Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dallas Mavericks Free Agent Targets: Center

by Dustin Copening

It has been a quick and graceless fall for the Dallas Mavericks since they shocked the Big Three and the world in the summer of 2011. Only Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion remain from the roster that won the NBA Championship, and there is a chance that Dirk is the only holdover left standing come Opening Night 2013.

Mark Cuban has promised that he and Donnie Nelson will put a title contending team together over the next two years. It’s hard to be that optimistic considering the flop that was the Deron Williams courtship last summer, but the Mavs front office delivered the ultimate prize before when the Dirk window appeared shut.
Before I complete this study on free agents that I think (or at the very least would like to see) the Dallas Mavericks target, I warn you all to be prepared for the start of Free Agency Silly Season. On Friday it was reported that Dwight Howard was seen house shopping in Houston, only to have that report swatted out to half court moments later. It was the first in what’s sure to be many claims to the whereabouts of D12, and which team he’s leaning towards signing with. Don’t get sucked in one way or the other.  


1) Dwight Howard - There’s a group of Mavs fans that want nothing to do with the big fella. He burned bridges in Orlando for a chance to play on a dream team under the bright lights, and now he appears set to leave LA with all the overpasses ablaze for a second time. Howard’s behavior is erratic enough to rattle the foundation of even the most optimistic of folks, but his talent makes him unlike any other big man to hit the open market in recent memory.

In a down year, Howard still managed to score 17.7 ppg and lead the league in rebounds at 12.4 per. No Maverick center has come close to putting up numbers like that since Roy Tarpley’s ill fated swim through Dallas.

Dallas is going to go all-in for Dwight, and nothing is going to change their minds. I’ve gone on record as an anti-D12 guy in the past, but after a 41-41 season filled with apathy you could probably sell me on the idea of cloning Tarpley and sticking him on the court for 2013-14. Rick Carlisle could do wonders with either.

2) Nikola Pekovic - It’s the biggest test to Mark Cuban’s declaration that Dallas wants nothing to do with restricted free agents this summer. The Timberwolves are expecting Pekovic to get a solid offer from someone, possibly the Trail Blazers in retribution for Minnesota driving up the price on Nicolas Batum last year.

The decision Cuban and Donnie Nelson must make on pursuing Pekovic is if they are willing to offer enough to force the T-Wolves to let him walk. The Mavs believed they had done just that with Orlando’s Marcin Gortat in the 2010 off season, only to see the Magic match their offer at the last minute. To be clear, it will take a healthy sum to try and secure Pekovic’s rights (some guess as much as $12 million per season), but it’s a safe bet he’s worth the money.

His average of 17.7 pts per 36 minutes is just a half point shy of Howard’s 18.2, and he’s posted PER’s of 21.4 and 20.2 in back-to-back seasons. There’s not an ounce of flash in his game, but he shoots a solid 53.3 % from the field and 74.7% from the free throw line.

3) Andrew Bynum - When the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Bynum as part of the Dwight Howard to LA trade, they thought they had their cornerstone at center for years to come. Unfortunately for them, Bynum’s knee did not cooperate with their plans. Philly may attempt to bring him back, but it’s not likely. Bynum is easily the most perplexing option on the free agent market.

In 2011-12, Bynum had his best season as a pro, averaging 18.7 pts, 11.8 trd, and 1.9 blk per game. He also had a career high 22.9 PER. The promise of high powered production is undercut by the chronic knee problems that have haunted his career. The laundry list of maladies have led to arthritis in the left and right knee, and he had both knees scoped once again in March.

Bynum’s agent David Lee claims that there’s, “not a concern in the world,” that his client will be ready for training camp; however, not too many GM’s are going to be sold on his assurances alone.

The Mavs won’t bother if someone out there is crazy enough to fork over a max contract, but one year (or maybe two) of max money might be viewed by the organization as a fair balance of risk and reward.

4) Al Jefferson - Jefferson’s fate is tied to where Dwight Howard ends up landing, and how many teams will be willing to gamble on the balky knees of Andrew Bynum. If Howard sign with Dallas, then the Rockets would presumably turn their attention to Jefferson, and vice versa. If Bynum gets an absurd offer, then Jefferson is the most attractive unrestricted player remaining.

