Mar 302012
 

If you didn’t catch it on Twitter last night, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see the Mariners and Rangers on Wednesday, April 11.  To be eligible for the drawing, all you have to do is purchase your tickets for the Baseball Do Field Trip prior to midnight tonight.  We’ll announce the winner over the weekend.

Friday Morning KnuckleballsMatt Harrison continued his strong Spring in yesterday’s 6-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

  • Harrison pitched 6 innings, giving up one run on six hits, while striking out seven and only walking one.  He threw 91 pitches and lowered his Spring Training ERA to 1.69.

“I think I have really been consistent this spring pounding the strike zone and getting ahead of hitters,” Harrison said. “A lot of it comes from last year. The games I was successful were the ones that I was aggressive and went right after hitters. I brought that mentality into Spring Training and it has paid off.”

  • Reliever Yoshinori Tateyama gave up 3 runs in the top of the seventh, blowing the 2-1 lead Harrison had protected.
  • Napoli and Moreland led off the second inning with back-to-back home runs off Giants starter Matt Cain. That was the third home run in the last three days for Napoli.
The Rangers have set their rotation, which to the surprise of at least Baseball Do, will not split up left handed starters Derek Holland & Matt Harrison.
  1. Colby Lewis – Opening Day, April 6th vs. White Sox
  2. Derek Holland – April 7th vs. White Sox
  3. Matt Harrison – April 8th vs. White Sox
  4. Yu Darvish – April 9th vs. Mariners
  5. Neftali Feliz – April 9th vs. Mariners
  • Friday Morning KnuckleballsIt was well known that Wash was going to give the Opening Day nod to veteran Colby Lewis.  While you could argue that Lewis doesn’t necessarily have the highest ceiling or most potential of the pitchers on this staff, he deserves the nod for his tenure with the team and more importantly for his recent big-game/postseason performances.
“He’s my veteran,” Washington said. “He’s the guy who is dependable. You know what you’re going to get from him. He’s going to battle and he’s my most experienced pitcher.”
  • I like the move.  Darvish debuts in a game which will probably have less pressure (Sunday nights game will be nationally televised) and it’s a bit of a reward for Matt Harrison, which is much deserved given his strong campaign in 2011.
  • Splitting up the lefties, while seemingly a sound strategy, doesn’t carry much weight statistically and more the likely the rotation will be out of order due to off-days or fill-ins by Scooter Feldman by mid-May…if not sooner.

Quick Hits:

  • Friday Morning KnuckleballsRangers face off with the Rockies tonight in what will be the final Spring start for Yu Darvish.
  • Brad Hawpe’s career with the Rangers is over, as the veteran was unconditionally released yesterday.  Hawpe, who was brought on as insurance against Moreland’s wrist, has been invited back by the club to play in the minors if he is unable to find a major league job with another team.
  • Next week’s podcast will be our official 2012 Season Preview.  Feel free to post questions here on the blog or send us questions via the Contact Us page if you have anything specific you want us to address.
  • Sports Illustrated has put their season predictions out, and while they have the Rangers making it into the postseason as a wild card, they give the AL West crown to the Angels.  Even worse, they pick the Angels to eliminate the Rangers in the ALDS and to go on to win the World Series.

Have a good weekend!

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Mar 292012
 

Thursday Morning Changeups- Hi Ranger fans, the first thing you should ask yourself this morning is “Shouldn’t I hurry and get a spot on the Baseballdo field trip before they are all gone?” Go here and sign up ASAP to meet a bunch of other Ranger fanatics like yourself, have a delicious Patty Shack lunch, go to a Rangers game, and get a ”Nolan is my Homeboy” t-shirt. ALL FOR 34.99!!!!!

- The great Bob Nightengale wrote a preview story about the Rangers for USAToday Sports. Want to get chills? Read the quote from Ron Washington.

Point out that Los Angeles’ star-studded rotation now includes Texas’ former ace, C.J. Wilson. Bring up how the Angels lineup got $240 million better with the signing of three-time National League MVP first baseman Albert Pujols.

“They’re good; we all know that,” Rangers manager Ron Washington says. “But I’ll tell you what, the Texas Rangers are damn good, too. I’m not worried about nothing.

This Rangers team is developing some major swagger which is what a championship team needs. The beauty of the swagger that the Rangers have is that it has developed from success not hype…

-  Josh Hamilton was asked yesterday if there was any new news on the contract front and he said he thought it would be highly unlikely anything would get done before the season. He did mention that he wouldn’t be opposed to signing an extension during the season as long as it wasn’t a distraction to baseball.

- Speaking of Josh Hamilton, talking to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Hamilton felt satisfied with the work he’s put in during spring this year. Check out the story here.

The 2010 AL MVP said he didn’t have the “whip” in his swing when spring began.

