Timothy Howell

Jul 182012
 
Roy

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

But then along came Roy Oswalt.

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

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

My thoughts from last night’s 6-1

That a boy, Roy

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

Mike Adams, indigestion inducer

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

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

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

Adrian Beltre

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

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

Gentry not so Gentlemanly while in Oakland

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

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

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

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

Welcome back, Aleix Ogando and Mike Napoli

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

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

Up Next

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

Go Rangers!

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Jul 172012
 
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Nothing really happened in Rangerville yesterday. It was an off day—viewed as a necessary evil to the die-hard fans like you and I. Other than ensuring proper rest for our favorite team as they ready for a stretch run in the 100-plus degree heat, off days don’t do much in the way of news.

Let’s see…

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

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

What else?

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

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


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

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

Rangers Rumor Mill

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roy Oswalt

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

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

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

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

Josh Hamilton, former tobacco user

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

Seriously. Someone get this dude some snuff pronto.


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

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

However…

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

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

Talk about a boost to the bullpen.

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

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

Up Next

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

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

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

Go Rangers!

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Jul 122012
 
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Texas Rangers Ready for Second Half—News and Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeez Millwood, you mad?

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

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

Ranger Injury Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jul 112012
 
83rd MLB All-Star Game

Thank you so much for that, Justin Verlander. You pitched more like Nuke LaLoosh (pre-garter belt) than the reigning MVP and CY Award winner…

As all learned baseball men (and women) know, if you don’t have your best fastball command, you should always just throw the damn thing harder.

Ugh. Not even C.J. Wilson have surrendered five earned runs, bro—don’t quote me on that.

Look, I know that Matt Harrison isn’t blameless, but after that first inning, the game was pretty much over.

In a world where everyone has multiple mediums with which to interact, couldn’t someone have gotten word out to put down the plastic sheets because Verlander was about to shit the bed?

Good things that happened during the 83rd MLB All-Star Game:

• Mike Napoli recorded a hit—hat tip to the setting sun.

American League Gets Verlandered, Drop Third Straight to National League All Stars
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• C.J. Wilson never entered the game.

• David Freese struck out in his only plate appearance.

• Nathan’s 1-2-3 second inning.

Yeah, that’s it.

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Jul 102012
 
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The 1972 Texas Rangers won 54 games all season long…The 2012 Rangers squad had 52 wins heading into the 83rd MLB All-Star break.

Case in point, the Texas Rangers haven’t always been this good.

It doesn’t seem like too long ago that the only reason the Rangers had an All-Star representative was because each team had to have one.

Still, the Texas Rangers have historically played extremely well in the Midsummer Classic—they’ve garnered three AS MVPs and provided other magical moments.

So it’s time to navigate “Nostalgia Boulevard”, because “Memory Lane” was already taken.
Here’s a look at some of the top Rangers moments in the Midsummer Classic.

Josh Hamilton goes bonkers
Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic
Technically, Hamilton’s excellent exploits didn’t occurr during the All-Star Game. As it turned out, in the All-Star Game, “Hami” went a somewhat pedestrian 1-for-3 with a stolen base.

Hamilton, however, had made his mark the night before.

The magnitude of his performance during the 2008 Home Run Derby can cause even the world’s wittiest journalist to run out of adjectives in a hurry.

Hamilton, as you’ll recall, crushed 28 home runs—in the first round.

And the theater within which he put on his majestic show was none other than “The House that Ruth Built.” It was truly special to watch his Ruthian display on national television—as a Texas Ranger nonetheless.

It not only put Hambone on the map, but it helped the world take notice of the Texas Rangers too.

Julio Franco, AS MVP, 1990

Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic

Yeah, the trophies were much bigger back then. It’s why everyone started using steroids.


The 1990 Texas Rangers season needed a lift. When you have a four-man rotation that has two pitchers 42 years old or older in Charlie Hough and Nolan Ryan—even if one of them is a Hall of Famer—the team needed a cool breeze to amp up for the relentless late-summer Texas heat.

Julio Franco provided just that.

Franco was the Jheri-curled second baseman who at the age of 31 was making his first All-Star appearance as a reserve.

Famous for his farcical batting stance—picture a PGA golfer at the height of his back swing, and that’s Franco’s starting point—his stance was both knock-kneed goofy and extremely intimidating.

