Six months down, one night to go

A lot has happened since I last wrote, and it’s only been four days. The Rangers won a series in Anaheim (could have had a sweep if the bats were awake), and come home 3-3, and after this amazing start people are already starting to say positive things. I guess everyone expected them to go 0-162.  I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon, because those people jumping on will jump off again as soon as they feel the slightest bump, and I don’t want to get in their way. Remember, the Rangers were 5-5 last year. I would say I’m a glass half empty kind of guy, but then I’d also say that it depends on if you’re filling or emptying the glass – and I hope the Rangers are filling.

My biggest fear is that the Rangers get slightly into contention in midsummer, and abandon the long-term plan again, doing some panic deal like bringing in Carlos Lee for a few months of nothing, and getting rid of someone with actual value to the team. This is why I’d rather they stay well out of the race, get eliminated by say June 1 (kind of like last year) and then concentrate on the kids.

Everyone’s been talking about the pitching, since the hitting has been doing little.  I can only say what I’ve said a hundred times before, small sample size.  Even a blind dog does something or other now and then.

No, phooey to that, let’s go half full for a moment.  Come on pitchers!  Jason Jennings, you can do it tomorrow!  Win one for my son, that’ll make us all happy.  He is so excited to be going to the ballpark again.  Me too, I’m looking forward to a ballpark hotdog, and a new shirt (I hope they have Salty shirts available by now), and the chance to pay ten bucks to leave my car a mile away for a few hours.  Reports are for rain, I hope they don’t affect the game.

I said prior to the opening game that Washington had said he wouldn’t use Botts, and it was true. One at-bat all week, it’s ridiculous. He even said he is going to use Byrd tomorrow, to get the platoon advantage, and move Murphy to DH. Okay, Murphy may need to be in the lineup because of the way he is hitting, but how do you reconcile that with Botts sitting on the bench while Broussard plays against a lefty? I guess it’s the three home runs keeping him in the lineup, it’s sure not the 4-for-21 performance.  And more to the point, how do you justify putting Murphy at DH, he is looking better every day at the plate, and in the field.

I’ve complained about the umpires enough, here’s some credit for one: In Friday night’s game, Mike Scioscia came out to argue something, and Derryl Cousins stood there and listened patiently and politely. He clearly respected Scioscia’s right to say something, he didn’t yell at him or stare him down, he listened, let him have his say, said a few words and then they were done. This was a very professional attitude from the umpire (and indeed from Scioscia, not something I would always say). To my surprise, as I was checking the facts on this (making sure which day it was) I discovered this photo of the moment on ESPN.com.  I should point out that Scioscia’s finger is not in Cousins’ face, it is pointing off to the side.  But just look at the way the ump is listening attentively, not just saying screw you like we’ve had other guys do already this season.  Bravo Derryl Cousins!

On the subject of Pitchfx, I said last time that I’d try and write up something about the first few games of the season. Well, as usual, I started digging into the data as I went, and found more and more stuff I wanted to write about, and ended up writing nothing. My most interesting result was on the new fields in the data, the pitch type and the confidence in that pitch, and how they seem to be being interpreted as they went along. Here’s a question for you: who do you think the algorithm would have more confidence in, Millwood or Padilla? And don’t think for a second that it relates to confidence in their actual ability! More on that, including the answer, very soon.

Gabbard had such a terrible spring that he was on the verge of being sent down, I think.  It was only thanks to the lack of bodies available that he made the team, but he put it all together the other night.  Just one start, but certainly hopeful, as was the way Millwood and Padilla pitched on the weekend.  Do you get the feeling Millwood was going to go a complete game no matter what, just because everyone had talked about the Rangers setting the record for most games without one?  Oh yeah, what does this do to their arms, pitching for long periods so early in the season?  I’ve always heard that their pitch counts are kept down to start the year because it’s cold, and they’re still working their way up to full strength after the winter.  Remember, if arms start falling apart again in a month or two, you heard this theory here first.

Edinson Volquez struck out eight in 5 1/3, gave up one run and got the win, in his debut for Cincy.  John Danks had five no-hit innings going, ended up giving up one run in 6 2/3 (no decision), last week against Cleveland.  Just sayin’.

Opening Day at home at last, we’ll be there. Look for me, I’ll be the guy in the blue McCarthy shirt, with the red cap. You ought to be able to find me, just look for the three year old bouncing off the walls as he drags me around the ballpark.

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