Jul 022012
 
YuVentriloquist

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Tough crowd…”

Today marks a much needed and well deserved off-day for Major League Baseball’s best team, the Texas Rangers. Hey kicking ass and taking names is one tough business.

A Rangers-free Monday led my mind to wander. You know, big league players haven’t always made more per diem than most big oil company CEOs. In fact, there was once a time when even the great Nolan Ryan had to have an off-season job just to help make ends meet.

Hmmm, so what would the likes of Ian Kinsler, Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Craig Gentry and Nelson Cruz had done for a living had baseball not worked out? Fortunately for you—and us all, really—I’ve taken the time to find out exactly what they’d be doing to pay the bills…

Ian Kinsler, Author—Pop up Book about Popping Up

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Hello there everybody, I’m Ian Kinsler. Personally, I don’t read, but someone once told me that they read that when you write, it should be about stuff you know. Now, I know a shit-ton about popping up. So I decided to write a pop up book about it. But instead of fairies and dragons and shit, it’s got me…popping up.”

Popping Up, I Hate it but Can’t Help it, a pop up book by Ian Kinsler

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“That’s my book. Yeah, it’s a quick read. Pretty much only one page. I tried to read it, but it gave me a headache, so I just hired that one dude that wrote that book for David Wells a few years ago.”


Nelson Cruz, Model—Eyebrow Division
Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Hello, I’m Nelson Cruz. You know I had no idea I’d ever make a living, you know, being, well, being professionally good-looking. Jajaja. Well I’m still not, but I did just sign a lucrative contract with Loreal. My agent has also booked some eyepatch work for me coming up. Turns out my eyebrows pop out more than Kinsler. Jajajaja. But seriously, try my new “Boomstick” from Loreal, it’ll make your eyebrows “pop” with sexiness…I really really really miss baseball.”


Adrian Beltre, Personal Trainer—Pilates
Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked OutKinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked OutKinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked OutKinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out
Craig Gentry, Women’s Studies—Pimp

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“What’s up bitches? It’s me, Craig Gentry—you know, ‘ole Kitten Face from the TV. Well as I’m sure you already know, I love hot women. But don’t worry, you’re girlfriend, or wife is safe. I only like hot women. Hahahaha”

Gentleman Gentry’s favorite…(ahem)…bitch, just happens to be Cuban.
Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“When I’m not burning that bia bia for a triple, or a double that should have been a triple, I’m usually out at the lake motor boating hotties and slapping their asses with hundred dollar bills.”

Yu Darvish, World’s Worst Comedian—Ventriloquism “Expert”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“こんにちは、私はゆうです。これは私のダミーです。こんにちはダミー言う.”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“こんにちは、私はゆうです。”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“こんにちは、ーです。こんにちはダミー言う こんにちは、私はゆうです。これは私のダミーです。こんにちはダミー言”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Oh okay. Well, what Yu said is a play on words. Woody accused Yu of having a Woody, and Yu, said, no ‘You’ have the Woody…”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“You see, a “Woody” is U.S. slang for a hard-on, and, see, it’s on Yu’s lap…I…jeez, to hell with it, I quit. This is just awful.”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“こんに…Take my…wife…please?”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Seriously, she is most unpleasant. You can have her…(whistles)…tough crowd.”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“What the F*** are you looking at? And Yu, get your hand out of my ass!”f

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Jul 022012
 
a

Lucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer ClassicThe Texas Rangers will have at least seven representatives at this year’s All-Star Game in Kansas City.

Rookie right-hander Yu Darvish made the final ballot and can be voted onto the All-Star team by following this link—there is NO limit to votes, so, by all means vote “Yu” until your heart is content, or your wrist locks up in a fit of carpal tunnel syndrome…and then vote a few times more.

The Rangers have had as many as five players at the Mid-Summer Classic in previous years—including the last two—but have never had more than two voted to start. The seven—possible eight—players on this year’s roster is by far the most the Rangers have ever had during their 40-year history.

Here’s a quick look at those that have already made the cut:

The starters:

Josh Hamilton, OF—11,073,744 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.314/.381/.643, 25 HRs, 73 RBI

Hamilton obliterated the vote record set last season by Toronto’s Jose Bautista. Fellow A.L. starters, Curtis Granderson (NYY) and Jose Bautista (TOR) combined, received fewer votes than Hamilton’s gargantuan number.

This is the fifth All-Star nod for Hamilton, and the fifth straight time he’s been voted in to start. Hamilton is just the third Texas Ranger to receive the most votes in any given year. He joins catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (2,808,456 in 2000), and second baseman Alfonso Soriano (3,466,447 in 2004).

