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1. The Texas Rangers got off to a great in their series against the Baltimore Orioles in Arlington with a 5-1 victory. Ryan Dempster was dominant, throwing eight innings of one-run ball allowing just four hits and two walks. Dempster’s stuff is never electric. He makes his living fooling batters because he has a straight fastball, one that has movement, and a slider that looks identical coming out of his hand until is breaks away from the plate or further down in the zone than what the batter thinks.
When his pitches aren’t moving is what gets him in trouble. It’s the reason that half his starts with Texas have seen him get battered. Hopefully for Texas, Dempster can stabilize his performances and bring this kind of performance to the hill the rest of the season. Stability in the rotation is one of the keys to a World Series that has eluded them the last two seasons.
The Rangers spread the hits around really well. Every starter got a hit. We’ve seen cases before with this team where they rack up hits, but don’t score runs because none or few of the hits come with runners in scoring position. Luckily, that wasn’t the case yesterday as Texas went 5-15. The only player with multiple hits is, you guessed it, David Murphy. He went 2-3 with a walk and two RBI’s. His OPS is up to .965 and he’s getting close to passing up Nelson Cruz for highest on the team in the month of August.
2. The Houston Astros didn’t lose yesterday… but that’s only because they didn’t play. A little Astros humor for you. The only bigger joke is Roger Clemens coming back to pitch for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters.
Houston isn’t taking part in very many close contests this year. Seventeen of their games in the 2nd half of the season were decided by more than three runs. But the team is holding one contest that I’m highly interested in. The Astros are putting on a Radio Apprentice Contest. They held auditions to join the Astros radio broadcasting team and have narrowed the contest down to 10 finalists, one of whom is a good friend of mine: Alex Del Barrio. “ADB” is a former radio broadcaster and sports anchor from the Rio Grande Valley. He’s spent the past year traveling the world as the Harlem Globetrotters PA announcer and he’d be perfect for the job.
To vote for him (and three other finalists of your choosing, click here and vote for him as many times as you please (I know I’ll be voting multiple times per day).
Photo courtesy Rob Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
3. Bad news for Dallas Cowboys fans (and possible fantasy football owners): Miles Austin will be held out until the start of the regular season to avoid hurting his hamstring further. Austin has been out since August 4th with a strained hamstring.
Austin missed three games last year toward the beginning of the season because of one strained hamstring and another three games because he strained the other hamstring. This is a good news/bad news deal. It’s bad news because this is one of those injuries that could keep creeping up and constantly force him to miss time and hurt the team, not to mention his career. It’s good news because he’s going to get time to heal up before the start of the regular season. As Jerry Jones said, they know what he can do on the field and he doesn’t have anything to prove on the field in the preseason.
The Cowboys only have two reliable wide receivers, but Kevin Ogletree is close. The fantasy implications are a benefit to Ogletree. We’ve seen how a weak offensive line affected Witten’s production last year. Ogletree is a great value pick in the later rounds if Austin has to miss time, which he likely will if his history is any indication.
4. The Houston Texans have been relatively quiet on the injury front this offseason. Andre Johnson suffered a camp injury that he was fine with in a week. JJ Watt separated his left elbow, but he’ll be back for the opener and if this were the regular season he likely would have only missed a couple of weeks of action. Brian Cushing left the preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers with sore ribs, but he’ll be fine to play at the New Orleans Saints this weekend.
All of that said, Gary Kubiak said he is going to play his starters for three quarters on Saturday. Hopefully the Saints do the same. It’d be fun to size up both teams through three quarters of play and would be, along with the Bears-Giants and 49ers-Broncos, one of the best games to watch this preseason.
5. Just two years ago, Ryan Tannehill was a wide receiver at Texas A&M for the Aggies. Now, he’s the opening day starter for the Miami Dolphins. Tannehill hasn’t been stellar in the preseason, but neither has any other Dolphins quarterback (or player for the last… five years). So the tie goes to the rookie.
He has shown some good poise in the pocket and good touch on his throws. He really needs to work on his footwork, though. He’s getting beat up and chased around a lot with a weak offensive line (and running game, and wide receiver corps). He can’t be on the run constantly, so staying in the pocket is going to help him the most. He’s definitely going to learn the hard way as a rookie for one of the worst teams in the NFL, but we’ll see if there are any signs for long-term success as the season goes on.
6. Finally, season nine of The Office will be the final season. According to this report by the awesome people at EW.com, they’re going to go out the right way.
Greg Daniels is returning as show runner. He hasn’t had that job since season five. The best part of the story is that Daniels says that a lot of questions will be answered including who the film crew is and why they’re filming. We’ll also likely find out what will finally happen with Dwight and Angela, if Erin and Andy will last together, and if Toby will ever just… go away and stay away. Man, I hate Toby.
We likely won’t get to see Steve Carell back as Michael Scott, but that’s appropriate. As Daniels says, his interview was just so perfect. The last thing he literally said on the show was “that’s what she said.”
NBC is headed for a tough spot as this could also be the last season for 30 Rock. With Parks and Recreation carrying the torch on Thursdays, not many other shows have the same promise of being funny. But it seems like every time we declare NBC Thursdays dead, something pops back up again to keep our attention.