Friday, October 1, 2010

25 Enter, But Who Leaves?

“Fights begin, finger prints are took, days is lost, bail is made, court dates are ignored, cycle is repeated.”

  • Anyone ever notice that often when I start my scatter shooting, I often begin with “so I was…?”  You did?  Okay.  I thought it was just me.

  • Congratulations to the Cowboys for finally winning a game this year.  They had some great plays in the game including Roy’s two touchdown passes and the play of the defense.  But the play of the game went to Carl Cheffers  mind numbing penalty explanation in the fourth quarter of the game.  I’ve never laughed so hard during a football game in my life.

  • Is anyone else excited about the Mavericks opening training camp?  Me neither…moving on.

  • I was talking with a friend the other day about the best football teams in Texas and we decided to rank the top five.  Keep in mind this was after the Longhorns lost and before the Cowboys won:
1.   TCU  2. Houston Texans  3. Euless Trinity  4. Some dudes in the park  5.  UTA Mavericks

  • The best part of the Rangers division clinching, beer drinking, champagne celebration was not seeing Josh Hamilton in a beer drinking, champagne celebration.

  • During the final minutes of Texas’ loss to UCLA, I commented that the best way for Longhorn fans to forget what happened on the field was to release Bevo into the stands.  Well it took them a few days to think of something, but on Tuesday…

Any Who…

It’s time, it’s time, it’s time.  We’ve been hearing that mantra since opening day and you know what? 

It’s Time.

The playoffs are less than a week away and Manager Ron Washington has some decisions to make.  Who’s on first?  What pitchers are going into the postseason and who gets to stay home and watch with the rest of us?

Skip has until 11 post meridiem Tuesday night to have his roster in and the decisions he has to make I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  Regardless of what he does, he is going to be criticized, scrutinized and challenged by those who’ve doubted him since he’s been here.  But the question I have for the naysayers is what have we done in the past to even allow you to second guess the manager? 

In our little Rangers 40 year history, we have been to the playoffs exactly three times.  We’ve been knocked out in the first round all three times and have exactly one win to show for it.

We finally have a team that is good enough to compete with anyone in baseball and have legitimate chance to actually push deep into the playoffs.  So what our fans need to do is take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the ride for as long as we can.

But first things first; who goes and who stays?

I know every pundit, blowhard and know-it-all in the metroplex has their lineups in mind.  So I figure why not throw mine in the mix as well and let’s see who’s really got the juice.

As far as pitchers go, Wash said he is definitely going to take 11 pitchers into the postseason.  That sounds simple enough until you look at how all of these guys have been playing over the last two months of the season.

We know Cliff Lee, C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis will be the 1, 2 and 3 starters.  I agree with the Lee and Wilson, but was a bit surprised by Lewis’ selection.  I would prefer Hunter take the third spot because he’s been lights out the majority of the season.  He’s also only pitched 123 innings so he’s relatively fresh.

But it’s all irrelevant now as it was announced Thursday that Hunter would start game four if the team is fortunate to get that far.

 Four down, seven to go.

This is where it gets tricky.  Wash and his staff have to decide amongst a cast of characters that include Rich Harden and Scott Feldman who have been consistently inconsistent.  Then there are at least four rookies you have to consider and a late comer in Mark Lowe who looked alright in Wednesday’s game against Seattle.

The easy part for me would be telling Harden and Feldman that if they wanted to be with the team, they had to buy a ticket, because there is no way those two walking head cases see a single inning during the run.  Was has gone out of his way to get both back on track and it has backfired on him nearly every time.  And they should understand that you cannot add guys with ERAs upwards of five onto the roster.  This isn’t the teams of the 90s where you have no choice.  And it’s not worth the risk either.

So Feldman and Hardin are out.  For that matter, so are Pedro Strop, Matt Harrison and Lowe.  Strop is still learning to pitch, Harrison can be a liability and Lowe has been hurt much of the season and no one has seen a lot from him since the Seattle trade. 

The bubble guy for me would be Darren O’Day.  I like what he brings and he has been unhittable for most of the season.  But with all the firepower the bullpen has, I can see where he could either stay or go.  The thing that works in his favor is I don’t believe the coaching staff wants to take four rookie pitchers into the playoffs and that could be his saving grace.   Additionally, it’s pretty damn hard to argue against a 1.95 ERA with only 14 runs surrendered in 70 appearances.

The remainder of my bullpen would include Darren Oliver, Derek Holland, Clay Rapada, Dustin Nippert, Alexi Ogando, Michael Kirkman and of course Neftali Feliz.

The one name that could get squeezed out is Rapada and that’s only because of the rookie factor.  Other than that, I would expect to see him on the roster come Oct. 6.

The position players pose somewhat of a challenge, at least for me.  You have the no-brainer position players in Michael Young, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Vlad Guerrero and Nelson Cruz.  David Murphy is more than likely going to start despite his hamstring injury which should only get better with the additional rest days he is going to receive betwixt now and the first game.

Wash said Hamilton will play in the outfield in the playoffs which would move Julio Borbon to the bench (which is a great option).

So that leaves catcher and first base.

Look, I hate the idea of Bengie Molina starting anything short of a competitive eating competition.  His reaction time is slow and he is a liability on the base paths, especially if a speedy person is behind him.  Just ask Borbon how many doubles and triples he might have had if Molina were not in his way.  My guy would be Matt Treanor simply because he is the anti-Molina and he comes through in the clutch.  Too many times it looks like Molina is just swinging so he doesn’t have to run and come playoff time, when the intensity is elevated, I am willing to bet a right fielder will throw him out at first on what would be a routine single for anyone else.

He will be a liability, mark my words.

The other issue the team aces is at first base. Now personally, I don’t see the dilemma.  Chris Davis has been horrible.  He could not hit from opening day until the day he was sent down to the minors.  He was brought back, did more of the same and was sent back down. 

Enter Mitch Moreland and a subsequent .344 BA with 7 HRs.  And with the exception of a two week slump, he has handedly won the job at first.  Inexplicably, Davis was brought back a third time to compete for the job.  Now I don’t know about you, but Davis could have hit .300 for the final month he was called up and I still wouldn’t add him to the roster.  He disappears at the wrong time and if he goes and Moreland doesn’t, it will be a huge mistake.

The rest of the position players would include Jorge Cantu (he cane play multiple infield positions and I believe he is out of his RBI slump), Treanor of course, Andres Blanco and the only acquisition that has truly paid off considering the time he’s been here, Jeff Francoeur.

I like Esteban German, but who do you leave for him?  Taylor Teagarden just hasn’t gotten the opportunity to really play since Molina is plopped down in his position.  But given the choice, I would take Taylor over Molina.

Davis would be best served watching and working and Christian Guzman, goodness, gracious.  He just needs to go…anywhere.  I’ve been sour on him since he whined about coming to Texas prior to the trade.  How can you complain about coming to the Rangers when you are on a team in the Nationals that is worser than the Pirates (Yeah, I said worser…that’s how bad the Nationals are.  I have to make up a word for them)?

So there is my roster for the 2010 playoffs and I’m willing to bet Wash’s is going to be pretty similar. 

Man, I am so anxious for this thing to start I’m losing my mind.

It’s Time!
It’s Time!
It’s Time!  

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