Adrian Beltre, 3B—4,613,180 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.323/.355/.527, 14 HRs, 52 RBI

In an exceptionally close race, Beltre beat-out Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera by just 416,595 votes. To wit, the balloters got this one right, as Beltre’s contributions are just as important in the field as they are at the dish.

Beltre, who started last year’s Mid-Summer Classic due to an injury to Alex Rodriguez, is a three-time All-Star participant.

Mike Napoli, C—4,317,718 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.235/.335/.438, 12 HRs, 30 RBI

“Nap-O-Lee!!!!” finished well ahead of Minnesota’s Joe Mauer to earn the start at catcher. This is Napoli’s first All-Star selection.

Although his numbers haven’t been great thus far, this honor has been bestowed upon him due to overall popularity and fantastic 2011 accomplishments—that, plus the fact that A.J. Pierzynski is a douche-bag of the highest order.

The rest of the Rangers’ best:

Ian Kinsler, 2BLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.276/.335/.451, 9 HRs, 40 RBI

Over the first few weeks of the balloting, Kinsler was in the lead for all A.L. second baseman. NY’s Robinson Cano eventually overtook him for the lead, but Kinsler was voted in by players, managers and coaches.

This is Kinsler’s third trip to the Mid-Summer Classic.

Elvis Andrus, SSLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.307/.383/.412, 16 stolen bases

Andrus was selected by manager Ron Washington as a reserve, after finishing second to the A.L.’s top vote-getter at shortstop, Derek Jeter.

Elvis is having the finest offensive season of his young career. Andrus has the highest OBP of any other A.L. short stop, and is also tops in the league in stolen bases.

This is Elvis’ second All-Star nod.

Matt Harrison, LHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
11-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Harrison is tied for the A.L. lead in wins. Selected by Washington, don’t be surprised if Harrison is the American League’s starting pitcher. After all, the 26-year-old left-hander certainly has the numbers to backup such a decision.

Joe Nathan, RHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
0-2, 1.87 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 18 saves

Just two years removed from Tommy John Surgery that caused him to miss all of the 2010 season, Nathan was selected by Washington to participate in his fifth All-Star Game.

Aside from two early-season hiccups, Nathan has been exactly what the Rangers were looking for—a shutdown closer that’s one of the finest in all of Major League Baseball.

Nathan’s 10.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio is best in all of baseball for any pitcher that has appeared in at least 30 games.

On the fringe:

Yu Darvish, RHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
10-5, 3.59 ERA, 117 strikeouts

Darvish, despite a quality start, lost in his first bid for win number eleven. Regardless, the rookie right-hander from Osaka, Japan, has been outstanding for the Rangers during the first half of 2012. He’s the team leader in strikeouts, second in wins and until last night’s 3-1 loss, had been undefeated at home in the hitter’s haven of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

You can make Darvish the Rangers’ team-record eighth All-Star participant by voting here.

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Jun 292012
 
feldman

Feldman Good Enough as Rangers Bats Stay Hot in 7 6 Win Over OaklandSeriously, how often does a starting pitcher’s ERA begin at 6.00, actually increase by 0.13 over the course of the game, and he earns the win? Probably not too often.

Scott Feldman, much like Roy Oswalt two nights ago, lived dangerously but still escaped with the victory as the Rangers held off the A’s 7-6.

Feldman’s main issue was the long ball—as he surrendered three over his five innings of work. Oswalt basically threw BP against Detroit, coughing up 13 hits over his six innings the night before last.

But hey, both Scooter and the Whiz have now won their last two starts. Hey, for Roy Oswalt this is still spring training. For Feldman, it’s always spring training.

Regardless, it’s good to be on the right side of Texas’ potent offense—especially when you don’t have your best stuff. Just make it through five or six, and let the sticks get your back.

Cliff Lee might be 10-0 right now—rather than winless—had he decided to stay in Arlington. I’m sure he’ll cry himself to sleep on a pillow stuffed with money.

Notes from last night:

• Adrian Beltre remains en fuego. You’re know you’re going well when you go 0-for-3, but still manage to drive in two runs.

• David Murphy continues to tear it up. Murphy went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI last night, and combined with his 4-for-5, 5 RBI night prior, he’s now raised his batting average 20 points. Murphy is not one of the flashiest players on the team, but he has a real knack for turning up his game at the most opportune times.

• Just when the criticism surrounding the Rangers’ leadoff hitter seems to reach a crescendo, Ian Kinsler catches fire. The Rangers’ second baseman is now batting .571 with 6 runs scored over his last three games. Kinsler leads the major leagues in runs scored, and his double last night pushes him into the American League lead, with 25.

