Sunday, October 3, 2010

Everything You Need to Know About the Tampa Bay Rays

So...I was really hoping for the Yankees this series. I don't love our chances against the Rays and I thought we could handle New York fairly easy.

Oh the hand your dealt. First off, let's look at the post season roster. 25 players, most LIKELY to be 14 position players and 11 pitchers with the outside chance of 10 pitchers and 15 position players. We'll operate under the assumption that they will take 11 pitchers. I think this is what we're looking at for the 25 man...


Bengie Molina
Matt Treanor


Mitch Moreland
Jorge Cantu


Ian Kinsler


Michael Young


Elvis Andrus


Andres Blanco


Julio Borbon
Nelson Cruz
Jeff Francoeur
Josh Hamilton
David Murphy


Vladimir Guerrero


Cliff Lee
CJ Wilson
Colby Lewis
Tommy Hunter


Neftali Feliz
Darren Oliver
Darren O'Day
Alexi Ogando
Derek Holland
Michael Kirkman
Dustin Nippert

Just my guy feeling. Assuming that's the 25, let's look at how each of the players have fared against the players on the other side. How the pitchers have fared against the Rays position players and how the Rangers batters have fared against the Rays' pitchers.


David Price - Never faced
Matt Garza - 2-3, 1 BB, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Wade Davis - Never faced
Rafael Soriano - 0-2, 1 SO
Joaquin Benoit - 1-2, 1 SO, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Randy Choate - Never faced
Grant Balfour - Never faced
Lance Cormier - 0-1
Dan Wheeler - 0-1, 1 SO


David Price - 1-2, 1 BB, 1 2B
Matt Garza - 0-5, 1 SO
Wade Davis - Never faced
Rafael Soriano - 1-4, 1 SO
Joaquin Benoit - 5-11, 2 SO, 2 BB, 2 2B, 1 RBI
Randy Choate - Never faced
Grant Balfour - 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 SO
Lance Cormier - Never faced
Dan Wheeler - 1-5, 1 RBI, 3 SO


David Price - Never faced
Matt Garza - 0-3, 3 SO
Wade Davis - Never faced
Rafael Soriano - 0-1, 1 SO
Joaquin Benoit - Never faced
Randy Choate - Never faced
Grant Balfour - Never faced
Lance Cormier - 1-1, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Dan Wheeler - Never faced


David Price - 0-6, 3 SO
Matt Garza - 2-13, 1 BB, 5 SO
Wade Davis - Never faced
Rafael Soriano - 1-6, 2 SO, 1 2B
Joaquin Benoit - 3-7, 1 SO, 1 HR, 5 RBI
Randy Choate - Never faced
Grant Balfour - 0-2
Lance Cormier - 3-6, 1 BB
Dan Wheeler - 1-6, 1 3B


David Price - 2-6, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2 2B, 1 RBI
Matt Garza - 5-22, 3 BB, 3 SO
Wade Davis - 0-2, 1 SO
Rafael Soriano - 0-1
Joaquin Benoit - Never faced
Randy Choate - 0-1, 1 SO
Grant Balfour - 1-6, 2 SO, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Lance Cormier - 3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Dan Wheeler - 3-6, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI


David Price - 2-7, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 2B, 5 RBI
Matt Garza - 5-19, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Wade Davis - 1-3, 2 RBI
Rafael Soriano - 0-6, 3 BB, 4 SO
Joaquin Benoit - Never faced
Randy Choate - 0-1
Grant Balfour - 1-6, 3 BB, 2 SO
Lance Cormier - 2-5, 1 RBI
Dan Wheeler - 0-4, 3 SO


David Price - 2-6, 3 BB, 2 SO, 1 RBI
Matt Garza - 3-12, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 RBI
Wade Davis - 1-3, 2 SO, 1 RBI
Rafael Soriano - 0-1
Joaquin Benoit - 1-1
Randy Choate - 0-1, 1 SO
Grant Balfour - 0-3, 1 SO
Lance Cormier - 0-1, 1 BB
Dan Wheeler - 0-1


