Jul 212012
 
Cliff Lee & Cole Hamels

Scott attempts to trade Jasen to an Oakland Athletics blog and podcast, which leads to discussion about the trade deadline and what we think the Rangers should do.

  • What are the top 2 needs for the current Rangers squad?
  • Who are some of the trade targets?
  • Who would the Rangers have to give up in return?  Profar?  Olt?  Perez?

Podcast Episode 16   Rangers Trade Deadline Talk (Part 1)Unfortunately, the Philly pictured here has not been put on the trading block.

We’ll have part 2 of the Trade Deadline podcast up next Saturday, as the rumors continue to heat up through the week leading up to the deadline at 4pm on July 31st.

Be sure to check out our Trade Target Profiles on Justin Upton and Cole Hamels…we’ll have more of these coming through the deadline as well.

Stay tuned for details on a game watching party at Mixed Up Burgers!

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Jul 202012
 
TEX

The Texas Rangers currently have a six-game lead in the A.L. West over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. So, as they say, this one is for all the cheddar.

Lactose intolerant? No problem. How’s this—this one may be for the title.

During this three game series, the Rangers have a chance to ostensibly put the A.L. West title on ice. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what Rev Halofan has to say about it on Halo’s Heaven…however if typos and poor sentence structure give you the willies, I’d advise against the visit.

If the Rangers can pull off the sweep, they’d be looking at a nine game advantage. Should the Halos run the table, the Rangers are still sitting pretty—albeit precariously—with a three-game advantage.

The Angels are fresh off of a series with the Detroit Tigers, where they lost three of four. The Rangers sandwiched in a two-game split with the A’s around two off days.

The Rangers are rested, and here’s hoping they’re ready…

Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (50-43, L 10: 4-6)

Jered Weaver vs. Derek Holland, an Angels/Rangers Preview

Trout’s having a remarkable season: .352 BA, 14 HRs, 45 RBI, and 30 SB…and he’s doing it for the MLB minimum…why did they sign Pujols again? Lol.


LF Mike Trout
RF Torii Hunter
1B Albert Pujols
DH Mark Trumbo
2B Howie Kendrick
3B Alberto Callaspo
SS Erick Aybar
CF Peter Bourjos
C Bobby Wilson

VS

LHP Derek Holland (6-4, 4.57 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.5 K/9)

This will be the Dutch Oven’s third start since being activated off of the disabled list, due to what is medically referred to as “Shoulder Influenza.”

Since Dutch’s one-month hiatus, all signs have pointed to him once again having a solid second half—he’s 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA since reactivation.

Holland has been tough to beat on the road all year. He’s 4-1 with a 2.58 ERA away from Arlington.

Right-handed batters hit him with power (10 HRs) but have put together a pedestrian slash line: .234/.289/.445. Left-handers bat: .267/.340/.378 with just two home runs.

Tonight will mark Dutchy’s first start against the Angels in 2012. Over his career, Holland is 5-3 with a 4.97 ERA covering nine starts at the Angel Stadium. The Halos are batting .291 off of the left-hander from Newark, Ohio.

Texas Rangers (55-36, L 10: 5-5)

Jered Weaver vs. Derek Holland, an Angels/Rangers Preview

Elvis Andrus has hit Jered Weaver well over his career.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
DH David Murphy
C Mike Napoli
CF Craig Gentry

VS

RHP Jered Weaver (11-1, 2.26 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 6.7 K/9)

Jered Weaver is one of the game’s elite pitchers. When he toes the rubber at home, he’s arguably the best in the game.

In his career, Weaver has only lost 18 times at the “Big A.” So far this season, he’s gone 6-0 with a microscopic 0.58 ERA.

Current Texas Rangers are batting .258 off the 6’ 7” right-hander, with Elvis Andrus (.429 BA, HR, 4 RBI) leading the charge. Josh Hamilton (.270, HR, 5 RBI), Michael Young (2 HRs) and Ian Kinsler (2 HRs) have also seen some success against the Northridge, CA native.

Right-handed batters produce a slash line of: .230/.279/.373 with 3 home runs off of him with left-handers fairing even worse: .187/.234/.264 with 5 home runs.

