Okay, so I’ve solved the Rangers problems (again). We need realignment, and the Rangers need to move to the National League. After all, in the NL they’re a 1.000 team this year. If they were in the NL they wouldn’t be the second worst team in the league. They’d be tied for the second worst.
Seriously, do the Rangers have a shot at all? They keep talking like they do, which I guess is a good things. They seem to be ahead of the Astros pace from 2005, when the Houston paper showed a headstone of their season in May, saying they were already dead and buried, and they ended up going to the World Series. The Rangers are now 16-26. That Astros team was 15-26, then 15-30 before they started winning. They got a wild card at 89-73, a game ahead of the Phillies. Can the Rangers do that? The problem is that in the AL Central the Indians and Tigers are both on a pace for at least 98 wins, which would be a much harder barrier to reach. Let’s say the Indians win 100 and the Tigers win 98. That means the Rangers need 99, which means they would need to go 83-37 from here, which is .692 ball. They’re at .381 now, which means they’re more likely to go 37-83 than 83-37. Still, there’s hope. If there’s a miracle waiting out there, let it come on down and touch the other Texas team.
Blalock’s causing me all kinds of trouble right now. He’s out for about three months with thoracic outlet syndrome, which is something only a surgeon could love. A month ago I wanted him off the team, in any way possible. In April he had a .678 OPS, about as bad as possible and still keep your job. I was speculating who might replace him, and seeing not much in the minors to help. He turned it around in May though, hitting a stellar 1.176 OPS, which is MVP level if you can keep it up all year. His combined .828 would be his best since 2004 (.855), and rapidly approaching his career best .872 from 2003. He would have been a prime trade candidate, too, because the Rangers could have sold at a peak before he started flopping again. As it is, he will sit for a few months, maybe drag his way through September when he comes back, and be the starter at 3rd next year by default.
The Rangers jumped down to AA to bring up Travis Metcalf to play 3rd. Looks like he has been hitting a bit this year, but last year wasn’t so good and he wasn’t even mentioned in the Baseball Prospectus annual. Can he make enough of his chance? Time will tell. How much of his callup was due to the fact that the Roughriders are in San Antonio, just down the road from Houston? Maybe not much, since Oklahoma City is only a short plane ride away too.
Speaking of callups, the rotation scramble continues tomorrow, when Kronk will get the start. His 5.40 ERA is apparently explained by one bad outing after several good ones lately. His callup is explained by being the guy who drew the short straw. In other words, it just happened to be his turn when the team needed someone in a hurry. I won’t say bad things about him, because he might surprise tomorrow. I’ll just say that his career line does not inspire faith, his last year’s performance does not inspire faith, and the Rangers performances this year don’t inspire faith. Come on Kronk, make a believer out of me! Better yet, pitch well enough that they have to keep you up with the big club.
Tejeda seemed a little off tonight, oddly, since he no-hit them for five innings before they caught up in the 6th. Not one of his better outings, but you know, he still got the win, and how often have we said not a good outing and combined it with a loss this year? Every time? He walked four, he hit someone, and ended up with 95 pitches in 5-plus innings, about 20 more than he should have had. And his strike ratio wasn’t good, only 53 of the 95 being strikes. To be fair though, he’d just had a bit of a layoff after arm soreness, and to be even more fair, he got the W. That’s all that matters at this stage, right?