Timothy Howell

Aug 282012
 
Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays

Texas Rangers Roy Oswalt Clears Waivers and Yu Darvish Returns...So, Roy Oswalt has cleared waivers. Did he pass like a ship in the night, or did he fall like a tree in an abandoned forest?

Does anyone care? Should we care?

You’d think the feeling of his passing would be a relief since his stay here in Arlington has been a tumultuous one, about as comfortable as a kidney stone.

There are some teams rumored to be interested in a trade for ‘ole Roy. Naturally, the Los Angeles Dodgers are in the mix.

The Dodgers have become the MLB equivalent of your crazy grandmother. Yeah, the one with the $15K credit card limit that orders every magazine known to man, only to let each issue stack up throughout her house. Eventually, the unread magazines form false walls constructed from Cat Fancy and Redbook rather than plywood and drywall as Gam Gam’s house becomes a labyrinthine layer not even David Bowie would dare enter.

The Roy Oswalt saga can continue until this Friday at 11:00 PM (ET), when the trade deadline comes to an absolute close…in the meantime, on to more important matters.

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

Tampa Bay Rays (70-58)

Texas Rangers Roy Oswalt Clears Waivers and Yu Darvish Returns...

Jennings was 2-for-4 in last night’s game.


LF Desmond Jennings
CF B.J. Upton
RF Matt Joyce
3B Evan Longoria
SS Ben Zobrist
DH Luke Scott
1B Carlos Pena
2B Ryan Roberts
C Jose Lobaton

VS

RHP Yu Darvish (12-9, 4.51 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 4.9 BB/9)

Tonight marks the return of The Yu. Darvish is making his first start since August 17, as he was scratched from his last start due to a tight quad…or, perhaps, just because he felt sorry for Roy Oswalt and decided to let him start to boost his spirits.

In Darvish’s last start, he took the loss despite allowing just three hits, one walk, and three earned runs. He finished up striking out 10 over his seven innings of work.

The Tampa Bay Rays will pose a unique challenge for Darvish, as the Rays lead the American League in walks, with 451, trailing only the Atlanta Braves (454) for the major league lead.

Clearly, Darvish’s success is often predicated by how much he can control the strike zone (or find it with consistency.) If he walks too many Rays, it could be a long night and a short outing for The Yu.

However, on the flip side, the Rays tend to walk due to dire necessity. In other words, they take the free pass because they can do little else with a pitched ball. As a team, they are batting just .236. If Darvish’s stuff is present—as it usually is, he might be able to get the Rays to swing at offerings off of the plate. The key for him will be to attack the zone early and often.

This will be the first time that Darvish has faced the Tampa Bay Rays. At home this season, Darvish is 8-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

Texas Rangers (76-52)

Texas Rangers Roy Oswalt Clears Waivers and Yu Darvish Returns...

Elvis has destroyed Shields in his career, posting a triple-slash line of: .571/.609/.857.


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

VS

RHP James Shields (12-7, 4.01 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9)

On the hill for the Rays tonight, it’s “Big Game James,” a nickname I’m fairly certain James Shields made up for himself. I’m not saying this to be cruel, but it’s just that most of Shields’ “big games” have come against the Texas Rangers, and they haven’t gone so well for him. Unless of course, his moniker means “Big Game” for the Texas Rangers’ bats…

Against Texas during the 2010 and 2011 American League Division, Shields is 0-2 with a 10.61 ERA with eight strikeouts. But, hey, in those two starts he didn’t walk anybody!

The Rangers have hit .257 against Shields over his career with eight home runs—six of which were hit by Kinsler, Young and Hamilton. Over his career, Shields is 3-2 with a 4.11 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (during the regular season.)

Texas Rangers Roy Oswalt Clears Waivers and Yu Darvish Returns...

“You have thirteen hours to solve the labyrinth…in the meantime, can you pass me that copy of Cat Fancy?”

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Aug 272012
 
Craig Gentry, rocketman.

Rangers Offense Keeps on Rolling as Texas Takes Second straight Series

Craig Gentry, rocketman.