“But I found it last week,” Hamilton said. “I know I struck out three times [Tuesday], but that was trying to swing too hard. I kept seeing those balls outside and felt like I could drive it. That was a learning moment for me.”

- The Rangers beat the Royals yesterday in Surprise led by a serviceable (in his opinion) Derek Holland start. He gave up six runs in five innings but still had some nice takeaways.

“I thought I had command of all my off-speed pitches and that’s the main thing. I’ve been throwing my sinker a lot this whole spring, just trying to make sure I get the feel for it both inside and outside. That was the pitch Butler got, wrong situation. That’s what he’s here for. They get paid for that.”

- Nelson Cruz had to leave the game in the third inning after he was hit by a pitch in the right hand. Early indication is that it’s just a bruise and he is listed as day-to-day.

- Yu Darvish held a bullpen session yesterday and threw 47 pitches. He is scheduled to start against the Rockies tomorrow.

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Mar 282012
 

2012 has begun!  The Athletics and Mariners are over in Japan wrapping up the season opener as I type this.  One note, the Rangers will be tied with the Angels for 2nd when this game completes.  Nice article by Jim Caples (ESPN) on Ichiro’s return to Japan.

Wednesday Morning CurveballsMike Napoli hit two home runs in yesterday’s Spring Training match-up with the Padres, which was won by the Rangers when Joey Butler (of Baseball Do podcast fame) scored from third on a wild pitch.

  • Ian Kinsler continues to tear through Spring Training, compiling 3 hits in the game, raising his Spring Training batting average to .422.  I’m calling it right now – Kinsler will not hit above .422 during the regular season.
  • Robbie Ross, who is fighting for a spot in the bullpen with the Rangers, started the game and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk over 2 innings of work.

“I was up just a little bit,” Ross said. “I got behind on batter a few times. I hit my spots OK, but I think I could have attacked the guy that hit the home run better than I did. I kind of pitched around him and nit-picked a little bit.”

  • Ross made a nice defensive play, snagging a line drive hit back to the mound by Chris Denorfia.  Credit Greg Maddux with the nice glove work by the prospect.  After Ross just got out of the way of a similar line drive hit by Torii Hunter on Sunday, Maddux put Ross out on the mound and drilled 6 line drives back at him, making him field the ball rather than bail.

“He was hitting them at me, so this time I was like, ‘Oh, that’s what we worked on,’” Ross said. “It was kind of nice knowing I could stick in there with that.”

Wednesday Morning CurveballsNeftali Feliz got back on the mound for the first time since being pulled early from a game last week due to should stiffness.

  • Feliz gave up one earned run (three runs total) on six hits and one walk in four innings of work, striking out three.
  • He hit 96 MPH with his fastball in both of his final two innings of game.

“I felt good,” said Feliz through a translator. “Everything was OK. I wasn’t trying to throw hard, just trying to keep my pitches down.”

The Rangers are expected to announce their starting rotation very soon.  It’s known that Colby Lewis will start Opening Day and Neftali Feliz will take the 5th spot.  If the Rangers are truly wanting to split up their left-handers, as manager Ron Washington eluded to earlier this Spring, than the rotation should look like:

  1. Colby Lewis
  2. Derek Holland
  3. Yu Darvish
  4. Matt Harrison
  5. Neftali Feliz

Quick Hits

  • Hold your breath…Elvis Andrus left yesterday’s game with a tight right hip flexor muscle.  The plan is to rest him today and get him back in the lineup tomorrow.  Wash isn’t concerned.  Exhale…
  • Joe Nathan pitched back-to-back days for the first time this Spring on Monday & Tuesday.  His outing yesterday, against the Royals AA team, was especially gratifying as he struck out 2 and got a ground out in a quick 11 pitch inning.
  • Nathan hiy 94 MPG with his fastball and said that his arm felt strong on Tuesday than it did on Monday.

“I had good building blocks yesterday and built on that,” Nathan said.

  • The Dutch Oven pitches tonight at the Royals and Alexi Ogando will pitch in a minor league game against the Dodgers in which is expected to go 6 innings.
  • Wednesday Morning CurveballsT.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) wrote a good article on Adrian Beltre’s leadership role on the Rangers.  The article is filled with comments from his teammates and manager Ron Washington.

“It’s so easy on this team to be yourself and help others,” Beltre said. “There are not a lot of guys who get out of line. It makes it easy. I like to have fun. It helps me relax and enjoy the game. When I enjoy the game, I perform better. It’s tough to have fun when you’re losing. The good thing is this team wins a lot. It’s easier that way.”

