The week that was (4/23-4/29)

The Rangers hit a rough patch in the frigid temperatures of Cleveland in the middle of the week. But by the weekend, the Rangers appeared to be finally getting some much-needed life out of their offense. John Vittas looks back at the week that was for the Texas Rangers.

The Highs

The biggest news began making it's presence known towards the latter stages of the week in Toronto: The offense is finally showing a pulse. With a 2 for 4 afternoon on Sunday in Rogers Centre, Michael Young has seen his average go over the Mendoza line and come to a rest at .214 at the end of this week‘s action. Saturday, Gerald Laird hit his first long ball of the season and drove in three runs on the afternoon. His average has skyrocketed over a hundred points in the last week. Mark Teixeira, always a strong performer against Toronto, slugged his first two homeruns of the year off our friends from the north and is hitting .626 off Blue Jays pitching in this series. The coming week will be a telling one for the Rangers offense, as they will have to face Roy Halladay tonight, Andy Pettite and Mike Mussina when the Yankees come to town in the middle of the week, followed by Halladay again next weekend in Arlington.

Ian Kinsler tied a club mark for homeruns in a month after hitting his 9th in the month of April on Sunday afternoon. He shares the record for long balls with Carl Everett (2003), Alex Rodriguez (2002) and Pudge Rodriguez (2000).

For all the grief Brad Wilkerson has gotten by fans and media alike, he came through in the clutch on Saturday with a hot smash off Toronto shortstop Royce Clayton's glove that ricocheted into centerfield and gave the Rangers the lead, although it didn't last long.

The Lows

Brandon McCarthy isn't going to be bumped from the starting rotation yet - but he's close. On Sunday the righty lasted just three innings, allowing six hits and five runs while raising his earned run average to a robust 9.90 and dropping his record to 1-4. At times, he flirted with control of his pitches and ended up striking out four batters. But his command issues reared their ugly head again when he walked three batters and hit another in the bottom of the first inning. McCarthy's turn in the rotation was skipped following a rainout at home last week, and his opportunity to pitch instead came in the form of two scoreless innings of relief in Cleveland on Wednesday. His next time around in the rotation will come Friday against these same Toronto Blue Jays at Rangers Ballpark In Arlington. It's still probably a little premature to say that outing could be Brandon McCarthy's last stand. But with another shaky pitching performance, it could send the Rangers searching for other options.

I'm not what you would call an expert in the medical field by any means of the imagination, but even I can tell you when someone reports feeling a "tearing sensation" in their shoulder after making a throw - it's a scary thing. Such is the case with Frank Catalanotto, who reported feeling just that after making a relay throw from his spot in left field to third base yesterday afternoon. Cat will have an MRI on Tuesday and it's possible that the sensation he reported feeling could just be scar tissue from a previous arthroscopic surgery tearing loose in his shoulder, which isn't serious. But if it ends up being something major, he could be looking at an extensive stint on the disabled list and possibly the end of his season.

Player Of The Week: Sammy Sosa

With a homerun on in the 6th inning Thursday in Cleveland, Sosa set a major league record by going deep in his 44th different ballpark. For an encore, he hit another one two innings later. He finished this past week with a .347 batting average and seven runs batted in. He's on pace for 51 homeruns and 139 runs batted in. The odds of him reaching those kinds of numbers seem enormously unlikely, however the chances of a pleasant 20 homerun/70-80 RBI year seem a lot more realistic now.

Game Of The Week

Saturday, April 28: Rangers 9 - Blue Jays 8 (in 10)

Two bobbled balls by two usually sure-handed guys on defense, Hank Blalock and Michael Young, almost became the Rangers undoing. But with some key hits, they survived. With one out in the Rangers‘ half of the tenth inning, Young doubled and then had a very clutch swipe of third base on an otherwise innocuous looking walk of Mark Teixeira. That move proved to be key for the Rangers and Young, who came around to score the go-ahead run on a deep sac fly off the bat of Hank Blalock. And, the collective groans that usually are emitted from the throats of fans across the metroplex when Brad Wilkerson steps to the plate in a pressure situation were silenced Saturday with his laser off Royce Clayton's glove that gave Texas the lead. But the man who delivered the game-winning run batted in also issued one of those fist-pumping quotes you love to hear: "When we're swinging the bats well, we feel like we can get back into any game," Blalock said after the game. "We feel like we've got our edge back." You have to be giddy hearing that.

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