The Minnesota Twins are gone, but they won’t be forgotten. And for the most part, their four game stay at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will be remembered fondly.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights from that four-game set…

Adrian Beltre can carry a team

• Adrian Beltre was 7-for-9 (.777) in the first two games of the Twins series. He went 3-for-5 with one homer in game 1 (not a bad encore after the previous night’s three home run effort against Baltimore.) Game 2 saw Beltre notch the second cycle of his career, as he went 4-for-4 with three RBI.

• When Beltre heats up he’s more than capable of setting the tone for the Rangers’ offense or carrying the team on his own.

• It will be fun to see how Beltre handles the Tampa Bay Rays this week. Beltre hit three home runs in game 4 of the 2011 ALDS against the Rays.

Rangers Offense Keeps on Rolling as Texas Takes Second straight Series

Beltre gets a well-deserved hug from Mike Napoli.


Throwing at Josh Hamilton’s Cabeza is highly frowned upon…

• Yep, we learned this in the series’ opening game. Starting pitcher Scott Diamond retaliated for a Roy Oswalt beanball by letting one loose in the general vicinity of Hambone’s head.

• Even though Oswalt had not been warned, and no brawl ensued, Diamond was treated to a six-game suspension courtesy of Major League Baseball.

• Head-hunting aside, Hamilton had one heck of a series against the Twins. All told, he hit .438 with 9 RBI and hit his 35th home run of the year during yesterday’s finale.

White Men can jump, and Craig Gentry is proof

• With one out and one on in the top of the ninth inning, Craig Gentry perfectly played a deep blast off of the bat of Joe Mauer. #KittenFace deftly judged the arc of the ball before cat-apulting over the centerfield wall, landing on top of the Captain Morgan Club’s roof, robbing Mauer of what would have been the first ball ever hit onto Randol Mill Road. All in all, it was pretty sweet.

Koji Uehara still sucks

• Sunday’s finale saw the return of right-handed relief specialist Koji Uehara—whose true specialty is serving up the long ball. It’s good to see that after a two month layoff, Uehara can still get rocked with the best of them.

• Had it not been for the aforementioned trampoline-like leap of Craig Gentry, Uehara would have served up a two-run bomb to Minnesota’s Joe Mauer. This, of course, would have surprised absolutely no one.

• Can we please get Tanner Scheppers back up here to replace Koji? Sure I know he’s susceptible to the long ball as well, but at least his heater can actually break a pane of glass.

Mitch Moreland, one strong son of a gun
Rangers Offense Keeps on Rolling as Texas Takes Second straight Series
• In the second inning of the third game of the Minnesota series, Mitch Moreland crushed a Brian Duensing pitch into the right field upper deck. The three-run shot was measured at 463 feet, making it the third-longest bomb ever hit in the 19-year history of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

• Not only was the bomb historic in length, it is also notable in that it came off of a left-handed pitcher, only the third time this season and the fourth time in his career that Moreland has gone deep off of a port-sider.

Up Next:

The Tampa Bay Rays, currently in second place in the A.L. East, come to Arlington for a three-game series.

On the hill for the Rangers will be LHP Derek Holland (8-6, 4.92 ERA). Left-handed ace, David Price (16-4, 2.28 ERA), is on the bump for Tampa Bay. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 (CST).

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Aug 212012
 
Feldy!

Orioles/Rangers Game 2 Preview: Scott Feldman vs. Chris TillmanLast night’s 5-1 Rangers’ win certainly felt far more comfortable than the four-run advantage would indicate.

Against quality right-hander Miguel Gonzalez—who pitched quite well save for the fourth inning—the offense did a great job of working the count and seeing their fair share of pitches.

And if Gonzalez was good, then Ryan Dempster was great. Heck even if Gonzalez was terrible, Dempster was still great.

It was easily his best performance as a Texas Ranger. Dempster, simply put, looked like an ace last night, and the type of pitcher that can fill-in for the injured Colby Lewis, and maybe, just maybe, take the ball in game one of a playoff series and shut the opposition down.

In other words, be the anti-C.J. Wilson.

Hey if two extra days off and a no-call, no-show to Toronto is what it takes for this version of Dempster to show up consistently, then see ya in seven days Dempy and please continue to curtail Canada…

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

Baltimore Orioles (66-56)

Orioles/Rangers Game 2 Preview: Scott Feldman vs. Chris Tillman

Although he doesn’t “make it rain,” this Adam Jones doesn’t suck either. He went 2-for-4 last night, driving in the O’s only run.


