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What a difference a week makes!

A Formula for Success

The Texas Rangers have had a great week going 5-2 for the week. The team traveled to Houston to take on the league-leading Houston Astros and swept all three games, then went to Tamp and split that 4 game series. It was a dramatic turnaround from that disaster from a week ago when they went 2-5. The hitting came around, and some very good pitching occurred this week so there is a good feeling that perhaps the Rangers are finally beginning to get their timing down and the pitching may be coming around as well, just at the right time to put everything together to have a great week. That’s the great thing about baseball. You never know when all eight cylinders will begin firing at the same time.

Robinson Chirinos hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, and the Rangers snapped Houston’s 10-game winning streak with a 2-1 win over the Astros on Monday night.

Kyle Blanks had three hits, including a homer, and Carlos Peguero added a two-run shot to back up a solid start by Rodriguez as the Rangers beat the Astros 7-1 on Tuesday night to win consecutive games for the first time this season.

Carlos Peguero hit a pair of solo homers, Shin-Soo Choo had a two-run shot and the Rangers routed the Astros 11-3 Wednesday night behind eight strong innings from Colby Lewis. Adrian Beltre was a home run shy of the cycle for the Rangers, who finished a three-game sweep. Houston had won 10 straight entering the series, but was outscored 20-5 over the three games.

Elvis Andrus (remember him?) had a two-run single in a four-run second and the Rangers won their fourth straight, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Thursday night.

Nathan Karns had a strong start on a day full of bad news for the Tampa Bay rotation.

Karns took a shutout into the eighth inning, pinch hitter Brandon Guywe had a three-run homer and the Rays beat the Rangers 8-2 Friday night.

Andrew Bellatti made the most of a second chance. The Tampa Bay reliever, who served jail time as a teen after a fatal car crash, was the winning pitcher in his major league debut Saturday night as the Rays beat the Rangers 7-2.

And how about this for a guy to “man up?” Adrian Beltre believes he knows why the Rangers haven’t been scoring much lately. “The main reason we’re not doing better is because of me. I take full responsibility,” Beltre said after driving in both Texas runs Sunday in a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. “Hitting in the middle of the lineup, I know my job, I know what I need to be doing. It hasn’t happened, but there’s no doubt it has to be better moving forward.”

That’s what leadership is about. Taking responsibility.

The Rangers may have very well seen and felt what it was supposed to be like to be a winning team again. All the pieces came together, and it was a much improved week for the team.

What about Josh Hamilton?

The former American League MVP spoke Sunday before starting his rehab stint with the Round Rock Express against the Nashville Sounds. He is recovering from shoulder surgery on Feb. 4 and had been working in the Texas Rangers’ extended spring program in Arizona since April 28.

He went 1-for-3 with a single and two strikeouts before being pulled after five innings of work. Facing a 2-1 count in the first inning, Hamilton slapped a hit into shallow left field. Former Cy Young winner Barry Zito struck Hamilton out twice, once swinging and once looking, in the 7-0 loss to Nashville.

On Deck:

5/11 vs. Royals   7:05 PM

5/12 vs. Royals   7:05 PM

5/13 vs. Royals    7:05 PM

5/14 vs. Royals    1:05 PM

5/15 vs. Indians   7:05 PM

5/16 vs. Indians   7:05 PM

5/17 vs. Indians    2:05 PM

I don’t have answers, but is this one a solution????

Browns coordinator says Manziel’s work ethic is “fantastic”

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel impressed his coaches with his effort during the opening weeks of offseason work.

Johnny’s been great,” Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo told “He’s been fantastic. What he wants to talk about, before he stepped foot back in this building is his business. All I know is Johnny the football player, and he’s been awesome. He’s been working hard, very hard with myself and [quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell], and doing what we want him to do on the field.”

There was talk during Manziel’s rookie year that he wasn’t taking his job seriously enough. But DeFilippo, who was hired this offseason, says he hasn’t witnessed any of that.

