Saturday, March 31, 2007

If, If, If........

As I have stated in a previous post , I am a sports pessimist. Except when it comes in spring time with the Rangers. I am going to answer for Chris.

I know this is the year. This is the year that the Rangers break through, the A's break down, the Los Angeles Califonia Angels of Anaheim California collapse under the sheer stupidity of their name, and the Mariners are the same as always. In fact, there's no reason the Rangers can't go all the way. That's right! I said it. World Series for the Rangers in 2007!!!! At least win a playoff series. Is that too much to ask? Actually the crazy thing is that sane baseball people actually expect something out of the Rangers as well. Joe Sheehan of baseballprospectus actually has Texas in his top 10, best of the AL West and third in the AL behind the Yankees (bleah!) and the Indians.

Ok, so here's a list of best case scenarios and worst case scenarios that can happen to this team. Hopefully, more of the first, than the later.

BCS #1. The pitching is NOT a problem on this team. For the first time in years, the Rangers have four credible starters: Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy, and Robinson Tejeda. John Koronka gave this team some pretty good innings last year and isn't even really on the radar for this year. That's good news.
WCS #1. Millwood throws a ton of innings, but also has about a 6 ERA. Vincente Padilla falls off the wagon, or worse, realizes that he's not in a contract year. Mac throws batting practice at the Ballpark. Tejeda walks the world. The combination of Wright, Loe, Chen, etc, can't start more than 10 starts apiece because they are flat out terrible.

BCS #2. The offense hits like the early aughts that the late aughts. The reputation of this team is all offense, no pitching. Not the case last year. But this year, with a healthy Brad Wilkerson, a focused Hank Blalock, a ready Nelson Cruz, and Sammy being Sammy of old the Rangers learn how to hit away from the Ballpark and starts to butcher a bunch of pitchers.
WCS #2. They can't hit a lefty to save their lives and Blalock slugs about .350. Wilkerson become Wifferson again. Cruz is sent down and Sosa cracks open a corked bat.

BCS #3. Buck Showalter is gone.
WCS #3. There is no worse case scenario in regards to Buck. In fact, that he is no longer here is enough karma to push the Rangers to World Series if history has anything to say about it.

Actually, as I read all this, I realize it all comes down to a bunch of ifs....
If McCarthy and Tejeda can solidify the third and forth spots in the rotation.
If Gagne is healthy and the bullpen falls into place.
If the Blalock can break out of his malaise.
If Cruz and Kinsler are as good as advertised.
If the offense can get it done.
If Sosa doesn't become too big of a distraction.

There are a number of others, but there are alot less "ifs" than there have been in past years. The Rangers are due some breaks. Right?

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