« Race To The Bottom | Main | Weekend Photo »

September 28, 2005

ESPN Column

Advice For The Final Week
Texas finishes the season with three games in Seattle and three against Los Angeles in Texas. Seattle has a weak offense, and LA probably will have clinched the division and be resting its regulars to the extent possible, so Ranger pitchers gain a little value this week.

KAMERON LOE starts Tuesday and might start the final game of the season. Loe hasn’t struck out many batters as a starter but otherwise has performed well and seems no worse for wear after his beaning last week. He’s a definite start in AL-only leagues. CHRIS YOUNG gets one last start Wednesday. He returned from a two-week dead-arm layoff last Thursday and threw passably. I’d use him if I needed some help but not if I were protecting a lead. KENNY ROGERS takes the mound Thursday and can be started in just about any fantasy league.

R.A. DICKEY begins the final series with LA. Dickey is learning how to throw a knuckleball and is not the kind of guy you want on your team in September. JUAN DOMINGUEZ will start on Saturday. Dominguez has a 3.45 ERA and six Ks per nine innings as a starter, yet he’s owned in only 48% of AL-only leagues. Not only can he help AL-only squads, he might be worth a high-risk play in mixed leagues. The final start will probably go to Loe or JOSH RUPE. Rupe showed promise in his last start, but it’s also his only Major League start. Only the absolutely desperate should consider him.

DAVID DELLUCCI has missed several games with a strained calf but is expected back Tuesday night. He’ll continue to start against righties and sit against lefties, as will DH ADRIAN GONZALEZ. Keep an eye on Dellucci; if he misses another game you should consider a replacement. After sharing the backstop equally with GERALD LAIRD for a week or so, ROD BARAJAS has caught seven of the last ten games. I think he’ll start three or four of the last six, with Laird getting the rest. KEVIN MENCH missed Sunday’s game with a sore thumb but should start most of the remaining games. The four famous infielders should start most, if not all, of the final six games. Texas might let Marshall McDougall or Esteban German spell one of them for a day or two. No reason to bench any of them, though.

I’d Like To Thank The Academy
Thus concludes my fourth year of covering the Rangers. Thanks to ESPN’s Eric Karabell for drawing my name out of the hat in February 2002 and giving me an opportunity to write about Hideki Irabu and John Rocker (both Rangers at the time, unfortunately). Thanks also to Courtney Bissonnet, who, against all logic and common sense, decided to marry someone who writes about baseball in his spare time.

Posted by Lucas at September 28, 2005 12:16 AM