Timothy Howell

Oct 052012
 
Bud Selig's Frankenstein's monster, the additional wild card game, debuts tonight.

The Yu Darvish Ace Audition: Baltimore/Texas “Playoff” Matchup Bud Selig’s bouncing baby—the “extra” Wild Card Game—springs to life tonight for the Texas Rangers at 7:30 PM CDT. Here are some thoughts prior to the Rangers’ possible pilgrimage to the ALDS for a third-consecutive season.

The Yu Darvish Factor

Yu Darvish essentially has his “ace” test tonight. If he wins, he’s an ace, end of story. Should the Rangers win, and he pitches poorly, he’s still a number one. Should he pitch poorly and the Rangers lose, well, he’s still a helluva lot better than the Ceej.

• This is the first time that Yu Darvish will face the Baltimore Orioles. In first-time starts, The Yu is 11-3 with a 3.12 ERA. Pretty impressive, more so if you consider that the majority of those decisions came prior to Darvish’s return-to-Japanese-League-Super-Awesome-Pitcher-of-Extraordinary-Magnitude-form.

• If Wednesday’s nearly-unmentionable 12-5 O-town debacle has left you skeptical not only about the Rangers, but of Yu Darvish as well, then consider this, cynical Sally: The Baltimore Orioles are a team that succumbs to strikeouts, and Yu Darvish is their worst freaking nightmare. Also, Captain contempt, C.J. Wilson ain’t starting tonight.

Joe Saunders “Factor”

• The greatness of The Yu is matched only by the awfulness of Joe Saunders. Joe freaking Saunders, man! My only concern: Joe Saunders pitches from the port side and can’t break glass with his heater. Two things the Rangers’ bats tend to struggle with.

Playoff Or Game 163?

• It’s goofy, but tonight’s game actually would have gone down even without the new Wild Card format since the Rangers and Orioles have identical records, it makes it hard to get too excited. In many ways, it’s just game 163, the baseball game equivalent of going to junior college right out of high school, and enjoying the heck out of a “bonus year.” Or what I used to enthusiastically refer to as “12th Grade Redux.” I mean, isn’t that exactly what the Orioles are—our JV discards?

Buck Showalter

• He could never consistently win as a Texas Rangers manager so why should he now? Sure, that’s an irrational thought. The Baltimore Orioles are essentially built from a Rangers’ scrapheap of prospects, pitchers, and Adam “Not Pacman” Jones. Personally, I think that says far more about the level of talent that the Rangers possess than the excellent job Showalter has done in Baltimore. Regardless, the 2012 Orioles are a far better team than anything that Buck Showalter had to work with during his Texas tenure.

If/Then

Wednesday’s collapse sent me hurtling into a fetal position that only the promise of cheap beer and discount chicken wings could usher me out of. Yes, I was trapped in a childlike daze for hours after that 12-5 gut punch. So, in lieu of that, let’s take a trip into the excellent pre-adolescent game of “If/Then.” Why? Because it’s fun, and I’m sure as hades not going to “predict” anything…here goes:

If the Texas Rangers jump on the Baltimore Orioles early, and Yu Darvish continues to pitch the way he has, while once again destroying a first-time opponent, Then the Texas Rangers will win, and face the New York Yankees this Sunday in the ALDS.

If said Rangers win occurs, then I will still not buy this silly hat:

The Yu Darvish Ace Audition: Baltimore/Texas “Playoff” Matchup

However, if said hat should happen to come adorned with another particular logo—hint: the same one that’s been on there since 2010—then I will most definitely purchase one—and still bitch about the $38.99 price tag.

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Sep 212012
 
MPHI

Perez vs. Iwakumi, A Rangers/Mariners Game 1 PreviewI must apologize for my recent absence and reluctance to post. I have been suffering from acute “papercut-itis.” For those of you that have suffered through this daunting dilemma, it is far more painful than the equally dreaded malady, “keyboard abrasion.”

Seriously though, if Josh Hamilton can sit out a few games with a sinus infection minus the infection, I should be able to skirt a few posts due to a paper cut that didn’t actually break the skin.

Adrian Beltre: Texas Rangers’ MVP?

• Adrian Beltre’s legend continues to grow. Home run number 34 couldn’t have come at a better time. His two-run blast supplied the necessary runs Texas needed to seal the deal on the LAA series, 3-1.

