by Max - 06/03/2005
The Texas Rangers are playing the best baseball of anyone in the league and are looking to reach a double-digit win streak. This team has never looked back since dropping Alex Rodriguez and it appears that they will be able to stay in contention all the way into October. Avoiding any key injuries, I feel this team has the capabilities to win the American League Western Division. The following will discuss the turnaround of the 2005 Texas Rangers.
First and foremost, pitching wins major league games. The 2005 Texas Rangers have a formidable staff that can challenge most of the American teams depth-wise. Coming into the season the only arm that was solidified was that of closer Francisco Cordero. He had an outstanding year in 2004 recording 49 saves and averaged just over one strikeout per inning pitched. Cordero has stayed true to his form this season and already has 16 saves in 18 opportunities. He will likely be representing the Rangers in the mid-summer classic in Detroit.
The biggest question mark for the season with Texas was the strength of its starting pitching. This team entered Spring Training without a No. 1 starter, but Kenny Rogers quickly found his dominating form from year's past. He currently sits at 7-2, but the amazing part of that is his E.R.A. is only 1.62. Kenny has struck out only 30 batters in 76.1 innings pitched. He had a streak of 31 scoreless innings snapped on May 20 and has not allowed over three earned runs in any of his 11 starts this season. He is truly a bargain making just over $3.3 million this season.
One player that had been a bust throughout his stay in Arlington was Chan Ho Park. Park signed a huge contract with Texas in 2002 and it has taken over three seasons from the Rangers to get a little bang for their buck. Park is off to a solid start this season and currently is 5-1. His E.R.A. is a little high at 4.60, but he has consistently pitched his way out of trouble this season. Many insiders say that he is finally healthy but I give most of the credit to pitching coach Orel Hershiser. He has taught his starters how to pitch to contact and keep their pitch count low. Texas has also stayed healthy this season starting only five pitchers.
The 2005 Texas Rangers have a dominating line-up with great balance from both sides of the plate. Mark Teixeira leads the team in RBIs and Alfonso Soriano has already hit 14 home runs and kept his average at .285. Ameriquest Field is a great hitters park and once the temperature warms up it often becomes a launching pad.
All of these strengths make Texas my choice to claim the AL West crown. Los Angeles is struggling to stay healthy and without Vladimir Guerrero, Texas should be able to establish a healthy lead. Once the Angels return to full strength, I feel Texas will already have enough cushion to hang on to its lead into October. Buck Showalter will again claim manager of the year as Texas returns to the playoffs.