Editor's note: Rangers reliever Darren O'Day, who does a diary for ESPN Dallas a few times a month, talks about Josh Hamilton, the pitching staff, the Angels' secret weapon and Jon Daniels' hair.
Josh Hamilton has been incredible this month. I think a lot of people first saw what he could do in the Home Run Derby in 2008. Lately it seems like he's playing Home Run Derby during the game. He set a team record for hits in June, which is tough to do for a power hitter when you're competing with great contact guys like Mike Young and Pudge.
The other night in the bullpen, we were talking about how we’d pitch to him. I honestly don’t know right now. I’ve seen him hit every single kind of pitch there is whether it's a ball or strike. Maybe Vladdy is rubbing off on him! You don’t know how to pitch to either of these guys until you try it and fail a few times and maybe you can figure out something that works.
Can you imagine Vladdy and Hambone both in their prime, batting back-to-back and terrorizing pitchers? Well ... I guess Vladdy's stats tell you he's still in his prime, he's just an ageless talent. Maybe one day we'll talk about Josh in the lofty terms Vladdy has earned.
You can’t say enough about the offense this last month, but I believe our team success starts with the pitching and defense. The starters have done a great job of getting deep into games, and that refreshes the bullpen. If we do have to pitch more, we’re able to do that because the other four starters give us quality starts. Ogando has been a nice shot in the arm for us. I'd like to point out that as I write this, he leads the team in batting average, ERA, and win percentage. Pretty good way to start your career.
The other day we walked from the bus to the locker room across the field and saw one of the Anaheim grounds crew with his little Jack Russell on the field. When I played here in 2008, I would walk out of the clubhouse late at night and there would be this white streak running around the field chasing tennis balls. Apparently he also has a job. I guess the resident cats of the stadium enjoy peeing on the grass, but have to think twice about it when he's patrolling the grounds. I even saw him jump up on a lawnmower his master was driving and take a little joy ride. I think it's awesome that he gets to go everywhere with his owner, and I'm sure he enjoys his days at the park. I’m a dog nut. I love them. If I ever see a dog, I stop and get some scratches in and usually take a picture with him. Once I get a more normal job where I don’t travel, I’d like to have a whole pack of them, because I think they really enrich your way of life.
Recently our GM, Jon Daniels, wagered with Elvis that he would dye his hair blonde if we won 10 games in a row. We went on a tear and did just that. I have to give him props for keeping his word and having his hair dyed the morning after we won that tenth game. He opted to go with the highlights, aka "frosted tips." I told him he looked like one of the New Kids on the Block. He wasn't quite as proud, and I was disappointed he was wearing a hat through the clubhouse so no one could take paparazzi shots. I guess he wasn't comfortable being a trendsetter.