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What We Learned In Anaheim

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We've entered a wonderful world where losing an August series to the Angels only hurts for pride but not for standing.

I think the most important thing that happened in Orange County is Elvis Andrus got to ride an elephant. Don't believe me? Well here's proof:


What's that? You were saying that you don't believe that was the most important thing? Well, clearly you are wrong. Look how awesome Elvis is on that elephant. But if you're insinuating that we should be down because the Rangers lost a series to the Angels, don't. The Rangers were without Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton for about 20 of the 27 innings, and Michael Young was sick and clearly not playing his best baseball. Couple that with facing Haren, Santana, and Weaver, and one win on that series is probably the best you can expect.

Michael Young was sick and not feeling well for practically this entire series, according to reports, and yet, instead of taking a day off, Michael Young played each game. That's some heroic Cal Ripken stuff right there. The leader of the team was just gutting it out out there. Except, instead of helping the cause, MY was 1 for 13 with several poor plays at third that ended up costing the Rangers runs and possibly at least one of the games. There's a reason Andres Blanco is on the team, right? He's not just there to taunt Detroit security guards and be Elvis' BFF I'd assume. Giving Michael Young a day off now and then isn't going to make him seem less leader-y and this was a series that he desperately should have been cheerleading on the bench.

Isn't it funny how two contrasting themes continue to permeate in regards to the Rangers and their schedule? On one hand, you have those that say, "Well well well, now they're going to have to face real competition and the games are on the road, as well." Because the Rangers strength of schedule is more difficult in the second half of the season, this is a common rallying cry. And then you have those saying, "They are going to fold in the Texas heat." This is said because there is a stigma that the Rangers consistently slump in August due to Texas being hotter than the sun. However, if the Rangers are playing so many games on the road, away from the oppressive, season-killing heat, isn't that going to help the Rangers? I'm confused. Stick to a theme, detractors.

You know what they say; every joke has a hint of truth. Well, I've heard rumblings disguised as sarcasm or humor that since the Rangers are 2-3 in games started by Cliff Lee that they would be better off without him. This makes me want to destroy cities. While the Rangers want to get the most out of Cliff Lee and win as many games as they can to keep up with the Rays and Yankees, Cliff Lee is a bullet for the playoffs now. Until then, he's going to go out there, be great, save the bullpen, and then it's up to the offense to score runs for him. If they don't, the Rangers won't win. It's out of Cliff Lee's hands the outcome other than what is in Cliff Lee's hands which is the ball that he uses to pitch. The Rangers now, and for October, are leaps and bounds better and a more viable contender for October success than they were before Cliff Lee joined the team. That is no laughing matter.

You don't like tipping your cap, to borrow a phrase, but Jered Weaver is one of the best pitchers in the American League this season and he was on yesterday. After Cliff Lee started the game by giving up a couple of Angel-y weak singles and battled out from under it with two runs allowed, that lead would stand up for the Angels. The Rangers had their chances but Jered Weaver isn't the type of pitcher we should be mad at the offense for only scoring one run. That's what Jered Weaver does.

If Rich Harden is Rich Harden again instead of being Mark Clark, watch out. He could be a huge weapon in the playoffs and erase the days when smiling became outlawed in Texas.

So what did we learn in Anaheim?


Sometimes getting just one is good enough.

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