Texas. They're 10 games under .500, boast a winning percentage of .386, and they've just lost Hank Blalock for essentially the rest of the season to shoulder surgery. Plus there's the Sammy Sosa comeback. If you were a Rangers fan, how would you feel about that? A little like Greg Maddux's bittersweet return to the Cubs, I guess, only Greg Maddux isn't a bat-corking, salsa-blasting, pretending-not-to-speak-English steroid cheat. It's not particularly as if the Texas franchise was deeply in need of another guy to hit long homers while the team sinks out of contention in the AL West before the All-Star Break.
The problem in Arlington is pitching, again. Vicente Padilla celebrated the first two months of his lucrative new contract by giving up nine homers. Kevin Millwood has not been good. The starters as a group boast an ERA of 6.04. Kenny Williams and the White Sox have to be snickering at the way John Danks has completely outpitched Brandon McCarthy, for whom he was traded. The Rangers might be best served by throwing the entire concept of starting pitching out the window and just using their best 12 pitchers for two- or three-inning bursts. Their bullpen is distinguished by a bunch of guys having good years, including Eric Gagne, Akinori Otsuka, Frank Francisco, Joaquin Benoit, and C.J. Wilson. Of course, their low ERA's could well be the product of the fact that by the time Ron Washington makes his first move to the pen, more often than not the Rangers' starter has buried them.
Obviously, the Ballpark at Arlington needs a humidor. I propose that the Rockies send all of their climate-control experts down to the Metroplex to get on that right away. All we'll need in return is Ian Kinsler.