Notes:

• Jered Weaver’s lone loss on the season came against the Rangers on May 13 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings, while surrendering eight earned runs.

• Mike Trout has jettisoned past the “having a great year” realm and smack-dab into “greatest season ever by a 20-year-old” territory. So far in July, the fleet-footed center fielder is batting .414 with 6 home runs.

• The Angels are currently fifth in the A.L. in pitching with a 3.76 ERA. They’re in a three-way tie for second place with a .269 batting average…The Texas Rangers are the A.L. leaders in batting average, with a .278 mark, and are second in pitching, with a 3.68 ERA—so take that, Anaheim!

• In their previous six matchups coming into tonight, the Rangers and Angels have split the difference, with each team going 3-3, as the Rangers took two-of-three in Arlington in May, with the Angels doing the same in Anaheim last month.

Go Rangers!

Up Next:

RHP Yu Darvish (10-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.60 ERA)—Saturday, 3:05 (CT).

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Jul 192012
 
MLB: AUG 15 Diamondbacks at Nationals

OK, so this may be the longest of long shots, but it’s also one of the most intriguing in terms of potential trade targets for the Rangers.  While Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin and David Murphy are all doing a pretty good job of holding down the third spot in the Rangers outfield with Josh and Nellie, B.J.’s little brother is attractive in more ways than one…

Justin Irvin Upton

Potential Trade Target Profile: Justin Upton

The Player

If Justin Upton is truly on the trading block, he is by far the most talented offensive player available.  The Diamondbacks, after making the playoffs in 2011, are a sub-.500 team this year (44-47) and sitting 7 games back in the NL West of the division leading Giants (and 7 games back in the Wild Card race).  Not too far back to make a second half run, which Upton would have to play a key role in, if it were to happen.

Upton is a 24 year-old 2-time NL All-Star who finished 4th in the NL MVP voting in 2011.  He was the first pick in the 2004 MLB Draft and made his debut in Arizona at the age of 19 in 2007.

Upton has played right field exclusively since coming up to the big leagues, but some speculate that he could play CF or LF effectively.

Upton isn’t having his best season, after strong campaigns over the last four years.  This simply makes it seem even more far-fetched that the D’Backs would consider moving the young star, as it’s definitely not an opportunity to “sell high”.

Upton is also under contract through 2015, which from the Rangers perspective, could serve as an insurance policy against losing Josh Hamilton in free agency after the season.  If Hamilton is resigned by the Rangers, it would facilitate his permanent move to LF if Upton could play CF.  Upton’s contract pays him $6.75M this season and $9.75M, $14.25M, $14.5M over the next three seasons.

So, a young talented player with a limitless ceiling with proven success at the major league level…locked up through 2015…not currently playing up to his full potential…for a team that isn’t completely out of the playoff race in the National League.

Why would Arizona deal him?  While he may not be performing up to his potential so far this season, he’s young and talented enough that it’s not a huge knock on his value.  Sure, the D’Backs wouldn’t be selling him at his true “high”, but there is no question of his long-term value.  Arizona is a team built to contend, and Upton’s age and potential play right into that.

All that said, the D’Backs know the market is better suited for sellers right now.  With the revisions to the Playoffs this year (additional Wild Card team), there are more buyers at the trade deadline than ever before.  Sure Upton is young and talented, but if Arizona could exchange him for a slew of young and talented players that fit the current and future needs of his teams…he’d do it.

“I don’t know whether we’ll trade Justin or not,” Arizona General Manager Kevin Towers said. “We’ll have to see if the right deal presents itself. We’re in the information-gathering business. The information we get now may be useful this winter. We’ll find out what teams have interest in him.”

So, it all comes down to the right deal…

The Measurables

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2007 19 ARI 43 140 17 31 8 3 2 11 2 11 37 .221 .283 .364 .647
2008 20 ARI 108 356 52 89 19 6 15 42 1 54 121 .250 .353 .463 .816
2009 21 ARI 138 526 84 158 30 7 26 86 20 55 137 .300 .366 .532 .899
2010 22 ARI 133 495 73 135 27 3 17 69 18 64 152 .273 .356 .442 .799
2011 23 ARI 159 592 105 171 39 5 31 88 21 59 126 .289 .369 .529 .898
2012 24 ARI 85 311 55 85 13 2 7 38 11 36 78 .273 .354 .395 .749
6 Yrs 666 2420 386 669 136 26 98 334 73 279 651 .276 .357 .476 .832
162 Game Avg. 162 589 94 163 33 6 24 81 18 68 158 .276 .357 .476 .832
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/19/2012.

