For the first time in many years, Rangers' fans have a lot of "young pitching" to talk about.
T.R. Sullivan has a great post about the 2009 season. My favorite months was May:
"The Rangers roared into first place in the AL West by going 20-9 during the month of May. It was the second most wins by the Rangers in one month in club history, behind a 21-win September in 1978.
Josh Hamilton started the month by going on the disabled list with a strained ribcage muscle, the first of a series of injuries that would limit him to just 89 games on the year.
Closer Frank Francisco, dealing with shoulder inflammation, also went on the disabled list for the first of three times.
But C.J. Wilson, Jennings and O'Day were outstanding out of the bullpen, while Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy and Feldman each had three wins in the rotation.
Wilson and Francisco shared the closing duties for much of the rest of the season.
Outfielder Nelson Cruz, finally establishing himself as a regular at the Major League level, helped make up for the loss of Hamilton by hitting .311 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs in May."
July was pretty good, too:"The Rangers fell out of first place right before the All-Star break and would trail the Angels the rest of the way despite going 17-8 in July.
But their future was starting to take shape in July. Holland, after bouncing back and forth from the bullpen, entered the rotation and would stay the rest of the season.
Tommy Hunter also earned a spot in the rotation for the rest of the season by going 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA in four starts.
Dustin Nippert also showed his value as a swingman by going 3-0 with 3.54 ERA in three starts and three relief appearances.
On July 5, the Rangers sent first baseman Chris Davis to the Minors. He was hitting .202 with 15 home runs and 33 RBIs as well as 114 strikeouts in 77 games.
Hank Blalock, who began the season as the Rangers designated hitter, took over at first base until Davis returned in August. Blalock hit .290 with six home runs and 18 RBIs in July.
Hamilton went to the All-Star Game for a second straight season, while Young was selected for his sixth straight appearance.
Young had gone five times as a backup shortstop, but this time he ended up as the AL's starting third baseman when Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria was forced out of the lineup with an injury.
A last-minute injury also allowed Cruz to make the All-Star team for the first time, and he finished second in the Home Run Derby."
Good month, too!
We know that it did not finish well.
The Rangers fell apart in September, in large part because Michael Young got hurt and Josh Hamilton did not come back.
Nevertheless, it was a good year and the young pitchers got me thinking about baseball three months before opening day.