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View from the other side: Rangers questions for Adam J. Morris of Lone Star Ball

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
We start a three game series with the Texas Rangers tonight, at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

The Rangers are in second place in the AL West, 3.5 games back of their Texas state neighbors the Astros. They are holding the second Wild Card spot at the moment. The Rangers are 4th in the AL in runs scored per game, at 4.46 (we are number one at 5.40). They are 3rd from the bottom in runs allowed per game, at 4.64 (we are 6 spots above them at 4.08).

I sent off some questions to Adam J.Morris, long time manager of Lone Star Ball, SB Nation's Rangers site. Here is what he had to say.


The Rangers had a pretty slow start to the season but, helped out by a current 9-2 run (and the Jays sweep of the Angels) they are sitting in a Wild Card spot and are within striking distance of the Astros. Are Rangers fans optimistic about making the playoffs? Think you'll catch Houston?

Since the bottom of the 9th in game 6 of the 2011 WS, Rangers fans have been taught not to be optimistic about anything, or count their chickens...that said, I think you're seeing cautious optimism and significant enthusiasm. 2014 was a disaster, and coming into 2015, most prognosticators were counting the Rangers out...but here we are, in late August, and in the thick of the race. I don't expect the Rangers to catch Houston, but really, it wouldn't shock me if that happened, especially given the number of games remaining between Texas and Houston.

With the number of pitchers the Rangers have on the DL, how can they put together a starting rotation? Can you give us a quick scouting report on the starters the Jays are likely to see?

Really, the Rangers' starting pitching situation right now is as good as it has been all season, with Martin Perez and Derek Holland coming off the d.l. and looking good, and the newly acquired Cole Hamels giving Texas a legit #1 starter. Perez's start is being bumped back to Saturday, to give him some extra rest (he's coming off of Tommy John surgery and they want to be cautious with him), so the Jays will see Holland, Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis. Holland is someone who has terrific stuff and command that can come and go...at his best, he can be dominant, but he's coming off of a shoulder issue that has kept him out for several months, and so there's rust there that likely will affect his command. Gallardo has transformed into a low-K groundball pitcher who works extremely slowly, and relies on his defense. Lewis is an interesting case...he throws in the upper-80s and seems like the type of pitcher teams could tee off on, but his command, quality slider and willingness to throw strikes mean that he consistently works deep in games and puts up quality starts. When his command is off, he is extremely hittable, and the result is that he's had a couple of disaster outings with 10+ runs, but otherwise, he's pretty much guaranteed to give you 7 innings per game with 3 runs allowed.

What is happening with Josh Hamilton? Do you expect him to be back this season? What's his role on the team when he comes back?

No idea about Josh Hamilton. I was lukewarm about him coming back, even at a very small financial price, because I didn't think he could stay on the field, and didn't think he'd be that good when he was on the field. Those fears have been borne out, to date. It wouldn't shock me if he came back on September 1 and played at a high level, and it wouldn't shock me if he were done for the year. With the acquisition of Will Venable, the Rangers at least have a viable fallback option if Hamilton doesn't return, and of course, Joey Gallo could come up in September and play some outfield if need be. But if Hamilton is healthy enough to return this year, he'll likely resume his role as the regular LF.

Who are you expecting the Rangers to add when rosters expand? Is there anyone you are looking forward to seeing?

Gallo will be recalled, I suspect, even though he's struggled some in AAA. Ryan Rua likely comes back up to provide bench depth, and Leonys Martin may get activated from the disabled list in September if his hand allows it. There will also be your usual pitchers on the 40 man brought back up for bullpen depth. Other than Gallo, the one potential intriguing addition is Andrew Faulkner, a lefthander who moved from the rotation to the bullpen mid-season and has had success in that role for Frisco and Round Rock. He's Rule 5 eligible after the season, and thus is someone who could get a cup of coffee and be a potential weapon out of the pen.

Who is your favorite Ranger to watch?

Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre. And it isn't even close. Those two make baseball fun.

Your top two catchers are on the DL, who has the job now? Are they any good?

Chris Gimenez and Bobby Wilson are currently sharing time behind the plate while the Rangers wait for Robinson Chirinos, the starter, and Carlos Corporan, the backup, to get healthy. Both Gimenez and Wilson are serviceable backup-caliber types, though Gimenez has been tearing it up since he came up. My guess is that Wilson gets dropped once Chirinos and Corporan are both back, while Gimenez sticks around post-September 1 as a third catcher.

I've never watched a game at Globe Life Park (it is on my list), is it as nice a park as it looks on TV? What should someone get for food there?

I think Globe Life Park is a very nice stadium, but then, I'm biased. It was built right before retractable roofs became an affordable solution rather than an extravagance, so you don't want to sit in the sun for a day game in the summer, but it is a great atmosphere, and Chuck Morgan, the p.a. announcer and VP of Fan Experience, is the best in the business. Ballpark nachos were introduced at Globe Park's predecessor, Arlington Stadium, but if you want a unique culinary experience, you should try the Choomongous sandwich that Marc Normandin ate last year: http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2014/6/25/5801000/will-marc-eat-it-rangers-choomongous

Thanks Adam.

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