It has been a few weeks since I last wrote, so forgive me if my thoughts ramble a little; there is a lot on my mind. I am also not used to being in this position, seeing as how the last time the Rangers were in a pennant race I was 18, but this is the best uncomfortable feeling I have ever had.
This last road trip was not too successful, but there was definitely some good that came from it. We played very well against the Yankees, and let's be honest, if we make the playoffs, then we will play the Yankees; it just always happens that way.
Our starting pitching has started to show a little bit of its youth. We have just not pitched as solidly as we did earlier in the year. I don't claim to be a pitching coach, but I have noticed a common theme in the games in which our pitchers struggle: They work too slow.
Early in the year Millwood, and pretty much everybody, was working fast, moving through batters, and controlling the pace of the game.
Recently it has felt like they were pitching as if they were more experienced than they are. They seem over-confident and it has resulted in them getting battered around more and more.
I have faith that they can settle down and do what they need to do to win, but it will take a little humbling, and a lot more of the early season courage that they had.
The one move the Rangers made late this season that will aid most in this was the acquisition of Pudge Rodriguez.
He was my favorite player for years, and I was devastated when he was no longer in Texas. I always hoped he would come back, and I can't think of a better time for him to have done so. He is so experienced and may be just the stabilizing force that we need for this young pitching staff.
I have already seen numerous games where he has been educating the younger players on how to play the game better. He is a welcome sight at a major juncture in our franchise's history.
One huge bright spot has been the play of Scott Feldman. No one expected him to do anything special, but he has consistently thrown well, and when you look at the numbers, he is right up there with the best in the league recently.
It is performances like those Feldman is giving that will make it possible for us to succeed.
I said at the beginning of the year that we may very well be one year away from really competing, but I still believe we have a chance to make a run this year. We may very well win the World Series, but even if we could make it to the playoffs and win a couple of games it would be huge for the franchise.
Here's to hoping we still have something to talk about come October!