The Texas Rangers know stolen bases, finally.
When the 2013 season began, there was so much talk about the Rangers finally being able to play “Wash ball,” or “small ball,” if you will. They would be able to steal bases, bunts for hits, manufacture runs, and whatever else comes with playing “small ball.”
However, we had yet to see that kind of game by the Rangers. We all sat in front of our televisions and wondered if the idea altogether had been scrapped.
Well, here we are eight days into August and it has shown up in a big way the past two games against the Los Angeles Angels.
On Tuesday night, Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus became a menace on the base paths, stealing a combined six bases. One night later, the two were at it again to the tune of five combined stolen bases. In two games, against one of their AL West rivals, Martin and Andrus were able to steal 11 bases and set up their team to manufacture runs, something this team had been struggling with from one game to the next.
Putting Martin into the leadoff spot and moving Ian Kinsler to the No.3 spot were the right moves by manager Ron Washington, and it has seemed to give this team the kick in the backside it needed, especially after the Rangers looked left for dead after being swept by the Cleveland Indians.
Since losing those three games, the Rangers have won nine of 10, including going 6-0 against the Angels. Not to mention the team is 3-0 since Nelson Cruz’s suspension.
They have an off day Thursday before starting a four-game set against the Houston Astros on Friday in Houston. The Rangers will start Matt Garza, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Yu Darvish in the series, which sets them up nicely for a sweep.
This is a series the Rangers should handle easily, and anything less than winning three of four, though they should sweep this series, would be extremely disappointing.
Other news and notes:
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark has an idea (36:10 mark) as to why Nelson Cruz didn’t appeal his 50-game suspension. “Wasn’t it clear that everyone else, except for one guy, was going to take the suspensions? So, if (Cruz) had appealed, instead of spending 18 consecutive hours talking about Alex Rodriguez and those 12 other guys, we would have been talking about Alex Rodriguez and Nelson Cruz. Would you want to find yourself, in that sense, grouped with Alex Rodriguez? I don’t think (Cruz) wanted any part of that.”
- For the fourth consecutive start, Alexi Ogando failed to go more than five innings. With Matt Harrison closer to coming back to the big leagues, he is scheduled to make his third rehab start Friday, it means Ogando is closer to being moved back to the bullpen, where he belongs. Ogando has not been the dominant starter he was a few years ago, when he was selected to the American League All-Star team. I’ve never thought Ogando belonged in the rotation. In my mind, he’s always been the guy who could go all out for one inning. Not only that, but you add him to a bullpen that already boasts Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross, Joakim Soria, Jason Frasor and, of course, Joe Nathan, and it makes it that much stronger when Washington can call on a guy like Ogando.
- Adam Dunn’s name is starting to gain a little steam where the Rangers are concerned. With Cruz out, the Rangers could use a bat like Dunn’s, even though with the big stick comes the big number of strikeouts. However, even Stark likes the fit (34:50 mark). “It’s a great park for him, he’s from Texas. I think he’s going to get through waivers for all the reasons (Buster Olney) spelled out. The question is how much are the White Sox going to want back.”