Rangers at 80: A Look Back
**ORIGINAL POSTED DATE 9/05/12**
When you look at what has happened then you’ll understand why I used the word amazed. From virtually every pitcher on the roster being injured to the season-ending losses of Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz to the Jekyll and Hyde performances from Scott Feldman and Roy Oswalt you would have to wonder just how they’re doing it. Then you take into account the two-month slump of Josh Hamilton, the month-long slide of Adrian Beltre and the worst year in the career of Michael Young and it still makes you think. And, no, I’m not going to talk about Mike Napoli “struggling” due to the fact that this is a typical year for him.
Then you have to look at Matt Harrison who has been the best pitcher for the team so far this season. Factor in Ryan Dempster getting comfortable with the American League and the considered improvement with Yu Darvish the past month and you can see why Texas continues to win. Not to mention one of the best bullpens in baseball anchored by the virtually impenetrable trio of Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan. It’s the bullpen version of Tinker to Evers to Chance.
Finally there’s the skipper. People either love or they hate manager Ron Washington. Even though he has guided this team to two World Series he still has his detractors. They’ll quickly throw out their theory that anybody could have managed this team to two straight (and an eventual third) playoff appearances. But is that so? Yes, you can question his lineups and his unending need to stick with Michael Young but he is a player’s manager and he brings an electric, almost contagious attitude to the clubhouse. He loves his guys and it’s obvious they love him. He is the glue that holds the whole thing together.
Now the Rangers have twenty-eight games remaining. If they go 17-11 then they’ll finish with a team record 97 wins. 20-8 and they’ll have 100 wins. I’m not going to say that 100 wins is impossible but I believe it to be improbable. I’m looking for 95-97 wins. But who knows, after 90 wins I may write another piece and change my prediction.
Hopefully that will be next week.