It’s Opening Day week!
Outside of baseball in October, there is no sweeter time for fans of the great game. Every team is still in the race and has hopes of being a contender. Rivalries will soon be renewed on the field…where they should be settled. The moves of the off-season will play out and the moves of the coming season will soon be hot topics.
It’s here. 2012 is finally here, and It couldn’t have gotten here soon enough for us Rangers fans. Excited about the coming season and equally as eager to put 2011 further out of our minds.
As we count-down the next five days towards Opening Day on Friday afternoon, we are going to dedicate the morning updates to the 5 Bold Baseball Do Predictions for 2012.
Coming off of a strong 2011 campaign, the 29 year old second baseman will take another big step forward in 2012, not only outpacing his peers at 2B (Cano, Pedroia, etc.), but ultimately winning the American League MVP. Leading off for a potent lineup, Kinsler will set the table with a strong OBP just as often as he cleans the table with his extra-base/home run power. A portion of the rise in Kinsler’s numbers will be attributed to the improved offensive performance of the 2-hole hitter, Elvis Andrus.
- The Rangers finished Spring strong, winning 6 of their last 7 Spring Training games.
“We’re playing baseball like you want to at the right time,” manager Ron Washington said. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We finished the way we wanted to finish.”
- Robbie Ross has locked down a spot in the Rangers bullpen. A strong overall Spring performance, the need for a left-hander in the pen, and injuries to Neal Cotts and Yoshinori Tateyama all helped in securing the opportunity for the young prospect.
“Ross earned that spot,” Washington said. “We didn’t give it away. I’m excited about that. We don’t like to hand it out, he earned it.”
“I’m like a kid on Christmas,” Ross said. “When I got drafted, that was the best day of my life. When I got married, that was the best day of my life. Now this … it’s just amazing, I couldn’t believe it. I was sitting in there thinking it was April Fools’. It has been awesome.”
- Opening Day starter Colby Lewis wrapped up his final Spring start yesterday giving up two runs on five hits with one walk, four strikeouts and a hit batter in four innings in the Rangers’ 5-3 win over the Padres. Colby gave up just one hit over the first three innings, but gave up four straight hits and two runs in the 4th.
“Four years ago if you’d asked me if I was going to start opening day in the big leagues, I’d have said that was crazy,” Lewis said, adding that starting that game is a big deal for his career. “I feel very blessed. I feel blessed to have a beautiful family that backs me and supports me. That’s a big key to my success.”
- It’s beginning to look more and more like David Murphy will start in left field on Opening Day and will see a lot of time in the starting lineup with Josh Hamilton greatly increasing his playing time in center field.
“I could start Murphy on Opening Day and two days later you may not see him in the lineup,” manager Ron Washington said. “Is he going to be in there every single day? No. is Hamilton going to be in center field every single day? No. He’ll play some center field. Murphy will play a lot.”
“I just think I need to keep the focus on winning and my teammates rather than me,” Murphy said. “There is no reason to put all this pressure on myself. We have a power-packed lineup. It’s not like I’m hitting in the No. 3 hole and have to carry the load. I’m not one of the featured attractions, I just have to keep the line moving.”
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark says Josh Hamilton is one of MLB’s most pivotal players.
- Josh talked with the media on Saturday. Richard Durrett (ESPNDallas) provides some of the highlights here.