May 302012
 

A night worth forgetting…

Wednesday Morning CurveballsLet’s face it, last night performance was ugly, but it’s part of the 162 game marathon that is a major league baseball season.  Every team is going to have nights like the Rangers had last night – defensive miscues, offensive woes and troubles on the mound.  What separates the great teams from average or even poor teams, is how they bounce back.  Does a performance like last night’s spark a cry for redemption and improvement or do they flounder in their own sorriness and get stuck in a rut?  This team has too much great leadership and camaraderie to get stuck in a rut.

The Bright Spots:

  • Josh Hamilton hit his 21st home run of the season last night.  Hamilton sits 5 ahead of his closest competition in all of baseball, Adam Jones, Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion.  His 3 RBI on the night put him at 56, which is 13 ahead of the current runner-up in MLB, Andre Ethier.
  • Elvis Andrus continues to rake, going 2-4 with a double and 2 runs scored last night, raising his batting average on the season to .308.
  • Craig Gentry is knocking on the door to .300 after going 2-3 last night, he currently sits at .299.  Gentry also stole his 7th base of the season last night.  As you would expect, his splits on the 2012 season favor situations against left-handed pitchers (.333/.417/.429), but at least his performance against righties hasn’t been debilitating (.257/.316/.343).

The Not-So-Bright Spots

  • On a night when Scooter Feldman’s fate was sealed as returning to the bullpen, albeit to a role that is vital for this team, his performance on the mound wasn’t great.  He gave up 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks over 4 2/3 innings.  He gave up 2 unearned runs as well on a throwing error by Adrian Beltre.
  • Mike Adams pitched poorly.
  • Alexi Ogando looked horrible.
  • Ian Kinsler went 0-5, leaving 5 runners stranded, and took plenty of heat from the Twitter world.
  • Napoli, Cruz and Young went a combined 0-8.

Enough about that…they will bounce back.

Wednesday Morning Curveballs

Rangers Sign Roy Oswalt

The Rangers agreed to terms with free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt yesterday, a signing that has been a discussion topic for Rangers fans since the winter.  With the recent injury to Neftali Feliz, the signing made sense at this point, and at $5M presenting relatively low risk.

Oswalt will start this Saturday for Round Rock, and the plan is for him to make 4-5 minor league starts before being called up and inserted in the major league rotation.

“I think if you look at our ballclub, my relationship with him, Jackie Moore, Mike Maddux, some of our players, there is a familiarity there,” Nolan Ryan said. “He’s pitched here and there’s a close proximity to his home. Plus the fact we’re in the position we’re in all worked in our favor. The fact that he’s healthy, once he gets innings in, he’ll fit into our rotation and be able to pitch deep into the game.”

The dominoes that fall from the signing will more than likely look like this:

  • Scott Feldman will return to a long relief role in the bullpen.
  • Neftali Feliz will return to the bullpen upon his healthy return.  While I hate to see Neftali make this move, it’s the best move for the team assuming Oswalt is pitching well and there are no other injuries that impact the rotation.  Feliz still has absolutely FILTHY stuff and can be an impact arm in the bullpen with Ogando, Ross, Adams & Nathan.
  • Tateyama will have to return to the minors to make room for Oswalt.
  • The next move is not as clear, but when Feliz returns, the Rangers will have to make room.  My guess would be that they demote or attempt to trade Mark Lowe or Koji Uehara, but we are a month or more away from that point, so the front office has some time to let the chips fall where they may.

Lot’s of good arguments on both sides of the Oswalt signing.  I’m on board with the signing given the relatively low risk that  the Rangers are exposed to with regards to the contract.  Just a few tidbits here that I wanted to share…nothing earth shattering:

  • Oswalt has been a National League pitcher his entire career, but has made 2-4 starts per season against American League opponents given inter-league play.  His record against American League teams in his career is 11-11 with a 3.70 ERA.
  • He has finished in the top 6 of NL Cy Young voting 6 times in his career, with the most recent being a 6th place finish in 2010, the season in which he was dealt from Houston to Philadelphia.
  • Oswalt has pitched in the post-season during 4 seasons of his career – 2004 and 2005 with the Astros and the last two seasons with the Phillies.  Across his 11 post-season starts, Oswalt has compiled a record of 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA, with his most impressive series coming against the Giants in 2010, where he had a 1.84 ERA over 14 1/3 innings of work with a 4.67 SO/BB ratio.
  • Oswalt wanted to be here…let’s not forget this.  Texas has long been a destination to avoid for starting pitchers.  Granted, Oswalt has something to prove, but he did have value and was desired by some other teams (Red Sox and Dodgers to name two), but he wanted to be here.  That alone has to make Rangers fans feel good.

Quick Hits

  • Rangers send Derek Holland (4-3, 4.05 ERA) to the mound tonight to lead the charge back into the win column.  The Mariners will counter with former Ranger (and a key to that magical 2010 season) Blake Beavan (2-4, 4.38 ERA).
  • From Christian Corona (MLB.com), “Since blowing his only save of the year in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners on April 11, Joe Nathan has held opponents scoreless in 17 of his past 18 appearances. Opposing batters are hitting .194 against him during that span as Nathan has posted a 0.51 ERA, fourth-lowest in the Majors. Until a Michael Saunders single Tuesday, opposing batters had not recorded a hit in their past 21 at-bats against Nathan.”
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