b The Longhorn Mafia <$BlogRSDURL$>

Friday, July 30, 2004

Sports: Rangers At a Pivotal Point 

What a difference a week makes.

A week ago, the Rangers beat Mark Mulder and held a 4.5 game lead on the Athletics. 5 losses in 6 games combined with 6 straight Oakland wins leaves the Rangers a game behind Oakland going into game 2 tonight in Arlington.

So it is a pivotal time for the Rangers, as they can't afford to let Oakland get too far ahead in the standings due to their suspect rotation. And it doesn't get any better tonight with Sam Narron making his major league debut (although Narron did go 12-1 with a 3.24 ERA in Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma this season).

While other teams can make deals, the Rangers prefer to stand pat and not mortgage the future for a run at the playoffs. And that is probably for the best, but 4 straight last place finishes leaves the area playoff-starved.

So it's up to the current team, and they have shown that they are more than ready to handle any challenge this year. Many proclaimed the team dead when they were swept in Cincinatti in mid-June, but the Rangers turned right around that weekend and swept the world-champion Marlins.

It's time to do it again. Baseball logic says that pennant races are won in September, but statistics show that very few teams make up deficits even as small as 4.5 games after July 31.

Sam Narron, Ryan Drese and Nick Regilio have a lot of weight on their shoulders this weekend, but the Rangers need them to pitch well and if nothing else gain a mental advantage on the A's.

Damn it's nice to still be talking about the Rangers when the Cowboys begin practing.

Update: The Rangers quickly fall behind 4-0 in game 2 as Sam Narron is the victim of a couple of long balls. But they string together two runs in the 6th, load the bases in the 8th and get a single from Laynce Nix that scores two runs (the second on a gutsy call by third base umpire to send David Dellucci, who barely beats the tag) to tie it. And then Michael Young, who should get consideration for MVP, singles to left, scoring two more runs. Coco Cordero comes in and allows a run, but still slams the door shut for his 31st save of the year.

And the Rangers are in first place once again.

F Larry Walker, btw. He rejected a trade to the Rangers today.


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