• Texas Rangers super-utility man, Michael Young, may have turned the corner on a disappointing start to the season. After going 2-for-4 last night, Young is batting .370 during his current six-game hitting streak.

• Josh Hamilton went 2-for-3 last night with 2 RBI. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Hamilton’s showing last night was his ability to grind-out two walks.

Prior to last night, he’d walked just three times in ten games. Seems he’s seeing the ball better now, and if that’s the case, the Oakland Athletics—as well as the American League as a whole—might be in trouble.

Up Next:

Lefty Matt Harrison (10-3, 3.24) will oppose Oakland’s right-hander A.J. Griffin (0-0, 3.00 ERA). The first pitch scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

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Jun 232012
 

Roy Oswalt Shines in Debut, Beltre and Napoli Go Deep As Rangers Win Streak Reaches 7It had been a good while since Major League Baseball fans had been treated to a Roy Oswalt start—approximately ten months.

October 5, 2011…and that wasn’t even a good Roy Oswalt start.

Last night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington—in front of the record-tying twenty-first sellout crowd of the season—fans were treated to a veritable pitching clinic by The Os.

Oswalt struck out six Rockies over his 6 2/3, while walking just one and scattering nine hits while also picking up his first win of the year, 4-1.

Not bad for the dude that prevented Feldman from his spot-start…It didn’t, however, stop Feldy from opening his yap trap.

Yo, Scoots Ma Goots: I feel I can speak on behalf of every Texas Rangers fan on the planet when I say: Chill out, Roy’s got this shi*. And maybe, just maybe, if you’re lucky…Roy’ll play long toss with you or something.

Maybe.

Numbers and Notes:

.094

• Mike Napoli’s batting average over his last ten games. Naps did go yard yesterday launching number 12 of the season in the fourth inning.

• Before Napoli connected, he had been in a 3-for-20 slump (.150 BA).

May 13, 2012

• The last time Joe Nathan surrendered a run—earned or unearned. Nathan’s ERA has plummeted from 3.29 to 1.52 since then, a 1.77 drop.

74.160.13

• Amount of time Donnie Darko has left to save his girlfriend, Jenna? Nope…

Those numbers represent:

• The percentage of strikes thrown by Oswalt last night, Career wins Roy can now call his own. Number of times Oswalt’s opposition found themselves down 0-2.

2-of-3

• Adrian Beltre has hit a home run in two of his last three games, and three of the last five games.

9

• Total wins Oswalt now has against the Colorado Rockies in his career.

2 Months, one day

• The last time the Rangers had won more than 7 games straight…on April 21, they beat the Tigers in Detroit for their eighth-straight win.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers (44-27) will look to push their current seven-game winning streak to eight tomorrow afternoon, at 2:05 (CT). Rangers’ right-hander Colby Lewis (6-5, 3.00 ERA) takes on Colorado’s left-hander Josh Outman (0-3, 8.41 ERA).

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Jun 062012
 
Derek Holland 4

Rangers rebound in Oakland with strong bullpen

Wednesday Morning CurveballsAlexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan flexed their muscle last night in Oakland, pitching a combined 3 2/3 innings in relief of Derek Holland, surrendering just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5.  Ogando came in with two on and one out in the 6th with the Rangers holding on to a 2 run lead.  He struck out Kurt Suzuki and got Adam Rosales to pop out to first.

“That’s what he does,” closer Joe Nathan said of Ogando. “He’s the guy who holds our bullpen together. He’s the glue and tonight was a prime example about how much this guy means to us.”

Holland had his moments, but was apparently being taken down internally by…ahem…let’s just say he had some stomach concerns.  All in, he gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks over 5 1/3, striking out only 2.  He did get the win to improve to 5-4 with a 5.10 ERA.

“I just got a little fatigued out there,” Holland said. “I was doing everything I could to stay out there, but it started creeping up on me in the middle innings. I was doing everything I could. I just need to keep plugging away and get my strength back.”

It was creeping up…

Wednesday Morning Curveballs

Offensively, the Rangers accomplished a rare feat – everyone in the lineup got at least one base hit and struck out at least once.

Kinsler showed some signs of life with a 2 run double in the 3rd inning.  Everything else was pretty evening spread across the nine guys who started and ended this game in the lineup.

Lewis vs. Colon tonight

Colby Lewis (4-4, 3.50 ERA) takes the mound tonight, looking for his 5th win on the season.  Lewis pitched well in Anaheim over the weekend, only to have it wasted by defensive miscues and a lack of offensive support.  Since his reemergence in major league baseball (after his stint in Japan), Lewis is 5-3 with a 3.17 ERA against Oakland.

