Tag Archive | "Hello Win Column"

Hello Win Column – The Texas Louisville Slugger Massacre


Opening weekend in Arlington, Tx was great if you are a Rangers fan and not so great if you are a Red Sox fan. The Rangers simply beat the Red Sox like a drum. The got good pitching performances from Matt Harrison, CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis. Throw in some good performances at the back of the bullpen and the Rangers had a great series, but that is not where all the highlights came from. Those came from the other side of the ball.

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz, do I need to say more. Both set records that I never would have thought about.

Ian Kinsler hit leadoff homeruns in the first 2 games of the season – record.

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz both hit homeruns in the first 3 games – record.

They both had great series and Cruz even continued his homerun hitting in game 4. But it didn’t end with these two. David Murphy had a big series. Elvis Andrus, Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre and other had some big hits. It seemed like everyone on the team was hitting homeruns, and the Rangers beat up on some of the better pitchers in the American League in Lester, Lackey, and Buchholtz.

Does this mean the Red Sox are done for the year, no. They are nowhere near being out of the race, and Red Sox Nation I have one thing to say to you – Lighten up Francis! I have seen too many blogs throwing a fit like a 5 year old who didn’t get his way. I hate to break it to you but Red Sox Nation is not the only group that watches ESPN. So you had a bad series, everyone does. There are so many ups and downs during a full season that everyone is going to be swept from time to time. It’s better to have it now than the last 3 games of the season. I actually like the Red Sox despite being a huge Rangers fan (basically a convert from being a Yankee hater for years). I root for them in the AL except when they play Texas, but I have to say a few Red Sox bloggers have made Red Sox Nation look like a bunch of whining 5 year-olds. You don’t see Pirates fans getting upset when someone on ESPN says they play horrible. So why are you?

I was glad to see the Rangers come out and play well to start the season. They have kept it going in the 2nd series and I know it is early but I hope there is more of this to come. I still think they make the playoffs, but can they get past a team like the Red Sox in the playoffs? They sure made a statement that will be remembered come September, but its early and there is a lot still to be seen, but I like what I am seeing.

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Hello Win Column & Hello World Series


I am speechless right now.  I did not see the game because I was visiting the DMZ.  I will be watching it tonight and will share my thoughts on it later this weekend when I can put into words what this means.

Bring on San Fran/Philly – Cliff Lee is waiting!

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Hello Win Column – Texas Rangers Style


I have never been more excited to be a Texas Rangers fan. Then again there has never been a better time to be one.

I remember the days of old — lots of offense and no pitching. Those were some fun times spent at the Ballpark watching what amounted to home run derby. But what the Rangers have been able to put together this year is something magical. I have so many great memories of not only the Ballpark in Arlington, but old Arlington Stadium as well.  All of my childhood memories of going to baseball games are from the old stadium to see the likes of Buddy Bell, Tobby Harrah, Gary Ward, Pete O’Brien, and the great Nolan Ryan.

There may be better times ahead with more memorable moments, but for now and the foreseeable future, Eric Nadel’s call of the final out will be etched into my memory.  The call come courtesy of Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report and Mike Disen of KRLD Radio.

Rangers/Rays Game 5- Final Out

I really only get goose bumps when I hear one other call from baseball — the 1992 NLCS Game 7 call from Skip Carey.

I was happy for a lot of people after the win.  Josh Hamilton who has fought back after derailing his career with drugs and alcohol.  Manager Ron Washington who earlier this year was put on the hot seat after the report came out that he tested positive for drugs.  Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg who took over control of the team from former owner and perhaps the most hated man in Dallas, Tom Hicks. But there is no doubt that I am happiest for Michael Young.  He is the quintessential professional, and through his career in Arlington he has been through a lot.  He moved to SS when they traded Aroid.  He moved to 3B when the team felt Elvis Andrus could help the team, and through it all he has not only been a professional but one of the best hitters in the game.

I don’t really even know what to say.  I really wish I was still in Dallas so I could go to the airport to greet the team when they come home.  It’s just not the same watching the games here early in the mornings by myself.  I do at least have Twitter (@baseballjourney), and I am able to text some friends from home during the game.  But I would love to be in Dallas soaking up the atmosphere.