• Beltre’s 34 homers are the most he’s had since he knocked out 48 in 2005 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which led the National League in long balls that year.

Yu Darvish Continues to Dazzle

• For the seventh-consecutive start, The Yu surrendered three earned runs or less while pitching at least 6 2/3 innings. Over that span, he’s seen his ERA drop from 4.54 to 3.90. Since August 24, Darvish has the second-lowest ERA (1.47) in the American League.

• With 214 strikeouts on the season, Darvish now has sole-possession of second place on the all-time list for rookies.

Michael Young: Stringing Together Consistent Excellence

• Over his last 10 games, Michael Young is batting a robust .429. In last night’s dramatic 3-1 win that sealed the series for Texas, MY set the stage for Adrian Beltre’s heroics by doubling off of Angels’ closer Ernesto Frieri.

Scott Feldman is out, Martin Perez is in

• After being the Rangers’ best starter for the entire month of July, right-hander Scott Feldman has fallen back to earth with a resounding thud. After riding a six-game winning streak, Feldman hasn’t ended up on the right side of the win/loss column since way back on August 4 in Kansas City.

• His starts have ranged from average to atrocious and his worst start of his current bad stretch occurred in his most recent start. Scooter lasted just 2 2/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners while he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits.

• Left-handed rookie Martin Perez came on in relief in the aforementioned Scooter start, and had no problems at all with the Mariners, as he surrendered no hits over his 4 1/3 innings of work. That outing impressed the powers that be enough to place Feldman back in the bullpen and to give Perez the fifth-starter slot for the remainder of the regular season.

Up Next:

LHP Martin Perez (1-1, 3.38 ERA) has replaced Scott Feldman as the Rangers’ fifth starter for what is likely the remainder of the season. Perez will oppose Seattle’s RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 3.39 ERA).

The first pitch is scheduled for 9:05 PM (CT) and is the first game of a three-game series with fellow A.L. West “rivals,” the Seattle Mariners.

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Sep 132012
 
DutchMcAlli

Rangers, Derek Holland, Eye Sweep of Indians

This is not Derek Holland. But that is a fine mustache, young lady.

No one likes to beat a dead horse. However, the Texas Rangers have had no problems in whipping-up on the nearly-lifeless Cleveland Indians.

After out-scoring the Tribe 11-6 in the first two games of this three-game set, the Rangers are going for the sweep tonight, and will turn to certified Cleveland-killer Derek Holland to get the job done.

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

Cleveland Indians (59-84)

Rangers, Derek Holland, Eye Sweep of Indians

Shin-Soo was 2-for-4 against the Rangers last night, but is riding the pine this evening.


SS Brent Lillibridge
2B Jason Kipnis
DH Carlos Santana
CF Michael Brantley
LF Vinny Rottino
1B Matt LaPorta
RF Thomas Neal
C Lou Marson
3B Jack Hannahan

VS

LHP Derek Holland (10-6, 4.59 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9)

Derek Holland has won three of his last four decisions, and certainly pitched well enough to earn the victory in his last start, in Tampa Bay.

To find the victims in Holland’s most recent win, you need look no further than the opposing team’s dugout. Holland, an Ohio native, picked up his tenth win on the year by pitching seven stellar innings against tonight’s foe, the Cleveland Indians, on September 2. All told, the Dutch Oven struck out five, walked just two and scattered five hits.

For Holland to succeed in notching his eleventh victory on the year, it will be crucial for him to have success against Carlos Santana (.385/.467/.923, 2 HRs) as well as Brent Lillibridge (.429/.556/.857, HR), both of whom have hit him well.

Texas Rangers (85-57)

Rangers, Derek Holland, Eye Sweep of Indians

After hitting his 32nd homer of the year last night, Beltre was pulled due to a shoulder issue. He has been cleared to DH this evening, so it’s all good.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF David Murphy
DH Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
3B Michael Young
1B Mitch Moreland
C Geovany Soto
CF Leonys Martin

VS

RHP Zach McAllister (5-7, 4.31 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9)

McAllister, a 6’6″ right-hander from Chillicothe, Illinois, is most likely not very excited about getting the start tonight against the Texas Rangers.

