Confidence High in Spring Training

The Rangers are making some bold predictions for 2009.

The Texas Rangers will enter the 2009 season with swagger, for good or for ill.
Nolan Ryan set the precedent a day ago by asserting that the Rangers would win eight more games than they did in 2008 (79); Ian Kinsler says the team will "easily" win eight more, and contend for the division.

Josh Hamilton says the team can win ninety. "I'm thinking maybe 12 to 15," he said, in reference to Ryan’s remarks. "We have to consistently hit, consistently play defense and consistently pitch better. If any team does that, they're going to win ballgames."
True, but the last one is a sizeable 'if.' The Rangers have finished over .500 only once since 2000 and their collective ERA last season was the worst in baseball at a swollen 5.73.
Scoring runs has never been an issue for the Rangers but when you allow an average of six runs a game, the offense simply can’t afford to have an off-night. That’s a lot of pressure for any lineup.

Sports Connection

Connecting you to your favorite North Texas sports teams as well as sports news around the globe.

Olympic all-around champion Carly Patterson previews 2024 US Olympic Gymnastics Trials

Athing Mu falls in 800m final at US trials, ending chance of Olympic repeat

That said, if the Rangers pitchers do turn it around under the leadership of Mike Maddux and Nolan Ryan, we’re looking at a serious division contender.
Last season, the Rangers were tops in the American League in both batting average and slugging percentage, and they were second with a collective .354 OBP. Milton Bradley has gone to Chicago but, besides that, not much has changed.
Perhaps this is the source of all this new-found confidence. Despite a grotesquely bad April and numerous, ultimately fatal pitching woes, the Rangers played four months of good baseball, from May to August, during which they were six games over the .500 mark. With the same nucleus as last season, it’s doubtful that the club would limp out of the gate like they did last season.
Granted, with the rotation set (Millwood, Padilla, Feldman, Harrison, McCarthy), this edition of the Rangers don’t look like world-beaters by any means; but don’t be surprised if this confidence sticks around for a while.
And don’t be surprised if the Rangers are still in the playoff hunt this fall.
Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us