Now the Rangers must take on the hated Yankees, and I think this series will be a wild one.  I have to say I have never been more confident of our ability to win a series, and that all comes from the pitching staff.

Game 1 starts Friday.  Get your antlers, claws, and boomsticks ready!

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Hello Win Column – Texas Wins 2nd Postseason Game Ever


Texas Rangers 5, Tampa Bay Rays 1

Cliff Lee is ridiculous.  What else can you say?  Today he goes 8 innings allowing 5 hits and only 1 run while striking out 10.  He was simply amazing on the mound in Game 1 of the ALDS leading Texas to its 2nd postseason win ever.

Texas was able to jump on Tampa Bay ace David Price early.  The late season pickups of Jeff Francoeur started the scoring off with a RBI double in the second.  He was then promptly driven in by the other late season pickup Benji Molina.  The Rangers continued to pour on the runs with a single run in each the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to extend their lead to 5-0 where it would stay until the 7th.  Tampa Bay would get their lone run on a Ben Zobrist solo home run.

It was a shaky start for Lee as he loaded the bases in the top of the first with only 1 out.  But Cliff Lee was Cliff Lee the rest of the inning striking out Carlos Pena and Rocco Baldelli to end the inning.  There was a controversial call in the at bat with Carlos Pena.  With the count 2-1, Cliff Lee ran the ball inside on Pena’s hands.  Pena checked his swing but the umpire said he tipped the ball for strike 2.  Watching the replay it did not look like it hit anything, but you could definitely hear it hit something.  That made the count 2-2 instead of 3-1, which was a huge advantage for Lee.

On the offensive side of things, Nelson Cruz and Benji Molina used their “Boomstick” for solo home runs and Vlad Guerrero hit a 2-run double driving in Josh Hamilton who had gotten on base and stolen 2nd.

Over all it was a great game for Texas and just what they needed going into Game 2.  They will throw CJ Wilson against Tampa’s James Shields.

In other Postseason action:

Philadelphia 4, Cincinnati 0

Philly defeated Cincinnati 4-0 in Game 1 of the NLDS.  Roy Halladay outdid even Cliff Lee throwing his 2nd no-hitter of the year.  He pitched a complete game no-hit shutout of the Reds striking out 8 and walking only 1.  He is simply the best pitcher on the planet right now.  Along with Oswalt and Hammels, the Phillies pitching looks stout going into the postseason.  They are the team to beat in the NL.

New York Yankees 6, Minnesota Twins 4

The Yanks take Game 1 of their series with Minnesota as they come back late to beat the Twins on a 2-run home run by Mark Teixiera.

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Hello Win Column: Rangers with Walk Off Wins


As the rangers has hit a tailspin in September and looked to blow their 9.5 game lead in the AL West, the Evil Empire came into town.  Things were not looking good for Texas since they are only 1-4 against the Yankees heading into the weekend series in Arlington. There has been talk, even in Dallas, about the possibility of Oakland coming back to win the division as the Rangers fail miserably down the stretch.

Players are hurt, the pitching is struggling, and the hitters can’t seem to get timely hitting which has led to a meager 4-6 record in their previous 10 games.  Even with winning 2 straight against the Blue Jays prior to the dreaded Yanks heading to town, the Rangers were in coast mode, which is not good.

Then something happened that many, including me didn’t expect.  The Rangers win 2 in a row on walk-offs versus the Yankees.  Not only did they win both in walk-off fashion, but Mariano Rivera blew one of the games.

On Friday night, the Rangers went down early as the Yankees took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  This was not looking good for the Rangers as CJ Wilson go the hook early after only 3 innings.  The Rangers would battle back and tie the game in the 8th inning at 4-4 with a Nelson Cruz home run off of Jaba Chamberlain, and Cruz wasn’t done.  The game continued into the night, until Nelson Cruz came up again in the 13th to face Chad Gaudin.  Cruz only needed one pitch to send the fans home happy into the night as he hit the first pitch of the 13th inning over the right center field fence for a walk-off home run.

Nelson Cruz Walk Off Homerun in 13th

Now with 3 wins in a row, the Rangers came back Saturday night to face off with the hated Yankees again.  This time the Rangers sent out Tommy Hunter in search of his 13th win.  Hunter would last 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 6 hits but would not factor into the decision.  The Rangers would wind up throwing 7 pitchers into the game on Saturday night, as they took a 5-3 lead into the 8th inning.