  • Next week’s podcast will be our 2012 Season Preview Special.
  • We’re planning a giveaway in the near future for some Rangers tickets, so stay tuned.
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Mar 272012
 

Baseball Do Podcast Episode 12   What to do with Robbie Ross?  Garlic Fries vs. Cheese Fries??Jennifer Cobb & Megan Parr from www.RangersTalkers.com join us to talk about:

  • Robbie Ross – bullpen lefty or minor league starter in 2012?
  • Center Field options – Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry or trade possibilities?
  • Tailgating
  • Ballpark foods – who hates hot dogs?

Give it a listen and be sure to let us know what you think!

Also, be sure to sign up for the Field Trip if you haven’t already (spaces are limited) and stay tuned for a special giveaway in the next few days!

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Mar 272012
 

Tuesday Morning SlidersThere isn’t much better than doing a morning update after the Rangers win a spring training game 12-2.

My pick to click this season Scott Feldman looked awesome last night, he went six innings, gave up no runs, and struck out nine Reds. Scott Feldman has showed in spring training that he is a viable option for the starting rotation in case of injury or someone who fails to produce. In 20 spring training innings Feldman has a 3.15 ERA, 20 strikeouts and only two walks. Stellar.

As is evident from the score the Rangers offense certainly clicked last night. Rather than naming those who contributed just know that the hitters are officially locked in and appear ready for spring training to end. Its always been said that at this point of spring training the hitters are typically ready to face real games but the pitchers still have some work to do. Looks like that might be the case with this team.

Quick hits

  • Craig Gentry’s strange spring training continues after he left Sunday’s game with dehydration. It certainly wasn’t an overly hot day in Arizona. I think the skipper summed up his feelings on Gentry with a straight to the point quote.

“He’s got to get on the field and play,” Ron Washington said.

  • Robbie Ross has all but locked up his spot as the lefty in the bullpen with a strong spring and the lack of competition from Michael Kirkman or Neal Cotts. The 22 year old lefty split time between Myrtle Beach and Frisco last year and has been impressive.
  • Neftali Feliz will pitch in an “A’ game on Tuesday after experiencing shoulder tightness in his last start. By all accounts he hasn’t had any trouble since but this will be a big start for him either way.

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Mar 262012
 

OK, so our balls are neither fast or in the morning today…Jasen and I both have some shoulder stiffness, so today’s lateness and brevity are both just precautionary.

Monday Morning FastballsYu Darvish had a good outing yesterday in a minor league intrasquad game.  He threw 85 pitches over five innings, giving up four runs to a team consisting of some of the top Rangers prospects – Leonys Martin, Mike Olt, Engel Beltre, etc.  He gave up six hits and two walks, while striking out 11.

“I gave up four runs, but I was not unhappy at all with my outing,” Darvish said afterwards. “Overall, I felt very good. I thought my pitches were good, but I kind of backed up the slider a couple of times … little by little, it’s coming.”

Pitching coach Mike Maddux was pleased with the improvement that he saw from Yu.

“I thought he looked good,” Maddux said. “He’s improved each time out. His velocity was there and he spun a few [curves]. I thought his stuff was good. He feels good physically, he said he could go nine innings. That’s a good sign.”

Darvish will start again on Friday against Colorado and is scheduled to pitch six innings and around 100 pitches.

Quick Hits:

  • Colby Lewis isn’t concerned with his hip…therefore, neither are we.
  • Monday Morning FastballsRobbie Ross continues to campaign for a spot in the Rangers bullpen.  This time, Ross put together a nice outing against the hated Angels, striking out the first two batters he faced looking.  He gave up one hit in the outing, but got Albert Pujols out on a line drive to left field.  We’ll be talking about Ross tonight on the podcast and weighing in on the many different options the Rangers have with the prospect.
  • Craig Gentry left yesterday’s game against the Angels due to dehydration.  Will someone please get that man some Gatorade.
  • Neftali Feliz will start tomorrow and says he feels good.  He threw in a bullpen session yesterday and said that his right shoulder, which he experienced some stiffness in last week, felt fine.
  • Matt Harrison was strong on Saturday in a minor league Spring Training game against the Royals Triple A players.  He pitched 6 scoreless, allowing no runs on two hits, with four strikeouts and no walks on 71 pitches.
  • Joe Nathan, on the other hand, continued to give us runs on Saturday, giving up two of them on three hits across five batters.  Ron Washington isn’t concerned with the results Nathan is accumulating in Spring Training, nor should he be, but it will be interesting to see how long the leash is that Nathan has once the regular season begins.
  • Baseball Do Field Trip!

Jennifer and Megan from www.RangersTalkers.com will be joining us tonight on the podcast to talk about Robbie Ross, the Rangers situation in center field, Tailgating and Ballpark food!