A mere 11 days ago, McAllister was “greeted” by a Texas Rangers’ offense that pounded-out four home runs and recorded seven earned runs over his five innings of work. Remember Jurickson Profar’s first big league homer? Yep, that was off of McAllister. Josh Hamilton found him to his liking too, as he took the righty deep as well.

Sure, Hamilton and Profar are getting the day off today, but it’s not like they were the only Rangers to shellack McAllister. In fact, the only Ranger starting tonight who hasn’t record at least one hit off of him is Mitch Moreland, and, hey, there’s no time like the present, Mitchy!

McAllister is currently riding a five-game losing streak.

So close, yet Profar away

• Rangers’ rookie—and number one prospect—Jurickson Profar was originally slated to start at second base and bat in the nine-hole. However, an MRI of Adrian Beltre’s left shoulder showed no structural damage, and Washington decided to give him the start at designated hitter. Thus, Profar was the odd-man out.

Texas Rangers’ injury news

• Adrian Beltre left yesterday’s game in the fifth inning with a sore left wing, but, as noted earlier, his MRI was negative and he was a late edition to tonight’s starting lineup.

• Josh Hamilton had an injection in his left knee after last night’s game. His injury is not considered serious, but he is getting the night off and is listed as day to day.

• Rangers’ rookie, Mike Olt, was called on to replace Adrian Beltre at third base last night. Olt would leave the game as well as he re-aggravated a plantar fasciitis issue while beating out an infield single. Olt will be sidelined 10-14 days and is set to see a podiatrist in the near future.

• Everyone’s favorite extra-toothy Texas Ranger, Robbie Ross, is scheduled to throw another bullpen tomorrow. He has been sidelined with left forearm tightness, so any throwing not met with subsequent pain is great news for the young lefty.

• Rangers’ reluctant bullpen-specialist, Roy Oswalt, is scheduled to attempt to throw today. He lasted just two innings in his last spot-start and noted that it felt like “something bit his elbow.” No word on if he cast an embittered gaze to all parties involved upon discussing said injury; but, yeah, I’m pretty sure he did.

All Quiet on the A.L. West front?

• Sadly, no, no it is not. The Oakland Athletics continue their quest to become the most-unlikely—according to most pre-season rankings, at least—team to make a playoff splash. They are currently just three games behind the Texas Rangers, which is astounding considering the Rangers own the American League’s best record.

• For the A’s, it’s almost as if shedding the weight of Bartolo Colon—both literally and figuratively—has propelled their ascent all the more. Every time I check the standings, there they are, that much closer to an improbable Wild Card playoff berth.

• The only good thing about the A’s winning, is that three of their last four wins have come at the expense of the Angels.

• The Rangers currently hold a 3 1/2 game lead over the A’s and an 8-game lead over the increasingly lowly LA Angels of A-holedom (if that’s not a word, it should be.)

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Sep 112012
 
HarriUbaldo

Matt Harrison vs. Ubaldo Jimenez: A Rangers/Indians PreviewAfter a series such as the one that took place over the weekend in Tampa Bay, an off-day is always welcome.

In case you were fortunate enough to miss the aforementioned three game series—that saw the Texas Rangers score just five runs over thirty innings against the Tampa Bay Rays—here’s a quick recap:

Derek Holland was great. Yu Darvish was terrific. Roy Oswalt was absolutely horrific, and B.J. Upton is an a-hole.

Tonight the Texas Rangers return home for a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians, while the Tampa Bay Rays take off for Baltimore to battle the Orioles. With the Orioles just one game out of the A.L. East’s top spot, and the Cleveland Indians a mere five games from elimination…well…take that, Tampa!

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

Cleveland Indians (59-82, L10: 4-6)

Matt Harrison vs. Ubaldo Jimenez: A Rangers/Indians Preview

Since being moved to the leadoff spot, the Tribe’s Shin-Soo Choo has really taken off at the plate.


RF Shin-Soo Choo
2B Jason Kipnis
C Carlos Santana
1B Russ Canzler
DH Matt LaPorta
SS Brent Lillibridge
3B Jason Donald
LF Thomas Neal
CF Ezequiel Carrera

VS

LHP Matt Harrison (15-9, 3.37 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 5.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9)

Texas Rangers’ left-hander, Matt Harrison will be pitching tonight on two extra days of rest. The Durham, North Carolina native is coming off of back-to-back losses against Tampa Bay and the Royals that saw him average just five innings in each start.

