May 262012

Nelson Cruz Goes Nuclear, Boomstick Butt Kicks Blue Jays with 8 RBI

Cruz is heating up.

“…A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who’d be glad of a lift and who needed it, too;
On him he would call and see what he could do
Edgar Albert Guest, Tomorrow.

That succinctly summarizes what the Texas Rangers offense was able to do to Morrow—Brandon, that is—during last night’s 14-3 Blue Jays beatdown…not feeling it?

All right, how about:

“…An offense that was troubled and weary Nellie knew,
His team would be glad of a lift and needed it, too;
On his boomstick he would call and see what he could do
To Brandon Morrow.”

Hell yes!

And now for the fun, non-poetic, Rangers kicking-ass, feel-good stuff:

The Sorrow of Brandon Morrow (sorry, couldn’t resist)

•Morrow threw 14 pitches to leadoff batter Ian Kinsler, before losing him to a walk.
•He would only throw 30 more pitches before exiting the game, down 6-0. Surrendering an average of one run every five pitches thrown.
• Morrow’s ERA entering last night’s Texas Rangers slugfest was 2.63. Now it’s 3.47 and he needed just two-thirds of an inning to put Tiger Balm on his ERA’s bozack.
• Poor Morrow, I never new a “slump buster” could be tall, thin, bearded and—worst of all—a freaking dude.

Boom Shack-a-Lacka Shack-a-Lacka Boom Boomstick!

• Nelson Cruz’s first home run—Grand Slam style sucka Boo-ya! in 11 days was just one of his four hits on the night.
• He went 4-for-5 with 8 RBI. This tied him for the most RBI in a game this season with Josh Hamilton, who was 5-5 (with 4 home runs) on May 8th.
• Seriously? What team has two dudes knock in 8 in one game just 17 days apart? Answer: Our team!

No, Jeff, you can’t wear catcher’s gear on the mound…

• The only Blue Jays pitcher that didn’t allow at least two earned runs last night is not really a pitcher.
• Of course, Jeff Mathis isn’t much of catcher either, but that’s beside the point.
Delusional Angels skipper, Mike Scioscia, most likely viewed Mathis as a better pitcher than Mike Napoli too.

I’ve got your slump right here, pal!

• The Rangers 14 runs scored were the most they’d plated since their 13-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels of that city near Disneyland, on May 13th.
• Michael Young’s 3 runs scored last night were one more than he had scored in his previous nine games combined. His 3-for-5 night raised his average to .276—and he is now hitting over .400 against Brandon Morrow for his career.

The Dutch Oven is so HOT! right now…

• Derek Holland’s 9 strikeouts are the most he’s had this season and fell just one shy of his career high of 10.
• Holland struck out the side in the first inning and did the same in the sixth inning with the only blemish being Edward Encarnacion’s solo shot.

Timely Hitting, come and get some!

• The Rangers left 11 men on base, but hit .389 (7-for-18) with RISP.
• The Blue Jays hit .500 (1-for-2) with RISP; but who gives a shit?

Even though Koji Uehara is not currently sucking…

• There is no “Koji-has-to-suck-for-the-Rangers-to-succeed” hex. Whew! Now it’s just something silly I made up for a cheap laugh rather than a, you know, real “thing.”
Or maybe the onus has been passed on to Lowe’s anus, but who knows?

Up Next for the Rangers:

More potential Blue Jays bashing with the first pitch set for 2:05 PM today; check back here for the Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP) vs. Henderson Alvarez (3-4, 3.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) pregame preview…

Go Rangers!

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May 252012

Breaking Down Brandon Morrow and Derek Holland: A Blue Jays PreviewOne week ago, the Texas Rangers (27-18) readied themselves for the Lone Star Series against pseudo-major league team, the Houston Astros.

Tonight the Texas Rangers prepare for battle with their long-time nemesis; that cold weather clan of Canadians, the Toronto Blue Jays (24-21).

From “Battle of the Silver Boot” to “Fracas with the ‘OOTs.’” This weekend’s series is less about “a boot” than it is about “aboot.”

You’ve got to love regional dialects, ay?

One thing not to love is the uncanny success the Blue Jays have had against the Rangers over the last several seasons.

The Rangers haven’t posted a winning season against the Jays since 2006, when they were 4-2.

Last year the Rangers went 4-6 against Toronto and a woeful 3-7 in 2010. The Rangers’ two AL Championship teams were 7-13 against a team that hasn’t made the postseason since their World Series Championship back in 1993.

This year hasn’t been much better for Texas, as the Jays took two of three in Toronto. In that series the Rangers were outscored 20-16.

Tonight it’s a battle between two top young hurlers and fellow 2006 MLB Draft picks.

For the Rangers it’s 2011 World Series Game Four hero, left-hander Derek Holland (26th Round) locking horns with Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow (1st Round, 5th pick).

Here’s a look at how these two electric arms stack up against each other:

Derek Holland (3-3, 4.27 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.9 K/9) vs. Brandon Morrow(5-2, 2.63 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 7.9 K/9)


Dutch is coming off a rough outing against the aforementioned Houston Astros. In that start, he surrendered five earned runs on five hits with the majority of the damage coming from three home runs hit in three-straight innings.

Against the Blue Jays in his career, Holland has struggled. He’s 2-1 with a 5.55 ERA and just 18 strikeouts. However, the current group of Jays has batted just .226 against the left-hander.

Jose Bautista has had the most success against Dutch, with a .273 batting average and 2 RBI. Rajai Davis has touched him up with a .273 BA as well.

Holland has never faced fiery third baseman Brett Lawrie or second baseman Kelly Johnson.