The A’s will counter with 39 year old Bartolo Colon (4-6, 4.34 ERA).  Colon suffered a similar fate to Lewis in his last outing, only giving up 2 runs over 7 innings, but getting a tough loss as his offensive teammates put up a goose egg.

9:05pm first pitch on FSSW.

Headed to Kansas City…

  • Initial All-Star voting results were revealed yesterday and 5 Rangers are leading at their respective positions – Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz & Mike Napoli.  You can vote up to 25 times, which seems a little ridiculous, but whatever.  Vote here if you haven’t already.
  • Josh Hamilton will not be participating in the Home Run Derby this year which is fine by me.  Josh’s performance at the 2008 Derby was unforgettable, and I doubt he could ever top that.  In addition, I’d much prefer Josh preserve every ounce of energy for the All-Star game (which DOES matter) and the second half of the season.

“It’s just not the right time,” Hamilton said. “I haven’t done it the past couple of years. I want to be healthy and the best I can be. I don’t want to risk anything entertaining the fans. So I respectfully declined again. You just take one swing … you’ve got to be smart about it.”

  • Of the 5 mentioned above, Napoli is the only one that hasn’t made an All-Star team before.

“Awesome … thanks to our fans,” Napoli said. “It would mean a lot to me. It would mean a lot to every player to make the All-Star Game. I want my numbers to prove I deserve to be an All-Star. I love the fans giving me such great sport.”

  • Look, I’d really like to see the American League World Series representative have home field advantage this season, so I’m on board with this team featuring as many Rangers as possible, but let’s remember that it was one of our own that cost the AL the All-Star game last year.  Love this quote from Beltre:

“It’s pretty important,” Beltre said of home field advantage. “That might be a key why we didn’t win, even though it was one of us that screwed it up.” 

Quick Hits

  • Scott Feldman will make his next scheduled start, after getting shelled on Monday in Oakland and pitching poorly in the three starts prior to that.  Someone tell Craig Gentry to get ready…
  • From T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), Hal Keller, who drafted, signed and developed some of the best players in the early years of the Rangers franchise, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Sequim, Wash. He was 84.
  • The Forums are up and running…well maybe running is a bit of an overstatement.
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Jun 032012
 

Bad Defense Spoils Solid Yu Darvish outing as Rangers Drop 4th Straight

Shipwrecked. Lost. Outside of the norm. You get the idea.

Last Wednesday, when the Rangers were one kick away from being entirely out of shi@—on their way to a 21-8 embarassment—wasn’t that much easier to stomach than tonight’s 3-2 loss to the Angels?

It was for me. All of the hallmarks of bad baseball (minus poor pitching) were on hand in Anaheim.

For the second time in as many nights, the Texas Rangers waste a quality start from their pitching thanks to a team that’s in a fielding funk and out of sync at the plate.

If the recipe for success is strong starting pitching, then the hair in the hogie is poor plate production; and fielding errors will spoila solid effort faster than an egg salad sandwich in the hot Texas sun.

The Wizard of WTF?!

• The Texas Rangers are now 0-4 since signing Roy Oswalt.

Yu Darvish

• He kept the ball in the park, and only surrendered two earned runs over his 6 1/3 innings of work. Darvish struck out 7 and allowed just 5 hits.

• This was one of Darvish’s finest starts all things considered. He took the tough luck loss, but he’s pitched MUCH worse and earned a few wins too.
GD GIDP

• Andrus, Torrealba and Kinsler all killed potential rallies with the ground ball double play.

• The Rangers were 0-for-10 with RISP and left 10 men on base.

Costly Errors and Unearned runs

• The two terms don’t always go together. The Rangers are in that kind of a funk though. They get no breaks, they receive bad calls, and seemingly every error scores.

• The Rangers had 3 errors, and, you guessed it, another unearned run was the result.

The 6th Inning Strikes Again

• Just like last night, the Rangers had held the Halos scoreless until the sixth inning.

• If we had kept the Halos scoreless in the sixth frame last night and tonight, the Rangers might be up 2-0 in the series rather than down 0-2.

• Can we just play two fifth innings tomorrow and call it even?

Captain Poo

• King Poo went 0-for-2. Not exactly a shocking news development.
• When he stole third base though, I was stunned. It’s just another sign that the baseball gods are not on the Rangers side right now.

C.J. Wilson

• He wore a red glove. He nibbled. He walked fools. In other words, Ceej was just Ceej.

• The fact that we didn’t knock him out early is just another sign that our offense is floating up shit creek with a turd for a paddle.

Trout was OUT!

• I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a player get ejected as fast as Yorvit Torrealba was tonight. From the looks of it, he had good reason to be upset. Mike Trout was clearly out.

