The Texas Strangers
With generally the same cast of characters that has face-planted out of the gate the last two seasons, the Texas Rangers are off to a dream start. Granted 2-0 gets only a subtle nod in Boston or New York or Anaheim, but in Arlington it's cause to get Laura Miller on the horn and dust off the Mavericks' old parade route.
At least in September we won't have to hear the same old status woe from manager Ron Washington:
Sept. 26, 2007: "We made it real tough on ourselves with our start."
Sept. 24, 2008: "Despite the start we got off to, we kept fighting."
Last night Nelson Cruz launched two 400-foot homers, Elvis Andrus went yard and Vicente Padilla didn't implode in an 8-5 win that gave the Rangers consecutive feel-good wins. How remarkable is it?
With Brandon McCarthy on the hill today at 1 - that's a miracle in itself, no? - the Rangers have a chance to sweep a three-game home series (something they achieved exactly 0 times last season) and get off to a 3-0 start for the first time in 13 years (the '96 squad was the first to win a division title.)
This is how bad it's been: Michael Young, in his 8th season as a Ranger, is 2-0 for the first time.
There's 160 of these to go, but so far so great. Especially considering the shit Texas has rolled out the last two Aprils.
In 2007 the Rangers were 10-18 by May 3. In 2008 the 10-18 tombstone arrived on April 30.
I asked Washington before Monday's opener why this April - this start - was going to be different.
"We're another year older," he said. "We won't shed that label of slow starters until we go out and change it. But this year is all about team accomplishment. In the past we tried to do too much by ourselves. This is now a team. Last year our fundamentals just fell apart early on. I don't see that happening to these guys, to this team."
Oh and, just for fun, I'd keep wearing red. Originally scheduled to wear the color for only 16 games, players requested red again last night.
If it ain't broke, don't change clothes.