Oct 082012
 
Josh Hamilton is an awesome baseball player, when he wants to be.

Replacing Josh Hamilton: Do The Texas Rangers Have In House Options?Today is the first Monday of the Texas Rangers off-season. Once the 2012 postseason has come to an end, Josh Hamilton will likely saunter off from Arlington and make a beeline towards financially greener pastures. With him, Hamilton will take his immeasurable baseball talents, as well as his various psychological, ocular, and assorted addiction issues.

But not to worry, Josh Hamilton has said that he’ll give the Rangers first crack at re-signing him…Well aw-shucks, and gosh golly all-to-pieces, that sure is mighty kind of you, Josh.

All personal cynicism aside, what this really means is that the Texas Rangers have first shot to politely decline the offer he and his agent deem necessary. If you are a Texas Rangers fan—not solely a Josh Hamilton fan—then you understand that not giving him the contract he wants is best for the team. Hami wants a lengthy deal. When discussing a long-term contract—in this case, longer than four years—you have to consider: age, injury-issues, and, with Hamilton, a history of alcohol abuse, caffeine dependency, severe dry eye, and, oh yeah, an apparent lack of focus during the most important game of 2012.

Unless Hambone decides to sign a four-year (better yet, three-year) deal, then the Rangers are no longer a viable option. Besides, Hamilton and his wife, Katie, have far too many impoverished people to help for the measly makings of such a short-term deal.

In-House Options: Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin?

Replacing 43 home runs and 128 RBI is even more difficult than it sounds. Neither Craig Gentry nor Leonys Martin is ever going to be a three-hole hitter. However, Gentry supplies plus-defensive and explosive speed, whereas Martin has an upside high enough that the Rangers were willing to dish out the dough to harangue the Cuban into coming to Texas in May of 2011.

Replacing Josh Hamilton: Do The Texas Rangers Have In House Options?

More Craig Gentry. It’s what the people want.

The Problem: Defensively, Gentry and Martin are HUGE improvements over Hamilton. Offensively, not so much. Despite Gentry’s breakout 2012 campaign, he is best suited as a fourth outfielder; speed off the bench if you will. Martin, who will be just 25-years-old at the start of 2013, needs to prove that he can hit at the big league level, and thusly might be a click behind Gentry on the depth chart.

How To Fill the Offensive Void—Rookies to the Rescue?

Prized prospects Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar now have a few major league at-bats under their belts, and could plug the Hami-hole in 2013, should they ascend to their sky-high ceilings offensively.

The problem: The Rangers’ best player, Adrian Beltre, blocks Olt, a natural third baseman. Jurickson Profar has Elvis Andrus well ahead of him at shortstop, and the recently re-upped Ian Kinsler at second. Although Olt has seen some big league time in right, Profar’s skill set is more suitable for the outfield, should the Rangers decide to re-position the two.

The Free Agent Market

Naturally, the Texas Rangers will be looking at other available free agent talent. B.J. Upton and Nick Swisher come to mind. Although Swisher is better suited for right field, both he and Upton would provide an immediate offensive upgrade over Gentry and Martin. An Upton or Swisher signing would also provide the Rangers time to let Profar and Olt get consistent playing time in Triple-A for the 2013 season.

@TMurrayHowell

Replacing Josh Hamilton: Do The Texas Rangers Have In House Options?

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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 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
making gifs
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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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

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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

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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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