In the top of the seventh inning he lined a double to right field off of one of the Cincinnati Reds’ highly esteemed “Nasty Boys”, Rob Dibble.

The double scored both Lance Parrish and Roberto Alomar.

Those were the only runs plated in the game—and they made Franco the no-doubt choice for MVP.

Franco, incredibly, would play another 17 big league seasons after his 1990 All-Star Game heroics.

Alfonso Soriano, AS MVP, 2004
Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic
You can say what you want about Soriano, but during his two years with the Texas Rangers he gave Rangers Nation plenty to cheer about.

In both 2004 and 2005 he represented the Rangers in the All-Star Game, and in 2004 he was named MVP—just the second Texas Ranger to earn the award, and the first since the aforementioned Julio Franco did so way back in 1990.

Soriano certainly didn’t take long to wow the Minute Maid Park crowd in Houston.

With two on and two out in the first inning, Soriano smacked a Roger Clemens fastball for a three-run home run, providing the American League All-Stars with all of the momentum they would need to stave off the NL squad for a 9-4—pushing their All-Star game winning streak to seven.

Hank Blalock, AS Game Bad-ass, 2003
Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic
The year after the ill-advised and much debated Bud Selig decision to end the 2002 All-Star game in a tie, MLB fans deserved something extra special during the 2003 Midsummer Classic.

And thanks Hank Blalock, they’d receive just that. Special, of course, unless you’re a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.

Hank Blalock was called on to pinch-hit for Troy Glaus in the bottom of the eighth inning with one on and two out. Pinch-hitting is no easy task, much less when you’re the go-ahead run at the dish and unbeatable Eric Gagne is toeing the rubber.

Two things about Gagne and his now-famous saves streak should be noted:

1. Gagne, up until the All-Star Game, had saved 31 consecutive games on the season—he’d save 55 consecutively by the end of 2003 (63 straight dating back to ’02) on his way to the ’03 Cy Young Award.

2. It’s a good thing that All-Star Games don’t count against such streaks, because Hank Blalock wasn’t hearing any of that noise.

Trailing 6-5, and with the Blue Jays’ Vernon Wells on, Blalock strode to the dish.
He then slashed a 3-1 pitch deep into right-center field for the go-ahead home run that rocked the nation.

Well, it rocked my world at least—I almost jumped through the ceiling and onto the third floor of my apartment complex.

And now, nine years later, I still wonder how the heck Blalock wasn’t deemed All-Star MVP that year.
I mean, he did stop one of the greatest streaks of all time—albeit unofficially.

The Face states his case, 2006
Turn Back the Clock: Big Rangers Moments during the Midsummer Classic

During the 2006 All-Star Game, the “Face of the Franchise” did something truly special.

Top of the ninth inning, two outs, down 0-2, Young ripped a two-run triple off of Trevor Hoffman to give the American League a 3-2 lead.

The lead was safe in the hands of Mariano Rivera as the AL All-Stars won the Midsummer Classic for the tenth consecutive time (excluding the ’02 tie).

And the AL All-Stars, once again, had a member of the Texas Rangers to thank for the victory.

Perhaps another Texas Ranger will earn an All-Star MVP after tonight’s game has concluded. After all, with eight representatives, they’re the odds-on favorites.

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Jul 092012
 
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Back to Back walk off wins send Rangers to All Star Break in StyleI purposefully waited until a few hours after the conclusion of the Rangers’ second-straight walk-off, extra inning win to write this post.

I wanted the goosebumps to fully recede. I needed my walk-off high to dissipate, allowing me to descend back to planet Earth.

I needed to sober up…literally and figuratively.

For the second night in a row, the Texas Rangers won via the walk-off, in extra freaking innings, nonetheless.

Two nights ago it was Nelson Cruz’s single that did the trick, and last night it was Ian Kinsler’s clutch knock that sent the Rangers into the All-Star Break on the highest of high notes.

Back to Back walk off wins send Rangers to All Star Break in Style
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Say what you want to to about these Texas Rangers. They frustrate you with their inconsistencies. They beat you down with their poor approaches at the plate. They breakdown—how many key pitchers have spent time on the disabled list during the first half?

The bottom line is this: when it seems the Texas Rangers are about to hit their true plateau and true regression is seemingly just one game away—that six-game losing streak is looming, crystal clear in its imminence…

The Texas Rangers win.

