You've heard the trope, "It's not the heat that'll get ya, it's the humidity." Somehow, watching the players soaking in sweat dripping through their jerseys by the bottom of the first inning in Florida, I think there's some validity to that statement. Those games just seemed miserable to play in. I was uncomfortable and I spent the series watching from my couch.
- Before I get to the positives, and in this series, it is mostly all positive, the Rangers are getting into a nasty habit of battling a pitcher early, getting his pitch count up, only to go into hack-at-everything mode and allowing the starter off the hook. Of course, some of that is on the pitcher. Pitchers often need an inning or two to settle into the game. However, the Rangers are allowing too many starters to get comfortable and get into a groove. Josh Johnson's count was at 33 after the top of the first and yet, finished with 7 innings. Anibal Sanchez was at 26 pitches after the first and he still finished with 6 innings. The Rangers need to do a better job of going for the throat and turning around the opposing starter.
- The turn-around by Julio Borbon is almost as welcome as the return of 2008 quality Josh Hamilton. Sure it's a small sample, but at this point, I'm just glad to see Borbon has the ability to pull off a hot streak worthy of saying, "sure it's a small sample." After having a historically bad April and May, Borbon has seen an improvement in very nearly everything you could think of, he's walking more (by which I mean, he's walking some. He was walking none before), his wOBA is at .418 versus the .232 it was at the first two months. He even has a 1.026 June OPS. There were serious reasons to believe it was time to Chris Davis Borbon a few weeks ago. He was the definition of lost and was hindering the team's ability to score runs. Now, while his production recently isn't sustainable, it is enough to make you believe he can stay in the big leagues and contribute to this team. As a guy keeping Josh Hamilton out of playing every day in centerfield, that's huge.
- Matt Treanor isn't an every day starting catcher. But he's the kind of guy that good teams have on their bench. If the Rangers can get their catcher situation in order, Treanor has a place here. I think a lot of frustration that you've heard from Rangers fans in regard to Treanor has been because he isn't being utilized properly as a starter. If the Rangers make the playoffs, however, his triple in Miami will be one we remember for a long while.
- Tom Grieve is right. Josh Hamilton is playing the best he as ever played for the Texas Rangers this month and he's the best player in the league right now. For the month of June he is a ridiculous 1.335 OPS with a .573 wOBA. That's crazy. Josh Hamilton is having a career month.
- Just having a career this month, in that he finally made it, is Alexi Ogando. He is a fairy tale. It's the hero's quest. OK, maybe the anti-hero's story. I won't make excuses for what Ogando did to get his visa revoked. He made a mistake. But neither will Ogando. He's atoned for his mistake and now he's here. He's in the major leagues. A minor league phase Rule 5 outfielder picked from the Oakland A's has gone out there, after five years of wondering and dreaming if these moments would ever come, and he's pumping fastballs in at 99 MPH. He has won his first two games he's pitched it and he even had a hit in his first major league at-bat to keep a rally going. It's just an incredible story that we should all stop to appreciate every time Ogando's summoned from the pen.
So what did we learn?
Miracles do happen.
And the Rangers can win on the road.