RF Nick Markakis
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Nate McLouth
CF Adam “Not Pacman” Jones
C Matt Wieters
DH Chris Davis
1B Mark Reynolds
2B Omar Quintanilla
3B Manny Machado

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (6-8, 4.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 6.2 K/9)

Over his last two starts, Feldman has somewhat returned to Earth. Prior to those back-to-back losses, Scooter was rolling on a six-game winning streak, and over the month of July was the Rangers’ best starter.

Seriously.

Think about it. If I had told you four months ago that the Rangers would sign Roy Oswalt, you might not believe me. And you would send me off to the nuthouse straightaway if I told you that Oswalt would not only be signed by Texas, but would be relegated to the bullpen because Scott Feldman swiped the starting spot right out from under him…

Over his last two games, Feldman has been victimized by one poor inning, or, in the case of his start against Detroit, one bad pitch. Still, though he hasn’t been that bad even in losing efforts. Over his last 10 games, the Hawaiian-born hurler has gone 6-3 with a 3.70 ERA, with 41 strikeouts up against just 8 walks—four of which he allowed in last week’s loss to the New York Yankees.

Texas Rangers (71-50)

Orioles/Rangers Game 2 Preview: Scott Feldman vs. Chris Tillman

Murphy was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI in last night’s 5-1 win.


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

VS

RHP Chris Tillman (5-2, 3.65 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, K/9: 7.1)

Tilllman was a second round draft pick by the Seattle Mariners in the 2006 MLB amateur draft. He’s pitched in parts of the last four seasons after making his big league debut in 2009.

He’s having a fine season thus far, and at just 24 years of age, he could be a bright spot for the Orioles for years to come.

Tillman came over in the Erik Bedard trade with Adam “Not Pacman” Jones in what is beginning to look like an extremely Orioles-friendly—if not completely lopsided—trade.

The 6′ 5″ righty from Fountain Valley, California is 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA on the road thus far in 2012. He’s tough on both right-handed batters (.239/.364/.457, 2 HR) as well as lefties (.250/.281/.398, 3 HR).

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Aug 202012
 
passport

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview
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After last week’s four-game set with the New York Yankees, the Rangers were in danger of losing ground to the second place Oakland Athletics. It didn’t look good heading into Canada, as the the Toronto Blue Jays had historically given Texas fits.

However, rather than punching the panic button (as fans tend to do), the Rangers returned triumphantly to Texas on the heels of an impressive series win against the always-a-pain-in-the-arse Blue Jays.

Tonight, recently un-restricted list luminary, Ryan Dempster, will make his first start since his most recent shellacking, last Monday in New York. I, for one, have never been too pumped about Dempster’s acquisition, but I’m glad it happened, and I don’t think he’s as bad as he’s shown.

Dempster’s bizarre no-show in Toronto has never really been explained, so it seems pretty obvious that Roy Oswalt pulled a few strings with the Canadian Mounties to bar Dempster’s arrival. C’mon, ‘ole Roy, that’s no way to treat your bestie.

Regardless, there’s nothing like another Melky Cabrera scandal to make Rangers’ rumors disappear.

I had no idea Cabrera was also a web design guru. His unique website—MelkyNoTakeNoPEDs.com—is not only a marvel of my own invention, it’s also still available for purchase.

Tonight’s Lineups:

Baltimore Orioles (66-55) L10: 6-4

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview

Chris Davis has a career-high 60 RBI (and counting). He’s also contributed 20 home runs to the potent Orioles lineup.


RF Nick Markakis
2B Robert Andino
LF Nate McLouth
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Weiters
DH Chris Davis
1B Mark Reynolds
SS Omar Quintanilla
3B Manny Machado

VS

RHP Ryan Dempster (6-6, 3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8.3 K/9)

The mystery man himself, the “Canadian who no-showed in Canada,” takes the hill tonight with an extra few days of rest.

At Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Dempster is 0-0 with a 15.45 ERA. It really can’t get much worse so I feel it will certainly get better. On the year, Dempster has surrendered 14 home runs, and right-handed batters go: .250/.298/.411, with 8 homers, whereas lefties look like this: .210/.266/.352 with 6 tickets taken to downtown dong city.

Texas Rangers (70-50) L10: 5-5

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview

Was yesterday’s 3-for-5 performance a harbinger for things to come for MY? Let’s hope so.


