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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

On being 7 and 7... 

With last night's victory, the Rangers are sitting at 7-7, the latest in the season they have been at .500 since they were 10-10 in 2001, ARod's inaugural season.

There's a marked difference between 2001 and 2004, though...in 2001, despite the fact that we were winning some games, the team didn't inspire confidence. The games we were winning were slugfests that the Rangers squeaked out, while the losses were ugly. And win or lose, it seemed that nobody on the pitching staff, and in particular, the starting rotation, was pitching well. Though the Rangers were at .500 after 20 games in 2001, it was obvious that, unless they ratcheted up their play, they were in for a serious nosedive.

This year, though? If anything, the 7-7 record understates how well the team has played thusfar...the Rangers have outscored their opponents by ten runs thusfar, and have an OPS advantage of 89 points, suggesting that, if anything, the Rangers have been unlucky this season. Whereas in 2001, the .500 start had one worried about whether the team was going to turn it around, in 2004, this start makes one wonder how long the Rangers can keep playing as well as they have.

I'll still be surprised if this is a .500 team at season's end...particularly if the injuries keep mounting. The news that Mark Teixeira likely won't be ready to return from the D.L. when he's eligible on April 28 is particularly troubling.

Nevertheless, for the first time in quite some time, the early season results for the Rangers are encouraging. And while this team has, the last several years, had a proclivity for going into tailspins that sink the season, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that they can keep motoring along...

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