Prior to his two-game skid, Harrison had been masterful as he picked up consecutive wins against Toronto and Minnesota, averaging eight innings pitched in each start.

Over his four-year career, Harrison has been great when working on six-plus days of rest. All told, he’s 8-3 with a 3.56 ERA.

Harrison has gone 1-2 against the Cleveland Indians since 2008, while posting a 5.17 ERA with ten strikeouts. Cleveland’s leadoff batter, Shin-Soo Choo is 2-for-4 with a double, home run, and 3 RBI off of Harri. Catcher/DH Carlos Santana has also had success against Harrison, as he is 2-for-3 with a double and home run as well. All told, the Indians versus Harrison have produced a slash-line of: .277/.333/.489.

Texas Rangers (83-57, L10: 6-4)

Matt Harrison vs. Ubaldo Jimenez: A Rangers/Indians Preview

Martin gets the start tonight to rest Nelson Cruz.

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF David Murphy
DH Michael Young
1B Mitch Moreland
C Geovany Soto
CF Leonys Martin

• Nelson Cruz get the night off to rest his presumably aching legs. Hamilton slides to the less labor-intensive side of the outfield and top prospect Leonys Martin gets the rare start in center field.

VS

RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15, 5.58 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 4.7 BB/9)

As mentioned earlier, Rangers’ lefty Matt Harrison has been less effective over his last two starts. Ubaldo Jimenez, on the other hand, hasn’t been nearly as sharp since, well, the second half of 2010.

The 6’5″ native of Nagua, Dominican Republic, has clearly lost some velocity in the last two years. However, Jimenez still possesses swing-and-miss stuff, which is evidenced by his above average strikeout per-nine rate of 7.5.

What has gotten Jimenez into trouble this season is his propensity to surrender the free pass. His walks per-nine rate of 4.7 is his highest since his first full season in the big leagues with Colorado back in 2008.

Against the Rangers over his career he has is 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA, but tends to get shelled mightily at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. At RBIA, he has surrendered seven home runs, and Texas has teed-off to the tune of: .318/.400/.591.

The annoying Angels and those pesky Athletics:

• In a rematch from last week—that saw the Angels sweep the Athletics—the A’s held on for a 3-1 win last night. Oakland is now just a mere three games behind the Rangers in the A.L. West race.

• Even though they lost their series-opener to the Athletics last night, the Angels are still the hottest team in the American League. They’ve won eight of their last ten games, and now are just 3 1/2 games out of the A.L. Wild Card race, and just 6 1/2 games behind the Rangers in the A.L. West.

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Sep 062012
 
greatthursday copy

Rangers turn to Feldman to Capture Royals Series

Adrian Beltre continues his offensive assault, as he swatted home run number 29 last night.

If you are a resident of the greater DFW Metroplex, undoubtedly, today you had a pretty solid day. That’s just the way it is in the DF-dub when both the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys win on the same night.

The Cowboys, as you may recall, defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants a night ago, much like the Rangers nipped the 1985 World Series Champion KC Royals.

It’s the kind of day that your coffee costs $4.14, and the dude at Starbucks waves you on as you plummet into your pockets unsuccessfully searching for the 14 cents.

A mockingbird might just land on your shoulder, and that good-looking person you’ve been oggling at the office actually laughs with you rather than at you.

On a day like today, your skinny pants actually make you feel skinny.

All told, it’s a red-letter, 22-font, all CAPS kind of Thursday.

How could this day get any better? Well, that’s easy, friends. A win tonight for the Texas Rangers would not only get Scooter back on track, but would also claim the season series against the increasingly pesky KC Royals.

Here’s a look at tonight’s lineups:

Kansas City Royals (61-75)

Rangers turn to Feldman to Capture Royals Series

Butler went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored an an RBI in last night’s game.


CF Lorenzo Cain
SS Alcides Escobar
LF Alex Gordon
DH Billy Butler
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Jeff Francouer
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Tony Abreu

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (6-11, 5.01 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 2.1 BB/9)

How many pitchers can you recall have had two six-game losing streaks in the same season? Yeah, I’m stumped too. Well, a loss tonight and Scooter Feldman will hold that ignominious distinction. It’s hard to believe that sandwiched in between his two aforementioned skids, he had a six-game winning streak, too.

