2009 Leaves Rangers Fans Wary But Hopeful

Jordan HofeditzAnalyst IMay 11, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 07:  Michael Young #10 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on May 7, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Rangers fans our skeptical of any success, it's in our nature.

There have been enough, "maybe next year" statements to last us a lifetime. Even now with the Rangers in first place there is still that pit in our stomach.

It is just sitting there waiting, asking, "when will they fall apart this year?"

It could be any number of things.

Young players who have started strong could fall off, hitting that is some of the best in the league could start to dwindle, and everyone knows how shaky every aspect of Rangers pitching can be.

With all of that said, this could be the year for the Rangers to make it back to the playoffs.

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington last saw playoff baseball in 1999, now 10 seasons later it could house baseball past its usual 81 regular season games.

Because even though all of those things could fall apart, there is no early sign that it will.

Elvis Andrus has played with phenomenal stability. His hitting goes up and down, but that’s not what the Rangers need. The Rangers need a solid defender up the middle, and he has a solid glove.

The Rangers lead the majors in home runs and slugging percentage, and are second in total bases. And it is different people getting the job done.

It was Ian Kinsler who started the season on fire and once he cooled off Michael Young stepped up. Hank Blalock hit two home runs yesterday as he has settled into his DH role. Josh Hamilton has started slow and is injured, but he wont stay that way all season.

Kevin Millwood has gone at least seven innings in each of his seven starts. After a shaky start to the season Vicente Padilla has given up just one hit in each of his two starts in May and just two runs, one earned that has his ERA drop from 7.43 to 4.97. Matt Harrison, Scott Feldmen and Brandon McCarthy have also started the season strong.

The bullpen, while still questionable, has found a closer in Frank Francisco. He has converted all nine of his save opportunities, has not given up a run and has 13 strikeouts in 14.2 innings pitched.

It is still too early to crown the Rangers AL West champions, but it appears they will contend for the title this season.