Who’s Hot

• Nelson Cruz: He went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .272.

• Michael Young: Also went 2-for-4 as he inches closer to .300 once again.

Who’s Not

• Josh Hamilton: Hamilton went 0-for-4 with 2 Ks. He left five me on base, including the tying run at third base (and the bases loaded) when he struck out to end the game.

• Adrian Beltre: He had has his worst game as a member of the Texas Rangers last night.

Another costly error on a play that MUST be made “complemented” by an 0-for-4 with 4 Ks night at the plate.

Silver Linings in a Sea of Crap:

1. Yu Darvish. We’ve got an ace, folks.

2. C.J. Wilson did NOT earn the victory—just like the playoffs.

Final Take:

The defensive issues have got to stop. Elvis Andrus set the tone—in a bad way—by failing to put enough on the throw to first that should have nailed Mike Trout in the bottom of the first inning.

There’s no excuse for this. It’s not like it’s a news flash that Trout goes from home plate to first base in 3.7 seconds. That’s why he’s an 80-grade runner (plus-plus) on the scouting scale of 20-80.

Adrian Beltre continues to bobble the routine play. The Angels’ first run—in a game that the Rangers would lose by one—should have been avoided if Beltre can just find the handle on that slow-chopper for the force at home.

All of the miscues aside, the Rangers biggest problem is that they’re just not hitting. It’s as if the Blue Jays series was just an anomaly. What the Rangers desperately need is a big night at the plate. They don’t need to “pull a Seattle” but a blowout win could set the tone for their next series and move them in the right direction.

Up Next:

LH Matt Harrison (6-3, 4.41 ERA) will look to stop the Rangers’ season-long skid at 4 and stave off the sweep. On the hill for the Halos is right-hander Dan Haren (3-5, 3.52 ERA).

The first pitch is scheduled for 2:35 PM this afternoon. Make sure to check back here for the BaseballDo pregame preview!

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Jun 022012
 

Costly Error and Wasted Opportunities Sink Rangers,  AL West Lead shrinks to 4 1/2That was a frustrating loss. I’m cynical by nature but even if I wasn’t, that lackluster performance would be ripe for the most sardonic of cynicisms.

I feel as though the quicker I wrap this up, the quicker we can get to Yu Darvish and (hopefully) our winning ways…So let’s jump on in:

Colby Lewis didn’t deserve the loss

• Over his 6 2/3 innings pitched—three of which were of the no-hit variety—Lewis scattered four hits around one walk while netting five K’s. His hits surrendered were untimely; it can be argued that he didn’t pitch well enough for the win, but he was unfairly hit with the loss.

• Two more unearned runs in this game (cynical hat tip to Ian Kinsler’s game-changing error). The Rangers now have 17 “unearnedies” in their last 17 games.

Silver lining awash in a Sea of Crap:

• The Texas Rangers are still in first place in the AL West by 4 1/2 games.

• Mike Napoli is continuing to improve—he was 1-for-3 with an RBI last night.

• Adrian Beltre continues to rake. He was 2-for-4 last night pushing his batting average to .323. He also has a 10-game hitting streak.

• Koji Uehara—easily my favorite player of all-time—continues to excel in relief. He worked a scoreless ninth inning, surrendering one hit and striking out one.

The door ding in the previously pristine Rangers-mobile

• The offense is continuing to struggle. Two runs plated against a team playing as well as the Angels have been lately isn’t going to win many—if any—ball games. You don’t go bow hunting with a slingshot.

• The defense. What the fu** is the matter with the gloves? Tonight it was Kinsler (and Cruz?). It’s been Andrus and Beltre recently.

One of the key things that has elevated the Texas Rangers to their current level of greatness has been their consistent excellence with the leather.

Whether it’s boredom, fatigue, or whatever—this shi@ has got to stop. No team is good enough to give away outs in exchange for base runners and expect to continue winning.

Hey Vernon, you feeling better yet? We need you back bud!

• The Angels are now 10-1 since Vernon Wells was placed on the disabled list. No word yet on if there is a 24-hour police watch to make sure Mike Scioscia doesn’t murder Wells.

Fake news report: “Vernon Wells has recently been upgraded to the permanent disabled list in the sky by manager Mike Scioscia.”

Mike Trout: One fish we’d love to put in a barrel

Costly Error and Wasted Opportunities Sink Rangers,  AL West Lead shrinks to 4 1/2

"Quick get the shotgun! That dang Trout just made eyes at my old lady!"


• The Angels’ recent surge has less to do with Wells’ departure than the arrival of Mike Trout. Now I understand why some feel he’s going to be better than Bryce Harper.