David Price - 0-2, 2 SO
Matt Garza - 2-5, 1 BB, 1 RBI
Wade Davis - Never faced
Rafael Soriano - 1-2
Joaquin Benoit - 1-3, 1 RBI
Randy Choate - Never faced
Grant Balfour - Never faced
Lance Cormier - Never faced
Dan Wheeler - Never faced


David Price - Never faced
Matt Garza - 1-10, 1 BB, 3 SO
Wade Davis - 2-2
Rafael Soriano - Never faced
Joaquin Benoit - 0-1, 1 SO
Randy Choate - 0-2, 1 SO
Grant Balfour - Never faced
Lance Cormier - 1-2
Dan Wheeler - Never faced


David Price - 2-4, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Matt Garza - 0-3, 1 SO, 1 RBI
Wade Davis - Never faced
Rafael Soriano - Never faced
Joaquin Benoit - Never faced
Randy Choate - 0-1
Grant Balfour - 0-2, 1 SO
Lance Cormier - 2-2, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Dan Wheeler - 0-1


David Price - Never faced
Matt Garza - Never faced
Wade Davis - Never faced
Rafael Soriano - 0-2, 1 SO
Joaquin Benoit - Never faced
Randy Choate - Never faced
Grant Balfour - Never faced
Lance Cormier - 0-1
Dan Wheeler - Never faced


David Price - 1-6, 2 SO
Matt Garza - 2-15, 2 BB, 6 SO
Wade Davis - 2-2, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Rafael Soriano - 1-1
Joaquin Benoit - 0-1, 1 SO
Randy Choate - 1-3, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2 RBI
Grant Balfour - 0-1, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 RBI
Lance Cormier - 1-6, 1 SO, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Dan Wheeler - 1-4, 1 SO, 1 RBI


David Price - 1-5, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Matt Garza - 5-22, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI
Wade Davis - 0-2
Rafael Soriano - Never faced
Joaquin Benoit - 0-1, 1 SO
Randy Choate - 1-3, 1 SO, 1 RBI
Grant Balfour - 1-4, 3 SO
Lance Cormier - 2-2, 2 BB, 1 2B, 1 3B
Dan Wheeler - 1-1, 1 2B


David Price - 2-7, 1 BB, 1 SO
Matt Garza - 4-13, 1 BB, 3 SO, 2 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Wade Davis - 0-2
Rafael Soriano - 5-9, 1 SO
Joaquin Benoit - 4-15, 4 BB, 3 SO, 2 2B
Randy Choate - 0-2, 1 BB
Grant Balfour - 3-6, 1 SO, 1 RBI
Lance Cormier - 1-5, 1 SO, 2 RBI
Dan Wheeler - 3-5, 2 BB, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI

OK...hitting the pause button before we move on to how our pitchers have fared against their hitters. Some things that could be interesting to note.

Ranger hitters don't have a ton of at bats against Rafael Soriano and Randy Choate, but those two have shut down our hitters for a combined 11-49 with 16 strikeouts.

None of our hitters have had a great deal of success against the likely top 3 starters from the Rays. Kinsler and Andrus are both 2-6 against Price while Cruz is 2-4. And Borbon is 2-2 against Wade Davis. That's about it.

Now on to how our pitchers have fared against the mainstays of the Rays lineup.


Carl Crawford - 7-29, 6 SO, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Ben Zobrist - 4-13, 1 SO, 1 RBI
Carlos Pena - 6-29, 1 BB, 6 SO, 3 HR, 4 RBI
Jason Bartlett - 5-19, 3 SO, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Evan Longoria - 3-18, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 2B, 2 RBI
BJ Upton - 7-21, 1 BB, 6 SO, 3 2B, 1 RBI


Carl Crawford - 2-12, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Ben Zobrist - 2-6, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 2B
Carlos Pena - 0-5, 3 BB, 1 SO, 1 RBI
Jason Bartlett - 2-2, 1 RBI
Evan Longoria - 0-6
BJ Upton - 0-5, 1 BB, 2 SO


Carl Crawford - 1-4, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1 RBI
Ben Zobrist - Never faced
Carlos Pena - 0-1, 1 SO
Jason Bartlett - 0-1, 1 SO
Evan Longoria - Never faced
BJ Upton - Never faced