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

VS

RHP Miguel Gonzalez 5-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 6.9 K/9)

Gonzalez, one of just 30 active big leaguers born in Mexico, is having a fine season, especially considering he had been released by both the Angels and Red Sox and had never pitched above Double-A prior to this season.

Away from Baltimore, Gonzalez has yet to lose. He’s 3-0 with a 2.34 ERA. It’s definitely worth noting that the 28-year-old Guadalajara native has never faced the Texas Rangers nor toed the rubber at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. RBIA is an extremely difficult place to pitch in, just ask Ryan Dempster.

Gonzalez has been somewhat prone to the long ball. He’s surrendered 10 total homers, five to left-handed batters and five to right-handers. Overall, he’s tough to hit for righties: .191/.269/.404, and is considerably more hittable against southpaws: .267/.345/.427.

Saving Face?

• Michael Young’s home run, his fourth on the year, was the first time he had gone deep in 89 games. That was way back on May 7, and is best remembered as the “Brandon Snyder 6 RBI game.” For what it’s worth, that game—an eventual 14-3 Rangers win—came against the Baltimore Orioles.

• Young’s 5 RBI were the most he’d had since April 25, 2010.

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Aug 162012
 
best-friends-gifts copy

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock TogetherAs far as the Rangers are concerned, Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster are just two pitchers trying to help Texas reach the playoffs for a third-consecutive season.

And that’s all fine and good—as well as accurate—but what this fails to address is the blooming statistical relationship between these two veteran starters. Folks, Demples and the Os might just be becoming besties..like, totally.

Their statistics are so alarmingly similar, they definitely have plenty to talk about…hey, when it comes to assessing potential lasting relationships, who needs tarot cards when you have statistics?

Eerie statistical similarities over their first three games

Ryan Dempster:

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

“Hey everybody, I’m whacky!”

IP: 17 1/3, 8.31 ERA, 24 hits, 16 Earned Runs, 16 Ks, 6 BBs, and 5 HRs

Roy Oswalt:

IP: 17 1/3, 7.79 ERA, 35 hits, 15 Earned Runs, 16 Ks, 4 BBs, and 3 HRs

Other likenesses:

• Ryan Dempster (DOB: 5/3/77) is slightly older than Roy Oswalt (DOB: 8/29/77).

• Both are right-handed…whoa, I’m starting to get a little freaked out here.

• I’m reasonably certain that both had mullets in high school, and each currently own at least three Pearl Jam albums…

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

“Hey man, I can be the life of the party too man. Check out my over-sized hat man!”


I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. After all, those numbers are essentially meaningless and hold zero weight until they are presented to Chan Ho Park for further inspection. Fortunately, I pulled some strings and was able to get everyone’s favorite Ho to weigh in on the matter.

As I’m sure you guessed, he was extremely pleased. I mean how often does he get to see two pitchers who had an even worse time during their first three starts with the Texas Rangers than he did?

Um, not very often. Okay, never.

Consider the Park Ho’s stats from back in 2002, his first year (and, unfortunately, not his last year) with the Texas Rangers:

IP: 16 1/3, 6.61 ERA, 20 Hits, 16 Earned Runs, 13 Ks, 3 BBs, and 2 HRs

So, even though Chan Ho has resigned from his previous career of being a professionally horrendous hurler, his prior success at suckdom is more than enough to lend his Oswalt and Dempster assessment plenty of industry heft.

So, what do you think of the two blooming besties, Ho?

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

Don’t let the suit fool you. Chan Ho is still whacky.

“I think they better be best friends—quick. They both so shitt* they need arm to cry on. Tear towel only thing hairy arms good for now! Hahahahaha. Roy small enough to leave plenty of bullpen bench for Dempster. Hahahaha. At least they have good taste in music, though. Pearl Jam best band ever. That song Black change my life.”

And there you have it.

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Aug 152012
 
mlb copy

Feldman Looks to Stop Rangers Skid, Melky Cabrera Suspended for 50 Games, Former Fausto Starts for ClevelandThere have been some interesting developments around the major leagues today. Some are Rangers-centric, others not. Join me as I take you Around the League in 15 Minutes (or faster if you’re a skimmer).

