Texas Rangers

Can the Texas Rangers Catch Fire? Or, for That Matter, Anything?

We're at a rare, almost unprecedented and admittedly awkward spot in Texas Rangers' history. The Rangers will win the American League West, but they're still so far away with so much time left in the season that it makes for - honestly - some uninteresting and practically meaningless baseball here in mid-September.

The Rangers lost two of three to the lowly Seattle Mariners, but still whittled their magic number to six. The greed in me wants the Rangers to hobble through the rest of the trip (three vs. the Angels and four against Oakland) so they can officially clinch in Arlington. You?

The good news over the weekend was that Cliff Lee was again Cliff Lee in Saturday night's win. The bad news: Josh Hamilton's bruised ribs aren't any better after a cortisone shot and he'll search for another solution starting today.

I watched some of Friday's game, a smidge Saturday and zilch of Sunday's 2-1 loss and came away with this:

I'm worried that the Rangers' catching is going to be a liability in the post-season.

When this season started way back in April it was Jarrod Saltamacchia who had the game-winning RBI on Opening Day. Then he forgot how to throw and Taylor Teagarden never learned how to hit and now we're stuck with the underwhelming veteran combo platter of Matt Treanor and Bengie Molina.

In a word: Uh-oh.

Couple weeks ago the Rangers lost a game to the Kansas City Royals when Treanor simply fanned on a low - but very catchable - fastball from Alexi Ogando. And several times in the past month or so Molina is just so big and slow and immobile that he resembles a bean bag behind the plate. Can you ever trust a player who weighs more (225) than he hits (.212)?

Molina missed another pitch from C.J. Wilson Friday night and the Mariners took six extra bases from the Rangers on steals and wild pitches. Against Seattle it's a meaningless September loss. Against, say, the Tampa Bay Rays - who lead the AL in stolen bases - it could predicate a damaging October defeat.

Is it just me, or are we concerned about the Rangers' catching?

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt

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