Another brilliant win by the Rangers last night, with Jamey Wright putting together a surprisingly good start, the bullpen dominating once again, and the offense managing to do just enough against Jered Weaver to pull out the victory. Texas has now won 13 out of 19 games, and reaching the .500 mark before season's end doesn't appear to be quite as impossible as it once was. Of course, Texas will still have to go 45-33 the rest of the way to do that.
Vicente Padilla will throw a light bullpen session on Friday and a regular bullpen session on Sunday, with the hopes of getting him two minor league rehab starts before his return to the rotation following the All-Star break. His first rehab start will come next Thursday at Frisco, and the amount of work he gets there will depend on how Sunday's bullpen session goes. If Padilla experiences another setback, surgery will probably become an option.
There seem to be some conflicting statements on Aki Otsuka's status, as pitching coach Mark Connor said that Otsuka would throw a bullpen session today, and that he could be available for tonight's game against the Angels if everything went well. Meanwhile, Aki said before Wednesday night's game that the earliest he saw himself pitching in a game was Friday or Saturday.
The DMN's Evan Grant held a chat session today, with questions ranging from the familiar "When will Jason Botts get called up?" to "Where has Michael Young's power gone?" Definitely worth checking out.
Grant does mention one thing that I had been wondering about for a while, which concerns Marlon Byrd's service time situation and whether or not he is a free agent at the end of this season. Byrd had three years and 84 days of service time at the beginning of this year, meaning that he is under club control via arbitration through at least 2008 and 2009.
Evan also touches on the potential Marlon Byrd two-year contract extension that Jamey Newberg brought up a few weeks ago, but doesn't think a deal will get done until at least August, after the trade deadline chaos has ended.
Texas will look for the sweep against the suddenly struggling Angels tonight, with one of the AL's worst starters (Robinson Tejeda) facing off against one of the best (Kelvim Escobar). There was a time, earlier this season, when I'd immediately write the Rangers off with a pitching matchup like this in front of them.
That's not the case anymore.
Thursday, July 5th Game Preview
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ( 51-33 ) at Texas Rangers ( 36-48 )
Kelvim Escobar ( 9-3, 3.32 ERA ) vs. Robinson Tejeda ( 5-7, 6.69 ERA )
7:35 PM CST in Arlington, Texas ( Rangers Ballpark in Arlington )
TV: FSNSW | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM