Mar 192013
 

Jasen and I got a chance to hangout (no pun) with Patrick and Eddie from ShutDownInning.com tonight.  We talked about Mitch Moreland, getting in bed with Elvis Andrus and Bob Bland.

Enjoy!

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Oct 252012
 
Mike Napoli 7

With Mike Napoli entering free agency and the Rangers silent (as expected) in regards to trying to bring him back, much off-season trade talk is centering around the backstop position.

On Monday, T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) wrote:

Texas could have interest in J.P. Arencibia, who was the Toronto starter the past two seasons. Arencibia hit .233 with 18 home runs, 56 RBIs, a .275 on-base percentage and a .435 slugging percentage over 102 games.

The 26-year-old has two-plus years of Major League experience and is not yet eligible for arbitration. He missed six weeks in the second half with a broken right hand and only threw out 18.5 percent of attempted basestealers.

Thursday Sound Off   Whos catching in 2013?

J.P. Arencibia

Sullivan goes on to mention Derek Holland or Alexi Ogando as likely candidates to swap for Arencibia.

Another intriguing backstop from the Jays organization is top prospect Travis d’Arnaud, but I think it’s less likely that the Rangers trade for d’Arnaud unless they are able to secure a stop-gap catcher (Ryan Hanigan mentioned by Jamey Newberg) as well to hold the position until they are convinced he is ready for the majors.

As of now, assuming Napoli were to sign elsewhere and nothing else was done to address the position, Geovany Soto would be the starting catcher on Opening Day 2013.

A few things to note:

  • Napoli will be 31 years-old on Halloween and there have been contract numbers estimated in the range of 4-6 years at $50-$80 million.
  • The 26 year-old Arencibia isn’t eligible for free agency until 2017.
  • Ogando and Holland are both under control through 2016, with a team option on Holland for ’17 and ’18.
  • Other catchers on the free agent market: Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski (die), David Ross, Gerald Laird, Kelly Shoppach.

A look at the numbers:

J.P. Arencibia

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 24 TOR 11 35 3 5 1 0 2 4 2 11 .143 .189 .343 .532
2011 25 TOR 129 443 47 97 20 4 23 78 36 133 .219 .282 .438 .720
2012 26 TOR 102 347 45 81 16 0 18 56 18 108 .233 .275 .435 .710
3 Yrs 242 825 95 183 37 4 43 138 56 252 .222 .275 .433 .708
162 Game Avg. 162 552 64 123 25 3 29 92 37 169 .222 .275 .433 .708
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Mike Napoli

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2006 24 LAA 99 268 47 61 13 0 16 42 51 90 .228 .360 .455 .815
2007 25 LAA 75 219 40 54 11 1 10 34 33 63 .247 .351 .443 .794
2008 26 LAA 78 227 39 62 9 1 20 49 35 70 .273 .374 .586 .960
2009 27 LAA 114 382 60 104 22 1 20 56 40 103 .272 .350 .492 .842
2010 28 LAA 140 453 60 108 24 1 26 68 42 137 .238 .316 .468 .784
2011 29 TEX 113 369 72 118 25 0 30 75 58 85 .320 .414 .631 1.046
2012 30 TEX 108 352 53 80 9 2 24 56 56 125 .227 .343 .469 .812
7 Yrs 727 2270 371 587 113 6 146 380 315 673 .259 .356 .507 .863
162 Game Avg. 162 506 83 131 25 1 33 85 70 150 .259 .356 .507 .863
LAA (5 yrs) 506 1549 246 389 79 4 92 249 201 463 .251 .346 .485 .831
TEX (2 yrs) 221 721 125 198 34 2 54 131 114 210 .275 .379 .552 .931
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Derek Holland

Year Age Tm W L ERA G GS CG IP H HR BB SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 22 TEX 8 13 6.12 33 21 1 138.1 160 26 47 107 1.496 3.1 7.0 2.28
2010 23 TEX 3 4 4.08 14 10 0 57.1 55 6 24 54 1.378 3.8 8.5 2.25
2011 24 TEX 16 5 3.95 32 32 4 198.0 201 22 67 162 1.354 3.0 7.4 2.42
2012 25 TEX 12 7 4.67 29 27 0 175.1 162 32 52 145 1.221 2.7 7.4 2.79
4 Yrs 39 29 4.71 108 90 5 569.0 578 86 190 468 1.350 3.0 7.4 2.46
162 Game Avg. 13 10 4.71 37 31 2 195 199 30 65 161 1.350 3.0 7.4 2.46
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Alexi Ogando

Year Age Tm W L ERA G GS CG SV IP H HR BB SO WHIP BB/9 SO/9
2010 26 TEX 4 1 1.30 44 0 0 0 41.2 31 2 16 39 1.128 3.5 8.4
2011 27 TEX 13 8 3.51 31 29 1 0 169.0 149 16 43 126 1.136 2.3 6.7
2012 28 TEX 2 0 3.27 58 1 0 3 66.0 49 9 17 66 1.000 2.3 9.0
3 Yrs 19 9 3.12 133 30 1 3 276.2 229 27 76 231 1.102 2.5 7.5
162 Game Avg. 8 4 3.12 55 13 0 1 115 96 11 32 96 1.102 2.5 7.5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/25/2012.

Others if interested: Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski (die), David Ross, Gerald Laird, Kelly Shoppach

So, there are a few options in regards to the 2013 backstop.  What do you think?  Vote on the poll and sound off in the comments section.

What do you think the Rangers should do in regards to the catcher position this off-season?
Resign Napoli (4-6 yrs. @ $13-15M per)
Trade Holland for Arencibia
Trade Ogando for Arencibia
Sign stop-gap and trade for prospect
Roll with Soto
Other (add comments)
View Result
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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
 
Oswalt-sharp-in-first-start-of-the-season-GQ1NTKTC-x-large

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
 
jairo_beras_jpeg_480x290_crop-,0_upscale_q95

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 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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Jun 122012
 
Screen shot 2012-06-12 at 3.46.00 PM

Alexi Ogando Latest DL Casualty, Will Miss 4 6 Weeks with Groin InjuryAlexi Ogando tweeked his groin after legging out an infield single last Sunday against the San Francisco Giants. He was immediately removed from the game, and it has now been made public that he has a groin strain that will require a trip to the disabled list.

After using the same five starting pitchers for the entire season in 2011, the Texas Rangers have now had injuries to two starters (Feliz and Holland) as well as spot-starter and bullpen stalwart Alexi Ogando.

• Left-hander Michael Kirkman has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to take Ogando’s spot in the bullpen.
• It is unknown whether Kirkman will be used as a spot-starter as Ogando was, or if the team will possibly move Robbie Ross into the rotation temporarily.
• Ogando was preceded to the disabled list by righty Neftali Feliz and lefty Derek Holland.
• Holland is scheduled to begin throwing later this week and if his shoulder holds up he could return to active duty within the next two weeks.
• Recently signed free agent Roy Oswalt is scheduled to throw 80 pitches tonight for the Texas Rangers’ Double-A affiliate, the Frisco Rough Riders.

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Jun 112012
 
Screen shot 2012-06-11 at 11.59.41 PM

Texas Rangers Rest Up, Ready Themselves for More NL West FodderThe Texas Rangers (35-26) have returned home, fresh off of a 10-game West Coast jaunt that seemed like two months.

Today’s off day comes at a perfect time. The Rangers are banged-up, tired, and badly in need of a solid night’s sleep in their own palatial estates.

Although they lost six of ten on the road, they’ve won two of their last three. They ended their road trip on a high note, as they took their first series since their sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays late last month.

Taking two of three from the accursed San Francisco Giantsis a great thing…there’s nothing like a dose of 2010 World Series redemption! Suck on that, Mr. The Freak!

Here are some highlights from the Giants series—because it went well for our Rangers and the Oakland/Anaheim series occurred so long ago that it’s like it never happened…

Gentry shines
• Center fielder Craig Gentry was 7-for-11 during the Giants series, and watched his batting average soar from .301 to .340.
• Gentry was 5-for-5 during the Rangers’ series opening 5-0 victory last Friday.

The bullpen is outstanding?

Yep, it sure is. You know you have a great bullpen when they can start and finish games.
• Alexi Ogando pitched three perfect innings in a spot-start for lefty Derek Holland.
• Robbie Ross earned his 6th win of the year as he went four innings in relief of Ogando.

The bullpen was outstanding
Yep, it sure was. Sadly, the possibility of Ogando garnering DL time might force left-hander Robbie Ross into the rotation. Ultimately that’s a good thing but his absence form the ‘pen would surely be felt.
• I still don’t trust Koji Uehara in high-leverage situations.
• I’ll never trust Mark Lowe in any close-game scenarios.