His scoring punch isn’t quite the same as Howard’s, and his defensive presence is surprisingly lacking for his 6’10” and 265 lbs frame. Since he grabbed 11 trb per game over a three year period from 2006-07 to 2008-09, that total has dropped to 9.4 per over the following four seasons. Of course Pekovic (2nd on the list) is also down the list on defensive metrics, but Jefferson will command a higher salary (probably just short of max money).

Unless someone jumps the gun with a max deal out of the shoot, my bet is Jefferson remains on the market long enough to get a conversation with Dallas if they miss on Howard.

5) Timofey Mozgov - He’s not going to be talked about much on sports radio around town, but the 7’1” Russian is drawing some comparisons to the Rockets Omer Asik. Asik averaged 2.9 pts, 4.4 trb, and 13.2 minutes per game in his first two years in the association. Then Houston gave him a chance to start a full 82 game season, along with a healthy 3 year $25 million deal. Asik rewarded the Rockets front office with a 10.1 pts and 11.7 trb per game performance.

I wouldn’t expect Mozgov to get anywhere near the money Asik received from the Rockets, but somewhere from $12-16 million for three should get the job done.

Off The Radar:
  1. Tiago Splitter
  2. Greg Oden
  3. Byron Mullens

Friday, June 28, 2013

Daily Sports Affirmation 6/28/13

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.

Success in most things requires a delicate balance between creativity and discipline. Sports is no exception. The ability to imagine things no one else sees, whether it be exactly where the receiver will be after a 3 step drop or a phone that answers questions for you. But that must be coupled with the discipline to follow-through with the idea. To turn that dream into reality with education, planning and dedication. Many people wish to play a musical instrument, for example, but few have the desire and discipline to become a virtuoso. It takes hours and hours of practice along with the aptitude to be great. 

It is this integration of the right artistic brain with the left logical brain that creates the balance. And through this balance is how one can attain sports "enlightenment." That moment that causes fans and sometimes even players to ooh and aah and wonder "How did he do that?!"

The way Tiger can will a putt into the hole, the way Jordan could just take over a game, the way Peyton Manning can know what a defense will do before they even do. The "it" stuff. The stuff that makes players into legends. All by simply finding balance. A balance that each of us can attain.

Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.
-George F. Will

 What’s The Real Judge Of Greatness? Titles Or Stats

Warning: Radio-Active Material!

Join the crew as they get radio-active this week! Talk of the NBA and NHL finales and a look at their upcoming drafts, a check in on baseball as well as movie reviews and racism talk. You can't not want to be listening to this show!

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dallas Mavericks Free Agent Targets: Power Forwards

by Dustin Copening

It has been a quick and graceless fall for the Dallas Mavericks since they shocked the Big Three and the world in the summer of 2011. Only Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion remain from the roster that won the NBA Championship, and there is a chance that Dirk is the only holdover left standing come Opening Night 2013.

Mark Cuban has promised that he and Donnie Nelson will put a title contending team together over the next two years. It’s hard to be that optimistic considering the flop that was the Deron Williams courtship last summer, but the Mavs front office delivered the ultimate prize before when the Dirk window appeared shut.
As we turn our attention to power forward, it’s important to remember that the big German is not going anywhere for a few years. That eliminates players like Josh Smith and David West from consideration, since they will command salaries far beyond what the Mavericks are willing to pay for a Dirk backup.  

Power Forward:

1/1A) Brandan Wright/Elton Brand - There was very little wrong with this tandem behind Dirk last season. Wright played the center position primarily in his last two seasons with the Mavs, but at 6’9” hopefully he rotates more toward the PF spot in 2013-14. Brand on the other hand was a serviceable backup to Nowitzki at times, and he won’t cost much as the end of his career is drawing near.

Cuban and Donnie must ponder how much they are willing to pay for the gamble that Wright’s 11.3 pts, 5.5 trb, and 23.7 mp per game averages in March and April are the new norm for the 25 year old, and not the 6.8/3.2/14.5 he produced over the season’s first 4 months. Tim MacMahon points out that Dallas can afford to keep Brandan even if they go over the cap to do so, but that would mean Wright and the Mavs both being comfortable with a gentleman’s agreement while the market plays out. That’s a lot of trust for Wright to give Dallas, and vice versa.

Brand wouldn’t mind returning to Big D for a playoff run, but how likely is such a run if CP3 and/or D12 don’t sign here? It depends on how solid a plan B the front office has. Elton won’t get much offered in the way of money or years from any other team; however, don’t count on him staying should a championship contender come calling.