“Melk Man” more manly than most

• Everyone knows that on top of being delicious, a cold glass of milk provides many essential nutrients and vitamins. Milk is always a great call unless it’s a hot day and you’re Ron Burgundy.

• Evidently, San Francisco’s Melky Cabrera—aka the “Melk Man”—had provided a sample that was rich not only in vitamin D and calcium but also testosterone. Melky will be suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games due to abnormally elevated—think Ryan Braun-like—levels of testosterone. With 45 games left in the season and the Giants battling with the Dodgers for first in the N.L. West, you’ve got to wonder if this latest news will sit well with fans of the G-Men.

• Kudos to Major League Baseball for not only being intolerant of all PEDs, but in becoming vehemently lactose intolerant as well.

Cleveland to start “Roberto Hernandez”

• Yes, that’s right, the Tribe is going “Ex Post Fausto.” Right-hander Roberto Hernandez, formerly known to the world as “Fausto Carmona,” has gotten the green light to start tonight. The former Fausto will take on Ervin Santana and the Los Angeles of Anaheim at 9:05 (CST).

• Here’s hoping that the new Roberto Hernandez pitches more like the original Roberto Hernandez rather than the recently-retired Fausto Carmona namesake who was occasionally good, but usually not.

“Not Your Typical Car Guy. Not Your Typical Car Dealership.”

• That’s the slogan for the Mazda dealership that former Rangers lefty (and current Angel) C.J. Wilson purchased recently. Located in Chicago, Wilson’s latest look into life after baseball is only news worthy to me because it is yet another solid reason for Wilson to not retire in Texas.

• And as for the slogan, I’m sure we can all agree that Wilson is definitely not your “typical” kind of guy. As for his dealership, well, I’m sure it will be successful as there is no postseason in the world of car sales.

Yu Darvish is looking to harness his old NPB approach

• Based on Darvish’s unbelievable success in the Japanese professional league, why did his approach ever change? This slightly irks me. Sure I know it’s a far more advanced game in the U.S. and there is no comparison in the talent-level of the hitters, but he’s got plus-everything stuff-wise, so why not attack just as you did in the NPB?

• Also, if Darvish is truly struggling to find his old self, how about straight-up emulating Hiroki Kuroda in the mean time? Kuroda, whose stuff isn’t anywhere near Darvish’s, shutdown the league’s most potent offense and relinquished just two hits last night as the Yankees defeated the Rangers 3-0 in New York…Kuroda’s secret? Getting ahead of hitters and using off-speed out of the zone in pitcher’s counts. If Darvish could somehow pull this off, he’d be nearly unhittable.

Up Next:

Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman (6-7, 4.64 ERA) gets the nod for Texas and will oppose right-hander Freddy Garcia (6-5, 4.85 ERA). Garcia, the all-time winningest Venezuelan-born pitcher, has been doing his thing since Fausto Carmona was probably originally going by “Roberto Hernandez.”

First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM (CST)…Go Rangers!

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Aug 132012
 
Dempster

Rangers/Yankees Game 1 Preview: Dempster vs. Phelps (not Michael)

This is fake. That much gold in the Bronx would be stolen before the word “cheese.”

As we creep closer to the Ides of August, I feel comfortable in saying that the Texas Rangers are enjoying themselves far more now than a month ago. After all, a win tonight against the New York Yankees and the Rangers will equal their win total from July.

That’s right, last month Texas was a woeful 9-14. This month, thanks in part to a resurgent Josh Hamilton and a Michael Young that has gone from horrendous to decent, the Rangers are sitting pretty at 8-3.

With a four game series against the Bronx Bombers starting tonight, the Rangers find themselves in a great position to further their A.L. West over the Oakland Athletics as well as put a stranglehold on the American League’s best record.

As the Angels sink further and further behind both the A’s (1.5 games back) and the Rangers (8 games back), the time to start thinking about home field advantage for the playoffs is close at hand.

Tonight’s Lineups:

New York Yankees (67-47) L10: 6-4

Rangers/Yankees Game 1 Preview: Dempster vs. Phelps (not Michael)

Swisher has 5 RBI vs. Dempster over his career.


