finish this series with Oakland at 4.5 back, 2.5 back, or .5 back?
Wash has also made a key change to the lineup, and so far it has worked out. He’s moved Kinsler to batting third, and has Leonys Martin batting leadoff. I like having Martin’s speed at the leadoff spot, and he’s showing that he’s an excellent bunter. His speed and his threat to bunt led the Angels to play a five-man infield against him, on Tuesday in the 10th inning. In response he hit a walk-off homerun.
We’ve also seen a resurgence in Elvis’s bat. Elvis brings a 15 game hitting streak into tonight’s game against Oakland. He’s hitting .342 over his last 10 games. He’s gone from hitting .196 in the month of June to .287 for July.
A.J. Pierzynski has also been an important element in the offense. He drove in three runs last night, and added the game-tying homerun in the first walk-off win against Anaheim. It seems he either hits a blooper to right or a homerun, most of the time. Either way, I will take them.
Matt Garza has been an innings eater. Going 7 or more innings in both his starts with the Rangers. He’s given up 3 runs, on 10 hits, and has struck out 11. He takes the mound tonight, and is a welcome sight given the team had to use 6 pitchers last night, as Alexi Ogando got into a high pitch count and was removed in the 5th.
The team didn’t make any big moves at the trade deadline. There were some questions about whether or not they might get Michael Young back from the Phillies. I think overall not doing anything was the best move. They will run into an undesirable situation when Nelson Cruz gets suspended. That WILL happen, probably early next week. So, I’m guessing they bring back Engel Beltre to play outfield when that happens. That’s going to be a large hole to fill in the offense (not the defense, I’m starting to think I could play better defense than Cruz). Cruz’s bat has been a big contributor over the last several games. It’s as if he’s trying to get in as much help as he can before he has to sit. Beltre will not replace Cruz’s bat in the lineup.
The Rangers did claim Adam Rosales off waivers. I’m not sure what the purpose here was. He’s hitting .193 this season. What could you possibly need a guy like that for?
The next two games are important. They are the difference between making this division race extremely tight, or giving back some of the breathing room that Oakland had before. Garza should make tonight’s game a tough one for Oakland. I’m hoping the Ranger bats can keep hitting.