2) Carl Landry - Today (6/26) he opted out of the last of a two year deal he signed with the Warriors last off season. Playing for Golden State, he averaged 10.8 pts and 6 trb per game. His 17.7 career PER indicates that he’s an above average option coming off of the bench, but it shouldn’t be expected that any team will give him a chance at a regular starting job.

Would 3 years at $3 million per be enough to snag Landry? He left $4 million on the table by walking away from the Warriors, so such an offer would be doubling that money and then some. Still, I’m not sure the Mavericks will stick around if the bidding reaches the $12 million overall threshold.

3) DeJuan Blair - Blair has played more games against the Mavericks (16) than any other team in the NBA for his career. Now he may be recruited to bring cheers instead of boo’s to the AAC. He voiced his frustrations with the limited role he played with San Antonio in 2012-13, essentially announcing his departure from the Spurs as far back as late April.

If Landry was unhappy as a bench player with the Western Conference Champs, then how happy would he be with the same opportunity on a team that missed the playoffs? An increase in minutes played from the 14 he saw per game last season should scratch that itch. Of course, Carlisle will only give those minutes to Blair if he earns them.

He’s younger (24) than anyone else on this list, so there’s still potential for him to recapture the energy and fire that drove him to a 17.5 PER average in his first three season before last years 14.6. If he wants a starting gig, then it’s not happening in Dallas. If he just wants more minutes, then what better place to haunt the Spurs than with their chief rival?

4) Andray Blatche - He was signed as a reclamation project in Brooklyn after the Washington Wizards benched him for being out of shape and then waived him with their amnesty clause. The second chance paid off, as Andray’s PER was a career high 21.9 in 2012-13. His per game scoring (10.3) was the third highest of his 8 years in the NBA, but his per 36 minute scoring (19.5) was tops for his career.

Blatche played as a backup to Brook Lopez, and started a handful of games when Lopez injured his foot. At 6’11” he’d be a more sizeable option to rotate between the PF and C spots than Wright.

Blatche will be 27 when the 2013-14 season tips off, so he still has plenty left in the tank provided he stays motivated. He hopes to return to Brooklyn, but they are handcuffed by the salary cap and can’t offer much money. That being said, Washington still owes him $16 million from his amnestied deal, so he may be willing to take the “pay cut” to stay with the Nets.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dallas Mavericks Free Agent Targets: Small Forwards

by Dustin Copening

It has been a quick and graceless fall for the Dallas Mavericks since they shocked the Big Three and the world in the summer of 2011. Only Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion remain from the roster that won the NBA Championship, and there is a chance that Dirk is the only holdover left standing come Opening Night 2013.

Mark Cuban has promised that he and Donnie Nelson will put a title contending team together over the next two years. It’s hard to be that optimistic considering the flop that was the Deron Williams courtship last summer, but the Mavs front office delivered the ultimate prize before when the Dirk window appeared shut.

July 1st is now just a little over a week away, and the draft happens this Thursday. Let’s move now from the guards and focus on the small forward position. Considering that Shawn Marion has an early termination option on his contract (and the Mavs may need that $9+ million for grabbing a big fish), we’ll focus on potential Marion replacements.

Small Forward:

1) Andre Iguodala - He’s yet another name that has been linked to the Mavericks in previous off seasons, and now that Iguodala’s opted out of the final year of his current deal, Dallas is reportedly interested.

The question with Andre is how much does he have left. He went from 17.1 points per game in 2009-10 to as low as 12.4 in 2011-12 (albeit a strike shortened year), and although his scoring rose in 2012-13 (13 ppg), his PER (15.2) was at it’s lowest since his sophomore season.

Marion had an 18 PER this last year, and he would undoubtedly be cheaper than Iggy. Dallas might feel that it’s worth forking over more for Iguodala since he’s 5 years younger than the Matrix, or some sort of sign and trade maneuvering could  allow them to add Andre to a CP3/D12 signing after releasing Shawn. Otherwise, I’m a little perplexed at how he fits factoring in the amount of money per year he’s likely to get on the open market.

2) Matt Barnes - Barnes famously gloated about a Lakers blowout win over Dallas just weeks before the Mavericks swept LA on their way to the 2011 title by tweeting, “Ain’t nothing changed homie!”

Those sentiments would make the addition of Matt to the Mavs a bitter pill for some Dallas fans to swallow, but he’s coming off of a career year in points (10.3 per game) and PER (15.5).

