Scott Hiler

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 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 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 092012
 
State Farm Home Run Derby

One of the best parts of the MLB All-Star Game festivities is the Home Run Derby.  I can remember as a kid waiting with great anticipation to see which slugger could muscle a few dingers out of the park to stake claim as the ultimate power hitter.

All Star Week: Home Run Derby

Dave Parker, Cincinnati Reds, 1985 Home Run Derby Winner

Some will argue that it’s just glorified batting practice or that the derby doesn’t represent anything of value.  The derby has it’s critics, but to them I would say…just take it for what it is.  Forget about WAR, DIPS, BABIP and Bill James.  Separate yourself from the “mental/strategic game” for a couple hours and just watch.

While I have plenty of memories from the Home Run Derbies of my youth (mid to late 80′s) – including a larger-than-life Dave Parker (hit 6 to win) in 1985, Andre “The Hawk” Dawson (4) in 1987 and Eric Davis and Ruben Sierra (each hit 3) in 1989 – there has never been a Derby that could compare to 2008.

This is a Rangers blog, so I know I don’t have to recount the derby blow-by-blow (there’s a video below for that) and get into Josh’s story (there’s a book for that) and what his performance that night meant in the bigger picture of life, but here was my reaction – my jaw dropped…I laughed in disbelief…I laughed some more…I may have cried…and then I hit the rewind button on my DVR and watched it again.

I wanted to put together a dramatized video, recreating my reaction from that memorable night, but couldn’t get the funding…I’m not cheap.

Hamilton hasn’t been in another Derby since, and I’m actually grateful for that.

I’m not grateful because I’m glad Josh isn’t risking his health.

I’m grateful because that moment could never be recreated or topped.  Meaning that a return to the Derby for Josh, while it could result in a Derby win (Justin Morneau actually won the Derby in ’08), would more than likely be anti-climatic and too ordinary.

My point is this…enjoy tonight.  We don’t have any of our guys in the Derby, but there are some great players participating.  One of my favorite parts of the Derby is to watch the other players react to the bombs and watch how much fun they are having.  The next night…it matters, but tonight it’s all for fun.

My official prediction for tonight –  Prince Fielder over Mark Trumbo in the final.

Josh Hamilton 2008 Home Run Derby Video:

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Jun 232012
 

We are 1 week away from the First Annual Baseball Do Field Trip!

$34.99 gets you…

Start off at Patty Shack Burgers at 4pm for some good grub and Rangers fellowship!

Time is running out...

You get a “Nolan is my Homeboy” T-Shirt plus we’ll have some cool prizes to raffle away!

Time is running out...

Then we’ll head to the Ballpark to see the Rangers thrash the A’s!
Lexus Club Terrace ticket.

Time is running out...

Top it all off with a Reckless Kelly concert at the Ballpark following the game!

Time is running out as we are only a week away, and space is limited!

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Jun 212012
 

The Rangers beat the Padres & Baseball Do beat something MALICIOUSWe are MALWARE free!

Ok, really not convinced there was ever a serious problem with the site, but there was definitely some “malicious code” on the site and it has now been completely removed.  In addition, we’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.  What a beating…

BaseballDo.com is once again a safe place for you to cyber-hang!

Lot’s of speculation if the infection that we had here on baseballdo.com could have been the same one that attacked our beloved Josh Hamilton over the weekend.  Biological investigation pending…

Due to all of these issues, we had to remove the Forums – could be temporary, could be permanent.  Let us know if you have an opinion on that.

Rangers Sweep the San Diego Fathers

The Rangers beat the Padres & Baseball Do beat something MALICIOUSRangers completed the sweep of the Padres last night behind a strong performance from Yu Darvish.  Darvish gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks over 8 innings, while striking out 8.  Both of the Padres’ runs were driven in by the pitcher, Anthony Bass, in the second inning.  After that little hiccup, Darvish was lights out before handing over the reigns to Joe Nathan who secured his 15th save of the season.  Darvish, who is now tied for the AL lead in Wins,  improves to 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA on the season.

“The first two innings, it looked like he was trying to find his rhythm,” Washington said. “From that point on, he wasn’t going to be denied. His breaking ball came, his cutter came, he moved the ball around the zone pretty good. He did a great job.”

Darvish also got his first MLB hit in the game, a broken bat single to right.

Rangers shuffle rotation

Roy Oswalt will make his Rangers debut tomorrow night at the Ballpark against the Rockies, replacing Scott Feldman in the rotation.

“He’s ready to go,” manager Ron Washington said. “The reports we got say he’s ready to go. That’s what we brought him for, to bring him to the big leagues, and he’s ready, so we made the decision to do it. We challenge him now.”

Scott Feldman slides back into the bullpen, a move that he’s none too happy with.

“Basically, telling me that I’m not in the plans for the second time this year, spring training and then now, that’s fine, if I’m not in their plans,” Feldman said. “But it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.”

Look, Scooter didn’t really do much to prove that he deserved more opportunities and while he’s clearly not happy with the move back to the pen, it’s an important role for the TEAM.  His unhappiness is nothing to be worried about, and if anything shows that he’s a competitor that wants to be in the rotation.  If he get’s another opportunity, somewhere down the line with the Rangers or another team, hopefully he’ll show better.

