The Rangers are a respectable 54-41 and only 2 games behind Oakland for first in the division. Considering the substantial injuries to the starting rotation, simply being over .500 would be impressive. But alas the Rangers stepped up and are somehow in this thing. Over the coming months, many of the injured are expected to return. There is no doubt this season will come down to the wire once again.
At the All-Star break and the mid-point of the 2013 season it seems appropriate some awards are given out. In Part 1 we gave the Grumpy Old Man Award, the Ya Don’t Know What Ya Got Till it’s Gone Award, and the Not Chris Davis Award. Part 1 can also be found on page 2 of this article.
Here in Part 2 we will wrap up our awards starting with the…
The Ol’ Yeller Award
Batting .254 (OPS .732) with 6 HR and 36 RBI isn’t exactly what Jon Daniels expected from Berkman when he signed him. Berkman, combined with AJ Pierzynski, were supposed to pick up some of the slack left by Josh Hamilton’s departure. AJ has done his part but father time has apperantly caught up with Berkman.
With his body visibly breaking down it hurts to just watch Berkman run to first base. It’s like watching a toddler lose his balance and face-plant from across the room. You want to do something, it looks like it’s going to be painful, but sadly you cannot help him. That’s the anxiety I have when I watch Berkman.
At this point I have greater expectations for Manny Ramirez in Round Rock than Berkman. And that’s saying something. Just like Ol’ Yeller himself. It may be time to take Lance behind the shed.
The Comeback Kid Award
Derek Holland entered last season with high expectations, but sadly, he did not carry over his excellent 2011 postseason into the 2012 regular season. This season the pressure was off the Dutch Oven and he seems to be bouncing back. This is extra welcomed since Matt Harrison has been out all year and not expected back until September. Holland has reestablished himself in the rotation and is an essential part of the Rangers Starting Rotation once again.
The Lame Duck Award
I expected Nelson Cruz to get this since he’s in the final year of his deal and is facing PED speculation and possible suspension. Strangely Cruz has responded fantastically and is probably the Offensive MVP thus far in the season.
Murphy, on the other hand, has been abysmal and is running out of chances to turn it around.
He’s batting .219 with 10 HR and 30 RBI. Murphy is a fan favorite (and a Sport D/FW favorite) and still has a chance to stay with the Rangers beyond this season but the chances dwindle every time he chokes at the plate with runners in scoring position.
Surprise 3-Fingered Shocker Award
Tanner has been a beast in the bullpen this season. Paired with Joe Nathan the Rangers are only required to get through the 7th inning with a lead. Scheppers success isn’t completely out of nowhere but he has been successful in such convincing fashion it’s impossible not to recognize him.
Tanner is now being considered the Closer of the Future as the Rangers begin to think about life after Joe “Heart Attack” Nathan (No, he didn’t have a heart attack he just gives me one every time he closes a game). Could Neftali Feliz return to be the next 8th inning guy and Tanner Scheppers be the next closer? That’s where I’m placing my bets…