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  • Nolan looks prescient right now. He predicted 92 wins, and the Rangers are currently on pace for 93.
  • This is obviously pretty premature, but if the Rangers make the playoffs, they will almost certainly play someone from the AL East.. Who knows at this point what the best matchup would be, but it would be great if the Rangers could just once make the playoffs and not have to play the Yankees in the first round.
  • We've been talking about this since the start of the season, but that bullpen is starting to shape up as a potential major strength. Frank Francisco is key, as he gives the team two dominant righties in the back end if he's right. But Oliver has been superb and has a rubber arm. I still don't trust Chris Ray, but the Marlins looked quite uncomfortable facing Alexi Ogando Thursday. He has better control than he showed, and both of those pitches are legit if he commands them. And there is always the possibility that management elects to utilize Tanner Scheppers in the pen later this summer.
  • Some defensive +/- numbers:
    Julio Borbon: +4
    Josh Hamilton: 0
    Nelson Cruz: +3
    Vlad: +1
    David Murphy: +4
    Elvis: +8
    Michael Young: -7
    Justin Smoak: +1
    Ian Kinsler: +2
  • Adam Morris tweet from last night: 

From July 30 through September 26, the Rangers will have 36 road games and just 18 home games. Texas needs to pad that lead now.

Scheppers just made his first start of the season -- he worked four shutout innings -- after returning from a strained hamstring, as he continues to get stretched out. I talked about him in more detail in this June 3 blog. Given that the Rangers' starting rotation depth has been depleted in a hurry recently thanks to injuries, there's more of a spotlight on Scheppers' progress in upping his pitch count beyond the 65-70 range.

  • Ian Kinsler is hitting for average and getting on base, but it is baffling how much his other secondary offensive skills have slipped. His two doubles last night were good to see, as they were his second and third XBH this month (all doubles). He is just 4-7 stealing bases.
  • This is nothing new for the Angels, as they typically outperform their run differential and pythag records, but Texas has been a much better team than LA, despite leading them by just 2.5 games. The Rangers run diff is +45; LA's is -12. That is a 57 net run difference through about 40% of the season. That means that the two clubs are on pace for nearly 150 run diff.
  • David Murphy is still only hitting .263/.292/.371. Julio Borbon's OBP is finally over .300 (.303).

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.