Carl Crawford - 4-11, 1 BB, 1 3B, 1 RBI
Ben Zobrist - 2-9, 2 BB
Carlos Pena - 3-10, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Jason Bartlett - 2-7, 2 SO
Evan Longoria - 2-11, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI
BJ Upton - 2-10, 4 SO, 1 RBI


Carl Crawford - 0-1
Ben Zobrist - 0-2
Carlos Pena - 0-2
Jason Bartlett - 0-1, 1 SO
Evan Longoria - 0-2, 1 SO
BJ Upton - 0-2, 2 SO


Carl Crawford - 2-3, 1 SO, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Ben Zobrist - 0-2, 1 BB, 1 SO
Carlos Pena - 2-7, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 2B, 5 RBI
Jason Bartlett - 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Evan Longoria - 1-3, 2 BB, 1 HR, 1 RBI
BJ Upton - 0-3, 1 SO, 1 RBI


Carl Crawford - 1-5, 1 SO, 1 RBI
Ben Zobrist - 2-2, 3 RBI
Carlos Pena - 0-1
Jason Bartlett - 3-5, 1 BB, 1 SO
Evan Longoria - 1-4, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 2B, 1 RBI
BJ Upton - 0-7, 2 SO


Carl Crawford - 0-0, 1 RBI
Ben Zobrist - 0-0, 1 BB
Carlos Pena - Never faced
Jason Bartlett - 0-1, 1 SO
Evan Longoria - 0-1, 1 SO
BJ Upton - 1-1


Carl Crawford - 2-7, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1 2B
Ben Zobrist - 1-6, 1 BB, 1 RBI
Carlos Pena - 0-6, 3 SO
Jason Bartlett - 2-6, 3 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Evan Longoria - 5-9, 1 SO, 3 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
BJ Upton - 3-6, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI


Carl Crawford - 0-4, 1 RBI
Ben Zobrist - 3-6, 1 BB, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Carlos Pena - 3-5, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR, 4 RBI
Jason Bartlett - 2-4, 2 RBI
Evan Longoria - 2-4, 1 2B
BJ Upton - 3-5, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI


Never faced Rays.

Some notes from the pitcher stats...

If it gets to Feliz time, the numbers tell us the game is over. Not one of those 6 main hitters has gotten to him yet and in his career against the Rays he hasn't allowed a run and has a WHIP of 0.35.

In the debate over whether to start Cliff Lee on three days rest or Tommy Hunter fresh for a possible game 4, it's interesting to note that Cliff has pretty much shut down the nucleus of the Rays lineup outside of BJ Upton. Hunter doesn't have a large sample size against Tampa, but he looks like he's been touched up a little bit. Makes for an interesting argument should it arise.

So that's how Tampa looks against Texas. Game 1 is 12:37 Central time on Wednesday (Eff you TBS) as Cliff Lee will take on David Price...should be fun. I'm expecting Tampa to take games 1 and 2, Texas to win game 3, and then have Tampa close it out against Hunter next Sunday. Hoping I'm wrong.

What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter with your thoughts. @SportsByDallas

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh My...

New Rangers, Rich Harden (L) and Chris Ray (R)

What a busy couple of days for the Texas Rangers, and they may not be done yet.

Rumors had floated around Texas for a couple of days, but it seemed like for the most part, they were standing pat due to financial difficulties.

Then came Wednesday. There had been rumblings that the Mets and Orioles had interest in Kevin Millwood, but nothing seemed serious. Then word comes down on mid-Wednesday-morning, that the Orioles and Rangers had agreed on a swap of Kevin Millwood for Chris Ray and the Orioles first pick in the Rule 5 draft (The player ended out being Ben Snyder, a lefty pitcher from the Giants organization)


It doesn't make any sense to to trade your staff number 1, a guy who was an inning horse for you all year, and not have anything else in place.