How annoyingly simplistic is that? This team just wins.

Back to Back walk off wins send Rangers to All Star Break in Style
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Down 3-0 in the rubber match with the supposedly punchless Twins—a far inferior team, let’s face it. Yet this weak opponent outplayed the Rangers…Yep. The Rangers wait—until the last minute—to rally, then, inexplicably, WIN.

This team is frustrating because we, as fans, understand their ceiling—and just how ridiculously high it is. And when that roof appears to be raised to its precipice…just as we appear poised for a collapse…

This happens:

Back to Back walk off wins send Rangers to All Star Break in Style
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As we head into the All-Star break, with 52 wins, let’s not forget just how truly gifted this Texas Rangers team is.

Perhaps more so than any other Rangers squad in history. This team, our 2012 Texas Rangers—your Texas Rangers—can win, straight up. And they—somehow, against all odds—manage to do so with alarming frequency.

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Jul 082012
 
If 'ole Roy gets rocked again tonight, his future might be in the Rangers' bullpen.

Texas Rangers Injury Updates: Can Roy Oswalt Keep His Rotation Spot?

If ‘ole Roy gets rocked again tonight, his future might be in the Rangers’ bullpen.

Tonight it’s time to see if Roy Oswalt—aka the “Wizard of Os”—can break his string of extreme hitability. Should he allow 13 hits against the Twins tonight—as he has in his last two starts—the free agent starter might be following the yellow brick road to the bullpen.

Oswalt shouldn’t worry too much about losing his spot in the rotation, but he should be aware that help is on the way…

Derek Holland was the first of the Rangers’ DL casualties to return to action. In his first start since June 5, Dutch picked up a no-decision but looked pretty sharp as he allowed just three runs over six innings pitched.

Here’s a quick status update on some other Texas Rangers injuries:

Colby Lewis—right forearm tendonitis (15-Day disabled list)

Lewis is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this Friday at Seattle, and could be available to pitch as soon as July 18 when the Rangers travel to Oakland.

Alexi Ogando—strained right groin (15-Day DL)

Ogando is all set to begin a rehab assignment this Thursday at Triple-A Round Rock. If this goes well, the next step would be to throw a live bullpen with a tentative return date for Ogando later this month.

Neftali Feliz—elbow inflammation (60-Day DL)

Feliz will throw on his own at his home during the All-Star break. How he feels after throwing will determine a possible return date. The Rangers are being extremely careful with Feliz, and he probably won’t return to action before the end of August at the earliest.

Mark Lowe—strained right intercostal muscle (15-Day DL)

Placed on the disabled on June 30, Lowe will continue to rest and recuperate during the upcoming All-Star break. In all likelihood, Lowe can possibly begin a throwing session early next week.

Koji Uehara—right lat strain (15-Day DL)

Today Uehara threw 43 pitches in his third bullpen session. The next step for Koji will be to make a rehab start—most likely at Triple-A Round Rock—and then he should be all set for reactivation.

Post All-Star Break rotation announced:

Per Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, manager Ron Washington has announced his post-AS break roation. It will look like this:

LHP Derek Holland, RHP Yu Darvish, LHP Matt Harrison, RHP Roy Oswalt and RHP Colby Lewis.

With Justin Grimm optioned back to Double-A Frisco earlier this afternoon, it appears that rookie left-hander Martin Perez would be the first option out of the bullpen for a spot start, should the need arise. Bullpen long man, Scott Feldman, is also an option to slide into the rotation should ineffectiveness or injury occur in the second half of the season.

Tonight’s matchup:

Rangers’ right-hander Roy Oswalt (2-1, 7.79 ERA) seeks his third win, and opposes fellow right-hander Cole De Vries (2-1, 3.91 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 PM (CT).

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Jul 072012
 
Perez was serviceable during his second major league start, but the bases on balls and the defense behind him didn't help.

Rangers fall to Twins 5 1 as Losing Streaks Hits Season High Five

Perez was serviceable during his second major league start, but the bases on balls and the defense behind him didn’t help.

After falling to the lowly Minnesota Twins last night, 5-1, the Texas Rangers are now in the midst of their longest losing streak of the season. Texas hasn’t won a game since the Baseball Do Field Trip last Saturday…

Coincidence?

Most definitely. We here at Baseball Do have zero impact on the Rangers’ sudden inability to hit quality left-handers…or Francisco Liriano for that matter.