The Rangers’ rotation, starting Friday, is Oswalt, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Grimm and Yu Darvish.

Dutch and Feliz both continue to make good progress in rehab, both throwing off the mound yesterday.  Holland is hoping to return to the rotation on July 1st and Neftali is hoping for mid-July.  Barring any more injuries, Grimm would more than likely go back to the minors and Feliz will go to the pen in a set-up/7th inning role.

 Field Trip is quickly approaching…

If you haven’t already purchased your ticket to the Baseball Do First Annual Field Trip, jump on it.  It’s a great deal, and should be a great time!  We still have some spots available!

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Jun 192012
 
Matt Harrison 3

Rangers bats quiet, but pitching prevails in 2 1 win over PadresHarrison continues dominance on the road

If the season ended today, you’d be hard pressed to argue against Matt Harrison as the Game 1 starter of any post-season series.  Colby Lewis has better numbers on the full season in terms of ERA and WHIP, but Harrison has been absolutely lights-out as of late, going 5-0 in the last 30 days (6 starts) with a 1.43 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.

To be fair, Lewis puts up a good fight over the last 30 days as well with a lower WHIP, more strikeouts and less walks.

Possibly even more astounding, after last night’s win over the Padres in San Diego, Harrison is now 7-1 on the road for the 2012 season with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

Harrison’s performance wasn’t without it’s brief bouts of trouble, but he found his comfort zone after escaping a tough first inning in which he gave up the Padres only run of the game.

“It was definitely a battle from the get-go: first inning, three leadoff hits — fortunately I was able to make some pitches and get out of that,” Harrison said. “By the third or fourth I was starting to find a rhythm, find my release point a little better.”

Harrison’s strong performance was needed last night, as the Rangers bats were silenced by Jason Marquis, who surrendered both of the Rangers runs in the first inning via a David Murphy 2-run single.

Mark Lowe, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan shut down the Padres in the 7th, 8th and 9th respectively to secure the win.

Bottom line – Rangers were out-hit last night, and one could argue that they were even out-pitched as they were held to only two hits over the final seven innings, but they got the win.  Feels good doesn’t it?

Quick Hits

  • Roy Oswalt could join the Rangers as early as Friday.  President Nolan spoke with ESPN Radio yesterday and said:
    • “If the group feels like they would like him to start this weekend against Colorado, I would be comfortable with that,” Ryan said.
    • Click here for more details from that interview.
  • Josh Hamilton came in last in last night’s game as a defensive substitution and is expected to start tonight in game two of the series in San Diego.
  • Rangers are currently 4th in the ESPN MLB Power Rankings.
  • Rangers are currently 1st in the Baseball Do MLB Power Rankings…sorry, no link.
  • Rangers bats quiet, but pitching prevails in 2 1 win over PadresAll-Star Voting Updates
    • Nelson Cruz has slipped to 5th in the All-Star OF voting as Adam Jones and Jose Bautista have both passed him.
    • Ian Kinsler leads Robinson Cano by only 15,000 votes at 2B.
    • Mitch Moreland has more votes in Albert Pujols at 1B.  This makes me smile.
  • Scott Feldman (0-6, 6.50 ERA) and former Rangers prospect and more importantly, the chip that landed Josh Hamilton, Edison Volquez (3-6, 3.70 ERA) face off tonight in game 2 of the series.
    • Feldman has done little to inspire Rangers fans lately, so here’s hoping he can string something together against one of the worst teams in MLB.
    • Volquez is quietly resurrecting his career in San Diego after showing flashing of brilliance in a tumultuous stint in Cincinnati.
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Jun 072012
 
Colby Lewis 2

Quality start by Lewis down the drain

Rangers look to Yu after being BartoloedNobody is as eager to see the dominance of the Rangers offense return as Colby Lewis.  For the second straight outing and the third time in his last five starts, Colby Lewis has pitched well….well enough to win…but has taken the “L” due to a lack of run support.  Last night was the worst of them, as the Rangers offense was shut out by 39 year old Bartolo Colon and Oakland closer Brian Fuentes.

“That was an amazing pitching performance and we wasted it because we couldn’t put any runs on the board,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We still have some guys who are not playing up to their offensive capability right now. We’re a little inconsistent on the offensive side. We’ve got to keep grinding it out and we’ll get it together. There are nights we put it together and nights where we don’t put it together. I guess you could say we’re inconsistent.”

Lewis pitched 8 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits, while striking 3 and walking none (throwing 101 pitches), but the game was essentially over in the bottom of the 2nd when Brandon Inge drove in Yoenis Cespedes – the game winning run.  The Rangers bats were shut down by Colon who scattered 5 hits over 8 innings of work before handing the ball off to Fuentes to wrap up the win.

“You hate to not give a guy credit when he does that well, but you’d think as good as our offense is, we’d get something done,” outfielder David Murphy said. “He didn’t try to trick us. He threw all fastballs. He changed locations, so he mixed it up in that regard, but he beat us by throwing fastballs. Obviously we didn’t have a great night offensively.”