If 2008 through 2011 is a true indication of the potential of Justin Upton, there is no doubt that the sky is the limit for this kid.  Keep in mind that he is only 24 this season (turns 25 in late August), so his best years should still be ahead of him.

  • Looking at similar players, Adams Jones, Jay Bruce and our very own Nelson Cruz make the list.  Historically, the most similar player in terms of production through the age of 24 is Ruben Sierra…doesn’t it feel like it was meant to be?
  • Upton’s current WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is a weak 1.1…again, you can’t put too much value on his performance so far this season given his age and what we have seen over the previous 3-4 years.  His WAR in 2011 was 5.7, good for 6th in the National League.
  • Upton’s name is scattered all over the leader boards for offensive performance in 2011 – WAR, Slugging %, Runs, Total Bases, Doubles, Home Runs, Runs Created, etc.

Could Justin be a Ranger?

Potential Trade Target Profile: Justin UptonOK, I’m officially excited about the thought of this guy in a Rangers uniform through 2015.  That said, I view this as the longest of long shots.

Does a trade for Upton fill a need?  Yes, while the offense is already strong (outside of recent performance), Upton provides another dynamic threat to the line-up and provides an everyday OF for the Rangers (Hamilton-Upton-Cruz).

Does dealing for Upton fill the team’s top need?  That’s debatable, but my thought is if you have an opportunity to get a player of this caliber for a price that you deem fair, you pull the trigger.

As far as what Arizona would require in return for Upton…the price tag is going to be higher than that of say Cole Hamels or another other player who is eligible for free agency after the season.  Again, Upton is locked up through 2015.  I think it will require a group of top level prospects (2-4 of them) along with a current major league player (if only to provide the Arizona fans with something new for this season).

So, what is the “right deal”?  You know Jon Daniels has a different idea from Kevin Towers as to what the “right deal” is.  Hence, the reason this deal more than likely won’t happen.

If you consider Jurickson Profar to be untouchable, the deal would more than likely center around Mike Olt and Martin Perez (or a pitching prospect of similar value), and could include a 1-2 more minor league players from a notch or two below these two…possibly someone like a Julio Borbon.

So, would you (yes, you) make that move?  Olt and Perez represent a big part of what is considered the future (near future is more like it) of this team.  The difference with a deal like this, as opposed to Cole Hamels or a soon-to-be free agent, is Justin Upton would also be considered the future of this team…as well as be more impactful this season.

If JD could find a way to make this deal happen while not dealing away Profar and Olt, I’d be on board.  I like Perez, but we have good pitching depth at the Major League level as well as down on the farm.  I’m sure the Rangers will do their due diligence and see what’s here, but a deal for Upton just seems unlikely…but it’s fun to ponder.

Regardless of what happens, this type of deal, whether the Rangers are the D’Backs’ trading partner or not, would likely occur at the 11th hour.  Should be fun to watch!

For your entertainment:

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Jul 182012
 
Roy

Coming into last night’s series opener against the Texas Rangers, the Oakland Athletics had been on a roll. Their offense had finally started to support one of the league’s most underrated—and unheard of—pitching staffs.

But then along came Roy Oswalt.

Oswalt’s previous four starts had ranged from decent to terrible. Last night was easily his best start as a Texas Ranger. Oswalt’s dominant effort quieted the A’s offense, with Adrian Beltre and Craig Gentry combining to solve the riddle of the Athletics’ Colon.

Um, Bartolo that is. On a side note, the Athletics should have that checked at least once a year or so. It’s better safe than sorry when you’re talking about something as important as your Colon.

My thoughts from last night’s 6-1

That a boy, Roy

That was a nice start from Mr. Os. 6 1/3 innings of three-hit ball, with six strikeouts and zero walks. A few more starts like that and Neftali Feliz will most certainly end up in the bullpen.

