Daily Archives: September 13, 2010

Texas Rangers Aren’t Fading For Once…

The Rangers have gotten a ton of play on the MLB network over the past month or so. I can’t remember seeing more of their games on TV at any point in my life. They’ve earned those televised games, as they are the clearly the class of the AL West, and playing as good as any team in the league right now. They usually fade during July and August when their home field turns into a launching pad, but not this year. I was hoping for an implosion from them, so maybe the A’s would be able to sneak into the playoffs, but that’s like hoping for the Raiders to show up in back to back games. Once again, I’m starting to wonder if the A’s are cursed. Not because of the numerous injuries they suffered for a third straight year, but because we let Ron Washington go. I’d much rather have Washington as the manger over Geren, but Beane was very pro Geren, so we’re stuck with the schlep. Until A’s fortunes change, I think we are still under The Curse of the Wash. Normally I’d root against the AL West winner if it wasn’t the A’s, but I found myself pulling for the Rangers to succeed this postseason.

The Rangers sweep over the Yankees showed us exactly what they’ve been doing well all year long. Come from behind to win. They came back to win two of the three games, and even made one of those comebacks while Rivera was on the mound. That kind of win can’t be understated when it comes playoff time, and just knowing that they have already beaten up the most dominant closer of all time is a feather in the cap. They also had their ace (Cliff Lee) back on the hill to close out the sweep. It was his first start in two weeks. He showed how healthy he was shutting the Yankees down for 8 innings giving up only one run. It’s only the second time all season the Yankees got swept! What made this even more impressive was that they didn’t need their MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, who is still out with a bruised up ribcage. There’s no rush to get Hamilton back, since they do have a commanding lead in the West (8 ½ games). Now that the Yankees and Rays starting to come back to earth a little, does this give the Twins and Rangers an edge? I’d probably put both of them above the TB and NY on power rankings if I made them right this moment. I’m already envisioning an ALCS matchup between Minnesota and Texas. Maybe that’s a little presumptuous, but if Morneau and Hamilton come back healthy, who’s to say that these two teams are the favorites to make it to the ALCS?

Another thing I’ve noticed about this Rangers team is their swagger factor. It’s crazy how together these guys are. Early in the season after they took out the Angels in the opener of a series in June, right after the final out of the game was recorded Ian Kinsler was out there yelling for them to “get off our field”, as the Angels were heading to the showers. At the time I thought Kinsler was just being the dickhead he is, but now months later I think it was a statement of things to come. It was like they finally believed in themselves before anyone else did, and knew they weren’t going to have a collapse when the weather got hot. They were no longer going to be a pushover and would play every game hard, just the way Wash would’ve played. They were paying attention to more details than they used to, even doing the small ball stuff that wins games utilizing their speed in Bobon and Andrus. We will see if they can continue their good play through the last 19 games. I don’t see any reason for them to slow down since they don’t have the division locked up yet, but they are in as good of a position possible for a solid postseason run, and can let guys like Josh Hamilton and Cliff Lee take some extra rest if it’s needed. I’m glad my prediction of who would win the AL West is working out thus far!

Nothing Has Changed in the Bay Area…

I was too disappointed to post something yesterday, plus my computer crapped out with some Trojan virus on Friday. I’m the one to blame for that since I didn’t ever buy one of those virus protectors…. Anyways, now that I’m a little bit more calm and collected, and at work with a working computer, I can actually assess what happened to the bay area teams. This was supposed to be the year of hope for both franchises, since their divisions suck, and they both made solid offseason moves, but in week one, they were huge disappointments having everyone in the bay saying nothing has changed. Neither team was in their game at the end of the half, which was very disturbing to see both of them give up on both sides of the ball when the game was out of hand. Usually you like to get a couple positives going for the next game during garbage time, but there wasn’t even much of that to draw any hope from. A grade of an F- for both of these franchises to start the season. Actually, I’ll give them an incomplete to start the year since they didn’t even finish all their assignments for week 1.

The Raiders had everything going for them coming into the game, even their “Taking it to them” t-shirts they wore all of training camp. The temperature was mild (77 degrees), and it was surprisingly un-humid in Tennessee. If it was humid, I can only imagine what the score could’ve been. The Raiders had a chance to pull within 14 at the end of the half, and chose to only be down by twenty after kicking a field goal instead. With the ball at the 15, and a yard to go on fourth down we really needed a touchdown. Cable’s fat ass called in the kicking unit, and it felt like we were mailing it in before the half. If we really wanted to be in this game, we don’t go for a field goal when the offense is struggling, and actually has the ball in the redzone for once. Three points wasn’t going give us that boost of confidence we needed going into the locker room. I would’ve been much happier seeing them go for it, and not get the first down, even if that meant we scored zero points on that possession. The most worrisome part of the day was easily the o-line. We couldn’t figure out the no name Tennessee defense. They knocked Campbell down every time he dropped back, and made me hesitantly think, maybe Jamarcus wasn’t completely the problem. Campbell’s line looked familiar for Raiders starting QB’s over the past few years two fumbles, one pick, and one garbage time TD. I might finally be jumping on the fire Cable bandwagon. He seems to have the respect of the players, but what the hell is wrong with our o-line. Isn’t that your specialty Tom!?! If you can’t get your team to be good at what you are supposed to be good at (former o-line coach), then how are you helping this team improve!?! He already gave up the offensive play calling to Hue Jackson, so shouldn’t he be more responsible for other things like coaching the offensive line. The one silver lining is that they played a Tennessee team that is supposed to be pretty good, and a team that was on fire to end last season. If they can’t show up against the Rams, I’m going to be very worried about this team. There was one part of the game that I found entertaining, the Titans mascot ate a cheerleader!

The 49ers had an even worse day than the Raiders. They couldn’t even get a touchdown, and looked terrible in every facet of the game against a team that both By and I predicted to having a good shot at that #1 pick next year in our Doin Lines picks. Coach Singletary thought it was a good “wake up” call for the team, and hopefully he’s right for their sake. If losing to the Seahawks isn’t a wake up call, then I don’t know what this team expects to do this year. Maybe their players were partying in the Castro District a little too much over the offseason and that made them soft, or maybe Vernon Davis is taking to curling more than football… Ok, ok, Vernon was one of the few guys that played well. Seattle played off their 12th man, and somehow looked like the 2007 Seahawks that were perennial playoff contenders. They do have a great home crowd, but the 49ers should’ve made this one at least a little close. It’s sad that they can’t even pin this all on Alex Smith, because every part of their game plan was executed poorly. The scariest part for the Niners is that this isn’t a good team, and preseason this was one of the games I had inked in a W. At least the Raiders got beat down by someone that has playoff aspirations. It’s only one game, but both of these teams have a lot to work on before they are considered anything near a playoff caliber team.