Injury News:

Alexi Ogando had an MRI done today but team physician Dr. Keith Meister is out of town, so a full evaluation won’t be completed until tomorrow morning at the earliest.
• Nelson Cruz was given the day off yesterday to rest a sore right Achilles tendon that he tweaked on Saturday in San Francisco.
• Derek Holland is scheduled to start throwing in the next few days but the lefty won’t be available for at least two more weeks.

Next Up:

The Texas Rangers begin a six-game home stand tomorrow night as they host the NL West’s Arizona Diamondbacks for a three game series. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 (CST) with RH Colby Lewis (4-5, 3.38 ERA) on the hill for Texas and RH Ian Kennedy (5-5, 3.98 ERA) gets the start for Arizona.

Be sure to check back here tomorrow for the BaseballDo Series preview!

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Jun 072012
 
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Derek Holland to the 15 Day DL, Ogando to Rotation, Scheppers called up

Go get 'em, kid.

As if being shutout by Bartolo Colon 2-0—the team’s first shutout of the year—isn’t bad enough, the Texas Rangers have placed their second starting pitcher of the year on the disabled list.

Derek Holland, whose fastball lost considerable velocity in the fifth and sixth innings of his last start on Tuesday, has been placed on the 15-day DL with what is being described as left shoulder fatigue.

The “diagnosis” of a shoulder issue was unexpected, as it was initially thought that a stomach virus might be what would cause a possible DL stint. Holland has lost 15 pounds over the last two weeks due to the malady.

Derek Holland’s injury creates a broad-range ripple effect throughout the organization.

Alexi Ogando is back in the rotation

I’m a big Alexi Ogando fan, especially as a starter. I was disappointed when he wasn’t given another chance in the rotation out of spring training.

However, he is a damn fine reliever, and I’m all for the Rangers strengthening what aspects of their game they deem necessary—in that case, it was the bullpen that needed some help.

Ogando’s move to the rotation creates a few questions:

• Is he properly “stretched-out” enough? Can he go more than four-innings a start?

•How will his departure impact the bullpen?

Tanner Scheppers is called up from Triple-A

Scheppers was the Texas Rangers’ 44th overall draft pick out of Fresno State in 2009. He has long been on the team’s 40-man roster, but this will be his first time up in “The Show.”

• Scheppers has been healthy this year but has had a history of injuries in the past.
• Anytime a rookie is brought up, you never really know what you’re going to get in terms of success…they don’t always work out as superbly as Robbie Ross.

Koji Uehara’s heightened roll

Right-handed reliever Koji Uehara has been outstanding for the Texas Rangers in 2012. So good has Uehara been that he is no longer my favorite whipping boy for easy laughs.

Hell, it’s not easy to make fun of a 0.54 WHIP. How will Uehara react now that his importance has been increased greatly?

• Can Koji continue to produce at the same level in high-leverage situations?
• Will he be able to work as a “bridge” in Ogando’s absence?
• Can he go multiple innings if the situation dictates?

Scott Feldman remains the team’s number five starter

Feldman has been a hot topic of debate recently. He has yet to earn a win in his spot starts, and has seemingly pitched worse each time he’s run out there.

Most people—especially after his 8-run shellacking on Monday—wanted Feldman’s head on a platter. They wanted him to be left out of the rotation and kicked off the team….if you were one of those fans then the Holland injury is your worst nightmare.

• Feldman will remain the team’s number five starter—and he might even continue in that role when Roy Oswalt makes his debut in a few weeks.

• Believe it or not, Feldman will be missed in the Rangers bullpen. His continued absence could be an additional blow—coupled with Ogando’s loss—that weakens one of the Rangers’ strengths.

Final Analysis

You never want any of your starters to go down with an injury. One of the keys to the 2011 Texas Rangers was their ability to stay on the field (rotation-wise). This year’s squad—now with just two DL stints—hasn’t by any means been “injury prone” but anytime you lose a starting pitcher, much less two, there are negative ramifications.

Honestly, I feel that this might have occurred at the best possible time for the Texas Rangers. Not only is it early in the season, but many felt that a change might be necessitated by their recent struggles against inferior teams.

Well, here’s that change you’ve been hoping for. Ogando’s back in the rotation, and we finally get to see what the fire-balling right-hander Tanner Scheppers can do.

Relax.

Everything is going to be just fine. Yes, I realize that tomorrow we take off to play the San Francisco Giants in a stadium that we have never won a game in. Hey, all this means is that we’re due.

The Texas Rangers are in first place in the AL West by 4 1/2 games. There’s no need placing your finger anywhere remotely near the panic button as long as we are atop our division.

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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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