The main guy they're getting back, Chris Ray, was a good pitcher once upon a time. He's a guy who a short time ago (2006 season) saved 33 games, had an ERA under 3 and held opponents to a batting average of .193

He struggled the following season though and had to have Tommy John surgery near the end of the 07 season which caused him to miss all of 08 and pitch horribly in 09. It's always been a generally accepted rule that if a pitcher is coming back from Tommy John surgery, that his first year back will be a bumpy road and if he's ever to return to form, it will be the second season back from the surgery.

Show time, Chris Ray. The Rangers are obviously banking on the hope that Ray will return to dominant form for them and be a cheap, game changing addition.

Still, even if he is excellent this year, you just traded away you're number 1 and have no one to fill the role.

Enter Rich Harden. I've long been a fan of Harden's, and if you'll look at the last post before this one, I mentioned Harden by name as someone that the Rangers should target if they want to win in 2010. Thank you, Jon Daniels.

Harden's always an injury concern, but damn if he doesn't have some of the best stuff in baseball. Solid velocity (Can kick his fastball up to about 97, but hovers more around 93 or 94...think Derek Holland velocity) and has one of the nastiest changeup's in baseball. Maybe the best.

As Dan Plesac said on MLB Network after the signing was made "Rich Harden, when healthy, and that is the trick...keeping him healthy, is as good as any right handed pitcher in the AL or NL"

That's mighty high praise when you think that Plesac is saying Harden is just as good or better than guys like Roy Halladay, Zack Greinke, Tim Lincecum, etc.

So basically what the Rangers did was trade Kevin Millwood for Rich Harden, Chris Ray and Ben Snyder. I'll take that.

Then comes word late Wednesday that the Rangers were close to trading catching prospect Max Ramirez for Red Sox Third Baseman Mike Lowell. If the trade goes down, which it should, then Lowell would be the Rangers' DH and be there to give a night off in the field to Michael Young and Chris Davis.

Lowell is coming off a .290/17 HR season. The Rangers could have desperately used that production in the last month of the 09 season. It was the bats that just killed them down the stretch.

Lowell is closing in on the end of his career, but if he can give the Rangers .285 and 20 home runs while being able to keep guys like Michael Young fresh by giving them the occasional night off, then I'm all for it. Lowell makes 12 million dollars, but the Red Sox are going to eat 9 million of it.

That means Texas traded a fading prospect in Ramirez for a solid run producer in the middle of the lineup and they'll only be paying him 3 million.

All these moves are risky. Ray could blow up, Harden's shoulder could blow up and Lowell could just get REALLY old overnight.

You have to take risks if you want to be successful. And though all of these could end up being significant risks they didn't need to take, if it blows up, they really won't be on the hook for them past this year.

Something fun to look at is that it's completely possible that the Opening Day lineup and rotation will be...




1] Rich Harden
2] Scott Feldman
3] Tommy Hunter
4] Derek Holland
5] Neftali Feliz

Were it to break like that, you're looking at a REALLY young team come April. The average age of those 14 Rangers players is 26 years old.

Exciting times for the Rangers. They're still looking for bullpen help (Darren Oliver seems to be the guy they want) and they also need a veteran backup catcher (With the departure of Pudge. /sadness)

After those two things get shored up, Texas will look very scary.

Mavs play tonight. Let's hope Tim Thomas doesn't throw any chairs because he got cold pancakes...or something like that.

They play the Heat at 6:30. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Feel Bad

I have the most sickening feeling that the Mavericks are going to lose to the New Jersey/Brooklyn/Jay-Z Nets tonight.

Josh Howard is still out, so is Ross apparently. And if you heard the "FUCK" exclaimed from Shawn Marion on FoxSports as he walked to the locker room after Monday's game, than you have to wonder about his health too.

Also, teams always seem to play well for the first few games after a coach is fired. New Jersey doesn't want to be the sole owner of this record and with Dallas struggling the last few games with injuries and Barea's general presence on the floor, than you have to be a little concerned about this being a trap game.

Please do not sleep walk through this game, Dallas. You don't get enough respect as it is and it will only get worse if you lose to NJ/BK/JZ tonight. When you get into the playoffs later in the year, what will people use against you as a reason to pick the other team in the series? "Yeah, Dallas is good, but they lost to the Nets. How good can you be when that happens?"

