Thursday, March 29, 2012
Over/under: Wins for Rangers
By David Schoenfield
Can the Texas Rangers make it back to a third consecutive World Series?
They won 96 games in 2011, scoring 855 runs (third in the AL) and allowing 677 (fifth in the AL). While the Rangers' offense gets most of the attention, you can make the argument that once you adjust for home ballpark, the Rangers had the best pitching staff in the league.
The Rangers, of course, made changes to their rotation anyway, losing C.J. Wilson to the Angels as a free agent but signing Yu Darvish. They're giving closer Neftali Feliz the chance to start, moving Alexi Ogando back to the bullpen. Ogando posted a solid 3.51 ERA as a starter, so Feliz may be hard-pressed to match that. The Rangers will be hoping Derek Holland's second-half surge was for real: He went 10-1 with a 2.77 ERA over his final 15 starts.
The bullpen should be solid again, with Ogando, Mike Adams and closer Joe Nathan. Scott Feldman is around to provide depth in the rotation and pen as needed.
The Rangers bring back the same lineup. Can Mike Napoli repeat his monster season? Will Michael Young hit .338 again? Will Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre each hit 32 home runs again? Will Josh Hamilton stay healthy?
The over/under is 91 wins. I have a feeling the over will win in a landslide.