I saw that just by playing them. You could witness the whole demeanor of the club. You knew that you used to be able to come down to Texas and win if you held them down to four or five runs. You were likely to win 7-5 or 8-5. Now you go to Texas, and you see the pitching to go with it. I knew that if they could just get some starters to go out there and go deep into ballgames that they would win a lot of ballgames.
On the field, the atmosphere here is about baseball. It is not just about hitting. It is a real team concept that focuses on pitching and hitting. When Nolan and his group got here, they came in with an old-school mentality, where you get what you see. It is not about saying something and doing something else. As a baseball player, because it is such a business, that is one of the most difficult things to trust. There are different ways to go about your business, but when it comes to Nolan, what he tells you in terms of how it is going to be is how it actually is.
That is all you want. You don't want to worry about something that should be one way and goes another way. I think that is the biggest change that has happened here. The mentality is straightforward and it's putting a winning product on the field.
As part of that, the pitchers here no longer have that mentality of just trying to get to 100 pitches. Now, you go until you can't go anymore. On the whole, that sort of left baseball awhile ago. Guys didn't learn how to get themselves out of jams and guys started to rely on the bullpen a lot more.
The changes have helped this club go to the World Series the past two years. As a player, as a free agent, that is attractive. Going forward, you know that these guys were one out away from being world champions, and I know they still have the hunger to win. You always want to be on the team that wins the last game of the year, and in deciding to come here, I want that chance to get back to the playoffs. We can build from there.
We have a lot of talent here, and when somebody goes down, we don't panic. We are never really out of a game with the hitters we have, and as a pitcher it is about going out there and grinding away and pitching innings.
Veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt inked a free-agent deal with the Rangers in late May. The three-time All-Star is 3-1 with this new club, the back-to-back defending American League champions who currently lead the AL West.