• Trout was 2-for-4 with 3 RBI batting in the leadoff spot. His most important statistic of the day though? ZERO LOB You dig, Mitch? (5 LOB).

The Angels’ Bullpen no longer Sucks

• Castaway closer (and North Texas resident) Jordan Walden has excelled in his non-ninth inning role. It solidifies the biggest weakness the Angels had during April.

Ernesto Freaking Frieri. Yep, the Angels now have a lights-out closer in Frieri. He picked up his 3rd save in dominating fashion last night by striking out 2-of-3 and slamming the door on the Texas Rangers.

Frieri’s ERA is now 1.09 with a K/9 ratio—18.8—that seems more fiction than fact. What’s the key to getting to this guy? Easy. Don’t let the Angels get the freaking lead.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers will look to Yu Darvish (7-2, 3.25 ERA) to snap their current three-game skid. Darvish will have his work cut out for him as he opposes former Ranger and consistent douchebag C.J. Wilson (6-4, 2.77 ERA).

The first pitch is scheduled for 9:05 (CST), and as always, check back here for the pregame preview on BaseballDo, foo!

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May 022012
 
The Texas Rangers Have Lost Consecutive Series—No need to panic

Sure, he gave up the game winner on Monday to Brett Lawrie, but hey, it's not like that was our finest game of the year or anything.

Last night, for what seemed like the first time in a decade, the Texas Rangers lost a baseball game on the very same day that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won.

Okay, technically, the Angels won during the wee hours of today. But hey, they won, and I’m sure they’re thrilled—it hasn’t happened that often this year.

Sure, we’re 0-2 after our first two Mayday May games. But not to worry, historically the Blue Jays have always been a tough matchup—we were 4-6 against them last year and 3-7 in 2010.

Plus, we knew Jose Bautista would heat up eventually. A-hole that he is.

It’s not all doom and gloom, Rangers fans—there are plenty of positives to be taken from the Rays/Jays-our-first-consecutive-series-losses-of-2012-thing.

Here are some thoughts from the last few games:

Craig Gentry has morphed into Josh Hamilton…

Craig Gentry is an absolute mad man. He’s faster than the mortgage bill when you’re broke and is only slowed by immovable cement structures.

He also has some pop.

That was a pretty sweet moment Monday night when Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry went back-to-back. But, for the love of God, Gentry, take it easy in the outfield man! It’s not spring training, you’re on the big league roster for crying out loud!

Seriously dude, the freaking outfield wall had to be taken out of the game…that’s how hard you hit it! Had Hamilton hit the wall that hard, we’d still be super-gluing the pieces back together (of both the wall and Hami)!

Ron Washington gets no respect, not even on his birthday

Okay, this one was messed up. On Sunday, Ron Washington celebrated his 60th birthday. There is no better way to celebrate getting a year older than at a Texas Rangers game.

Yes, even if they lose.

I’m sure Washington wasn’t expecting a gift from anyone. He definitely wasn’t expecting Old Dutch to wrap up the game with a pretty ribbon and hand it to the Rays.

But as is a theme for the Rangers this year, even during their losses they’re still just a break or two from winning. In the 5-2 loss, the Rangers left the bases loaded after a hard lineout from Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the ninth.

The Texas Rangers are 0-5 on Wash’s birthday—with a rainout—in his six seasons with the club.

At least Washington was able to enjoy his birthday cake a little early…he was ejected in the seventh inning by home plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing balls and strikes—replays showed that Wash was in the right.

The word “gay” used to mean happy

Yeah. Now “gay” is just a word that rhymes with teams we seem to have trouble with. What gives?

Are the Texas Rangers “homophonic?”

Yu Darvish is getting better while Albert Pujols continues to suck

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, so I’ll just make them up: Albert Pujols hasn’t hit a home run since he really was 32-years-old…in 2001…Craig Gentry has more homers than “The Poo”!

And Yu Darvish. Whoa boy! Don’t worry, I’ll speak of his greatness plenty in the future, but for now, let’s just enjoy the ride.

He’s gotten better every start—especially the last three—and the crazy thing is, the team’s he’s beaten have actually improved too! Sure, the Blue Jays aren’t quite as potent as the Tigers or Yankees, but if you need proof of how viable the crazy Canadians can be, just take a look at how our other starters fared against them this series…

Upcoming goodness to look forward to:

Koji versus old team

Here’s hoping that Koji can continue his recent string of not sucking too bad. Even better, maybe he’s turned the corner and is back to his pre-trade level, which was awesome.

Worst-case scenario, maybe we can swap him for Chris Davis or just duct tape him to an empty locker in Baltimore and “accidentally” leave him behind.