However, when things go well for the Texas Rangers—as they so often do—we are certainly willing and able to receive full credit for said successes.

Last night was rough. Twins starter Francisco Liriano walked six batters—six ! And the Rangers had at least one runner on in every single inning…yet the best offense in big league baseball could muster merely one run.

What the what?

Okay, let’s place that boringly inept 5-1 loss firmly in our collective rearview mirrors. What’s done is done, and besides, today marks the return of everyone’s favorite cooking device (or flatulent fetish), the Dutch Oven…

Derek Holland makes his first start since June 5, and, by all accounts has recovered fully from his disturbing bout of left-shoulder influenza—also commonly referred to as West Nile Wing. It will be nice to have ole Dutchy back on the hill.

Now, about that offense…

The first pitch for game two of this three game series is scheduled for this evening at 6:15 PM (CT).

LHP Derek Holland (5-4, 5.15 ERA) will oppose the Twins’ RHP Samuel Deduno (0-0, 3.18 ERA. As far as I know, the 28-year-old Deduno has never appeared on Telemundo. But if he has, here’s hoping the segment was called: Telemundo Presents: Deduno Singing Menudo.

Rangers fall to Twins 5 1 as Losing Streaks Hits Season High Five

Anytime Tateyama pitches a scoreless inning—punctuated by two punchouts—you just have to win that game.


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Jul 062012
 
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Martin Perez vs. Francisco Liriano—A Rangers/Twins PreviewThe Texas Rangers dropped their fourth-straight game yesterday, as they fell to the Chicago White Sox, 2-1. Chicago’s sweep was the first time the Rangers had failed to win at least one game in a series of three games or more in 2012.

The Rangers’ four game skid is tied for their longest of the year, and the first time they’ve dropped that many in a row since early last month.

For the final home stand before the MLB All-Star break, the Rangers welcome the A.L. Central bottom-dwellers, the Minnesota Twins. In their last meeting, in April, the Texas Rangers were on the right side of a sweep, as they took all three games from Minnesota at Target Field.

Here’s hoping the Rangers can head into the break on a high note.

A look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Minnesota Twins (35-47, L 10: 5-5)

Martin Perez vs. Francisco Liriano—A Rangers/Twins Preview

Mauer has hit .300 against left-handed pitchers over his career. He’s gone: .283/.353/.413 versus the Texas Rangers.


CF Ben Revere
RF Darin Mastroianni
DH Joe Mauer
LF Josh Willingham
1B Justin Morneau
3B Trevor Plouffe
SS Brain Dozier
C Drew Butera
2B Alexi Castilla

VS

LHP Martin Perez (1-0, 9.00 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 9 K/9)

Making just the second major league start of his young career tonight, 21-year-old Martin Perez made good in his initial outing last Saturday. He earned the win against the Oakland Athletics.

However, the Texas Rangers haven’t won a game since.

Texas Rangers (50-33, L 10: 5-5)

Martin Perez vs. Francisco Liriano—A Rangers/Twins Preview

Napoli is 1-for-3 against Liriano. His one hit? A three-run bomb.


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

VS

LHP Francisco Liriano (2-7, 5.40 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 8.9 K/9)

Liriano, who has a no-hitter on his resume, first came into the league in 2005. A converted outfielder, Liriano finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2006, as he went 12-3, with a terrific 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts over just 122 innings pitched.

After his breakout 2006 campaign, Liriano had to undergo Tommy John surgery due to a torn elbow ligament. It really wasn’t until 2010 that it looked like he might be back to his old dominant self. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA and 201 strikeouts while finishing eleventh in the Cy Young Award voting.

The 6′ 2″ Dominican struggled in 2011, as he posted a 9-10 record and a robust 5.09 ERA.

Whether Liriano is on or not, he is not susceptible to the long ball. Over his career, he has allowed just 0.8 HR/9 rate. According to FanGraph’s PitchFX, Liriano’s fastball is averaging 93.3 MPH, his highest average velocity since 2010.

This season Liriano is has been lights-out against lefties: .161/.260/.194. Right-handers have fared much better: .268/.368/.432. Liriano has yet to win a game on the road in 2012, he’s 0-5 with a 5.41 ERA away from the friendly confines of Target Field.

