Joseph's Rangers thoughts: The Angels series (5/14/12)

Joseph's Rangers thoughts: The Angels series (5/14/12)

Credit: Getty Images

Josh Hamilton is on an absolute roll right now. And with Nelson Cruz snapping out of his funk, the Rangers' lineup has become unparalleled (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images).

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by JOSEPH URSERY

WFAA Sports Blogger

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 6:47 AM

  • I wrote in this space a week ago that Nelson Cruz's wRC+ was  61. It is now 97. The switch flipped, sometime in Baltimore, it seems.
     
  • Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.com pointed out on twitter that Josh Hamilton had accummulated  1.6 Wins Above Replacement over the week that was. David Murphy averaged 1.4 fWAR per year in his previous five years. In other words, Josh Hamilton did about as much damage over the previous seven days as David Murphy does in the average six months.

    Normally, things like that seem hard to believe, but not in this case.
     
  • My fear that Albert Pujols would click and go back to, well, being Albert Pujols is lessened somewhat by seeing him up close. His bat just seems slow; moreso, it's ungainly. There's no way the real Albert Pujols swings through Koji Uehara's 88 mph fastball like this version did in game one. Ultimately, he'll start hitting like a reasonable simulacrum of Albert Pujols at some point, but the farther this season goes, the less likely that is to matter for 2012.
     
  • My fear of Mike Trout, though, is just developing. Watching him play against your team must be what fans of other teams feel watching Elvis Andrus or Ian Kinsler play against their team; he just does so many things well that he's constantly grating your nerves. 
     
  • The exact opposite of that coin is Vernon Wells. I always want to see Vernon Wells in the batter's box.
     
  • The one negative from this series is how the team treated CJ Wilson in the first inning of game two. After he couldn't find the strike zone and walked Ian and Elvis to start the game, Josh couldn't help himself swinging at the edges of the zone (although I don't blame Josh for swinging at everything within two feet these days) and Beltre went up and swung at a ball that turned into an inning-ending double play.

    The aggressive, take-your-pitch-and-drive-it approach this team features obviously has its charms. But the downside to it is letting a pitcher who's begging you to let him string himself up work his way back into the game, turning what should have been a disastrous start into a quality one.
     
  • Then again, that same free-swinging bunch turned Jered Weaver's start the next day into a disaster, so things balance themselves out.
     
  • We're now 35 games into the season, meaning a little over 20 percent of 2012 is in the books. The Rangers have not made a single change to the 25 man roster, and only one (virtually procedural) change to the 40 man roster. That kind of stability has to speak to the rock-solid nature of this organization, from roster construction to leadership to preparation, down to the guy who makes sure there are clean socks in every locker.
     
  • If the whole 'Geez this team is good' point hasn't been made yet, the Rangers are +80 in Run Differential, which simply means they've scored 80 more runs than they have allowed as a team. The next-best in the Majors is the Cardinals, at 65.  The next-best in the AL is Toronto- at 22. The next-best in the West is Oakland- at -11. Yes, they've allowed eleven more runs than they've scored.  

    No team in the Majors has scored more than the Rangers' 207. No team in the AL has allowed less than the Rangers' 127. Several teams in the NL have a lower runs allowed total, but baseball doesn't really count when pitchers hit.
     
  • In fact, there are five non-Rangers teams with positive run differentials- the AL East (Boston, New York, Baltimore, Toronto, and Tampa). Their run differentials are +2, +17, +15, +22, and +9, in the order they read previously. This adds up to 65. That is still less than 80. 

    Normally, things like that seem hard to believe, but not in this case.
 
Joseph Ursery can be found here after every series and pretty much all the time on twitter at @thejoeursery. We can't promise that following him on twitter will improve every aspect of your online expereince, but there's no real evidence that it won't- unless you hate funny, smart, and interesting tweets.

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