He’s two years younger than Marion, and he’d be much more affordable (he made just under $1.3 million with the Lakers last year). Barnes may not be the defensive stalwart that Marion is, but he would help to replace the emotional edge lost if Shawn is waived.

3) Corey Brewer - A former Maverick who looks like he has come into his own after being a bit part of the Mavericks championship in 2011.

He was traded to Denver the following year and did well (8.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, and 13.7 PER), but in 2012-13 he had his best year by far (12.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 14. PER). While the Nuggets are open to bringing Brewer back, there are concerns that they won’t be able to afford the raise that he deserves.

At 27, there is room for Brewer to grow as a starting small forward in the NBA, and although he may too pricey for Denver's taste, he could be the bargain buy that the Mavs are looking for.

4) Dorell Wright - Wright is the guy who my money is on. There is no flash with this signing, should Dallas decide to go the route of this quality acquisition.

The tricky thing when looking at Dorell’s numbers is that his points and rebounds per game have dropped the last two years. Despite going from 16.4 ppg and 5.3 rpg in 2010-11 to 9.2 ppg and 3.8 rbg in 2012-13, he saw his PER rise from 15 to 16.

Wright is not just a player that can score, but he just posted his highest assist percentage of his career since his rookie season at 13.1%.

5) C.J. Miles - Rick Carlisle dined with Miles last off season during the failed DWill recruiting trip to New York, and the Dallas native may be let out of his contract by the Cavaliers.

Miles had arguably his best year of his career at age 25, comiling 11.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, and shooting just under  39% from three point range. Those numbers should be enough to peak the interest of several teams. I’d expect the Mavericks to be one of them.

Off The Radar:
  1. Josh Howard
  2. Damien Wilkins
  3. Stephen Jackson

Friday, June 21, 2013

Crowning Champions

Join the crew in a week where several champions will be crowned! Talk of the NBA and NHL finales, reviewing the champion of the US Open and the Ninja Gold challenge, a look at the college World Series and Major League Baseball, a stumble through Mick's Pub and hopefully a few special guests too!

Click HERE to Play!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Daily Sports Affirmation 6/19/13

I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.
-Frederick Douglass

Being LeBron is like the Kobayashi Maru. Or for those of you who are not super nerds, a no-win scenario. With 3 quarters complete in game 6, sports writers across America had their knives sharpened to bring down King James. How he had choked away the finals, been too passive and now was staring at a team destined to be broken apart.

But just then a funny thing happened. The NBA allowed the 4th quarter to be played. And without even discussing it with the media. The nerve! And in that 4th quarter and on into overtime, LeBron lost his headband and was fantastic. Huge shots from he and Jesus Shuttlesworth, coupled with some faulty free throw shooting and rebounding by the Spurs, led to the Heat "staying alive" for game 7 on Thursday night.

And even still, the haters gonna hate. Ridicule on sports talk radio rained down on the King's reign throughout the day today. And while I am by no means a LeBron or Miami Heat fan (how can you be with that fan base),  you gotta give the man some credit. He provided anyone willing to stay up and watch an amazing game of basketball. My hat's off to both the Heat and the Spurs for a fascinating game and series and I can't wait for game 7. All we as fans can hope is that both team's give their all and the result leaves no doubt.

So today, when you complain about others and their efforts, look in the mirror at your own deficiencies through the compassionate lens of others. Are you giving your all? Are you being unfairly ridiculed? The lessons we learn by watching sports are important, but only if they are applied with brutal honesty.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
-Frederick Douglass

Dallas Mavericks Free Agent Targets: Shooting Guards

 by Dustin Copening

It has been a quick and graceless fall for the Dallas Mavericks since they shocked the Big Three and the world in the summer of 2011. Only Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion remain from the roster that won the NBA Championship, and there is a chance that Dirk is the only holdover left standing come Opening Night 2013.

Mark Cuban has promised that he and Donnie Nelson will put a title contending team together over the next two years. It’s hard to be that optimistic considering the flop that was the Deron Williams courtship last summer, but the Mavs front office delivered the ultimate prize before when the Dirk window appeared shut.

We’ve taken a look at Point Guards, so today it’s time survey the Shooting Guards who are likely to top the Mavericks wish list as free agency begins on July 1st.