SS Derek Jeter
DH Nick Swisher
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Eric Chavez
CF Curtis Granderson
C Russell Martin
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Ichiro Suzuki

VS

RHP Ryan Dempster (6-5, 2.65 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 7.4 K/9)

Dempster earned his sixth win of the year—and first as a Ranger—last Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox. Dempster pitched well as he went 6 2/3 innings while yielding no earned runs.

Tonight will be Dempster’s debut at the newest incarnation of Yankee Stadium. Over his career against the Bronx Bombers, Dempster has gone 0-3 with a 6.45 ERA. He last faced the Yankees on June 18, 2011 at Wrigley Field. In his four career starts against New York, Yankees batters have hit him to the tune of: .333/.472/.786.

Current Yankees that have had the most success against Dempster are: Andruw Jones (.325, 2 HRs, 8 RBI), newly acquired Casey McGehee (.323, HR, 4 RBI) and Nick Swisher (5 RBI in 5 at bats).

Texas Rangers (67-46) L10: 7-3

Rangers/Yankees Game 1 Preview: Dempster vs. Phelps (not Michael)

Moreland homered off of Phelps the first time he faced him back in June.


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

VS

RHP David Phelps (0-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 11.1 K/9)*
*Statistics from Phelps’ starts; he has been the Yankees’ long relief man for the better part of the season.

With C.C. Sabathia’s return to the disabled list—this time due to elbow inflammation—the Yankees turn to rookie right-hander David Phelps for the spot start.

Phelps, a 14th Round selection in 2008 out of Notre Dame, will be making just his fourth big league start. He was used almost exclusively as a starter during his time in the minor leagues—called on in relief just once back in 2010.

Although the Rangers have never faced him as a starter, they have seen the 25-year-old once before—and liked what they saw. Over his 2 1/3 innings in relief on June 25 in Texas, the Rangers produced a .500/.615/.1.100 triple-slash line off of Phelps.

Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry went a combined 4-for-6 (.666 BA) with a home run, three walks, and two RBI off of him.

Phelps uses a low 90s fastball that can touch 95 MPH to set up his above-average curveball and developing changeup.

This will be just Phelps’ second start at Yankee Stadium, and overall he is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA over 8 appearances in the Bronx. He has never lasted longer than 5 1/3 innings nor has he ever exceeded 89 pitches thrown in a game.

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Aug 122012
 
Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers

In dramatic fashion, last night’s 2-1 Texas Rangers’ win over the Detroit Tigers was a perfect example of the past meeting the present.

All decked-out in their 1970s powder-blue retro uniforms, it was fresh-faced rookie Mike Olt (born in 1988) who provided the offensive jolt to fuel the walk-off win.

Did Mike Olt just turn into the “Oltimate Warrior”?

Rangers Play it Olt School With 2 1, Walk Off Win over Detroit
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I’m pretty sure the transformation is complete, friends…

And let’s not forget about Derek Holland, either.

I’m sure we all predicted that Dutch—who has been homer-prone and largely ineffective all season—was going to go toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander.

Yep.

And when Austin Jackson led off the first inning with a home run, we all knew that ‘ole Dutchy was going to settle down just fine, right?

Sure.

Baseball is a crazy, bizarre, occasionally unsettling, always challenging, and prolifically unpredictable game. And somehow all of those things make us love it that much more—especially after a Rangers’ win as exhilarating as that one.

Rangers Play it Olt School With 2 1, Walk Off Win over Detroit

Kicking it Olt-school, no doubt.


Up Next:

Yu Darvish (11-8, 4.72) takes the ball for Texas, with right-hander Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.62) on the hill for Detroit.

Porcello

This will be Porcello’s third start against the Rangers this season, and his second at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

At Comerica Park on April 21, Porcello was blistered, bruised, and beaten badly. He lasted just one inning while allowing 8 earned runs on 10 hits.

Two months later in Arlington, Porcello pitched well, scattering six hits over six innings while striking out seven to pick up the win.

The 24-year-old from Morristown, New Jersey, has a career mark of 2-2 with an 8.47 ERA against the Rangers.

The Yu

I don’t buy into the notion that Yu Darvish is wilting in the Texas heat. Sure, he’s 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA since July, but I don’t think the sweltering summer conditions are to blame. What with global warming and all, it’s hot everywhere…yes, even in Japan. In other words, Darvish has handled the heat before.

For The Yu, his problems are the same-old, same-old. Poor fastball command gets him behind in the count, he tries to pour one in the zone for a strike, then gets too much of the plate…Thwack.