Mike Adams, indigestion inducer

When Adams is on the hill, I tend to pop Rolaids like C.C. Sabathia does Oreos—by the sleeve.

Adams had Jemile Weeks down 0-2, with one out…then plunks him. Next thing you know the bases are loaded and Rangers killer Yoenis Cespedes is up. Somehow Adams got out of the inning unscathed.

But c’mon, this guy wants to close? I’m fine with that, as long as it’s for a different team.

Adrian Beltre

Beltre’s fourth inning solo shot represented the point in time when I first realized the Rangers were about to defeat the rotund right-hander, Colon.

All kidding aside, it was nice to see the Rangers have some success against Bartolo Colon. Remember that the last time Texas took on Colon in Oakland, he shut them down and did it in about two hours…no easy task.

Gentry not so Gentlemanly while in Oakland

Craig Gentry is now batting .550 (11-for-20) with 5 RBI off of Oakland Athletics’ pitching this season.

That’s downright uncivilized, good sir (or madam).

This is the equivalent of obliging a fellow gent’s request to a duel, only to shove a grenade down his pants and run like hell—all the way to the victim’s quarters so as to bed his recently widowed wife.

Or something like that…whatever, keep up the good work, Gentry.

Welcome back, Aleix Ogando and Mike Napoli

Napoli hadn’t been gone long, but his run-producig stroke had been witnessed on more than a few DFW-area milk cartons. Last night, his RBI single plated Gentry for the first run of the game, and here’s hoping it’s a sign that Napoli is finally turning the page on his very unproductive 2012 story.

It’s always a pleasure to see the “Stickman from the Dominican.” Alexi Ogando hadn’t appeared in a game since straining his right groin last month in San Francisco. Ogando pitched 2/3 of an inning of scoreless relief, ratcheting his fastball all the way up to 97 MPH. His addition makes the Rangers bullpen that much stronger.

Up Next

RHP Colby Lewis (6-6, 3.51 ERA) will make his first start since June 23 today at 2:35 (CT). Lewis had been sidelined with right forearm tendonitis. For the Athletics, Australian-born left-hander Travis Blackley (2-2, 3.20 ERA) will make his eighth start of the season.

Go Rangers!

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Jul 172012
 
Cole Hamels 2

With the Rangers mentioned as a potential suitor for just about every Tom, Dick and Harry that may or may not be on the block, we’re going to start breaking down some of the primary players involved.

Why not start with the big fish!

Colbert Michael “Hollywood” Hamels

Potential Trade Target Profile: Cole Hamels

The Player

Hamels is the top pitcher on the trade market in my opinion with the Brewers’ Zack Greinke a close second.  The Phillies are currently making a last-ditch effort to lock the 28 year-old southpaw up long-term with a rumored offer of around 5-6 years at $100-120 million overall. However, most believe that if a long-term agreement is not reached, the Phillies will be eager to trade Hamels away and get something for him, given the unknowns of the open market in free agency and the current standing of the team in the NL East (14 games back).

Hamels debuted in 2006 for the Phillies after being a highly-touted prospect in their farm system since joining the organization as a 1st round draft pick in 2002.  Currently in his 7th year at the major league level, Hamels is a 3 time All-Star who has finished in the top 6 of the NL Cy Young voting twice in his career (6th in 2007 and 5th last year).

The Measurables

Year Age Tm Lg W L ERA G CG IP H HR BB SO ERA+ WHIP SO/BB
2006 22 PHI NL 9 8 4.08 23 0 132.1 117 19 48 145 115 1.247 3.02
2007 23 PHI NL 15 5 3.39 28 2 183.1 163 25 43 177 135 1.124 4.12
2008 24 PHI NL 14 10 3.09 33 2 227.1 193 28 53 196 141 1.082 3.70
2009 25 PHI NL 10 11 4.32 32 2 193.2 206 24 43 168 97 1.286 3.91
2010 26 PHI NL 12 11 3.06 33 1 208.2 185 26 61 211 133 1.179 3.46
2011 27 PHI NL 14 9 2.79 32 3 216.0 169 19 44 194 136 0.986 4.41
2012 28 PHI NL 11 4 3.07 18 0 126.0 107 14 30 125 129 1.087 4.17
7 Yrs 85 58 3.36 199 10 1287.1 1140 155 322 1216 125 1.136 3.78
162 Game Avg. 15 10 3.36 34 2 220 195 27 55 208 125 1.136 3.78
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/17/2012.
  •  Looking at similar players, Hamels compares well with Jered Weaver, and at the age of 28, should still have many of his best years still ahead of him.
  • He currently has a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 2.6 on the season, which puts him right outside of the top 10 in MLB.  For reference, Matt Harrison has a 4.1 WAR on the season.
  • His 11 wins on the season is even more impressive, considering the Phillies poor record on the season of 40-51.
  • His 125 K’s on the season is just 15 back of MLB leader Felix Hernandez, good for 6th overall.
  • His K/BB ratio (4.167) ranks him 10th in MLB…the MLB leader is our very own Colby Lewis at 7.5.
  • He’s making $15M this season…not too shabby.