Shooting Guard Free Agent Class:

1) O.J. Mayo - Much like Darren Collison, Mayo had a drop off in performance at the end of the 2012-13 season. Some of his drop in scoring coincided with the return of Dirk from his knee injury, but Mayo bottomed out in April at 8.6 ppg. That included a 2 point, 1 assist, and 4 turnover performance against Memphis in the next to last game of the season. Rick Carlisle spoke publicly after that poor effort about his frustrations with Mayo’s effort, but only weeks earlier he had praised O.J. for his determined play in a win over the Bulls.

Both parties have talked openly about wanting to bring Mayo back to Dallas next season and beyond, but word is that the Timberwolves have placed him at or near the top of their free agent targets. If Minnesota (or anyone else) does elect to spend big on O.J., then expect the Mavs to pass. They aren’t interested in paying #2 money for a #3 performer.

2) Tyreke Evans - I don’t buy that Dallas is ruling out restricted free agents this year. The strategy sounds okay on the surface. It’s difficult to spend time and effort going after a guy only to see his old team match your offer while other FA’s leave the market, but there’s a lot of promising talent whose rights can be wrestled away for the right price. Is it wasting more time going after the 23 year old Evans, or the CP3/D12 pipe dream?

Tyreke’s playing time and numbers have dipped a bit since an outstanding rookie campaign (which earned him Rookie of the Year honors), but his 18.1 PER in 2012-13 was a notch off of his rookie total of 18.2 and points out that Blake Griffin and Stephen Curry are the only 2009 draft members to have higher ppg averages for their careers. Evans finished last season averaging 15.2 pts, 3.5 ast, and 4.4 trb per game.

Evans isn’t a max money guy by any means, so while Dallas may have to overpay a bit to scare off the Kings, they shouldn’t have to grossly overspend on a nice youthful addition to the 2-year plan.

3) J.J. Redick - He’s a name that most casual fans haven’t had on their radar since he was drafted out of Duke by Orlando in 2006, but Redick’s game has quietly improved in the last few years as he’s received more and more playing time.

Through 50 games with Orlando to start last season he was on pace to set career highs in points (15.1 pg), assists (4.4 pg), field goal percentage (.450), and PER (16.1). After being traded to Milwaukee those numbers fell off sharply (12.3/2.7/.403/11.9), yet he still finished with highs in points (14.1) and assists (3.8).

The Pacers are said to be interested in his services, and the Bucks seem content with allowing him to sign elsewhere. Should the Mavericks be serious about ignoring RFA’s, Reddick is a sharpshooter who might be ready to step into a starting role.

4) Martell Webster - Webster started 62 games this year for the Wizards after signing a 1 year $1.75 million deal. He was a bargain, setting a career high in point per game at 11.4. The tricky thing with Webster is that he is a combo SG-SF, and he has had his best success at SF (including 2012-13).

It’s doubtful that there will be a flood of offers sent Martell’s way early on the free agency, so this could be a direction that Dallas looks if they are left looking for a late addition to the team. Though they’re not getting him away from the Wiz for anything less than 2 years, considering he’s made it known that he’d be willing to return to Washington in a bench role if necessary.

5) Randy Foye - I’ve gone back and forth over the last spot on this list between Foye, Nick Young, and Shannon Brown. Ultimately I decided on Foye because he’s likely cheaper to acquire than Young, and I’m not convinced the Suns will waive Brown and grant him FA status despite his complaints about being moved to the bench

Foye is another player that could be a last minute addition if the Mavs end up losing out in their pursuit of players at the top of this list. Foye has been consistent over his 7 years in the league. His career averages (11.5 ppg, 3 apg, and 12.9 PER) aren’t going to jump off of a stat sheet, but you can’t have all stars at every position.

Like Webster, Foye has talked openly about his desire to stay in Utah, so it will probably take a multi year deal to convince him to join the Mavericks. A deal I’m not so sure the front office will feel like making unless Webster or several one year targets have signed with other teams.

Off The Radar:
1.    Raja Bell
2.    Richard Hamilton
3.    Marco Belinelli

Poll Question: Though Left Off The List, Would You Like Dallas To Sign Monta Ellis?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sweet Science Project 6/17/13

by Darren Boyd

The American Airlines Center was rocking on Saturday night for the HBO Boxing After Dark Card. Over 5600 people were on hand for the most heated rivalry in Boxing. The Mexico vs. Puerto Rico boxing rivalry. The fans had their respected country flags waving and chants were signing all night. This unfortunately was the highlight of the night for me because the fight card was awful! Top Rank Boxing should give out refunds for fans that paid $250 a ticket for ringside seats. There was only 1 fight that was competitive on the card out of the 6 that I watched the whole night.  Lets get to the main event first.

