Little run, away
Game's biggest division lead
Now owned by Texas
It's been an excellent road trip. Facing two mediocre teams but matched up against good pitching more often than not, Texas has gone 5-1 so far on the trip, and now visits Houston for three, missing the Astros' top two starters (Roy Oswalt and Brett Myers), before returning home.
Got to keep taking care of business, not only this weekend but for these three weeks leading up to the All-Star Break, during which the Rangers face clubs with a losing record 19 times in 22 games, the lone exception coming in a three-game set in Anaheim June 29-July 1, against an Angels team that now sits 2.5 games back in the AL West.
The Rangers' final action before the Break is a July 8-11 series at home against Baltimore, intersected on the 9th by a bankruptcy court hearing in Fort Worth that, depending on what happens this Tuesday, could set things up for the league's ownership to approve the sale of the Rangers to the Greenberg/Ryan group well in advance of the conventional trade deadline.
Texas will come out of the Break with 23 of 42 games on the road, including 19 games against the three best teams in the East and two best teams in the Central, and another 19 against West foes.
But if the sale goes through sometime during that crucial stretch, imagine the idea that the rotation or bullpen or bench could be given a significant boost before it ends.
Not that the arrival of Alexi Ogando (who gets a hit every time he comes up, and a win every time he pitches) might not end up being a bigger boost than some contenders are able to make during trade season. Or that Tanner Scheppers might not make even more of an impact this summer than Ogando.
(By the way, if you dare credit Jon Daniels for the plan to steal Ogando from Oakland nearly five years ago, to convert him from outfielder to pitcher, to stick with him through the immigration nightmare, and to help forge a solution for getting him back into the United States, he'll correct you and point out that A.J. Preller and Mike Daly were primarily responsible for all of it, with Thad Levine and Danilo Troncoso instrumental in clearing up the legal restraints.)
Nelson Cruz, heading out on a three-game rehab stint today, and Derek Holland, who could embark on a rehab assignment next week, and Tommy Hunter, who says his hip flexor strain is fine, are getting closer to returning as well.
I'm not sure whether Nolan Ryan assumed the sale would have been completed or not when he predicted at the beginning of the season that this team would win 92 games.
It's presently on pace to go 93-69.
A reader emailed this to me last night: "I am currently sitting in the Buffalo Wild Wings in Arlington, full of people ready to watch the Lakers and Celtics. And when Elvis' bunt was thrown wild, a chant of ‘Let's Go Rangers' broke out."
This is getting pretty good.
As you now know, early this week we sold out of spots for Newberg Report Night, in about 48 hours. Several of you asked about the possibility of attending the July 25 game with our group, even though admission to the pregame events in the Hall of Fame Theater is closed. We can do that.
If you're interested in sitting with the Newberg Report group that Sunday night against the Angels, in Sections 37-40 along the first base line (lower bowl), you can get a discounted game ticket for $15 (half the price of the full event admission). If you want to watch with our group from a luxury suite, you can do so for $100 (the same price as the event admission but still a huge discount off of what it would normally cost to sit in a suite).
And the majority of your cost would still go to our charities, which this year are the Hello Win Column Fund (which supports local families impacted by cancer) and a local women's shelter.
If you're interested in attending the game with us on the 25th, the way to sign up is the same as it has been.
Based on how the schedule lines up until then, particularly over the next three weeks, that night's game against Los Angeles could be pretty huge.
To join the free Newberg Report mailing list so you can get e-mail deliveries of every edition of the newsletter, daily minor league game recaps, and frequent Newberg Report News Flashes, go to www.newbergreport.com and click the "Mailing List" link on the top menu bar.
(c) Jamey Newberg