Standing in their way of a 4th straight victory was former Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez.  With the bases loaded facing Matt Harrison, Arod doubled down the left field line clearing the bases and putting the Yanks up 6-5.

The Rangers would come roaring back in the 9th once again.  With Mariano Rivera on the hill, the Rangers fought back.  Vladimir Guerrero led off the inning with a walk, and was quickly replaced with a pinch runner as he was the tying run.  Nelson Cruz again came through with a single to right putting runners at the corner for Ian Kinsler.  Kinsler came through with a huge double over the 3rd base bag to tie the game and giving Rivera his 3rd blown save of the year.

Next up was Chris Davis who was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up the double play.  With Blanco pinch-hitting for Treanor and the bases loaded, Rivera coaxes Blanco to pop up for the first out.  Next up was recently acquired Jeff Francoeur.  Mariano Rivera did the rest of the work for the Rangers as he hit Francoeur with a pitch to bring in the winning run extending the Rangers win streak to 4 games.

Now this does not automatically send the Rangers into the playoffs, but it does 2 things that are huge for Rangers and their fans.  First of all, it helps stop all the talk of a Rangers complete collapse in September.  Sure there are still a few weeks of baseball left, and it is still possible for a total collapse, but winning games like this gives the Rangers so much confidence heading into the rest of September.  The second thing that it does is give the Rangers confidence if and when the Rangers face the Yankees in the playoffs.  This might be the most important factor.

No matter what happens Sunday night versus the Yankees, the Rangers have a new found confidence heading into perhaps the most critical part of the season as they prepare for a possible run at the World Series.

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Playoff Predictions


With a month left in the season, it is nice to still see there are some races left for division titles. In 4 of the 6 divisions, the lead is 3.5 games or less. With so much baseball to be played a lot could happen. I am going to attempt now to predict what will happen by the end of the season as I take a look at each division.

AL East
The lead for the Yankees is at 1.5 games over Tampa Bay. This has been a close race all year, and I don’t see that changing the last month of the season. Regardless of who wins the division, the other will win the wildcard unless one or both have a complete nosedive the last month of the season. Of course, that can happen (See 2007 Mets), but I don’t see it happening this year. What I do see happening is the Yankees holding onto a narrow victory for the division title, and Tampa Bay winning the Wild Card.

New York wins AL East
Tampa Bay wins Wild Card

AL Central
Minnesota has a 3.5 game lead over Chicago. Can Manny help reignite the White Sox to overtake the Twins? I don’t think so. I really don’t see Manny providing much down the stretch. He seems to be a pale image of his old self, which after what he did to the Red Sox, I am happy to see. Anyone who acts like he does I really don’t want to see succeed. I have the Twins winning in the Central by 3 games or so.

Minnesota wins AL Central

AL West
This division is about wrapped up. Texas leads Oakland by 10 games and even if Cliff Lee has to miss some time, the Rangers have too much for the West. The only question that remains in the West is how will the Rangers prepare themselves for the playoffs. Yes I know they could still collapse in the heat of Texas, but I see this happening about as much as I see the Red Sox overtaking Tampa Bay for the Wild Card. Its just not going to happen.

Texas wins AL West

NL West
San Diego leads San Francisco by 3 games. This one is a tough one to call since nobody thought the Padres would be in first, let alone so much of the season. I am actually going to say San Francisco comes back to take the division late in the season by a game or two. I think Lincecum and Cain will lead the Giants back to the playoffs. This will lead the Padres to battle it out for the wildcard.

San Francisco wins NL West

NL Central
This is another surprising division with the Reds up on the Cardinals by 8 games. I don’t see Cincinnati faltering down the stretch. The division might get a little closer, but I see the Reds winning by 4 or 5 games.

Cincinnati wins AL Central

NL East
This one is a tough one to call, especially since I am such a huge Braves fan. Call me a homer if you want but I am calling for the Braves to take the division in Bobby Cox’s last season. It will go down to the wire, but I like the Braves chances with their pitching staff. That is why I am calling for them to win the division and the Phillies to take the Wild Card. I just think Hudson, Hanson, and the staff will take them to the playoffs.