Mitch Moreland versus Chris Davis

Remember when Chris Davis was “Crush” and he was the Texas Rangers’ first baseman of the future?

Well, to jog your memory, Justin Smoak was still the hotshot prospect, and Mitch Moreland was a dude that the powers that be thought might have more value as a middle-reliever.

True story.

Hey speaking of Chris Davis, he’s been hitting the ball pretty well. Batting .333 with 5 home runs. It’s no secret that I have a huge man crush on Chris Davis, and, sadly, there is photographic proof:

The Texas Rangers Have Lost Consecutive Series—No need to panic

I hadn't been that nervous since Prom.

Anyways, it will be fun to watch how Davis hits against us and how Moreland does against the Orioles. For a franchise (Rangers) famous for creating excellent first baseman (and some not so good—cough—Jason Botts). Should be an entertaining head-to-head showdown.

Also of note, the Rangers’ right-handed bench bat, Brandon Snyder, was a former first round pick of the Baltimore Orioles. He’s also a first basemen that is versatile enough to play in the outfield, like Mitch…of course, Snyder was the only first rounder of the three, and he’s the only one not a starter; that’s the way baseball go…

Yu Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson…?

Yeah, it could happen. If the Rangers’ rotation (as well as the Angels’) stays in the same order, on Friday May 11th, it would be Yu Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Whoa. That’d be awesome! “The Young Buck vs. Mr. Playoff Suck”

Now, granted, it’s not a playoff game, so C.J. Wilson won’t be guaranteed to lose…Bing!

I’m intentionally overlooking the next series, with the Cleveland Indians

Yeah, the Cleveland Indians are the Rangers’ next opponent, right before the Orioles. I don’t know, the Indians don’t really scare me much. Maybe it’s because we’re 13-3 against them over the last two seasons combined.

Perhaps it’s because those poor suckers will have to face Yu Darvish.

Anyways, I’m looking past the Indians, in the same vane that we don’t even consider the Oakland Athletics or Seattle Mariners as serious threats, even though they are only 5, and 6 games, respectively, behind the Rangers in the AL West.

Because it’s always fun to say, the Angels are 8 games out of first place and in the cellar—right next to the rusty plumbing and high school yearbooks that you don’t look at, but are too sentimental to get rid of.

Final Diagnosis

Yeah, I know, we’re mired in a losing streak. It sucks. And even though it’s our first of the year, this team is so good it seems like we’ll win every single game.

Not possible.

We were outscored by the Jays 19-12, in the month. And yes, we’ve lost consecutive games on the road. But it’s no time to push the panic button.

Josh Hamilton will be coming back full-strength, as will Adrian Beltre.

We are going to be just fine.

The major tests have been passed—can we beat the playoff caliber teams? Absolutely. Can Yu Darvish harness his command? You’d better believe it…can we score runs without Beltre and Hamilton in our lineup? Affirmative.

Plus, the way Yu Darvish continues to improve every start, he’ll probably close out the month with consecutive perfect games.

And I believe that will be a record…and speaking of records, 17-8 ain’t so bad.

UPDATE!!! Jered Weaver just threw a no-hitter against the Twins! Yes, I checked, it does count even if thrown against Minnesota…Too bad they only gain a half game, huh? Pujols was 1-5, but I’m sure we already guessed that.

Peace out, and Go Rangers!

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Apr 092012
 

Monday Morning FastballsA couple of months ago when the Rangers were rumored to be interested in free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt, he was the guy who was thought to lose his spot in the rotation.

For the last 2-3 years when writers/fans praise Jon Daniels for the quality bounty he got in return for Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves, he isn’t mentioned first…or even second.

When (most of) you think of the breakout left-handed starter on the Texas Rangers, he’s not the first name that comes to mind.

Last night…he was brilliant, and we all took notice.

Matt Harrison was dominant throughout Spring Training, and he brought that same command and presence into the regular season last night in front of 45,368 cheering Rangers fans and possibly more importantly, in front of baseball fans worldwide on the nationally televised ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game.  Harrison pitched six scoreless frames against the Chicago White Sox to give the Rangers the 2-1 series win.

“I was able to throw my offspeed pitches for strikes early in the game,” Harrison said. “It gave them something to swing at besides my fastball. They fouled a lot of pitches off early, but I just kept pounding the strike zone and making them put the ball in play.”

“Harrison pitched great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “This is one of those where you tip your hat to him.”

“Outstanding,” manager Ron Washington said. “Harrison had a good sinker working, he was moving the ball up and down, in and out, good breaking ball. Early in the game they fouled off so many pitches it put him in a bad way at the end, but he gave us what we needed tonight.”

