Monday Morning Manager

Hate penalty kicks. Play until you drop…. That’s what the Rays and the Red Sox did Sunday night.

The United States women’s soccer team did not have that privilege and now they are celebrating in Japan. Today was a national holiday in Japan anyway…not sure what it was…but they have a World Cup to celebrate and the Americans are left with another example of what Roger Kahn once wrote:

“Losing after great striving is the story of man, who was born to sorrow, whose sweetest songs tell of saddest thought.”

But the Rangers haven’t had to worry about that lately. They have won 11 straight and have a four game lead in the American League West going into a three-game series with the Angels as the Full Buck Moon wanes in the sky.

Maybe there is a knockout blow to be delivered but that seems unlikely.  A sweep means a seven-game lead and that may be consequential but hardly insurmountable.

Not that anybody on the East Coast is paying attention, this series will be played in relative Yankees-Red Sox obscurity but that is the way it is in Bristol and on Madison Ave.

Still, this is one of six divisions – the best when it comes to pitching – and the July showdown begins on the Feast of St. Arsenius, who was the Bishop of Corfu.

July 19 was also the date of the Great Fire of Rome and, according to legend, that was when Nero played his fiddle.

They may be fiddling back on the Atlantic Seaboard while waiting for the next Red Sox-Yankees series but it is Rangers-Angels on Tuesday night in Anaheim

1. Was it the Rangers pitching or the Mariners offense this weekend in Seattle?

2. What is the significance of this series?

3. Do the Rangers need bullpen help?

4. Is the Rangers center field platoon of Craig Gentry and Endy Chavez sufficient for their purposes.

5. Are you paying attention to the NL Central race with Clint Hurdle managing the Pirates and Doug Melvin – all in – as the Brewers GM?



“I told him that a player on streak has to respect the streak…You know why? Because they don’t happen very often” – Crash Davis

1. A little of both. The Rangers starters are pitching better, more importantly the defense has really improved and the Mariners offense, well it’s bad, really bad.

2. I still don’t believe that a series in July with a team you are going to play 10 more times in the second half can be considered significant – but it’s a nice opportunity to put a little distance between themselves and the second place team. Plus, the Rangers last 2 series (OAK and SEA) were against 2 of the worst offensive teams in the AL – not so with LAA – we’ll see how good that Ranger pitching really during this series.

3. Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes

4. Is there any other choice? (I’m coming around to the idea of Carlos Beltan rental – if the price is not too dear and the Rangers don’t try to keep him beyond this season).

5. Yes, I am scoreboard watching the NL Central. The Brewers have been in the playoffs a couple times in the last few seasons, but it’s been a long time since the Pirates were in a playoff race: glad for Clint, glad for the Pittsburgh fans.

1. I can’t imagine an offense any worse then what the Mariners are putting on th field. Even Ichiro is struggling.
2. This series will show that the last 11 games weren’t due to playing bad teams who were already struggling before we played them.
3. They do need bullpen help, but I wouldn’t be willing to trade top prospects for an 8th inning guy.
4. It is sufficient, but Beltran in center makes us a true world series contender.
5. Glad to see Hurdle and Melvin doing well.

1. Both. The Mariners offensive woes kept them from capitalizing on their opportunities to score, but the way the Rangers starters, especially Holland and Lewis, pitched should translate to good results against any club.
2. It’s not the be all end all since there will be 3 more series against the Angels, but winning 2 out of 3 would be huge, not only to increase the lead in the division, but to beat Haren and/or Weaver would be a morale booster and could demoralize the Angels who are no doubt looking at this series as a way to make up some ground fast.
3. With Feliz straightened out (for the time being), Lowe looking healthy and Hunter contributing, it’s not as imperative as it once was, but if a late inning reliever can be acquired without mortgaging the future too much, it seems the most likely way to improve the team for the stretch run.
4. Yes. I don’t expect Chavez to continue to hit the way he has, but that duo play good defense and that is priority #1 in centerfield.
5. All in is the only way to describe Melvin’s approach the past few months. He must not like the Brewer’s chances to compete without Cecil’s son. I expect them to hang around at the top of the division, unlike Pittsburg. Greinke has pitched much better than his ERA indicates. The Pirates have been a feel good story, but they’ve got a lot of pitch to contact type of starters that could be due for a letdown as the season progresses.

1. Rangers starting pitching has been awesome…sub medoza BA over the streak….It was Ranger pitching
2. For “mo” it would be nice to win but so would it be nice to win three against anyone,
3. An Adams would be nice but right now I’m of the opinion that we could do it with what we have. I think Ron Washington would like his third catcher back though.
4. Endy and Craig have played up a storm…so much so that David Murphy is odd man out, They cover the ground in center, steal bases and hit well enough to keep the job…and we don’t lose our farm team trading for anyone.
5, I have to admit a soft spot for the Pirates (Find Milwaukee boring though it was home) I was late to jump on the Hurdle bandwagon but once converted you have to admit he knows hitting. Speaking of that how about the job Coolbaugh has done since he arrived?

1. A lot of credit to Rangers pitching with a slight nod to the lack of offense on Baltimore, Oakland, and Seattle.
2. I think it could be a good psych boost, but if the Angels even swept us, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.
3. I think this organization never rests on its laurels and is always looking for opportunities to get better. Just don’t give up the farm for mediocrity.
4. I think they are fine, but if the opportunity to improve presents itself, they must jump on it. I don’t think either Gentry or Chavez are a long term answer. Good spare parts though.
5. Not really paying attention, but happy for both. It would be nice to see something good happen for the Pirates for a change. The Brewers should still be in the American League :)

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