The Texas Rangers are currently 48-39 and just a game and a half behind the Angels in the AL West. Not just are the Rangers firmly in contention to win the division, but I contend that they are in fact the favorite. Here’s why:
- Texas is 7-2 versus the Angels this year and have outscored them 58-43 in those games. The key is the 58 runs which is an average of over eight runs a game. The Rangers have destroyed the Angels’ pitching and have proven themselves as the better team
- Texas is 6-3 versus the Mariners. Third in the division at 46-42, the Mariners are in contention as well, but the Rangers have handled Seattle well this year. Overall, the Rangers are 18-8 against teams from the AL West. Half way through the season, the Rangers have proven themselves as the best team in the AL West based on games between the teams. The Angels are 11-16 and the Mariners are 16-15 against teams in their own division. Continue reading “Why The Rangers Will Win The AL West”
Raul Ibanez is having a career year, having already hit 21 home runs and driven in 58 runs. Over his career, Ibanez has averaged 23 homers a year and yet this year he has almost hit that many in less than sixty games. Add to the fact that Ibanez is 37 years old, and something seems a little off here. This is what another blogger, JROD, looked in to in his article The Curious Case of Raul Ibanez: Steroid Speculation Perhaps Unfair, but Great Start in 2009 Raising Eyebrows.
JROD examined Ibanez’s year to the finest detail. He looked at the ballparks in which Ibanez homered in and examined their “HR Factors”. He looked at the dimensions of his new home ballpark since he signed this year with the Phillies in the offseason. He looked at the pitchers that Ibanez had homered off of, checking to see if Ibanez had just seen a lot of bad pitchers early on in the season. As he went through these stats though, nothing stuck out as that out of the ordinary. Certainly there was nothing that would explain the increase Ibanez’s home run rate from a homer every 23.9 plate appearances (2006-2008) to a homer every 12.1 plate appearances.
At the end of this specific, well-researched article, JROD threw out one possible explanation for Ibanez’s dramatic increase in home runs: Steroids. He did not claim that he had any first-hand knowledge that the Phillies’ outfielder was on the juice, but he just said that you cannot ignore that it is a possibility. Unfortunately, baseball has reached the point where great starts like this are not something to be in awe of, but something to be suspicious of. JROD never said that Ibanez used steroids, he just said, “it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility that “other” performance enhancers could be part of the equation”. Continue reading “Raul Ibanez and JROD: What Baseball Needs”
Last, but not least, the AL West:
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Oakland Atheltics
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners
Best Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero
Best Pitcher: Joe Saunders
The Angels lost some key members of their 2008 team, but still have a strong starting staff and experienced lineup that gives them a great shot to repeat as AL West champions. With Torri Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero. and Chone Figgins, the Angels’ lineup will not have a problem scoring runs. Add in Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera and this batting order puts fear into opposing pitchers. The rotation may be a little more shaky with Joe Saunders leading the staff, but Dustin Moseley and Shane Loux are question marks in the 2-3 spots. The health of John lackey is also a concern for the Angels as he will start the year on the DL. The loss of K-Rod in the offseason will hurt Los Angeles as well, but picking up Brian Fuentes leaves the Angels with a more-than competent closer to hold leads and bring the Angels back to the playoffs.
Oakland’s acquisition of Matt Holliday in the offseason gives the A’s a strong offense, but a rotation of unknown pitchers leaves the Athletics with a lot of question marks. Holliday, Mark Ellis, and Jack Crust lead the offense, and even though it is not as powerful as the Angel’s offense, Oakland will still score plenty of runs. The rotation is the concern as prospects Trevor Cahil and Brett Anderson will get thrown into the fire right away and how they react to being in the majors will likely make-or-break the A’s season. If they excel, look for Oakland to compete for the division title, but if they struggle, the Athletics are going to be looking at the bottom of the division. Continue reading “2009 American League West Preview”