Posted on: August 22, 2011 1:48 pm
All this talk about Dan Uggla, Andre Ethier and hitting streaks this season, the Rangers have had quite the hit streak of their own lately, you know:
Nearly two weeks ago, Aug. 11 to be exact, snapped a streak of 40 consecutive days of 100-degree temperatures in Dallas. A record? Close: It just missed the 1980 Dallas-area record of 42 consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures.
That the Rangers played on, unaffected, and continued to thrive is yet another testament to the current group of strong-willed players constructed by club president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington: When was the last time you heard talk that the Rangers won't make it to October because they'll wilt in the heat?
Used to be an annual topic of conversation.
Yet this summer, the hottest on record in Dallas since Pat Corrales' Rangers went 76-85 and finished fourth in the AL West in '80, so far hasn't even come close to melting Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Co.
As the Red Sox arrive for a three-game series starting with an excellent pitching match-up Monday -- new Boston acquisition Erik Bedard vs. C.J. Wilson -- the first-place Rangers have produced their third-best record ever after 128 games (73-55).
"We monitor it," manager Ron Washington says of the heat. "We go out in it, we don't go out in it, we've still gotta play in it.
"You work in it less. We'll have weeks where we will have worked out in the heat for three days, and on four days we did not. But you've gotta get your work in to get used to it."
During the 40-day streak of temps of 100 or higher, the Rangers played 22 home games. They went 16-6.
"It's our home-field advantage," pitching coach Mike Maddux says. "We take our pitchers out in the heat of day. That's when we do our running, and throw in the bullpen.
"We see it as a challenge: 'I'm going to out-last the other guy.'"
The absence of third baseman Adrian Beltre, out since July 22 with a strained left hamstring, has hobbled the Rangers more than the heat has suffocated them.
And it remains scorching: When the 40-day streak of 100 ended on Aug. 11, it wasn't exactly with a cooling trend. The temperature reached 98 that day.
More of the same is awaiting the Red Sox and Rangers this week: Highs of 104 are predicted for Monday and Tuesday, 102 Wednesday and back up to 104 Thursday.
The Angels follow Boston in on Friday for another AL West showdown. Again, the high is predicted to be 104 on Friday.
"There are nights when we're dragging," Washington says. "But really, who wouldn't drag in that stuff?"
Likes: Absolutely fantastic job by the Padres on Sunday in the ceremony retiring legendary closer Trevor Hoffman's No. 51. One of the best I've ever seen. They presented him with a 1958 Cadillac convertible, based on the stories Hoffman has told regarding how his late father, Ed, loved to drive the family around in a convertible. They brought plenty of ex-teammates and coaches back. And in the best move of the day, the Padres tracked down an old video of Ed Hoffman singing the national anthem at Fenway Park on opening day in 1981 when Trevor's brother, Glenn, played for the Red Sox. Watching Trevor, his wife Tracy and his mother Nikki watch that video -- and brothers Greg and Glenn -- if your eyes weren't moist, then you weren't human. ... Reading the book ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun. Some entertaining stories, and it's written at a fast-moving clip (oral-history style). But it's a guilty read, too: I can't help but think, don't I have more important things to read? ... If you haven't seen it yet, make sure to Netflix (or rent or whatever) Win Win on DVD. It's terrific. Paul Giamatti as a small-town New Jersey lawyer and wrestling coach who is struggling in both areas. ... College football in less than two weeks.
Dislikes: Where, oh where, are the exciting playoff races?
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"In between the stops at the Cracker Barrel
"And 40 movies with Will Ferrell
"I need some way to occupy my time
"So I'm writing you a road song
"I sure hope you don't mind"
-- Fountains of Wayne, A Road Song
Posted on: April 12, 2011 2:06 pm
Being entrenched as Cincinnati's shortstop means something else for Paul Janish: Perhaps his pitching days are finally finished.
"Ideally," he says, chuckling.
In two big-league mop-up appearances, Janish has fashioned a not-so-stellar 49.50 ERA.
Two innings pitched (both in 2009), nine hits, 11 earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts.
He says he's been informed by my friend and curator of "Useless Information", Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, that he owns the record for most runs given up by a position player in the last 50 years.
"So that made it pretty good," Janish says.
He says college recruiters projected him as a pitcher out of Houston's Cypress Creek High School. But at Rice University, the pitching staff was loaded, including Jeff Niemann (first-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2004), Philip Humber (first-round pick by the Mets in 2004), Wade Townsend (first-round pick of the Orioles in 2004, then first-round by Tampa Bay in 2005) and David Aardsma (first-round by the Giants in 2003).
So he remained an infielder at Rice, and helped the Owls win the College World Series in 2003.
Now, as the Reds starting shortstop, and two years after his last appearance on the mound, Janish no longer is being recruited as a pitcher -- by universities, or by Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker.
"No," he says. "And I don't think I'm going to be able to take [the 49.50 career ERA] to arbitration."
Likes: Friday Night Lights back for season five beginning on Friday (for those of us who don't have DirecTV). Can't wait. Mixed emotions, though: I hate that it's the final season for one of the best television shows ever. ... Win Win, the new film featuring Paul Giamatti as a dispirited attorney who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach. Really good. ... The Joe Mauer/Troy Polamalu commercial for Head & Shoulders. Well played, Mauer ... and Palamalu.
Dislikes: Ken Griffey Jr. in the commercials. Junior, I love ya, but that Dick's Sporting Goods ad is just awful. ... Speaking of which, MLB's newest ad campaign, Always Epic, has a clunker of a television ad taking us "inside" Brian Wilson's beard. Creepy.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
-- Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine