Last night’s game displayed many of the things we expected to see more of this season. Things the Rangers need to continue to turn things around.
Back-of-the-rotation pitcher Mike Wood allowed 4 earned runs over 4 innings (plus one unearned) – on 7 hits and one walk. That will suffice more often than not. And if he can avoid the 3 long balls, it would more than suffice.
Then the Daniels-labelled “competitive advantage” bullpen took over for 5 innings of 6 hit, 1 run baseball. They did their job of keeping the game winnable – in fact, they kept it tied up for the final three innings as, for the first time all season, Otsuka and Gagne made it a 7-inning game for the opponent’s offense by slamming the door shut in the 8th and 9th innings.
Meanwhile, the same players that have been killing the team on offense and defense (Wilkerson, Laird and Cruz – see Saturday’s Morning News wrap up for details of that ugly outing), stepped up big time. Maybe they knew they were approaching a now or off-to-OKC with you point and responded well, as Wilkerson homered, Laird scored a run and of course, Cruz woke up at a great time to hit his first HR of the season – a solo, walk-off shot in the 9th.
Almost everything about yesterday’s game is very encouraging – most especially that it came against the Angels.
And while one game does not make a season, it can help a team turn a corner. Let’s hope that today’s contest shows more evidence that the Rangers are ready to turn the corner and make a run at a very winnable division, because I still believe it’s now or never. If the Rangers are not pulling close to the front of the pack by the end of May, it will be time to re-assess the team’s goals for the season: win this year – or build for a real championship run in 2008 (or more liekly, 2009)?