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1. It should’ve been a great night for the Texas Rangers. They beat the Boston Red Sox to improve to 3-0 against Boston, Scott Feldman was great in a spot start, and everyone reached base in the game. Instead, Texas got some bad news as they learned that Colby Lewis has been shut down for the season. Lewis will have surgery to repair his torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.
Before he started having shoulder problems, Lewis had a string of six of seven starts where he allowed two runs or fewer. He was 6-6 on the season with a 3.43 ERA. That ERA is 2nd only to Matt Harrison and is better than Yu Darvish with the Rangers, who has 11 wins so far this season. But it’s not going to be the regular season where they miss him most. When Texas likely makes the playoffs, they’re going to miss the cool hand of Wilson, who was 1-1 last year in the playoffs and didn’t allow more than two earned runs in three of his four postseason starts in 2011.
He’s among the reasons that the Rangers were confident that they could let go of CJ Wilson. Lewis provided a veteran presence that pitched better the playoffs than Wilson (0-3, 5.79 ERA). And now he’s done for the season in the last year of his contract. For all we know, Lewis has pitched his last game in a Texas uniform.
2. So now the Rangers are instantaneously in the market for every pitcher on the trade block. With Roy Oswalt missing a start yesterday, Neftali Feliz on a rehab assignment, and Derek Holland making his way back from injury, the loss of Lewis puts the Rangers in a sudden need for more help in the rotation.
With a wealth of prospects that the Chicago Cubs would love and the Rangers in a much better position for the future than the Atlanta Braves, Ryan Dempster likely put a deal to Atlanta on hold (with his no-trade clause) after hearing that Texas might need him. Cubs right-hander Matt Garza is also on the trading block along with Houston Astros pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (Houston would love more young prospects!), Zach Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers, and even Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies. With Texas needing the rotation to help them through their current offensive slump, I’d expect the Rangers to make a big move soon.
3. Oh yeah, there was a game last night too. Texas beat the Boston Red Sox 9-1. Amazingly, Scott Feldman, who was downright terrible in his previous stint in the rotation, only allowed one run on seven hits and no walks in seven innings of work. He worked a lot of groundouts to get out of threats as Boston went 0-7 with runners in scoring position.
As I said before, every Ranger got on base. Even though Nelson Cruz didn’t get a hit, he still drew two walks. It was certainly nice to see Ian Kinsler go 3-4 with two runs scored. His OPS this month is .769, which is as good as his OPS has been in one month since April. He’s only failed to reach base in two games so far in July. But Craig Gentry is the one that’s making a case for more playing time, which would push Hamilton to left field and bench David Murphy for now. Gentry went 2-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. He has hit safely in six games and has multiple hits in five of those games.
He’s very useful in the 9th spot as a guy that Texas can count on right now to provide quality at-bats ahead of the top of the order, much like Endy Chavez did at times last season.
Houston has lost 10 of 11 games since coming back from the All Star break. Among the reasons is that they’ve only scored 27 runs in 11 games, and that’s including a 13-8 loss. In seven of those 11 games, Houston has scored two runs or fewer and that includes their lone win. We saw why in this past game as Houston collected 11 hits but only pushed across three runs. With Carlos Lee gone and Jed Lowrie hurt, there’s a severe lack of power in the lineup and Houston is already one of the worst teams in the league in home runs and slugging percentage.
Even if the Astros were hitting better, the pitching staff is throwing as bad as it has all season. In six of the last seven games, Houston has allowed at least eight runs. So it doesn’t really matter that Chris Johnson got four hits or that Wandy Rodriguez had a quality start. Nothing is going right for this team and they are well on their way to hitting a new historic low.
5. On to football where the Dallas Cowboys received a bit of good news. Dez Bryant’s mother won’t be pressing charges, which means that the investigation and, more importantly, this story is going to die down pretty quickly after training camp starts.
But just because it’s going away quickly doesn’t mean that there can still be consequences. After the trouble Bryant got into last year, this incident was definitely strike 2 against Bryant as far as Jerry Jones is concerned. Among the ways that Jones has turned around this Cowboys franchise is that he stopped signing guys that caused trouble off the field and got rid of the ones that did on his team. He started building from the ground up hoping to cultivate a better culture for the Cowboys.
Bryant would be wise to hang low for the rest of the season, and really the rest of his career if he wants to stay in Dallas because he’s getting closer to the line where his talents stops becoming worth the trouble of having him on the roster.
6. Finally, the WWE’s 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw aired last night and the only way to describe it is it was a three-hour joy ride. Degeneration X came back and put on a great show for the crowd, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon beat down Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar, Undertaker made his return and teamed with Kane, and The Rock came back only to get taken out by CM Punk after his match with John Cena.
I’ve been going through my WWE renaissance. A lot of my friends and a lot of people I follow on Facebook and Twitter kept talking about how good the show was and I hadn’t watched wrestling since high school. Although I did help put on an independent wrestling show in El Paso a couple of years ago that featured Booker T and Billy Gunn.
Still, it’s been fun getting back into the WWE universe and last night was a great payoff. The only concern is that last night was the start of Monday Night Raw shifting to a three-hour program. Usually a three-hour Raw was saved for special occasions, but now it’s going to be every week. While last night was a great show, can WWE sustain a three-hour program every week? The last few months of Smackdown have been largely uneventful and worth skipping save for a few special matches. I don’t think Raw will lose viewers, but I guarantee many more will be recording the program and skipping through a lot of the program, possibly only watching what they heard was great the next day, much the way the modern sports culture has moved in the digital age.
In any case, I’m glad I’m back in and I’m looking forward to watching 1000 more episodes.