 Could Cole be a Ranger?

Potential Trade Target Profile: Cole Hamels

I’ve long been of the belief that the Rangers would make a hard push for Hamels in free agency after the season.  It never entered my mind that he would be on the block at this point in the season, based on the assumption that the Phillies would have been more competitive this season and need to retain his services – long-term contract or not.

As far as what it would take from the Rangers to land Hamels…word is that the Phillies initial asking price is pretty steep as they are looking for 4-5 top prospects in return for Hamels.  Let’s keep in mind that Hamels is only under contract through the end of this season, so assuming a long-term agreement isn’t reached with whoever trades for his services, he’s potentially nothing more than a 3 month rental.

All indications point towards the primary player in return being Mike Olt, then fill in from there with a few more prospects.

The deal is similar in magnitude to the Cliff Lee trade from 2010, where Justin Smoak and Blake Beavan were both top 10 prospects in the Rangers organization, so figure it’s going to take something similar to land Hamels.

Lee turned out to be nothing more than a 3 month rental, but I think we can all agree that none of us would go back on that trade now…even if Smoak or Beavan were to improve upon their current performance…2010 was just that magical.

All this said, I’d say there is a very slim chance that the Rangers end up dealing for Hamels due to these reasons:

  • The Phillies offer (expected in next day or two) – Hamels could accept the offer if it’s as big as rumored and that would be the end of it.
  • Price tag – while I don’t think Olt is untouchable, as many have labeled him as such(and as Ninja JD would like for everyone to believe), I think the Phillies see Olt as just one of the pieces in the trade and the Rangers value him more than that.
  • Options – Grienke, Garza, Dempster, etc.  A deal for one of these guys may present a better value for the Rangers.

Don’t get me wrong…I love this guy and would like to see him wearing a Rangers uniform, but it just doesn’t seem likely….but neither did Cliff 2 years ago.

We should know about the Phillies offer in the next week to 10 days.  If Hamels passes on their offer and officially hits the trading block, it’s going to make the deadline that much more interesting.

Isn’t this fun?

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Jul 172012
 
Oswalt-sharp-in-first-start-of-the-season-GQ1NTKTC-x-large

Nothing really happened in Rangerville yesterday. It was an off day—viewed as a necessary evil to the die-hard fans like you and I. Other than ensuring proper rest for our favorite team as they ready for a stretch run in the 100-plus degree heat, off days don’t do much in the way of news.

Let’s see…

So, Jason Kidd was arrested for DWI. He’s pleading not guilty, and the word is that he was under the influence of a drug used as a sleep aid.

Sure, Kidd. I know the medication—it goes by the street name of vodka.

What else?

Rangers Head Back to Cali—Looking for Road Trip Revenge over Athletics, Angels

Mike Trout. One great hitter, and one ugly chick.


Ah yes, the Los Angels of Anaheim continue to lose. That’s always a plus. Trumbo can hit 74 bombs and Trout can bat .400 for all I care—as long as: a. The Angels keep losing, and b. Albert Pujols continues his path towards the worst year of his career.

But back to the stuff that really matters, let’s take a look at some Texas Rangers news and notes.

Rangers Rumor Mill

It’s no secret that most contending teams are hot on the tail of the Brewers’ Zach Greinke and the Phillies’ Cole Hamels.

Both are outstanding pitchers that are capable of elevating a solid team to a World Series-caliber club.