I'd really rather not hear that garbage, so please win tonight. Don't make me embarrassed to be a Mavericks fan tonight. Just...finish them. Kill them. Please. Don't even make it a close game. Beat them by 40 if it's at all possible.

Ugh. I'm scared.

Anyway, Rangers offered arbitration to Marlon Byrd and Pudge yesterday. I still think people need to keep an eye out for Salty or Tea to get traded and Pudge to get re-signed. I may be wrong, but that's what it feels like to me.

Rumors also keep going around about Jermaine Dye, Darren Oliver and other spares. I'm going to cry if the Rangers don't make a significant improvement this off-season. Next year is supposed to be their big year where all the young talent comes together. It won't be possible if you don't get a solid patient hitter (Let's say Nick Johnson) or a good starting pitcher (Rich Harden for example) and thus I will be angry and sad for 5 months.

Oh well. Check out the Mavs and pray they don't lose to the Nets.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MVP! MVP! MVP! (Part 2)

Sitting in section 308 of the American Airlines Center (A section I frequent. I'll be the one with the nosebleed from the altitude...holla!) I tried to get the MVP chant going. No luck. In due time, though.

Last night I saw a fire in Dirk Nowitzki that I haven't seen...maybe ever. I don't know. I don't ever recall him being so pumped and so confident and brash to the point that he walks to the fans in the front row and gives a flex.

Dirk Nowitzki is just too good right now. Everything is going down when the Mavericks need it most. He hasn't been money for all 4 quarters in most games this year, but he's been near 100% shooting when the Mavs most need a bucket and that's what Dallas needs more than anything from him. If he's hovering around 40% shooting on the night and doesn't exactly seem on doesn't matter. If he's missed 4 or 5 straight shots in a row...doesn't matter. If he is going to the lane, getting to the line and missing free throws...IT DOESN'T MATTER. For the first time in Dirk Nowitzki's career, none of that matters. Because even if all that is happening, he's shown this year that if there's 30 seconds left in the game and the Mavs down by one, he's going to isolate just above the free throw line and drain it every time. Whether he takes it to the rim and finishes or does his trademark fadeaway...either way...we all know it's going down this year.

Dirk is having an MVP season. I know it's only 12 games into the season, but I haven't seen this fire in him before. In past years the team has almost had an attitude of "We're young...we'll get em next year."

This year, Dirk seems to be of the mindset that tomorrow may never come and so it's all about today. if Dirk Nowitzki wasn't dangerous enough, the league should be terrified if he's playing with the swagger and fire he has right now.

In addition to Dirk's special season, you're starting to get the feeling that this Mavericks team is special too. They just find ways to win. They're 9-3 and still have yet to play a game with their full compliment of players. If Marion is playing, Howard isn't. If Howard is playing, Tim Thomas isn't. If Tim Thomas is playing, Marion isn't. It's been like that all year for Dallas and they're still 9-3. Can you imagine what's going to happen when they get everyone healthy?

PG - Jason Kidd
SG - Josh Howard
SF - Shawn Marion
PF - Dirk Nowitzki
C - Erick Dampier/Drew Gooden


Jason Terry
Roddy Beaubois
JJ Barea
Kris Humphries
Tim Thomas
Quinton Ross

Holy cow...that's a deep roster. With Ross playing MUCH better defense than he was earlier in the year, Humphries becoming more patient with his shot and the emergence of one Roddy Buckets, the Mavs are looking really scary. There's not really a weakness on the roster right now. It was thought to be the Center position, but the combo of Gooden and Dampier starting has been stunningly effective. The Mavericks have gotten an average of 9.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a game from the starting Center in their games this year. Gooden specifically is averaging 16.6 points, 12 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in games he starts as well as playing the team's tough guy role.

I guess the one real weakness the team might have right now is it's jump shooting. If you can stick Dallas in a half court game and make them knock down contested 18 foot jumpers, you have a real chance. For Dallas to be effective, they need to be running. If they're running, they're impossible to stop due to their athleticism which allows easy buckets and in turn will lead to open transition threes. But if you can make them play half court offense and shoot late into the shot clock, Dallas has been known to struggle on offense.

