Morning Roundup:

Steve O Speak

Rangers Finish off Rays Behind Cliff Lee: For the second straight postseason, Cliff Lee is proof of why you make midseason trades to help your ball club. Lee went just 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA after the Rangers acquired him, but is now 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA this postseason. Lee twice knocked off the Rays at home, and really is the reason why Texas is moving on to round two. In both games Lee out dueled fellow ace David Price, as the Rangers offense was too much for him to handle. While pitching and defense usually win playoff series, the Rangers offense is capable of disproving that theory. Now Texas has a quick turn around and starts their next series Friday at home against the Yankees. Unfortunately Cliff Lee won’t be on the mound for their first game (and will have to start Game 2 on 3 day’s rest). In a classy move the Rangers celebrated their postseason victory with Ginger Ale out of respect to Josh Hamilton, who has battled alcohol and drug addiction in his past.

Braves Waste No Time Replace Cox with Gonzalez: Gonzalez isn’t much of a surprise as Cox’s replacement, since speculation has been around since he was fired this season by the Marlins. Gonzalez has a long history with the Braves and was Cox’s 3rd base coach earlier in the decade. Gonzalez not only got a raw deal in the way he was fired from the Marlins (basically for benching Hanley Ramirez one game for lack of hustle), but for his entire tenure there. The Marlins run on the league’s lowest payroll, and continuously dump players to remain at that level. Even when they didn’t move players, Gonzalez played every year wondering if the team would have a mid-season fire sale. Now Gonzalez will have big shoes to fill and a number of questions to answer, but he should have the resources to succeed in Atlanta.

Kraft Believes New CBA Possible This Year: It was a positive sign yesterday, even if it was a bit unbelievable, to hear that the owners think that they can reach a new deal this year. That is a lot of work to be done in the next 2 and a half months, but the owners sound like they don’t want to risk a lockout. And in all honesty why would they? Both sides have a reason to come to the table, as a lockout would mean a major loss of money for both sides. The NHL may have needed a lockout earlier this decade, but it also hurt them. While it won’t hurt the NFL as much, it will turn fans away. In this economic climate, the last thing the NFL can afford to do is turn fans away. By the same token the players don’t want to lose a year of their earnings while the CBA is being worked out. While I’m still skeptical they can work out an agreement this year, I think they will have it done by the time the Super Bowl rolls around.

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