Mikey Garcia had missed his contacted weight of 126 the night before so he had to vacate his title. He also had to pay Juanma Lopez a reported $150,000 out of his purse to make sure the fight went on. Lopez was going to pull out otherwise. The thought from some in the boxing world was that Juanma was damaged goods going into this fight. It turned out to be true. Juanma was dominated in this fight. The First Round was a feeling out round. Juanma was dropped in the 2nd round. The worst part of that was Juanma's Wife and kids came running down the aisle by me crying and headed back to the dressing room. Who brings little kids to watch a fight in the first place but that is for another time. It was just a matter of time before Garcia finished him and the end came in the 4th Round. Garcia is headed for another big payday in Sept, as for Juanma this ends his time as a show case fighter. 
The rest of the fights were utter mismatches. Terrence Crawford undefeated 25 year old Lightweight looked good against a human heavy bag, this was the first fight on HBO. The other fights I watched were one-sided blow outs.  As for the rest of the night as a life long fight fan it was thrill for me to get to meet Big George Foreman, Roy Jones Jr and Jim Lampley after the fight.  I thought Dallas had a good turn out for this fight and I hope this will attract more high profile fights to the American Airlines Center.

Rangers Pepper 6/17: Texas Must Start Hitting Em Where They Ain't

by Dustin Copening

#RangersThoughts” on Twitter can be seen by following me @dfwfanconnect, but those thoughts evolve every few days from 140 characters into what I have dubbed as  “Rangers Pepper”. Along with a Ron Washington pep talk (NSFW), maybe the Texas offense just needs a case of ice cold Dr. Pepper:

Happy Days Are Here Ag...Soon? - The Rangers are playing their worst baseball since?

The answer to that question varies depending on who is asked. Some will point to September 12th to 20th in 2009. Texas went 2-9 in an 11 game homestand against the Mariners, Athletics, and Angels. They averaged 1.7 runs per game, hit .204 with a .558 OPS, and allowed a 5.11 ERA and 1.432 WHIP. Kissing goodbye any chance they had of catching the LA Angels for the AL West crown.

Some will suggest just 266 days ago, when Texas started a 2-7 stretch to finish the 2012 regular season and end their two year run as AL West champs. The Rangers hit the ball better than in the 2009 skid (.240 and .700 OPS), but pitched worse (6.04 ERA and 1.570 WHIP).

Which brings us to the team’s current dismal play in June. It’s gone from ugly, to beyond ugly, to comical, to beyond comical, and is on the verge of reaching an indescribable level of suck if they don’t manage at least a split against Oakland over the next 4 games.

In June, the Rangers are batting .219 with a .645 OPS, and their 4.57 ERA and  1.374 WHIP has fans dreading the next start not involving Yu Darvish. It all adds up to a 4-11 spell that has even the most optimistic observer wondering if this is more than a momentary slide. Perhaps the makeup covering up the warts is melting away as the game time temps heat up.

The doom and gloom mentality is understandable during the darkest times of 162 games season, but there are signs that this period of dreadful play is only a pothole. Not the impassable canyon it feels like.

Texas’s BABIP (a stat that can be used to determine good and bad luck, for lack of a better term) is .248, good for second worst in all of baseball. That’s coming off of an AL best .324 BABIP in May , and a .285 mark in April that was much closer to the league average.

So are the Rangers unlucky, or are they finding fewer gaps because they’ve lost patience at the plate?

Here’s a comparison of the plate discipline Texas has shown from month to month:


A look at the glossary for the stats listed will bring some clarity, but long story short, Texas has not drastically altered their strategy at the plate to swing away in June. If anything they have taken more pitches, since their swing and swinging strike percentages are down a tick.

They are however hitting more ground balls in June (50.2%) than they did in May (47%) and April (43.7%). Something to be expected with Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler both missing significant time this month, while power challenged hitters played in their place.

Now Kinsler is back, with Mitch Moreland not too far behind. The trade deadline is around the corner, where Jon Daniels has usually been able to address his team’s most glaring weaknesses.
Better days are ahead. Texas just hopes that “ahead” begins tonight.