Let's play three strikes with your Texas Rangers. Your first-place Texas Rangers.
Yes, I am surprised. And impressed.
Steeeriiiike One - Chris Davis demoted.
Davis is a good guy with a great glove, but the Rangers could afford to be patient with him no longer. You can swallow a .200-hitting Gold Glove catcher, but not a first baseman. When the Rangers headed for Anaheim last night for a fun three-game series with the Angels, Davis instead went to Oklahoma City in search of his swing, replaced by Josh Hamilton on the roster. It's the right move. Davis tried everything, but the fact is that since May 24 he'd made only one start without at least one strikeout. Legit teams with pennant aspirations don't have .200 hitters playing first base. Weird that while Davis and Justin Smoak now share at-bats, Hank Blalock is your new everyday first baseman.
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Steeeriiiike Two - Ian Kinsler, All-Star?
Kinsler was nipped at the finish line by Red Sox reigning MVP Dustin Pedroia as the AL starting second baseman. Truth is, Kinsler's having a better year than Pedroia, but neither have been as good as Toronto's Aaron Hill. But remember, baseball's All-Star Game voting is about as fair as American Idol. It's a popularity contest. Kinsler - on pace for a 38-homer season from the lead-off spot - is maturing into Ryne Sandberg. He still might wind up in St. Louis as a last-minute lucky loser, but if he's snubbed it may be the best thing for him and the Rangers. Remember, sometimes kids play their best with a chip on their shoulder and a carrot dangling in front of their face.
Steeeriiiike Three - How the West Was Won.
Prepare to get the Angels' best shot starting tonight in Anaheim. Only 1-5 against Texas this season, the Angels have their top three pitchers lined up in Jered Weaver, John Lackey and Ervan Santana. The Rangers will Hamilton's bat back in the lineup and it should be an entertaining trio of games between teams 10 games over .500. Remember when I said last week that Hank Blalock's homer saved the season? The Rangers haven't lost since.