So this is the daunting second half. This Rangers team was finally going to get some real competition and they'd be doing so on the road. This was to be the beginning of the Ranger's annual wilting in the summer heat routine only a month later than usual.
For all of the complaining you can find on the blogosphere from Angels fans about the Rangers soft first half schedule, they needed to be reminded that in the second half, their team opened in their home park, the place that the players from their team that made the All-Star Game call home, against one of the worst teams in baseball in the Seattle Mariners. If the Mariners were bad with Cliff Lee, without him, it almost looks like they're playing for a good draft pick.
The Rangers, however, the team with the cupcake schedule and weak-willed history, had to fly its players to historic Fenway to face off against perhaps the second best team in the American League. Granted, the Red Sox came in a beat-up second best team in the American League, but a team that surely was favored to win the series going in.
When I look at the standing, I still see the Rangers at 4 1/2 games up in the West. The Angels claimed no ground in the above scenario. Perhaps the Rangers aren't going away quietly.
- Huge, huge, huge series for the Rangers. The fact that the only game they lost was the game started by Cliff Lee is incredible. But let me say before I move onto the games the Rangers actually won, the game the Rangers lost was by no means Cliff Lee's fault. The game began in the bottom of the first like so:
- M. Scutaro flied out to right - D. McDonald doubled to left - D. Ortiz singled to right center, D. McDonald scored
- K. Youkilis singled to left, D. Ortiz to second
It was at this point that Rangers fans everywhere were falling all over themselves to point out how they had thought all along that the Cliff Lee trade was bad. Then Cliff Lee got a double play and held the Red Sox to a one for twenty-three in the next 7 innings. Cliff Lee would allow a run with two outs in the 9th and the Red Sox would win it in the 11th, but make no mistake, that's the Cliff Lee the Rangers traded for. He pitched like an ace does in October. The result ultimately didn't go the Rangers way because they didn't score runs, but you should be excited about what Cliff Lee can do, on the road, against the best hitting team in baseball.
- We've seen pitchers lose their job for pitching to Josh Hamilton. Now we must add to the Josh Hamilton lore that we've seen a pitcher almost lose a hand catching a Josh Hamilton smash up the middle. I'd wager that Felix Doubront still can't feel those fingers.
- Is there anything more glorious and rewarding to know than the fact that, as the game unfolded on Sunday, it was the Red Sox and their fans who were annoyed by the Texas Rangers and their fans? It feels like something is happening this summer. Something big. And if that thing is the Rangers awakening on a national level, I don't know how I'll be able to handle that.
- This lady doesn't know how she will either:
- Also, just when you think it's safe to think the sophomore jinx is encroaching on Elvis Andrus, he goes 3-4 off of Jon Lester. Elvis might do really dumb things on the bases but that's something that can be fixed. Other than that problem this year, Elvis has continued to exceed all expectations.
- I honestly might have been able to be convinced that the Nolan Ryan of today would be more likely to hit for the cycle than Bengie Molina. And yet, somehow, on Friday night, the absolute impossible happened. If hating on Bengie Molina makes Bengie Molina hit for the cycle, I'll willing to say, you suck, Bengie Molina.
- Tom Grieve and Josh Lewin should win some kind of broadcasting award for their work in this series. Between their call of Bengie Molina's triple to secure to the cycle and their mocking of Red Sox fans on Sunday after they didn't get a call at home that they wanted, it was among the most fun I've had watching a Rangers baseball series.
So what did we learn in Boston?
The Rangers haven't even begun to finish yet.