It's about time.
Frank Catalanotto hit a walkoff single in the bottom of the 9th inning today, and the Texas Rangers won their second consecutive series as they defeated the Chicago Cubs on Thursday afternoon, 6-5. The Rangers have now won 5 out of 7; albeit, those wins have come against the Pirates, Reds and Cubs, but beggars can't be choosers.
Texas led 5-0 after three innings, but the pitching staff couldn't hold the lead. Vicente Padilla struggled once again, giving up four runs in just four innings of work on 10 hits, 3 walks and a HBP. He also struck out five, so I have to believe he's still got life in that arm, but something is obviously not right with him right now. The DMN story on the game has more worrying stuff on Padilla, including a supposed quote from Padilla admitting that his control is not as good as it was last year; of course, he has since denied saying that.
I've been a bit behind on things the last few days, and for the loyal readers still out there, I'd like to offer my apologies. Here's a quick rundown of some events over the last few days, in an effort to get caught up:
- GM Jon Daniels received a one-year contract extension on Wednesday, locking him up through the end of the 2009 season. I've still got my share of doubts about Daniels, but I like what he did in this year's draft, I liked the moves this past offseason, and giving Daniels some additional job security can't hurt his bargaining position at the deadline, either. The Rangers need some organizational stability, and this extension is a step in the right direction. Besides, if Daniels has several more horrific failures like the Chris Young deal, Hicks will fire him anyway, even if it means eating that guaranteed money.
- First round draft pick Michael Main and second round pick Matt West were signed on Tuesday. Out of the remaining unsigned players (Beaven, Borbon, Ramirez and Hunter) in the first and supplemental rounds, I think Texas is likely to sign all of them except for Hunter.
- Rusty Greer was elected to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame on Thursday, the only member of the 2007 class. Somewhere around here, I have an autographed baseball card of his...
- Eric Hurley has been promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City, after going 7-2 with a 3.25 ERA and .219 BAA. He struck out 76 in 88.2 IP. I don't mind the promotion, but please, please don't rush Hurley. He's unquestionably the top prospect in the organization right now, and the thought of screwing him up ala Edinson Volquez is too much to bear.
- Trade rumors are really beginning to pick up, and we're still 40 days away from the deadline. Not a whole lot worth detailing, other than that Eric Gagne's no-trade list is becoming a bit more clear: the Tigers, Indians and Phillies are not among the 12 teams that Gagne can be traded to without his consent, but the Yankees, Mets and Angels are. Also, the Chicago Sun-Times mentions the Rangers being interested in Jacque Jones, but Texas hardly needs another corner outfielder/DH who can only hit right-handed pitching with Frank Catalanotto on the roster.
With the buzz of Sammy Sosa's 600th home run slightly worn off, Adam Morris addresses the entire Sosa/Botts situation further, making the usual points about Sosa being a below-average DH. I still find it very unlikely that Sosa will be released at any point this year, though.
Despite this nice little hot streak lately, Texas is still a depressing 16 games under .500, and 17.5 games out of first place.
But hey, at least we're getting some walkoff dramatics out of the deal.
Friday, June 22nd Game Preview
Houston Astros (31-41) at Texas Rangers (28-44)
Woody Williams (3-9, 5.50 ERA) vs. Kevin Millwood (3-6, 7.62 ERA)
7:35 PM CST in Arlington, Texas (Rangers Ballpark in Arlington)
TV: FSNSW | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM