A Rangers introduction from ESPN Dallas

August, 22, 2011
Greetings, Red Sox fans:

Welcome to Texas, where we don’t remember what rain looks like and what it feels to sit in a breezy 95 degrees, either. Hope you and the Sox are ready for a blistering sun and temperatures in the triple digits. We’ll make sure to turn some fans on for you, not that it will do any good. If only the Rangers had put a roof on the ballpark. Oh well, there is some nice scenery nearby with JerryWorld just a long Nelson Cruz homer away.

For the record, the Rangers don’t really remember April. Sure, they swept the Red Sox and looked great the first week of the season, but they’re a lot different now. And so are the Sox. So it really doesn’t impact the club heading into this four-game showdown. Let’s admit it: This could be a playoff preview -- either the ALDS or the ALCS -- depending on what happens. But don’t say that in the Rangers clubhouse. They know the Angels are still in their rearview mirror, having closed the gap to four games this weekend. This team won’t panic because, well, it doesn’t ever panic.

You won’t see former Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre this series. But you might see him run the bases before batting practice. The hamstring is still bugging him, but he’s getting closer to a return. That would be huge for the Rangers in September. The Rangers are happy to see how well Jarrod Saltalamacchia is playing. He’s a good guy and has a bright future. But don’t expect the Rangers to take it easy on the bases because he’s back there. They’re aggressive on the bases and will look to score any way they can by getting runners into scoring position and letting their bats go to work. Then again, you know all about that with Boston’s prolific offense. There could be lots of fireworks in this series.

Watch out for Ian Kinsler. He’s pesky. He could hit a home run off you or draw a walk, but at some point during the series he’ll put all kinds of pressure on the defense and create a run. He’s not your prototypical leadoff man, but he’s productive. You know Josh Hamilton’s exploits well (remember that game last year when he nearly single-handedly engineered a major Rangers comeback in Arlington). And Michael Young just keeps hitting and hitting and hitting. The race between Young and former Ranger Adrian Gonzalez (anyone remember he was traded to San Diego as part of the Akinori Otsuka, Adam Eaton deal ... Jon Daniels has made much better trades since then, BTW) for the top batting average in the AL will be fun to watch down the stretch.

The bullpen looks different from what you saw in April. Trade deadline deals for Mike Adams and Koji Uehara have bolstered it, so the Rangers are better equipped to win close games now.

This is a big stretch for Texas. They have to play the Angels over the weekend, then Tampa Bay before heading to Fenway Park and then Tampa for a road trip. If they can get through it and keep their AL West lead just about where it is now, they should be fine.

BTW, check out Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle throwing out the ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday. We’re still celebrating that title in Texas. Oh, and expect some good crowds. It’s still football country down here, but fans have made Rangers Ballpark in Arlington a nice homefield advantage the past few seasons.


Richard Durrett

Our Gordon Edes wrote a similar scouting report for Rangers fans over at ESPNDallas.com. Check it out HERE.



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