**ORIGINAL POST 7/9/12**
We all know the old baseball saying about momentum only being as good as the next day’s starting pitcher. While it certainly has some merit, I don’t fully buy it.About three weeks ago I was a guest on The Sports Shack on 1340 The Fan in Lubbock. One of the questions asked of me was how important it was for The Rangers to go into the All Star Break on a high note. At that time, I compared the baseball season to a football game. Football minds like to emphasize how important it is to carry momentum into the half and come out of the gate strong in the second half. I also said it was crucial for the Rangers to do the same.
Momentum can’t be established quickly in such a long baseball season, but the Rangers won the final two games against Minnesota going into the break (both in walk-off fashion). Unfortunately, they lost the five before that.
I say all that to say this: I think momentum is a real thing. The Rangers had it at the beginning of the season. They had a swagger, an arrogance, that was apparent to everyone watching, and had to be apparent to the opponents as well. Every Ranger that stepped up to the plate was a force to be reckoned with. It seemed like there were six Texas runs on the board before each game started. That kind of energy can carry from one game to another. It gives the pitchers the confidence to attack the zone and trust their stuff. It lets the hitters relax, because they know even if they don’t come through somebody else will.
The Rangers don’t have that right now, though. Michael Young is having a horrible season (although he did show major signs of life in the 4-3 win over Minnesota), Hamilton has cooled significantly from his blistering, early season pace, and Mike Napoli looks almost scared at the plate. When you add to that a pitching staff that has been decimated by injuries, it makes it difficult to get that momentum ball rolling.
That kind of momentum, that kind of energy, certainly isn’t something that comes easy. What does it take to get there? I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s a heck of a lot more than two consecutive one run wins over a last place team. It’s a good way to start, though.
Chris Kautz is a Senior Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Chris.Kautz@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @SDIChris.