With Hamels, you’d get a lefty with a WS ring and plenty of postseason experience. It’s largely being speculated however that Hamels would be a Cliff Lee-like pickup as he would be out the door as soon as the postseason comes to a close.

For what it’s worth, I’d rather have right-hander Zach Greinke. Sure, he has anxiety issues, and no, he doesn’t have the postseason experience of the aforementioned Hamels, but I feel the Rangers have more of a shot at extending him for a few years into the future.

One knock on picking up either is that the new collective bargaining agreement doesn’t allow for compensatory draft picks should either acquisition decide to jump ship…in other words, the Rangers would be out a ton of prospects for a rent-a-pitcher.

However, the lack of compensation picks might lessen the sheer amount of prospects necessary to obtain said pitcher…either way, why not pursue a pitcher like a Matt Garza, who would come with an extra “bonus year” of team control?

Roy Oswalt

When the Rangers signed Roy Oswalt several weeks ago, they realized that they weren’t getting an ace. What they wanted was a solid middle-of-the-rotation innings eater.

Oswalt looked much better in his no-decision against Minnesota during his last start. He only surrendered five hits—so noted due to the fact that he was averaging over 11 hits in his previous three starts.

The success of Oswalt over his next few starts—as we roar towards the door of the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline—will factor in to whether or not the Rangers make the move for Greinke, Hamels, or Garza.

Texas clearly has all the pieces in place to make either of those trades happen.

Josh Hamilton, former tobacco user

Rangers Head Back to Cali—Looking for Road Trip Revenge over Athletics, Angels

Seriously. Someone get this dude some snuff pronto.


Yeah, as far as I can tell, Hambone is still snuff free. Good for him. Sadly, he’s also been largely impact-free since he decided to ban the can.

It’s great—fantastic even—that he’s saying nope to the cope. And with his burgeoning family no one would doubt his modus operandi to ditch the lip candy.

However…

Can’t you wait until the offseason? No matter how talented the batter, being productive in the box takes maximum concentration. If you’re jonsing for a lip log, dude, you’re not locked in. Hamilton’s recent struggles at the plate soundly backup the “nic-fit” theory.

Injury Updates
Rangers Head Back to Cali—Looking for Road Trip Revenge over Athletics, Angels
As of today, the Texas Rangers should activate Alexi Ogando, and Koji Uehara.

Talk about a boost to the bullpen.

Rather than a B12 to the buttocks, the additions of Ogando and Uehara are more like a Pulp Fiction-esque adrenalin blast right through the ‘ole bullpen breastplate.

Also, Colby Lewis is slated to start against Oakland on Wednesday.

Up Next

Tomorrow night the Rangers start a two-game series with A.L. West foes, the Oakland Athletics. The first pitch is scheduled for 9:05 (CT), so make sure you have your energy drink of choice at the ready…

On the bump for Oakland will be RHP Bartolo Colon (6-7, 3.80 ERA) against Rangers’ right-hander Roy Oswalt (2-1, 6.26 ERA).

Should be an interesting matchup—and one that reads as a “who’s who” of turn-of-the-century aces…

Go Rangers!

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Jul 162012
 
Texas Rangers v San Diego Padres

Before I even get into the updates below, I want to throw out the idea of a sitcom called “Dutch and Harry” starring Derek Holland and Matt Harrison – two cops just trying to keep the streets of Arlington safe.  Holland plays the funny one and Harrison plays the straight-laced one…

Any buyers?

Dutch Oven looks strong

Rangers take series in Seattle behind Dutch & Harry

Who would have thought that a massive case of diarrhea (could be slightly exaggerated) could end up being the best thing that happened to Derek Holland, and subsequently, the Texas Rangers this year?

OK, maybe it won’t be the BEST thing, but it could be one of those times that we all look back upon when this season is over, knowing that the Dutch Oven was better because of it.

The diarrhea led to arm rest.  The arm rest may prove to be vital to Holland’s success in the second half of the season.

I used be bothered by typing the word “diarrhea”, but clearly I’m over that now.