Atlanta wins NL East
Philadelphia wins Wild Card

NL Division Series
Atlanta vs San Francisco – Atlanta wins in 4
Philadelphia vs Cincinnati – Cincinnati wins in 4

AL Division Series
Texas vs Tampa Bay – Texas in 5
New York vs Minnesota – New York in 4

AL Championship Series
With Texas finally winning a playoff series, they must go to Yankee Stadium to face the evil empire. I think they match up fairly well but I am not sure they can get by the Yankees, so as much as I hate to I am picking the Yankees to win.

Yankees win in 6 games.

NL Championship Series
A series pitting upstart Cincinnati against Atlanta I think would be a good one. I really like the Braves pitching, but I think Cincinnati has the offense and enough pitching to take the series. I am going with the Reds in 7 games.

Cincinnati wins in 7 games.

World Series
I think this could be a good one, and while I am not calling for a repeat of 1990 when the Reds swept through the mighty A’s, I see the Reds finishing the miracle season atop the world. Reds in 6 games.

I am going out on a limb. How far out is a question of your loyalties in baseball I guess. I am saying the Reds win the World Series. Of course, I would love to see the Braves and Rangers in the series, but I am not sure that will happen.

World Series Champs – Cincinnati Reds

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Hello Win Column! – What a Game This Is


With all the crap that we see in our day to day lives, sometimes we need to be reminded that there are genuinely good people out there.  Unfortunately this normally takes a bad event to occur (hurricanes, earthquakes, etc…).  But today we got to see something special, and nobody died or was injured in the process.  Of course, I am talking about Jim Joyce and Armando Gallaraga.

Both men acted like adults and nobody got out of control.  The situation, as bad as it was, was handled with incredible maturity.  I have gained a lot of respect for both parties involved.  I found the link below through Brent Mayne’s Blog, and it is quite the moving video.  I think Mayne said it best when he said, “This is why baseball is the greatest sport on the planet and this is why we should leave it alone.”

So watch the video below.  Shed a tear or two (I did).  Then take a moment to remember just how great this game really is.  Oh and while you’re at it, go check out Brent Mayne’s site.  I really enjoyed it.

Clip of Joyce and Gallaraga

Jim Joyce and Armando Gallaraga shake hands prior to game.

I felt this deserved to go under the headline of Hello Win Column!  After all, this is a good story in the end, and that is what I want to bring to you with this segment.

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Hello Win Column! Braves Score 7 in Ninth


Hello Win Column gives me the chance to talk about great come from behind wins, and there happened to be one on Thursday this week.

The game looked like it might be a pitchers duel with two up and coming superstars in the making.  Tommy Hanson of the Braves looked to rebound from a poor start against Arizona.  Coming into the game Hanson’s ERA was just under 3, and he was putting up solid numbers.  On the other side of the field was Mike Leake who came into the game with a 4-0 record and an ERA of just over 3.  Leake has not spent any time in the minors going from Arizona State straight to the big leagues after being the 8th overall pick last summer.

This was anything but a pitchers duel from the beginning.  Leake lived up to his end of it giving up only 1 earned run in 6 innings, but once again Hanson pitched poorly.

I put on the game late last night via MLB.com but quickly turned if off after Cincinnati went up 5-0 in the 2nd inning.  Unfortunately they weren’t done yet.  Hanson would give up 8 runs in 1.2 innings before giving way to the pen.

The Braves would put a few runs on the board, but after 8.5 innings the score stood at 9-3. Then came the bottom of the 9th.

The Reds pen had retired 11 straight heading into the 9th.  Then Glaus led off the inning with a soft single and the flood gates opened.  Eric Hinske followed with a solid single to right putting 2 men on with no outs.  Escobar loaded the bases on what should have been the 4th Reds error made by shortstop Orlando Cabrera.  Nate McLouth got the scoring going with a rocket single to right plating Glaus and Hinske making the score 9-5.  Dusty Baker had seen enough of Lincoln and went to the pen again to bring in Nick Masset.

Masset promptly walked David Ross to load the bases.  NL hits leader Martin Prado then grounded into what should have been a double play, but Miguel Cairo bobbled the ball at third base allowing a run to score making it 9-6 with the bases still loaded.  Dusty Baker quickly pulled the plug on Masset and brought in his left specialist Arthur Rhodes.