“All I know is this: From the moment he stepped in this building from the last two weeks, he’s been nothing but a consummate professional,” DeFilippo said. “He’s spent every hour that he’s been allowed to spend in this building. We give them worksheets every Tuesday and every Friday, and they’re done to the unbelievable detail that we need an NFL quarterback to do. From that standpoint, like I said I can’t predict the future, but all I can do is tell you right now Johnny Manziel is putting himself in a position to be a quarterback in the NFL.”

Does Manziel fit DeFilippo’s offense?

“If Johnny Manziel’s our quarterback, we’ll have an offense to fit his skillset,” he said.

That’s still a big “If,” as at the moment Manziel is viewed as a likely backup to Josh McCown. But Manziel is at least giving himself a chance to show that he’s put the problems of his rookie season behind him.

22 Years of Late Show Guests – David Letterman

Big 12 unveils new tiebreaker procedure

The Big 12 will actually have “one true champion” in 2015.

After the conference essentially handcuffed itself from consideration for a spot in the College Football Playoff in 2014 with TCU and Baylor finishing as co-champions, a new tiebreaker system was formalized on Wednesday.

You can read the new procedure below, via ESPN’s Max Olson:

As you can see, if two teams have the same record, the team that won their head-to-head matchup (like Baylor beat TCU last season) is declared the conference champion.

If three or more teams are tied after the league’s round robin style conference schedule, it gets a bit more complicated. The teams will be compared by their results against the next highest placed teams. For example, if two of the three tied teams beat the team that finished fourth and the other lost to the fourth-placed team, the team that lost would be eliminated.

Afterward, the champion would be determined by head-to-head play.

If those two tiebreakers don’t do the trick, the champion would be determined by scoring differential (points scored vs. points allowed) among the tied teams. And if all three options cannot break a tie, the “champion will be determined by draw at the Conference office.”

The implementation of this new tiebreaker system comes a day after conference commissionerBob Bowlsby said that the league would probably not pursue the opportunity of playing a conference championship game.

This distinction could ultimately have implications on the College Football Playoff. Baylor and TCU, last season’s conference co-champions, were left out of the top four and CFP committee members have said that the Big 12’s lack of a champion did not help its members’ final resume for the top four. Ultimately, Ohio State and its dominating performance in the Big Ten title game vaulted the Buckeyes ahead of Baylor and TCU.

It remains to be seen if the lack of a conference championship game will effect the Big 12’s chances in 2015, but at least the league’s slogan – “One True Champion” – will actually live up to its billing.


Josh Hamilton set to bat in first training game Monday

Josh Hamilton is “working his tail off in every aspect out here,” pitcher Matt Harrison told reporters.

Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is set to bat in his first extended spring training game Monday after taking live batting practice for the first time this season Saturday.

Hamilton, whom the Rangers reacquired from the Los Angeles Angels last week, faced left-hander Matt Harrison and right-hander Kohsuke Tomita and shagged balls in the outfield Saturday.

“He looked good,” Harrison told reporters. “He’s working his tail off in every aspect out here.”

Less than halfway through a five-year, $125 million contract, Hamilton was traded to the Rangers by the Angels on Monday after two troubled seasons filled with poor performance, injuries and substance-abuse relapse.

Hamilton, who is on the 15-day disabled list while recovering from right-shoulder surgery Feb. 4, is working out in Arizona before beginning an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Round Rock.

He is on track to be activated during the second half of May.

Rangers Continue to Nosedive in the West

Sunday, 5/3/15, the Rangers went 1 and 5 for the week. That is 1 win out of 6 tries for the team. As a fan, you (I), try to be positive about the Texas Rangers. Let’s see if we can do that.

Several players have now risen above the Mendoza line (.200) for a batting average. Yay.