Notes:

• Liriano is 2-1 with a 3.96 ERA over his career at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Over the last month, Liriano has pitched far better than his overall numbers indicate. The 28-year-old Dominican is 1-1 with a 3.88 over that span.

• Martin Perez’s current ERA (9.00) is skewed greatly by his first appearance, a relief outing against Detroit where he allowed four earned runs over just 2/3 of an inning. In his lone start last Saturday against Oakland, Perez’s ERA for the game was 3.38. Even with his relief appearance taken into consideration, Perez’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a much more palatable 4.24.

• Mike Napoli, the starting catcher for next week’s MLB All-Star Game, is currently in an 11-for-69 slump (.159). Napoli’s tough season can be attributed to his inability to hit left-handed pitching. He’s currently batting a paltry .160 against southpaws after posting a robust .320 last season, and a .274 BA over his career.

Go Rangers!

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Jul 052012
 
Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox

Rangers Bats Fall Silent as White Sox Complete Windy City Sweep

Yu Darvish became the eighth member of the Texas Rangers to be included in this year’s Mid-Summer Classic.

The Texas Rangers succumbed to their first sweep of the season as they fell to the Chicago White Sox, 2-1 today.

It had been over a year since an opponent had busted out the brooms on the Rangers. The Windy City White Sox hadn’t swept Texas since 2001.

After combining for 21 runs during the initial game, the two teams combined for just 12 over the final two. With the White Sox outscoring the Rangers during those two contests 7-5.

Losing the opening game of a three game series by 17 runs probably didn’t set the best precedent. Much like Scott Feldman probably wasn’t Ranger Nation’s first choice to right the game one wrong.

The Rangers’ skid has now hit four games—a tie for the longest losing streak of the season. If ever there was a time to feel good about coming home, it’s now. Starting tomorrow—in the friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington—Texas exchanges the A.L. Central’s top team (White Sox) for the Central’s bottom-dwellers (Twins).

Bring ‘em on.

Thoughts from the White Sox series:

You killed us, Youk

• As the Rangers’ new color commentator, Matt Hicks, astutely noted during today’s 2-1 loss: “Kevin Youkilis has only played three home games in Chicago, and the fans are ready to give him the keys to the city.”

Well, that’s what happens when you play like Youkilis did during that three game set at U.S. Cellular Field. Youk hit .462 with 2 HRs, 6 RBI and posted a .923 slugging percentage…over his career, the certifiable “Rangers killer” is batting .328 with 7 HRs, and 35 RBI.

Jose Quintana and Chris Sale

• 23-year-old left-handers appear to have the Texas Rangers’ number. Chris Sale and Jose Quintana combined for 15 1/3 innings of seven-hit baseball, with 12 punchouts and just two walks. The young southpaws surrendered two earned runs between them and only two free passes.

• Quintana, who lacks Sale’s plus-fastball, was particularly nasty against the Rangers. He used excellent command and nasty off-speed offerings to produce plenty of swings-and-misses. The young Colombian struck out 8 over his 8 innings of work.

Mike Napoli’s continued struggles

• Batting well against left-handed pitching was Napoli’s calling card prior to this season—his splits against lefties over his career (.276/.386/.534) is still solid, but Naps has struggled against southpaws so far in 2012: .160/.274/.321.

During his breakthrough 2011 campaign, Napoli was a left-hander’s worst nightmare, as he went: .319/.430/.619.

After getting banged-up by a home plate collision with the White Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski yesterday, it wasn’t a surprise that Washington elected to sit Napoli in favor of Brandon Snyder today.

Snyder, coming into today’s game, had hit left-handers extremely well: .364/..402/.667. Perhaps as a testament to just how outstanding Quintana was today, Snyder went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

The Yu is in!

• Earlier today it was announced that rookie right-hander, Yu Darvish, would be the eighth member of the Texas Rangers to land in this year’s Mid-Summer Classic.

The 83rd Annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be held at Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium next Tuesday.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers will host the Minnesota Twins for the final home stand before the All-Star Break.

Minnesota is currently in last place of the A.L. Central, 10 games behind the front-running Chicago White Sox. During their last matchup, the Rangers swept the Twins 3-0 in Minnesota’s Target Field.

LHP Martin Perez (1-0, 9.00 ERA) is set to make the second major league start of his career. Perez will oppose Minnesota’s LHP Francisco Liriano (2-7, 5.40 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

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