The Texas Rangers haven't had the start expected of a team with such a powerful offensive line-up. They currently have a solid 42-41 winning record, which keeps them in relative contention at third place in the American League West division. The Rangers' offense is led by the extremely young slugging duo of Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton, both of which are in only their second season in professional baseball. Kinsler has league-leading statistics including a .323 batting average, 71 runs, and 110 hits. Hamilton is the league-leader in the other two batting statistics that count, with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs. Vicente Padilla leads on defense at the mound with a solid season start of 71 strikeouts in 104 innings pitched. The Rangers look to make a push this season towards the playoffs with their good start, and ticket sales reflect the success they've had this season.
Deep in the heart of Texas is where the Rangers
lie. They’ve become as much a part of the state as the
heat or the cattle since their first opening day in 1972. The
teams won their first American League West title in 1996 and
have won two more since then. During their three trips to the
postseason they were eliminated by the New York Yankees in at
the most 4 games each time. In 1991, flame throwing north paw
Nolan Ryan threw a no-hitter at the age of 44. Last season the
Rangers finished with a 71-91 record in 4th place in the AL West,
25 games out of 1st place.
The Rangers had a topsy turvey off-season. They tried
to trade away AL MVP Alex Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox but
it was shot down by the players union. Manager Buck Showalter
then named Rodriguez as their team captain and management traded
him away weeks later to the New York Yankees. In return they got All-star second
baseman Alfonso Soriano who had flirted with joining the 40/40 club twice in
his young career. The team also signed free agents Brian Jordan, David Delluci,
Kenny Rogers, and Jeff Nelson.
The Texas Rangers have a great deal of fire power
in their batting order. Last season they scored 826 runs and
hit 239 home runs which put ranked them 5th and 1st in the
AL. The 239 home runs were also the best in all of Major League
Baseball. This year the team is lead by slugging second baseman
Alfonso Soriano. Soriano has averaged 31 home runs and 88 RBIs
in his first three seasons. At the top of the lineup will be
shortstop Michael Young, and third baseman Hank Blaylock. Blaylock
hit the game winning home run in the 2003 All-star game. Technically
he was the only person to break up an Eric Gagne save since August 28, 2002.
In the heart of the lineup behind them are Soriano, designated hitter Brain Fullmer,
and first baseman Mark Teixeira. Finishing out the lineup are left fielder David
Delluci, right fielder Kevin Mench, center fielder Lance Nix, and catcher Rod
The Rangers pitching staff was less than spectacular
last year. They finished with an asinine 5.67 staff ERA that
put them in dead last in the AL and all of the majors. This
year pitching coach Orel Hershiser looks to help improve that
number. The return of Kenny Rogers should help out other starting pitchers R.A.
Dickey, Ryan Drese, Chan Ho Park, and Joaquin Benoit. In the bullpen the Rangers
feature closer Francisco Cordero.
Since 1994 the Texas Rangers have called Ameriquest Field, formerly The Ballpark
at Arlington, and their home field. This 49,000 seat stadium includes a baseball
museum, children’s learning center, a 12 acre lake, and recreation space
on the perimeter of the park. It also features the “Walk of Fame” in
which each full team roster since 1972 is engraved on bricks outside of the stadium.
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