Derek Holland’s second start since returning from the DL was his best of the season…albeit against a poor Mariner’s offense.  It was refreshing to see Dutch work the way he did on Friday night after a first half filled with ups and downs – unfortunately more downs than ups (5-4, 5.05 ERA & 1.329 WHIP).

Mariners continue to own Yu

Rangers take series in Seattle behind Dutch & HarryWhat can you say?  Sometimes certain players don’t perform well in certain situations or against certain teams.  Darvish doesn’t pitch well against the Mariners…

In 3 starts against Seattle, he is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.125 WHIP.  Small sample size in a young career may be a cheap view here, but nonetheless, it’s not good.

I’m of the belief that it’s not just coincidental.  I think the Mariners are larger than life for Yu, primarily because of the world-wide following they garnered when Ichiro joined them years ago…when Yu was an impressionable youngster.

He’ll get over it eventually.

Didn’t help matters that his counterpart, Felix Hernandez, was dominant on Saturday.  King Felix shut down the Rangers bats, giving up only 3 hits and allowing only one Ranger to make it into scoring position.

Harrison spins a gem

Rangers take series in Seattle behind Dutch & HarrySo, the rubber match pitted Matt Harrison against Hisashi Iwakuma yesterday.  Harrison pitched brilliantly to get his 12th win on the season and secured the series win for the Rangers on the road.

Harrison has staked claim to the title of “Staff Ace” in 2012.  If you had asked me to rank the pitching staff in order of who could emerge as the Ace in 2012, I’m pretty sure I would have put Harry 4th or 5th behind Darvish, Holland and Feliz for sure, and possibly behind the Colbra.  I wasn’t in favor of replacing Harrison in the rotation or anything, I just saw him as a solid back of the rotation guy.  He’s more than that…much more.

Harrison is now 12-4 with a 2.87 ERA over 122.1 innings of work so far in 2012.  He’s not a strike-out guy, but he knows how to pitch…he’s earned that tag of “methodical”, which was a term used often to describe the pitching of Greg Maddux.  He’s quiet and unassuming, yet a workhorse that goes after hitters and isn’t afraid to stake claim to the inside half of the plate.  In short…I’m falling in love with this guy.

Quick Hits

  • Rangers are off today before a short 2-game series in Oack on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by another day off before a weekend series in Los Angeles against the Angels.
  • Neftali Feliz will make a rehab start in Frisco today.
  • Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara are expected to be activated from the DL tomorrow.
  • Yorvit Torrealba will not be with the team for the Oakland series as he travels home for the birth of his daughter.
  • Trade deadline is fast approaching.  We’re hoping to get a podcast up this week where we’ll be discussing some of the rumors.
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Jul 132012
 
Rangers All Stars

The All-Star break officially concludes today as the Rangers (and the other team’s we don’t care about as much) return to action tonight in Seattle.

Seems like a good time to check in our five pre-season predictions.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#1.  Ian Kinsler will win the 2012 AL MVP Award

Not looking too good on this one.  Kinsler started off the season with a bang, like the entire Rangers offense, but has since been good (not great) at best.

Currently leads MLB in At-Bats, Plate Appearances and Runs Scored, but that would be expected by an average lead-off hitter with the Rangers batting order following him.  He’s also 6th in MLB in doubles, which is nice, but not going to get you any nods at the end of the year when they are handing out the hardware.

Current slash is .279/.341/.442 for an OPS of .783 which would be the lowest in his career if the season ended today.

It’s gonna take one heck of a second half from Kins to prove us right on this one.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#2. Elvis Andrus will be the starting short-stop for the 2012 American League All-Star team

WRONG.  All Star – Yes, Starter – No.  Elvis had a great first half, but the Rangers voting base couldn’t overcome the power of Jeter.

E’s current slash is .293/.368/.393 for an OPS of .761 which would be the highest in his career (next best was .708 last year), so he continues to improve.

That said, starting in an All-Star game may not occur until Jeter is completely out of the game or has changed positions, simply due to the respect around the league Jeter has earned.  Feels very similar to the Ozzie Smith situation in the 80′s when Barry Larkin was clearly the better player, but feel short in the voting to the fan favorite.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#3. Mitch Moreland will remain healthy all year and will hit 30 home runs

Mitch was on pace for this, before landing on the DL last month with a strained hamstring.  He had 10 dingers in 158 ABs, which would translate to 30 dingers if he could have approached the 450-500 AB plateau.

