If the first month of 2012 MLB season has been any indication of what’s in store for metroplex sports fans, then by all means we’re in for one hell of a ride: one that may surpass the accomplishments of the ‘90s Cowboys, 2011 Mavericks and 2000 Stars.
For the first time in ever, and I’m taking into account the success of the Rangers over the course of the past two seasons, our baseball team seems poised to dominate the baseball landscape from now to game 162. And if things keep going the way they are, possibly to game 181. The Rangers three weeks into the season and are already up 7 games on the division rival LA Angels. Pujols isn’t hitting anywhere near his contract worth and CJ Wilson has already accumulated two losses on the season which is a direct result of the aforementioned Pujols’ anemic showing at the plate as well as defensive lapses and all around team suckiness.
All the Rangers have done is win behind stellar pitching efforts from all five starters (even ace Colby Lewis) and the only staff member with two losses is closer Joe Nathan who is still a work in progress. We all got a glimpse of the greatness Yu Darvish possesses after his fifth start. He seems to get stronger, confident and is gaining command of his pitches with each outing.
Then there’s the offensive output. Even when the team is behind, no pitcher can rest easy. Hamilton is on fire, Young is doing what he does, Andrus is displaying remarkable patience at the plate and glimpses of power and Kinsler gets everything going from the leadoff spot. The top of the lineup does so much damage that we forget that the bottom is struggling. But the strength of the team is they find ways to win and rely on guys considered afterthoughts to deliver. Snyder and Gonzales are picking up hitting slack while Cruz, Napoli, Moreland and Torrealba are trying to figure out their swings.
The defense ranks among the top five and Kinsler and Andrus will probably go down as the best defensive tandem in team history. Once you add Beltre and Mr. Everything in Young, if you’re an opposing hitter you have to pray these guys make an error because if they get their gloves on a ball, you’re as good as done. Your other option is to hit it over their heads but then you have to deal with Hamilton who can get to everything and Cruz who will gun you down at first given the opportunity.
Then we get to the bullpen which is easily forgettable because they rarely get into the game. The offense builds leads so fast that when they do get the occasional appearance it’s usually a spot start in the event of a double header or just to get some late game work because they’ve just been in the bullpen relaxing. I’d love to have that job.
If the Rangers can find their way back to the Series, then there is no question they would have the best run of a sports team in the metroplex. You could argue ‘90s Cowboys, but baseball’s season length, combined with the injury factor and the few teams that can actually make the playoffs is what sets them apart from all the rest.
I almost forgot. I need to adjust my prediction from 152-10 to 142-20.