Here are the rest: (cough, cough Choo)

9  Corporan, C TEX C 10 31 5 6 2 0 1 3 4 10 0 0 .194  
10  Peguero, C TEX LF 17 35 4 6 4 0 0 2 9 17 1 0 .171  
11  Rosales, A TEX 1B 12 24 4 4 0 0 1 3 2 9 0 0 .167  
12  Chirinos, R TEX C 15 49 5 8 3 0 2 7 6 12 0 0 .163  
13  Odor, R TEX 2B 24 81 7 12 3 1 1 9 7 19 1 1 .148  
14  Choo, S TEX RF 19 64 6 9 4 0 2 9 8 19 0 0 .141  
15  DeShields, D TEX LF 11 15 2 2 1 0 0 2 1 5 2 0 .133  
15  Smolinski, J TEX LF 20 45 9 6 1 0 1 4 10 11 1 0 .133  


Good to see Beltre get out of the early season rut and his average is on the rise.

I’m not sure how or what’s going on with the Rangers other than this. The bullpen gave up a few games, and so the starting pitching isn’t that dominant either. The boys are trying, but the other teams in the division are playing just a little better. The Houston club leads the pack as the only team above .500 is on a 10 game winning streak. Further proof that anything Nolan Ryan touches is golden, so I’m not sure why any owner would want to fire the golden goose.

That’s old news though, so all we Rangers fans are left with are how to survive the Ryan Hex and figure out how to get in the winning column more often. But here is another thought for you to chew on in the meantime. You have to remember that Jeff Bannister is a new head coach. Obviously, new head coaches have a target on their backs. The more the Rangers lose, the more the question will be asked “how long before the new manager gets fired?”

Do we all remember how well Tim Bogar was doing after Ron Washington resigned? Bogar went 14-8 for the remaining 22 games of the 2014 season. That is a .636 winning percentage folks. I don’t know about you, but that looks a lot better than the current .333 winning percentage for Bannister. I don’t know what the answers are, but I hope someone figures out how to turn this team around before too many players decide to quit on the team. #Nevereverquit.

Oh great, the Division leading Astros to start the week*


5/4 @ Astros   7:10 PM

5/5 @ Astros   7:10 PM

5/6 @ Astros   7:10 PM

5/7 @ Rays      6:10 PM

5/8 @ Rays       6:10 PM

5/9 @ Rays       5:10 PM

5/10 @ Rays     12:10 PM

Dale Earnhardt Jr. cruises to first Talladega win since 2004

TALLADEGA, Ala. — At a track that has always been good to his family, in front of an adoring crowd that so clearly favors him over everyone else in the field,Dale Earnhardt Jr. cruised to an emotional first win of the season.

NASCAR’s most popular driver won Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, where he received a thunderous ovation as he pumped his fist outside the car window during a slow victory lap.

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NFL draft shows again that the best players are in the SEC

More than one in five players selected in this year’s NFL draft played their college football in the Southeastern Conference.

As usual, the SEC led all conferences in total draft picks. This year 54 players from the SEC were drafted, meaning that more than 21 percent of all the picks in this year’s draft came from the SEC. This is the ninth year in a row that the SEC has had the most draft picks of any conference.

Although the SEC’s stranglehold on the college football national championship has been broken by Ohio State this year and Florida State last year, there’s little doubt that top to bottom, the best college football is played in the SEC. NFL teams know that.

The SEC was followed by the ACC (47 draft picks), Pac-12 (39), Big Ten (35), Big 12 (25), American Athletic Conference (11) and
Mountain West Conference (10).

Video: Nelson Cruz hit a home run off the train at Minute Maid Park

Another day, another tape-measure blast from Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz. Check out this home run against the Astros last night. It traveled 469 feet and actually hit the train at the Minute Maid Park.

It’s like he’s playing baseball inside a pinball machine right now. Cruz leads the majors with 11 home runs, 23 RBI, and a 1.125 OPS. So much for those who were expecting his numbers to taper off with the move to Seattle.

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