Truth be told, over his current five-game skid, Feldman truly hasn’t been that bad; he’s just fallen prey to one really bad inning in each of those losses. Feldman is definitely the type of pitcher that keeps you on your toes, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Ironically, during Scooter’s six-game winning streak, it was these same KC Royals that he defeated 4-2 on August 4. The 6’6″ Hawaiian-born righty has not recorded a win since…so, beating the Royals tonight would just make a strange kind of cosmic sense, right?

Right.

Texas Rangers (81-55)

Rangers turn to Feldman to Capture Royals Series

Michael Young hit his sixth home run of the season, and his second of the series in last night’s 7-6 Rangers win.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Michael Young
DH Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
LF David Murphy
C Geovany Soto
1B Mitch Moreland
CF Craig Gentry

VS

RHP Luke Hochevar (7-13, 5.34 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9)

Hochevar, a former number on pick in the 2006 MLB Draft, has occasionally shown flashes of greatness over his career. For example, on June 25 of this year, Hochevar pitched a complete game shutout against the Tampa Bay Rays while collecting eight strikeouts and surrendering just seven hits.

Then, of course, you have the 2 1/3 inning outing against the Yankees on May 6 where Hochevar was undressed to the tune of seven earned runs on seven hits. He didn’t strike out anyone and surrendered two long balls.

The 6’5″, 220-pound Denver, Colorado, native’s career arc is somewhere in between those two vastly different starts. In other words, Hochevar is a solid back-of-the-rotation type of starter.

The Texas Rangers have produced the triple-slash line of: .247/.309/.447 against Hochevar. Michael Young, who is batting second tonight and starting at shortstop, is the only Ranger (aside from catcher Geovany Soto) to have hit a home run off of Hochevar.

News around the A.L. West

• Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ace, Jered Weaver, has been scratched from his next start due to right biceps tendinitis. Although this might not have any long-term implications, it’s never a good thing for your ace to be dealing with any kind of injury issue.

• The Oakland Athletics, currently five games behind Texas, travel to Seattle to take on the Mariners tomorrow, while the Los Angeles Angels welcome the Detroit Tigers to the “Big A.” The Angels are 2 1/2 games behind the A’s and 7 1/2 games behind the Rangers in the A.L. West.

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Sep 052012
 
MLB: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers

Word on the street is that some other Texas team that plays some other type of sport has a game tonight or something. I doubt seriously that anyone will pay much attention to this bizarre type of “ball” that evidently requires a “foot.”

After all, the Texas Rangers are looking to take their second game of the four game series with the Kansas City Royals this evening. A win tonight would even up the season series with four wins apiece.

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

Kansas City Royals (61-74)

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Per Fangraphs’ WAR, Francouer is having the worst season of any MLB regular, with his -2.0.


CF David Lough
SS Alcides Escobar
LF Alex Gordon
DH Billy Butler
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Jeff Francouer
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Johnny Giavotella

VS

RHP Ryan Dempster (9-6, 2.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP,7.6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9)

Over his last three starts, Dempster is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 20 strikeouts. Tonight he’ll be looking for his fourth-straight win and might have an advantage over the Royals in that they are largely unfamiliar with him.

Of current Royals players, only Alcides Escobar (.154/.267/.154) and Jeff Francouer (.400/.400/.800, 1 HR, 4 RBI) have faced Dempster in more than four plate appearances.

Texas Rangers (80-55)

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Elvis flashed some pop yesterday, as he launched his third homer of the year in the first inning.


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

VS

LHP Everett Teaford (1-3, 4.30 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)

This will be Teaford’s first appearance against the Rangers this season. He pitched in relief against Texas on three occasions last season, and did not allow a run in his 1 2/3 innings of work.

Teaford will be making just the eighth start of his big league career, and it was borne out of necessity due to last Saturday’s double header against the Minnesota Twins.

Royals’ skipper Ned Yost, has dubbed tonight’s game as “‘pen day,” due to the fact that Teaford—despite a solid 5 1/3 inning outing last week—is still considered a part of the KC bullpen rather than its rotation.

Regardelss, Teaford profiles as the type of pitcher than can challenge the mighty Rangers’ offense. He’s a soft-tossing port-sider that is largely unknown to the Rangers. He’s only faced David Murphy and Mitch Moreland, and they have gone a combined 0-for-3 against him.