It’s not like his stuff is the issue. He somehow struck out nine in Boston while also surrendering seven doubles. It’s way too early to label him as a “nibbler” but he definitely needs to improve his command while challenging hitters during pitcher’s counts.

This will be Darvish’s third start against the Detroit Tigers. He’s 2-0 with a 3.37 ERA. Yu’s last start against the men from Motown was arguably the finest of his career, as he walked just one—the only time all season he hasn’t given out at least two free passes—while scattering four hits and notching 10 strikeouts.

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Aug 102012
 
Feldmania copy copy

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?Although the thermometer hasn’t gotten much relief, August has been much kinder to the Texas Rangers than July. So far, Texas is 6-2—just three wins shy of last month’s total—and they have been averaging the most runs scored in the American League (tied with the San Francisco Giants for most in Major League Baseball with 59).

And as the calendar pushes closer to the end of the regular season, the Rangers’ bats have been heating up at the best possible time.

What better way to gear up for the stretch-run, and its inherent playoff-implications, than in a rematch of last year’s American League Championship Series?

Tonight’s Lineups:

Detroit Tigers (60-52) L10: 6-4

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?

Prince Fielder has never faced Scott Feldman before.


CF Austin Jackson
LF Andy Dirks
3B Miguel Cabrera*
1B Prince Fielder
RF Brennan Boesch
DH Delmon Young
C Alex Avila
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Omar Infante

*Over the last five years, Cabrera is batting .700 with two home runs off of Feldman.

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (6-6, 4.52 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9)

Since the All-Star Break, Feldman has easily been the Rangers’ best starter, going 3-0 with a remarkable 1.19 earned run average. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, the Hawaiian-born righty was 0-6 with an ERA north of seven less than two months ago.

Consider this: Feldman’s three wins during the dreadful month of July were 33% of the team’s total wins. Whoa boy.

Over his last five years, Feldman is 0-2 with a god-awful 8.68 ERA and equally unsightly 2.42 WHIP. However, those numbers exclude the postseason, and Feldman was the Game 2 winner of last year’s ALCS against the Tigers. He pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball in relief while striking out 5 and walking none.

At home, Scooter is at his best as he is 4-3 with a sparkling 2.81 ERA. Right-handed batters are batting .287 with 4 homers off of him, while lefties are hitting .252 with 5 long balls.

Texas Rangers (65-45) L10: 6-4

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?

Hamilton has been showing signs of life lately. Over his last two games, he’s gone 5-for-9 with 5 RBI.


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

VS

RHP Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.72, 1.41 WHIP, 11.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9)

It truly isn’t a stretch to state that Scherzer might just have better pure “stuff” than his fellow teammate and last year’s A.L. MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander.

Like the Rangers’ Yu Darvish, what’s keeping Scherzer from being an elite TORP (top of the rotation pitcher), is his lack of command.

All you need to know about Scherzer’s arsenal can be gleaned from taking a peek at his strikeout per nine innings rate. 11.3! That’s absolutely ludicrous. That would be high for an elite closer. Again, like Darvish, sometimes the sheer electricity of his offerings makes them hard to control, and his walk totals reflect that…the end result of that is he’s behind in the count and forces a pitch into the zone for a strike, and then gets thwacked. In that aforementioned scenario, Scherzer is like Holland minus the ADD.

In his career against Texas, Scherzer is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA, and a 1.27 WHIP. This does not take into consideration his 0-1 record and 9.27 ERA after his ALCS Game 2 thrashing that came largely at the hands of Nelson Cruz.

Scherzer has been slightly better at home (4-2, 4.42) than on the road (6-4, 4.94) and has gone 2-1 with a 4.75 ERA since the All-Star Break of a month ago. Scherzer is susceptible to the long ball from both right-handers and left-handers, as each side has 10 against him in 2012. Righties (.219) fair far worse overall than lefties (.307) against his excellent stuff that features a mid-to-high 90s heater.

As we all know, the Rangers are a fastball-hitting team that sometimes struggles with junk-ballers. Scherzer is certainly a hard-thrower and should he struggle with his control, Texas might just jump on him early.

Go Rangers!


Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?
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Aug 092012
 
JUAN GONZALEZ RANGERS

Texas Rangers Ready for Three Game Homestand with Detroit TigersAfter taking two-of-three from the Boston Red Sox, claiming their second-straight series win, the Texas Rangers are now back home in Arlington enjoying an off-day.

As the A.L. West’s leaders by 5 1/2 over those pesky A’s of Oakland, and with a sparkling 65-45 record through their first 110 games, they have earned a much needed respite.

That being said, a day without a Texas Rangers game is similar to a summer day that doesn’t reach triple digits—it’s probably best for all parties involved—but it just doesn’t seem quite right.

So, what to do with a full day of zero Rangers baseball?

I decided to pass the time by conjuring up Texas Rangers moments of the past. Good ones, of course. You know how it goes, you spend the day digging up all the bad moments, and the next thing you know you’re sporting a vagrant-length beard, babbling about John Burkett, the GD Yankees, and C.J. Wilson—smelling so sour with bitter tears that you’re dog won’t even give you a sniff.

So, here’s a look at today in Rangers’ history as well as how the Rangers fared 110 games into the season during their playoff-run years.

Enjoy.

August 9, in Rangers’ years past

August 9, 1996:

• Texas’ Bobby Witt improved to 11-8 on the season as he out-dueled Toronto’s Paul Quantril, 5-4 in Toronto. Rangers’ closer, Mike Henneman, picked up his 24th save of the season.

The win improved the Rangers to 64-52 on the season and pushed their A.L. West lead to three games over the Seattle Mariners.

The ’96 Rangers would close out the season by going 26-20 en route to their first-ever playoff appearance.

Through their first 110 games: 61-49

August 9, 1998:

• Boston’s Jim Corsi beat the Rangers’ Todd Stottlemyre 14-8, as Stottlemyre dropped to 10-10 on the year. The Rangers’ A.L. West lead shrank to just two games as their record fell to 63-53.

The Rangers would finish out their ’98 campaign by going 24-22 on their way to their second A.L. West Division crown in the last three years.

Through their first 110 games: 59-51

August 9, 1999

Texas Rangers Ready for Three Game Homestand with Detroit Tigers

Yep. This man was one of our best pitchers in 1999. Good thing we hit eleventy-billion home runs, eh?


• The Toronto Blue Jays bludgeoned the Rangers at The Ballpark, 19-4. Perhaps the only saving grace was that the loss was witnessed by only 22,235 in attendance. That number seems small nowadays, but that’s quite a few people to witness a team that had only won one playoff game in their 27 years up to that point. Plus, it’s hot in August.

The lopsided loss dropped Mike Morgan’s record to 12-7 as the Blue Jays’ Joey Hamilton (5-6) earned the win. The Rangers record dropped to 66-45 but they still had a nice 6 1/2 game lead over the Oakland A’s. Billy Beane was just getting settled in as General Manager, as ’99 marked just his second full season at the helm.

The Rangers finished out the ’99 campaign by going 29-22, to finish at 95-67. The mark stood as their finest season until last year’s team went 96-66 on their way to a second-consecutive A.L. Pennant.

Through their first 110 games: 66-44

August 9, 2010:

Yes, hard to believe that the Rangers (as well as their playoff-starved fanbase) would have to wait 11 long years to put a halt to their nine-game playoff losing streak. The 2010 season, of course, would prove to be well worth the wait.

• Much like today, the Texas Rangers had the day off on Monday, August 9, 2010. Though idle, the Rangers held a 7 1/2 game advantage over the second-placed Oakland Athletics on this date.

Through their first 110 games: : 64-46

August 9, 2011:

• The Rangers improved to 66-51 on this date last season, the 7-6 walk-off win over the Mariners came at a crucial time in the season, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were just 1 1/2 games behind Texas in the standings…I’m sure few of us would have believed that last season we’d win the A.L. West by 10 games.

Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz (2-3) earned the victory, thanks to Josh Hamilton’s walk-off single that scored Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the ninth. Hamilton’s heroics came with two-on and no one out off of Mariner’s reliever Aaron Laffey.

Through their first 110 games: : 61-49

Up Next:

Rangers’ right-hander Scott Feldman (6-6, 4.52 ERA) looks to continue his Scooter-fied magic as he opposes Detroit’s heterochromatic-hurler, righty Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.72 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM (CST).

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