Minnesota Twins (20-23) @ Texas Rangers (17-27)
The Texas Rangers have just finished a road trip which took them to Tampa Bay, where they were swept in three games, and Houston, where they won two of three including a rout on Sunday. The Twins are finishing a road trip which started in Cleveland, where they were swept in three games, then to Milwaukee, where they won two of three, but not the game that I attended. The Rangers and Twins both reside in fourth place in their respective divisions, the Rangers are 9.5 games back of the Angels, while the Twins remain 7 back of the Tigers and Indians. The Rangers are 10-10 at home, and the Twins have an identical 10-10 record on the road. Seeing that, I predict a series split.
On to the Rangers:
The Rangers have played for the last couple years at Ameriquest Field, but they have terminated the agreement with Ameriquest, so the field is once again known as The Ballpark in Arlington. Whatever the field is called, one of the Rangers’ beat writers can see a current Twins outfielder playing half his games there in the near future.
The Twins will face Vicente Padilla on Monday, who hasn’t had much success this year (Rangers are 1-8 in games that he starts) Other starters for the series for the Rangers are Kameron Loe and Robinson Tejeda. Tejeda had a very impressive start last time out, no-hitting the Astros for the first five innings. If he can extend a no-hitter for a complete game he will add his name to this list.
Texas is currently 10 games under .500 for this season. When they have started the first 41 games with a losing record, they haven’t been able to dig their way out. But, even if the Rangers don’t win them all, at least they’re a bunch of nice guys.
It’s been an up and down season for the Rangers thus far, and, though there is some optimism out there, the general consensus is that this is probably a rebuilding year. Then the question becomes, do they have the right men (Ron Washington as manager and John Daniels as GM) for the job? It seems as though one of those two may be on thin ice if things don’t improve. Personally, I like these thoughts from Washington about first pitch swinging, nothing groundbreaking, but it certainly adresses the point.
With any rebuilding season, attention has turned to the farm system. I think this is pretty interesting, a calendar of the probable pitchers for each day in the minor leagues. Given the Rangers recent history developing pitchers from within, it may not be as useful of a reference as it first appears.
Trade rumors have also followed the Rangers and their inauspicious start. Eric Gagne has been mentioned, but the most popular target of trade rumors, third baseman Hank Blalock, has just been put on the 60 day DL while he undergoes surgery.
Rangers Trivia: The Rangers pitchers hold the record for the highest batting average in a single season by an American League pitching staff. What was their average, and in what year? (Link for the answer)