Moreland should return to the line-up later this month or in early August, but the 4-6 week absence will be too much to overcome for the second part of this prediction to come true.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#4. At the all-star break, Joe Nathan will be in the top five save leaders in Major League baseball

7th in the American League close enough…?  Guess not.

Nathan has been dominant since getting over his early season woes and has compiled 18 saves in 36 games with a 1.73 ERA and a 0.936 WHIP.

The opportunities haven’t been there as often as needed in order to get him into the top 5 in MLB, but we are very happy with the Rangers closer.

Checking in our pre season predictions...#5. The Texas Rangers win the 2012 World Series

The Rangers went into the season as one of the favorites and have done nothing to lose ground here.  We’ll check back in on this one in November…

So, all in, we are looking to be 0 for 4 on our first 4 predictions (with Kinsler still as a pipe dream), with our fifth and final prediction still very much in play.

Looking forward to the second half!

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Jul 122012
 
jairo_beras_jpeg_480x290_crop-,0_upscale_q95

Texas Rangers Ready for Second Half—News and Notes

You’re not fooling anyone, JD. We all know you’re a ninja.

As it turns out, the All-Star Break was about as much fun as taking three days off from work, just so you can help a friend move.

And your friend lives in Kansas City…well that’s what you get for telling him you own a truck.

After the National League torqued the A.L. 8-0, I feel safe in saying that we are all ready for the second half to commence.

And commence, it will, as the Texas Rangers are headed to the Pacific Northwest for a three game series against fellow A.L. West combatants, the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners, at 36-51, have a worse record than the Rangers (52-34) even if you’re dyslexic…just look at their record first or that makes less sense than Verlander getting thwacked last Tuesday.

Since the initial road trip of the second half features a call to the West Coast, the start time makes it seem as if it’s far further away than one full day.

Alas, tomorrow night, at 9:10 (CT), recently reactivated Derek Holland (5-4, 5.05 ERA) will make his second start since his month-long stay on the disabled list. He’ll oppose former Ranger Kevin Millwood (3-6, 3.69 ERA). Millwood has been lights-out against the Rangers this year, going 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts.

Jeez Millwood, you mad?

Holland, against Seattle, well, he’s had some problems

Here’s a look at some Rangers news and notes, as their four-day break nears a close.

Ranger Injury Updates

Both Alexi Ogando (strained right groin muscle) and Neftali Feliz (sprained right elbow) are set to have a minor league rehabilitation assignment in the near future.

Ogando, sidelined since June 10, will conduct his rehab assignment this Thursday with Triple-A Round Rock. He’s penciled in for a two-inning outing.

Feliz, out since May 18, is scheduled to throw live batting practice this Thursday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. If that outing goes as planned, he’ll be cleared to pitch two innings with Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday.

As noted by Rangers beat writer T.R. Sullivan, it appears as though Feliz will be stretched out to remain in the Rangers rotation upon his return.

Reliever Koji Uehara is scheduled to pitch an inning for Round Rock this Saturday, and should his lat injury not limit him, he could be set to rejoin the bullpen as early as next week.

Mark Lowe, sidelined with a rib cage strain, is expected to resume a throwing program this weekend in Seattle.

Colby Lewis should be reactivated for a start against Oakland next Wednesday.

Rangers’ deal with IFA (International Free Agent) Jairo Beras holds up

As if we needed any further notice that Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels is a true ninja…

Per Joey Matschulat of Baseball Time In Arlington, Major League Baseball has decided to uphold the $4.5 million bonus the Rangers signed Beras to.

There was controversy surrounding Beras’ age, almost from the onset of the deal. Initially, Beras provided the powers that be with a birth certificate that stated he was born in 1995. Had that been the case, the Rangers’ deal would have been revoked as Beras would have been too young to sign a professional contract.

C’mon, you should know by now that what fools MLB can’t pull the wool over JD…

Long story short—please read Matschulat’s fine article for all the details—the Rangers felt that Beras was actually born in 1994, MLB agreed, and thus the deal was upheld due to his now being old enough to sign said deal.

Beras is being punished by a one-year suspension, however.

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