Get the Split with Yu

Darvish (7-3, 3.21 ERA) takes the mound today for the series finale in Oakland.  He beat the A’s last time he faced them (May 16th), 4-1.

The A’s will counter with former Ranger Brandon McCarthy (4-3, 2.95 ERA) who has a career record of 1-4 against the Rangers, but looked good in his last start (against Royals) after a stint on the DL.

“He feels good,” Melvin said. “We’re trying to take care of him as far as pitch counts, trying not to overdo it. We feel like the 15-day DL was something that probably stemmed the tide a little bit. We monitor him each and every time — his bullpens, his games. To this point he feels good.”

2:35pm first pitch.

Quick Hits

  • After some early season bumps, Joe Nathan has settled in and has been nothing short of dominant lately.  From Jon Star (MLB.com):

Nathan has retired 27 of the last 31 batters he’s faced, leading to 10 consecutive shutout innings. He has struck out 13 hitters in that span, and his 28-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio is a Major League-best among all relievers. Nathan has surrendered just one earned run over his last 19 2/3 innings.

  • Also from Star:

The Rangers are the only team to boast three players with a qualifying batting average above .300 — Josh Hamilton (.343), Elvis Andrus (.303) and Adrian Beltre (.301).

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Jun 062012
 
Derek Holland 4

Rangers rebound in Oakland with strong bullpen

Wednesday Morning CurveballsAlexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan flexed their muscle last night in Oakland, pitching a combined 3 2/3 innings in relief of Derek Holland, surrendering just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5.  Ogando came in with two on and one out in the 6th with the Rangers holding on to a 2 run lead.  He struck out Kurt Suzuki and got Adam Rosales to pop out to first.

“That’s what he does,” closer Joe Nathan said of Ogando. “He’s the guy who holds our bullpen together. He’s the glue and tonight was a prime example about how much this guy means to us.”

Holland had his moments, but was apparently being taken down internally by…ahem…let’s just say he had some stomach concerns.  All in, he gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks over 5 1/3, striking out only 2.  He did get the win to improve to 5-4 with a 5.10 ERA.

“I just got a little fatigued out there,” Holland said. “I was doing everything I could to stay out there, but it started creeping up on me in the middle innings. I was doing everything I could. I just need to keep plugging away and get my strength back.”

It was creeping up…

Wednesday Morning Curveballs

Offensively, the Rangers accomplished a rare feat – everyone in the lineup got at least one base hit and struck out at least once.

Kinsler showed some signs of life with a 2 run double in the 3rd inning.  Everything else was pretty evening spread across the nine guys who started and ended this game in the lineup.

Lewis vs. Colon tonight

Colby Lewis (4-4, 3.50 ERA) takes the mound tonight, looking for his 5th win on the season.  Lewis pitched well in Anaheim over the weekend, only to have it wasted by defensive miscues and a lack of offensive support.  Since his reemergence in major league baseball (after his stint in Japan), Lewis is 5-3 with a 3.17 ERA against Oakland.

The A’s will counter with 39 year old Bartolo Colon (4-6, 4.34 ERA).  Colon suffered a similar fate to Lewis in his last outing, only giving up 2 runs over 7 innings, but getting a tough loss as his offensive teammates put up a goose egg.

9:05pm first pitch on FSSW.

Headed to Kansas City…

  • Initial All-Star voting results were revealed yesterday and 5 Rangers are leading at their respective positions – Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz & Mike Napoli.  You can vote up to 25 times, which seems a little ridiculous, but whatever.  Vote here if you haven’t already.
  • Josh Hamilton will not be participating in the Home Run Derby this year which is fine by me.  Josh’s performance at the 2008 Derby was unforgettable, and I doubt he could ever top that.  In addition, I’d much prefer Josh preserve every ounce of energy for the All-Star game (which DOES matter) and the second half of the season.

“It’s just not the right time,” Hamilton said. “I haven’t done it the past couple of years. I want to be healthy and the best I can be. I don’t want to risk anything entertaining the fans. So I respectfully declined again. You just take one swing … you’ve got to be smart about it.”

  • Of the 5 mentioned above, Napoli is the only one that hasn’t made an All-Star team before.

“Awesome … thanks to our fans,” Napoli said. “It would mean a lot to me. It would mean a lot to every player to make the All-Star Game. I want my numbers to prove I deserve to be an All-Star. I love the fans giving me such great sport.”

  • Look, I’d really like to see the American League World Series representative have home field advantage this season, so I’m on board with this team featuring as many Rangers as possible, but let’s remember that it was one of our own that cost the AL the All-Star game last year.  Love this quote from Beltre:

“It’s pretty important,” Beltre said of home field advantage. “That might be a key why we didn’t win, even though it was one of us that screwed it up.” 

Quick Hits

  • Scott Feldman will make his next scheduled start, after getting shelled on Monday in Oakland and pitching poorly in the three starts prior to that.  Someone tell Craig Gentry to get ready…
  • From T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), Hal Keller, who drafted, signed and developed some of the best players in the early years of the Rangers franchise, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Sequim, Wash. He was 84.
  • The Forums are up and running…well maybe running is a bit of an overstatement.
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