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Teaford (left) and Tim Collins (right), found the recently departed Johnathan Broxton’s pants mighty hard to fill.

Oakland Athletics Watch

• After tonight, the A’s will play 17 of their next 20 games on the road, and hopefully, will lose the vast majority of those games.

• As of this post, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were ahead of the A’s 4-1 in the top of the ninth inning. If the Angels hold on for the win, they will have swept the A’s, which, ultimately, helps the Texas Rangers.

• Should the Angels hold on for the victory, the Athletics would drop to 4 1/2 games behind Texas, while the Angels would climb to “just” seven games behind the Rangers.

Notes:

• There was speculation that Jurickson might get the start at second base since Kinsler was manning the DH spot tonight. Alas, it will be MY that gets the nod at his “natural” position.

• Keep your eyes peeled for a possible Profar sighting for tomorrow’s “gettaway” game against he Royals.

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Sep 032012
 
Yu2

Chen Music: Rangers Rough up Royals, 8 4Well, that was a very satisfying win…one that was almost a true “KC Masterpiece.” Yu Darvish was outstanding. He retired the first 17 batters he faced—and almost made it 18—before allowing his first baserunner.

All told, Darvish lost the perfecto, no-hitter and shutout in that three-run sixth inning but still managed one of his better starts of the season.

Normally it’s hard to top a possible perfecto, but the way the Rangers’ offense has been swinging it of late, that’s exactly what happened.

Here’s a look at some numbers of note and notes on those numbers…

87

• The number of pitches Yu Darvish threw over his seven innings. It’s the fewest he’s pitched in a game all season and the lowest total pitch count since he threw 93 back on May 27 against the Blue Jays.

• Today marked the eleventh time Darvish has worked at least seven innings in a game, and it was the third consecutive time he’s done so.

1 and 1 equals 2

• Number of times Nelson Cruz was plunked in today’s game. Also the number of pitches it took for Michael Young to connect for a two-run home run immediately after Cruz’s beaning in the ninth inning.

9

• Number of points David Murphy—currently in third place in the A.L. batting race—trails leader Mike Trout (.333).

• Murphy qualified for the batting title yesterday after obtaining the necessary number of plate appearances. A player must have 3.1 plate appearances per team game played.

80

• Current Rangers win total. It’s the third-fastest time the Rangers have reached that mark in the franchise’s 40-year history. Just like the 1999 Texas Rangers, they landed win number 80 in game number 134. They also share an identical record with their 20th Century predecessors up to this point (80-54). The ’99 club finished at 95-67, a team record for wins that stood until last year, when the Rangers notched 96 regular season wins.

507

• Career wins for Rangers’ manager Ron Washington. Today’s 8-4 win pushed him past Johnny Oates (506) for second place on the all-time list. Current Boston Red Sox skipper, Bobby Valentine, had 581 wins during his tenure as the Rangers’ manager, from 1985-1992.

11

• Number of home runs Adrian Beltre has hit in his last ten games. He’d hit 17 in his previous 120 games…

Up Next:

LHP Matt Harrison (15-8, 3.30 ERA) toes the rubber for the Rangers tomorrow and will oppose Royals’ RHP Jeremy Guthrie (6-12, 5.48 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM (CST).

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Sep 022012
 
Texas Rangers v Cleveland Indians

Feldman Falters in the First, Rangers Cant Recover as Tribe triumphs 4 3Scott Feldman is beginning to develop a pattern.

No, I’m not just talking about his current five-game losing streak. Feldman is having—quite consistently over his last six starts—one bad inning.

Every start.

Last month against the Detroit Tigers, it was the four-spot he surrendered in the sixth inning that was his ultimate undoing. In his next start, against the Yankees, it was a three-run third. The Orioles jumped on him for four in the fifth during his next go-around…then the Twinkies dropped a deuce on Feldy in the fifth inning (once again.) And, last night, the Tribe gave Texas a Scooter-scalping for four earned runs in the first inning.

If you’re keeping score at home, he need only surrender a big second-inning to close out the first six frames, dart-style.

Last night’s 4-3 loss had the makings of an extremely short outing for Feldman, as Oswalt was beginning to get loose in the bullpen with just one out in the first inning.

Feldman recovered nicely, and stellar relief from Alexi Ogando and even gasp! Koji Uehara, kept the Indians to only four runs, total. Unfortunately, Adrian Beltre can’t do it all himself and the first-frame four-spot proved insurmountable.