Whereas Dutch was poor in his last start against Houston, Morrow was on the opposite end of the performance spectrum.

The 6’ 3” Morrow was lights-out against the New York Mets, tossing his second shutout of the season, while limiting the Mets to just three hits while striking out 8 and walking just one.

Against the Rangers in his career, Morrow is 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA and 42 strikeouts.
Michael Young doesn’t mind Morrow too much as is indicative of his .400 BA and team-leading 5 RBI. MY has taken him deep once as well.

Mike Napoli has been given the night off tonight, and it’s just as well as he has struggled of late and has a paltry .143 BA against Morrow. David Murphy—who is in the starting lineup tonight—has hit .365 in his career against the former University of California hurler. Josh Hamilton, in a 11-game homerless streak, is hitting a pedestrian .222 against the big Toronto right-hander.

Morrow has never faced tonight’s starting catcher, Yorvit Torrealba.

At Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Morrow didn’t earn a decision last season but posted a solid 3.00 ERA and didn’t surrender a home run.

At home this year, Holland has gone 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA and has relinquished two long balls.

The Rangers and Dutch can win tonight if:

They hit like the Tampa Bay Rays do against him. If you take away the 11 innings Morrow’s thrown against the Rays and the 12 earned runs he allowed in those two ill-fated starts, Morrow’s ERA is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it 1.07.

The Rangers have been scuffling at the plate for awhile now. Over their last 10 games they’ve gone just 4-6 with an offense that has been plating a mere 3.5 runs per game. Against a tough right-hander, the Rangers have their work cut out for them, and hopefully can rise from their offensive funk.

Of chief importance for Dutch will be to keep Bautista in the yard. After a tepid start to the season, the right-handed slugger has hit 7 home runs in his last 13 games.

Prediction Time

I look for Dutch to go six strong innings tonight, striking out 6 and minimizing the damage dealt by the Jays’ formidable offense. The Texas Rangers win tonight 6-2—now I could be wrong, but I’m sure that score sounds aboot right.

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May 252012


Friday Morning KnuckleballsThe Rangers got some much needed rest yesterday after a “20 games in 20 days” stretch that they finished with a .500 record.  With a record on the season of 27-18, Rangers fans are facing mixed emotions – optimism based on the make-up of this team and maybe a tinge of skepticism based on this most recent performance.

Regardless of where you stand on the ledge…don’t jump.  For fans, rest isn’t needed in the same way that it’s needed for players, but this short break can provide us with an opportunity to refill the tank as well.  To take a moment to step back and look at the big picture.

We live in a time of immediate judgement though the likes of Twitter, Facebook and blogs like the one you are reading right now.  Take some time today before this series with Toronto starts to really look at how good this team is.  Look at how well  they are positioned to play deep into October again this year.  Look at the front office and management of the team and how they have a unified approach.  Hell, even take a quick look at how bright the future is with a farm system stocked full of talent.

This is fun…

Joey Bats and the Jays are coming to town

Friday Morning Knuckleballs

Did you enjoy your rest?  Did you appreciate that moment to soak it all in and be an eternal optimist…now snap back to reality.  The Rangers have to bust out of this mini-slump NOW!

The Jays come to Arlington after a day off on their current road trip.  They lost 2 of 3 to Tamp Bay earlier in the week.

Derek Holland (3-3, 4.27 ERA) will face a Toronto offense tonight that is currently below the league average in battering average and on-base percentage, but boasts a respectable (not spectacular) .408 slugging percentage (a stat in which the Rangers lead the American League at .463).

Holland is looking to rebound from a disappointing start last weekend against the lowly Astros in which he gave up 5 runs over 5 innings of work.

“I’m looking forward to bouncing back,” Holland said. “I’ve been working in the bullpen on keeping the ball down. There were some mechanical adjustments, I was looking down rather than looking at my target. I’m looking forward to this start, I’m well-prepared for it and ready.”

On the whole, May hasn’t been too bad to Holland (1-1, 2.79 ERA), but he hasn’t fared well when pitching at home so far this season (1-2, 5.60 ERA). The Dutch Oven has taken the mound five times in his career against the Jays, and  2-1 with a 5.55 ERA.

The Blue Jays will counter with Brandon Morrow (5-2, 2.63 ERA) who was nothing short of exceptional in his last outing, shutting out the Mets while striking out 8.

Quick Hits

  •  Shifting back to the optimistic future…thinking long-term.  Good article by Jesse Sanchez ( about Rangers teenage prospects Ronald Guzman and Nomar Mazara.
  • Kevin Matthews was promoted to Class A from the Arizona League yesterday.  Matthews was the Rangers’ first-round pick in last year’s First-Year Player Draft. In seven appearances (3 of which were starts) with the Arizona League Rangers, Matthews went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
  • We are opening up the Forums this weekend, so check back and get into some heated discussions with Jasen about Robbie Ross and Cheese Fries vs. Garlic Fries.
  • Jasen and I went to Patty Shack yesterday for lunch…if you haven’t been there, what are you waiting for.  Burgers and atmosphere are great.  We’re planning to have a game watching get-together at Patty Shack sometime before the Field Trip, so stay tuned.

Take me to the Card Shop

Keeping with the tribute to Baseball cards that I started a month ago,  promised to fulfill every Friday, then promptly skipped for 3 weeks…

Friday Morning Knuckleballs

This 1980 Future Stars card is another reminder of how the future is bright in Texas.  It may not have been so bright back in 1980, but when you got one of these types of cards for your team in a pack back in the day, it didn’t matter how bad you were at the time, because you knew it was just a matter of time before Brian Allard, Jerry Don Gleaton and Greg Mahlberg showed up to save the day!

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