However, if Beaubois continues his rapid growth and Thomas can come back healthy from his knee problems and Jet can FINALLY start hitting shots we know he can make, then Dallas becomes that much more dangerous since the only thing left to fix is the perimeter game.

Also, on the subject of Terry's jumper not falling, some people complained about Terry taking the final shot in the fourth quarter that sent it into overtime. I've been frustrated with Jet lately, but I have to give Carlisle a break on this one. With two seconds left, Dirk would pretty much have to catch and shoot since his shot creation is usually a slow process. Carlisle went with the guy he knows can get open in a flash, and that's Jet. Had there been 4 seconds left, I have no doubt that Dirk would have taken the shot. I just think with that little time on the clock, Carlisle was looking for someone who could get their look as quick as possible and that was Jet.

Finally, a story was released yesterday that says Tom Hicks is putting together a group to try and save his majority stake in the Rangers. Before you go to sleep tonight and say your prayers, ask God to not let Tom Hicks retain ownership of the Rangers. It's for the best.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I said it on Twitter, but it deserves saying again...Dirk Nowitzki is an effing man.

With the grit and will of Larry Bird and the swagger of Michael Jordan, Dirk saw his team in need last night and basically said "OK guys...time to get on my back, cuz I'm going to carry you tonight."

Mavericks had been awful all night. They were playing decent defense, but as has been the case all year (Including their wins) the Mavs just couldn't hit jump shots. This is a Dallas team that if you can prevent them from getting a head of steam and running up and down the floor for transition buckets, they're very easy to slow down. Because if they can't run, they're forced to take jumpers and they just don't have a roster that can consistently hit 20 footers.

The Jazz obviously knew this. Whatever happened, Utah was going to make sure first and foremost that Dallas did not get any fast break points. By doing that, they forced Dallas to shoot under 35 percent for most of the first three quarters.

Dallas entered the fourth quarter down by double digits and the Jazz lead got all the way up to 16 at one point. That's when Dirk Nowitzki had enough of it and decided he was just going to ram to the basket, no matter who was in his way. He took it to the hole repeatedly at the start of the 4th and quickly go in the bonus. Dirk scored a monumental 29 points in the 4th quarter...two short of tying the NBA record (Wilt Chamberlain) for most points in a 4th quarter.

I saw something in Dirk last night that I haven't seen since the 05-06 season when the Mavericks made the Finals. It was a will to just not let his team lose that ballgame. It wasn't the same sort of game, but it was Jordan-esque in the way he carried his entire team against a defense that had shut them out for three quarters.

I've seen a lot of greatness from Dirk Nowitzki in his time with the Mavericks, but last night may have been the finest performance I've ever seen from him.

Dirk Nowitzki single-handedly defeated the Utah Jazz last night.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cowboys Suck Right Now

Cowboys are in so much trouble. Tony Romo had an entire summer to work on this chemistry thing with his receivers. Reports said he and Roy Williams were staying extra late after practice to work on timing and such.

Apparently that timing wasn't enough. Romo is still throwing passes right as his receivers cut left. Could that be a fault of the receivers? Sure. But I highly doubt that Sam Hurd, Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton are all screwing up the route the same way. Seems more likely that one guy, Romo, is screwing things up. Romo is the only constant in passing routes and so blame should fall on him at the moment.

Makes you miss Terrell Owens, doesn't it? T.O. is equally frustrated in Buffalo where Trent Edwards doesn't seem to know what he's doing and has the arm strength of a middle schooler.

Like him or not, T.O. and Romo were always on the same page when it came to routes. Looks like all the critics were correct in their assumption that Romo wasn't a top tier quarterback, because he's been awful this year.

Hopefully these routes will start syncing up soon, otherwise Dallas is looking at a 7-9 season.

Also, now that the Rangers have closed up, here's a little taste of the season...a tribute I made while I was insanely bored. Enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Looking to 2010

I don't even want to bother trying to make an argument for the Rangers the rest of the year. Time to look towards the off season and what needs to be done to get better.

Here's a list of things I think need to happen.