  • Harrison gave up 4 hits and allowed 2 walks while striking out 3 across his six innings of work.
  • Hamilton, Beltre & Murph all went yard in this game, with Hamilton’s being a ridiculous 441 foot blast that initially looked like it was going to exit the stadium.
  • Hamilton also made two nice snags in center field.

Quick Hits:

  • Tonight is the debut of Yu.  Tickets are still available from the Rangers and on StubHub.  Why aren’t you going?
  • Robbie Ross was impressive last night in his Major League debut, working a scoreless 8th inning, striking out Paul Konerko and walking one.
  • Jasen and I will be at the game tonight, so hit us up on Twitter (@baseballdo).
  • We will be recording this weeks podcast tomorrow night.  If you’d like to submit a question or topic, please comment on this post or sent it via the Contact Us page.
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Mar 282012
 

2012 has begun!  The Athletics and Mariners are over in Japan wrapping up the season opener as I type this.  One note, the Rangers will be tied with the Angels for 2nd when this game completes.  Nice article by Jim Caples (ESPN) on Ichiro’s return to Japan.

Wednesday Morning CurveballsMike Napoli hit two home runs in yesterday’s Spring Training match-up with the Padres, which was won by the Rangers when Joey Butler (of Baseball Do podcast fame) scored from third on a wild pitch.

  • Ian Kinsler continues to tear through Spring Training, compiling 3 hits in the game, raising his Spring Training batting average to .422.  I’m calling it right now – Kinsler will not hit above .422 during the regular season.
  • Robbie Ross, who is fighting for a spot in the bullpen with the Rangers, started the game and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk over 2 innings of work.

“I was up just a little bit,” Ross said. “I got behind on batter a few times. I hit my spots OK, but I think I could have attacked the guy that hit the home run better than I did. I kind of pitched around him and nit-picked a little bit.”

  • Ross made a nice defensive play, snagging a line drive hit back to the mound by Chris Denorfia.  Credit Greg Maddux with the nice glove work by the prospect.  After Ross just got out of the way of a similar line drive hit by Torii Hunter on Sunday, Maddux put Ross out on the mound and drilled 6 line drives back at him, making him field the ball rather than bail.

“He was hitting them at me, so this time I was like, ‘Oh, that’s what we worked on,’” Ross said. “It was kind of nice knowing I could stick in there with that.”

Wednesday Morning CurveballsNeftali Feliz got back on the mound for the first time since being pulled early from a game last week due to should stiffness.

  • Feliz gave up one earned run (three runs total) on six hits and one walk in four innings of work, striking out three.
  • He hit 96 MPH with his fastball in both of his final two innings of game.

“I felt good,” said Feliz through a translator. “Everything was OK. I wasn’t trying to throw hard, just trying to keep my pitches down.”

The Rangers are expected to announce their starting rotation very soon.  It’s known that Colby Lewis will start Opening Day and Neftali Feliz will take the 5th spot.  If the Rangers are truly wanting to split up their left-handers, as manager Ron Washington eluded to earlier this Spring, than the rotation should look like:

  1. Colby Lewis
  2. Derek Holland
  3. Yu Darvish
  4. Matt Harrison
  5. Neftali Feliz

Quick Hits

  • Hold your breath…Elvis Andrus left yesterday’s game with a tight right hip flexor muscle.  The plan is to rest him today and get him back in the lineup tomorrow.  Wash isn’t concerned.  Exhale…
  • Joe Nathan pitched back-to-back days for the first time this Spring on Monday & Tuesday.  His outing yesterday, against the Royals AA team, was especially gratifying as he struck out 2 and got a ground out in a quick 11 pitch inning.
  • Nathan hiy 94 MPG with his fastball and said that his arm felt strong on Tuesday than it did on Monday.

“I had good building blocks yesterday and built on that,” Nathan said.

  • The Dutch Oven pitches tonight at the Royals and Alexi Ogando will pitch in a minor league game against the Dodgers in which is expected to go 6 innings.
  • Wednesday Morning CurveballsT.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) wrote a good article on Adrian Beltre’s leadership role on the Rangers.  The article is filled with comments from his teammates and manager Ron Washington.

“It’s so easy on this team to be yourself and help others,” Beltre said. “There are not a lot of guys who get out of line. It makes it easy. I like to have fun. It helps me relax and enjoy the game. When I enjoy the game, I perform better. It’s tough to have fun when you’re losing. The good thing is this team wins a lot. It’s easier that way.”

  • Next week’s podcast will be our 2012 Season Preview Special.
  • We’re planning a giveaway in the near future for some Rangers tickets, so stay tuned.
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