Here in a few hours the Rangers will turn to Derek Holland to try and take their fourth-straight series, so hey, pound a few coldies and go get ‘em tomorrow…

Oakland Athletics Watch

• I don’t know about you, but I still find myself scoreboard watching—without even looking at Oakland’s box scores. I just don’t consider them a threat. But I think that it’s high time to start giving them more than a cursory glance.

They are currently a measly three games out of first place with a 75-57 record. Think about that for a moment. The Texas Rangers are having their best season in the franchise’s history…and the stupid Oakland A’s are only three games behind them.

With their current record, the A’s would be in sole possession of first place in the A.L. Central as well as the N.L. West…it’s definitely time to circle our calendars for September 24—September 27, when the A’s arrive for a four game series in Arlington that might just have some playoff implications…

Up Next:

LHP Derek Holland (9-6, 4.90 ERA) is currently riding a modest two-game winning streak. For HollandO, a native of Newark Ohio, there is truly no place like home. The 25-year-old lefty is 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA against the Tribe over his career.

For the Indians, it’ll be RHP Zach McAllister (5-5, 3.82). Like the Indians, McAllister has struggled over the last couple of months. He’ll be vying for just his third win since July.

The first pitch is scheduled for 12:05 (CST).

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Sep 012012
 
JuricksonProfarcopy_display_image

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences

Dempster was one cool customer last night, as he held the Tribe to just two hits over his six innings of work.

Fresh off of a 5-3 win at Cleveland’s Progressive Field last night, it’s hard to believe that the Texas Rangers lost two-of-three to these same Indians back in May—while outscored 19-13.

The two-run advantage really isn’t indicative of the dominant effort that the Rangers put forth a night ago, it’s just a sign of how bad Koji Uehara continues to be…even with the rosters expanding to 40 today, you have to wonder why Uehara continues to occupy one of those spots.

That being said here’s a look at some Rangers of note as well as some roster information as the light at the end of the regular season tunnel begins to burn ever brighter…

Ryan Dempster Continues to Cruise

• I wish I could claim to have never felt the pangs of panic concerning Ryan Dempster. But, like most of us, the second time Demples was shellacked for eight runs, I was wiping the sweat from my brow while clenching my fist in anticipation of smashing the proverbial panic button.

However, all anxiety surrounding the right-hander has been subdued by his recent excellence. Over his last three starts, Dempster has gone 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and has notched 20 strikeouts and only seven walks. In short, Dempster has looked like the ace the Rangers have so desperately sought since Cliff Lee’s departure via free agency.

Trade Deadline Comes to a Close as Rosters Expand

• Even after news came of the Mariners’ King Felix being claimed on waivers, it became apparent that he most likely will be staying put in Seattle.

• However, the Texas Rangers did announce that the much-anticipated debut of Jurickson Profar will occur today. Highly regarded pitching prospect Miguel De Los Santos was designated for assignment and it looks like Tanner Scheppers as well as Brandon Snyder will be returning to the big league club for the September stretch run.

• It is uncertain how much playing time the aforementioned Profar will command in the final weeks of the season, but he will be a true utility infielder expected to backup shortstop Elvis Andrus and possibly Ian Kinsler at second base.

Koji Uehara…yeah, you know

• As I’m sure most of you are well aware, I’m not a Koji Uehara fan. It’s nothing personal, he seems like a nice dude and I admire his enthusiasm. But, the guy is just an awful pitcher. Occasionally people point to his statistics to quiet my rage, but with Koji, you have to consider the situations he’s used in. He rarely pitches in a close game that the Rangers are winning and if you’ve ever wondered why, just look at his outing against Minnesota last week and last night’s thunder-shot home run off the bat of the excruitiatingly-average Casey Kotchman…and there you have it.

Personally, I’d leave Koji off of my roster even if it expanded to a 60-man…I just don’t see why he’s ever allowed to pitch.

Adrian Beltre—not of this Earth

• Beltre, last week’s A.L. Player of the Week, is continuing to sizzle at the dish. Last night he was 4-for-5, raising his batting average five points to .316 on the season. Over his last 10 games, Beltre has hit .475 with six home runs and 14 RBI. It appears that the sure-handed third baseman is getting hot at the best possible time…

A.L. West Continues to Sizzle

• As great as the Rangers have played over the last several weeks, it’s hard to believe that they have been the A.L. West’s third hottest team over their last ten games.