Who does Rhodes have to face immediately? None other than the Braves new phenom Jason Heyward.  The 40 year-old Rhodes pitched well and struck out the 20 year-old Heyward.  With the pitchers spot coming up (the Braves had pulled Chipper Jones in an earlier double switch) 1 out and the bases loaded, Baker went to his closer Francisco Cordero.  Bobby Cox countered with pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad.

Conrad battled Cordero fouling off several pitches.  Then with the count 2-2, Conrad takes a Cordero fastball to the opposite field.  It looked like it would be a sacrifice fly.  Lance Nix made a play on the ball at the wall and the ball glanced off of his glove over the wall for a walk-off grand slam.  Even Conrad thought Nix caught the ball.  After he rounded first he threw his hands up over his head in frustration and turned around facing the dugout.  Only then, as his teammates were running out onto the field, did Conrad turn around to see he had a walk-off slam.

It was a great comeback win that put the Braves over .500 for the first time in awhile.  You hear it all the time that baseball is a game of inches.  Thursday’s game was one of those instances.  An inch or two to the right and Nix pulls that in for an out and the Braves are looking to score 3 more runs vs the Reds closer.

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Hello Win Column!


I have been looking into adding some regular posts and figured I would start with a segment I will call, Hello Win Column!  This will be a periodical look at the standings, power rankings, and other things such as great wins.

This week I thought I would take a look at the standings for the first 36 games (22.2% of the season).  So let’s go through division by division and see where the surprises and disappointments are.

AL East

I think here we have one of the biggest surprises so far.  The Tampa Bay Rays are not only in first place, but have the best record in baseball.  Now don’t get me wrong, in no way is them having a good record surprising.  I think everyone felt this team would contend, but I don’t think they thought this team would play this good so far.  The Yankees are right behind the Rays which is not surprising, but the order of the next two teams is.  Toronto, with hot hitting Vernon Wells, is in 3rd while Boston is struggling around .500 in 4th.  The Red Sox are scoring runs, but giving up more.  And with little fanfare the Orioles are in the basement of the East with the worst record in baseball.

AL Central

Before the season I felt this division was wide open.  So far it is a two team race that could come down to the wire.  Right now the Twins lead Detroit by 1.5 games.  This could stay like this for most of the year, but don’t count out Chicago getting back in the race later on in the season.  I wouldn’t put must stock into K.C. or Cleveland as they will vie for the cellar here.

AL West

Another wide open race to begin the year, it is shaping up to be a three team race.  It could be wide open come summer with all four teams looking to take the division, but I don’t see Seattle getting back in it.  Right now the Rangers lead the West by 2 over Oakland.  I look for the Rangers to win this division, but it should be a good race all year long.

NL East

Philly is the class of the division here.  I am not sure what is more surprising, Atlanta in last place or Washington in 2nd.  I don’t think the Braves will end up in the cellar, at least not with the Mets in the division.  Philly is clearly the head of the class here and should have no real issues winning the East.

NL Central

One of the bigger surprises in the NL is Cincinnati.  They trail the Cardinals by only .5 game.  In the long run I think the Cards will take the Central, but it will be a fun summer if the Reds can make it a race in the end.  They are young and exciting to watch.  Mike Leach is on his way to a great season.  I would say ROY if Jason Heyward wasn’t in the race as well.  No big surprise that the Astros, Cubs, Pirates, and Brewers aren’t in the race for now.  Unless there are some changes I don’t see any of them contending.

NL West

The biggest surprise in the NL to me is the Padres leading the West.  I think everyone thought that the Dodgers and Giants would compete for the division here. The Dodgers are on a winning streak, but have lost one of their better players to a broken finger in Andre Ethier.  In the end this division will be wide open.  Look for the Dodgers, Rockies, Padres, and Giants to all contend.  In the end I like the pitching of the Giants, but don’t count anyone out.

I look forward to the next month and a half to see where we are come All-Star break.  I do think we will see some changes in the division leaders by then.  It is shaping up to be a great summer of baseball.

For those of you who didn’t grow up listening to Ranger games, the title of this may not have much meaning.  Mark Holtz was the radio play-by-play announcer from 1982 to 1994, then he moved into the television booth until 1997.  After every Ranger win, Holtz would display his signature phrase, “Hello Win Column!”

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There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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