What did we learn on this last road trip?
Here are some things we learned about the club on this road trip, one that started less than 24 hours before the non-waiver trade deadline:
* Texas added two new major leaguers while on the road as corner infielder Jorge Cantu and second baseman Cristian Guzman joined the team in Anaheim.
Guzman is still trying to find some consistency at the plate, but has played the majority of games at second base since his arrival in place of Ian Kinsler, who is still on the disabled list. Kinsler is scheduled to get an MRI on Monday that should give the team a better idea of when he can start full baseball activities.
Cantu has given the Rangers a right-handed bat that plays against left-handed starters (though he’s also played against a righty if the Rangers see a steady diet of them). Cantu even filled in for Michael Young one game on this trip while Young was the DH to get some rest. Cantu is hitting 5-for-16 (.314) as a Ranger so far.
*Outfielder David Murphy is hitting so well that he’s getting more playing time these days. That’s coming at the expense of Julio Borbon. We’ll see how that plays out down the stretch. Murphy was 11-for-32 (.344) on the trip with two big homers in Seattle.
*Left-handed reliever Matt Harrison showed in Seattle that he can come in and get key left-handed hitters out in a tight situation, giving Washington an important second lefty in the bullpen when workhorse Darren Oliver isn’t available. Harrison and Scott Feldman can also pitch multiple innings when a starter struggles, as Feldman showed on Saturday in Oakland.
*Taylor Teagarden has returned to the majors with some confidence. He hit homers in consecutive games, keying a win on Friday with a two-run shot that gave Cliff Lee the lead. He’s also impressed his manager with his defense and ability to call games.
*We saw the good and bad of Rich Harden. He was great against the Angels, shutting them down to help the Rangers claim their only win in Anaheim. But in Oakland, a place where he’s had success, Harden’s fastball was all over the place. He walked five, gave up three runs and lasted just 2 1/3 innings. It now leaves questions as to whether he should make his next start or if the Rangers need to make a change again.
* Cliff Lee is really good. Do I need to say any more? (Note to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan: Do everything you can to get him re-signed).
*The offense as a whole still isn’t hitting consistently. They batted .234 on this road trip and Michael Young, usually very reliable, is going through a bit of a funk. He hit 4-for-38 (.105) in the last nine games away from Arlington. Several Ranger players talked about the need to make adjustments and come up with the big hit. They did have spurts where they did that – they scored 10 two-out runs in an 11-6 win in Seattle and came up with key swings late on Friday in Oakland.
It will be interesting to see how the club does against Boston, New York and Tampa Bay. For more on that and this trip, check out my column here.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the magnitude of Monday's win against Oakland, how he plans on using Jurickson Profar and how to handle a struggling ballclub.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' six-game losing streak and how to get out of their slump.
Play Podcast General manager Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' offensive struggles, injuries and the plan for Jurickson Profar once Ian Kinsler returns from the disabled list.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss the Rangers and a potential game-changing trade target for Jon Daniels and company.
Play Podcast Neal Cotts joins Galloway & Company to discuss pitching for the Rangers.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, the mistakes the team has been making and possible trades.
Play Podcast Steve Busby joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the Rangers' road trip, surviving an 18-inning game and more.
Play Podcast Eric Nadel, the radio voice of the Texas Rangers, explains on Galloway & Company the bullpen situation that forced Ron Washington's hand in the Boston finale.