• The second-place Oakland Athletics have won nine-of-ten and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have started to show signs of life, winning seven-of-ten while feeling the flow of a four-game winning streak.

Robbie Ross Injured

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences

Fan favorite and outstanding lefty reliever, Robbie Ross, is headed to the DL with tightness in his left forearm.

• Word came down late last night that left-handed reliever-extraordinnaire Robbie Ross will be placed on the disabled list due to left-forearm stiffness. The diagnosis is particularly disparaging as tightness in the forearm is often a precursor to elbow ligament damage—see Lewis, Colby.

Up Next:

RHP Scott Feldman (6-10, 4.95 ERA) will look to tap into some of his six-game winning streak magic in hopes of staving off his current four-game skid. Scooter will oppose the Indians’ Jeanmar Gomez (4-7, 5.11 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 (CST).

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences
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It’s Profar time, and I’m stoked!

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Aug 292012
 
Harri

Matt Harrison and Rangers go for Sweep of RaysNot that the Texas Rangers are taking tonight’s series-ender lightly, but it is easy to look ahead to their upcoming road trip to Cleveland after Yu Darvish’s dominating performance last night. Nothing like a thrilling, 1-0 win against a very good A.L. East team to get the confidence levels soaring…

Here’s a look at tonight’s lineup, as the Rangers bid adieu to their postseason rivals.

Tampa Bay Rays (70-59)

Matt Harrison and Rangers go for Sweep of Rays

Wait a minute, that’s not my cap…Longoria has raked against Harri over his career, with 7 RBI.


LF Desmond Jennings
CF B.J. Upton
SS Ben Zobrist
DH Evan Longoria
1B Jeff Keppinger
2B Ryan Roberts
3B Elliot Johnson
C Jose Molina
RF Sam Fuld

VS.

LHP Matt Harrison (15-7, 3.04 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 5.4 K/9, 2.6 BB/9)

Harrison has quietly and efficiently been the Rangers’ most reliable starter all season long. Simply put, the 6’4″ left-hander has continued to build on his success from a season ago and is paving the way to true “ace-dom.”

At home this season, Harrison has been sharp. He’s 5-3 with a 3.02 ERA. Although right-handers have touched him up with 11 home runs and a slash line of: .269/.328/.417, left-handers are practically out before they ever step into the batter’s box: .186/.216/.261 with just two long balls.

Harrison will be looking for a measure of atonement tonight as the Rays roughed him up in his only start against them this season. It was back on April 27, and Harri lasted just five innings and was blasted for 14 hits while surrendering six earned runs.

Texas Rangers (77-52)

Matt Harrison and Rangers go for Sweep of Rays

Kinsler provided all of the offense the Rangers would need last night, thanks to his fourth inning solo home run.


DH Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Michael Young
LF David Murphy
1B Mitch Moreland
C Luis Martinez

VS.

RHP Alex Cobb (8-8, 4.32 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 2.5 BB/9)

Cobb, a Boston, Massachusetts native, is coming off of the best start of his young career. Last week in Oakland, he pitched the first complete game as he blanked the Athletics with eight strikeouts while allowing just two hits and two walks over nine innings.

The 6′ 2″ right-hander was bombed in his previous start against the Angels, surrendering eight earned runs on a whopping 14 hits.

Tonight will be the first time that Cobb has faced the Rangers since last season. He’s 4-3 with a 5.26 ERA on the road and has held the Rangers to a triple-slash line of: .176/.263/.176 in his career.

Right-handers hit him to the tune of: .295/.337/.410 with three home runs, and left-handers go: .253/.319/.371, also with three home runs.

Ian Kinsler and the red-hot Adrian Beltre have had the most success against Cobb, as they have driven in two and have a combined batting average of .333.

Notes:

• This is the second straight start that Matt Harrison will throw to Luis Martinez. Ron Washington has shown a lot of faith in Martinez’s ability to call a quality game.

• Michael Young gets the start at second base for the first time since August 2, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

• The A.L. West is currently the only division in Major League Baseball where all teams have a positive run differential. Thus, the argument can be made that it is the strongest division in baseball. This is just another way to celebrate the greatness that is the Texas Rangers.

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