* Nelson Cruz, as much as I loved what he's done for us, needs to go. He's been solid in the outfield and he's provided pop at the plate, but there's a log-jam in the outfield and he has an easy to move contract. Plus, it's always a red flag when a player suddenly breaks out at the age of 29. He'll be 30 before the middle of next year and it's completely possible that this will be the best year of his career. Trade him to an offensively starved team like the Giants for Reliever Sergio Romo and Third Base prospect Conor Gillaspie.

* Time to bring back Milton Bradley. Bradley will be available now that he's been sent home by the Cubs for the rest of the year, and the rumor (Per Peter Gammons) is that if the Cubs trade him, they'd be willing to eat a lot of his contract. Money wouldn't be an issue for the Rangers in this instance and they could bring back a bat and a passion that they have sorely missed. Maybe swap one of your catchers and a mid level pitching prospect.

* Something I mentioned about a month one of your catchers. I was leaning towards Salty last month, but now I don't know. Either way, Teagarden or Saltalamacchia needs to be traded away and Pudge should be re-signed to split time and be a veteran presence. I think if one gets moved, it may be Tea at this point.

* Let Millwood go. Just let him go...

* With Andruw Jones gone and Omar Vizquel likely to retire, you need to bring in two utility players. Jerry Hairston Jr and Craig Counsell would be two guys that you could play just about anywhere.

* Sign Joe Beimel to be a lefty arm out of the bullpen and Ben Sheets to be apart of your rotation. Sheets' rehab has been quiet, but the feeling is that he will eventually be a Texas Ranger.

* Move Neftali Feliz to the rotation.

* Use all of the coaching staff's hours during the off season to fix two things. 1) Ian Kinsler's uppercut swing...fix the hitch that's making him pop everything up. In 08 he was a line drive hitter who could also hit with some power. In 09, he's just hacking for the fences. 2) Work on fixing Julio Borbon's arm strength. He's too quick and covers too much ground to be a DH. His weak arm makes him a liability in the outfield though, so work hard to make his throwing arm stronger.

* Let Smoak start the year with the big league club.

The Rangers should then bat the lineup like so...

Julio Borbon - LF
Elvis Andrus - SS
Michael Young - 3B
Josh Hamilton - CF
Milton Bradley - RF
Ian Kinsler - 2B
Chris Davis - 1B/DH
Justin Smoak - DH/1B
Pudge/Salty - C


David Murphy
Jerry Hairston
Craig Counsell


Scott Feldman
Ben Sheets
Tommy Hunter
Derek Holland
Neftali Feliz


Dustin Nippert or Brandon McCarthy - Long Reliever
Jason Grilli - Middle Reliever
Sergio Romo - Middle Reliever
Joe Beimel - Middle Reliever
Darren O'Day - Middle Reliever/Setup
CJ Wilson - Setup
Frank Francisco - Closer

Now, the lineup and the reasons for setting it that way.

Borbon and Andrus have to be at the top. Andrus has hit around .290, .295 since the All-Star break. Borbon has shown flashes of being a .315 or so hitter. Two guys who get on base a lot and immediately get in the pitcher's head with their speed. This would start a lot of games with two on, no one out, speed on the bases and the team's best hitter coming up.

Having Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Milton Bradley and Ian Kinsler hitting in consecutive order sets up the team like it did in 08...pitchers can't pitch around any of them. The problem with this year's lineup has been that in between Hamilton and Cruz, was someone like Byrd. Solid hitter, but someone you can pitch too and then throw garbage to the big guns. You can't throw garbage to four hitters in a row.

Davis has his plate issues, Smoak would be a rookie, and our Catcher's aren't the best hitters, but those three at the bottom of the order are solid for their placing.

As for the rotation, if Sheets is healthy, the rotation sets up really nicely. Feldman has shown signs of brilliance, Hunter showed a lot of growth, we've seen Feliz's dominance, and Holland has shown flashes as well. I think Dutch is just going through his rookie lumps like Hunter did in 08. I expect him to be much better in 2010.

So how would you set the lineup? What moves would you make? Leave a comment in the little box below!

Cowboys thoughts coming soon...