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Mar 222012
 

The Baseball Do 2012 Field Trip

50 of us are going to meet up at Patty Shack Burgers to get the event started at 4:oopm, have some chow and then head over to the ballpark for a great game, followed by an awesome concert.  To top it all off, we’re giving you some Baseball Do swag!  Here’s what you get:

  • A ticket to see the Rangers host the Oakland A’s at the Ballpark on Saturday, June 30th
    • 6:15pm start – Lexus Club
    • Free Reckless Kelly postgame concert
  • A meal before the game at Patty Shack Burgers
    • Burger or Chicken Sandwich
    • Fries
    • Soft Drink or Tea
  • A Baseball Do “Nolan is my Homeboy” T-Shirt to wear to the game!

That’s a $60 value.  You get everything above for just $34.99!

Secure your spot for the Baseball Do Field Trip! Limited to the first 50!




The Baseball Do 2012 Field Trip
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Mar 222012
 

Thursday Morning ChangeupsAfter the slowest day in Rangers news in months, welcome to your source for all things Rangers.

- Cool article in the Washington post today about how the Rangers aren’t defined by the Yu Darvish signing in their quest for the World Series title this year. I discussed on the podcast my concern for Joe Nathan but there is no denying that he is a great veteran to have helping develop your young pitchers.

“Obviously the team has been where we all want to be, and it’s pretty much the same group of guys here,” Nathan said. “I think they’re very hungry to get back where they were and be so close, so obviously they’re going to be extremely hungry to get back there. That puts me right where I need to be because I know I’m hungry to get a chance to be in that situation.”

- Jeff Wilson does a great article on his spring training assessment of the Rangers thus far. He breaks it down into several categories and one of them is Best Impressions.

RHP Yu Darvish: His new teammates have made him feel at ease while transitioning from Japan, and he’s doing his part to make them feel comfortable with him. Not only is Darvish trying to master English, he’s giving Spanish a shot, too. On the mound, he’s got the right stuff.
3B Mike Olt: It’s clear that Olt is a quality player, even though he has never played above High A. Just as impressive as his talent has been the way he has handled himself in his first big league camp. Olt watches each play of each game, and hasn’t been afraid to ask veterans for advice.
LHP Robbie Ross: He has been the best left-handed reliever in camp and is now getting a closer look. The Rangers are weighing whether sticking him in the bullpen is more important than continuing to let him develop in the minor leagues as a starting pitcher.

Robbie Ross has been on my radar for a while and I’m excited at the possibility that he could fill the void of a left-handed specialist in the bullpen.

The Rangers and Angels rivalry has clearly been heating up after the past couple of years and its clear that both teams view each other as dangerous. The Rangers decided to hold Yu Darvish out of his normal starting spot which would have been against the Angels and shortly after the Angels did the same with CJ Wilson. I see why the Rangers would want to keep the Angels from seeing Darvish in person but I’m not sure about the CJ thing. Pretty sure the Rangers are familiar with his douchiness pitching.

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Mar 212012
 

Baseball Do Podcast Episode 11   Big news for us and Dutch!  C.J. sucks!Jasen and I talk about:

  • Our new partnership with Patty Shack Burgers!
  • Derek Holland’s new contract
  • Neftali’s stiff shoulder
  • The closer role
  • C.J. Wilson’s failed attempt at a prank on Mike Napoli
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Mar 212012
 

Wednesday Morning CurveballsGood Morning Rangers Fans, 15 days until Opening Day. To be more specific, 23,253 minutes.

- In case you missed it yesterday, Scott and I spent most of the day high fiving each other over and over again because we joined forces with the delicious Grand Praire eatery and drinkery Patty Shack Burgers. Check out the announcement here.

- The Rangers took care of Derek Holland yesterday by inking him to a five-year $28 million dollar extension. Texas now has control over the rights to Derek through 2016 with 2017 and ’18 being option years. It’s incredibly satisfying to see a guy like Derek Holland get locked up like this especially when he appears to be putting it all together. Would you be upset with the next five years of your rotation being anchored by Dutch and Yu Darvish? Me either.

- The Rangers played the Cubs yesterday and won, some notables for your reading pleasure:

  • Neftali Feliz threw three innings and gave up no runs. What started out as a great sign that Feliz was putting things together turned scary when he had to leave with what the club is calling “shoulder stiffness”. All signs point to this being more precautionary than anything but you hate to see your young, brand new starter, being forced out of a game with an injury.
  • Young center fielder Leonys Martin hit a two-run homer. Upside.

C.J. Wilson yet again shows his out of control douchiness yesterday. From ESPNLA yesterday when asked about the Napoli prank:

  • Wilson had no further comment on the matter, but when he was talking about working with a new set of Angels catchers, he named each of the six Texas Rangers catchers he had worked with over the previous few years, omitting one. When a reporter suggested it was Napoli, he replied, “Oh yeah, Napoli.”

Read more here http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/angels/post/_/id/5012/c-j-wilson-takes-a-twitter-vacation

 

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