Jul 042012
 
FeldmanFreeze

Roy Oswalt...Ah, forget about it—Feldman Looks to Stop Rangers SkidOkay, so Roy Oswalt was simply awful last night—he’s now averaging 18.7 hits per nine innings.

Ugh.

And yes, Ian Kinsler’s error did, indeed, lead to seven unearned runs—and at the mathematical halfway point of the season, Kinsler does have as many errors as he did all of last year.

Yikes.

Am I worried about Kinsler? Nope. Concerned about Oswalt? Well, let’s just say I’m less optimistic now than I was a day ago.

It’s one thing to give up 13 hits and set your career high in a game. It’s an entirely different matter to equal that career high in your very next start.

Again it’s too early for concern, but now even the most outlandish of knee jerk reactions bears enough weight to prevent an immediate dismissal.

Regardless, last night’s atrocity was just one game. It’s always troubling to get absolutely boat-raced, but hey, if a win is a win, then the same should be said for a loss.

Speaking of losses, tonight it’s Scott Feldman looking to stop the Rangers’ not-as-bad-as-it-seems losing streak. Feldman, all kidding aside, has won his last two starts after dropping six straight prior.

Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Chicago White Sox (43-37, L 10: 7-3)

Roy Oswalt...Ah, forget about it—Feldman Looks to Stop Rangers Skid

Beckham was the only ChiSox starter that didn’t record a hit last night.


CF Alejandro De Aza
3B Kevin Youkilis
DH Adam Dunn
1B Paul Konerko
RF Alex Rios
C A.J. Pierzynski
LF Dayan Viciedo
SS Alexi Ramirez
2B Gordon Beckham

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (2-6, 6.13 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)

Feldman hasn’t pitched too well at U.S. Cellular Field over his career. He’s surrendered a .304 BA, and aside from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, there are only two other stadiums where he has surrendered at least five home runs—Oakland Coliseum, and Rogers Centre (five HR in each.)

This season, RHB have hit him hard: .314/.341/.477 and LHB have gone: .268/.331/.429. Both lefties and righties have taken Scooter deep on four occasions thus far.

As a team, the White Sox bat .267 against the Hawaiian-born right-hander, and Paul Konerko (.353, 2 HRs, 6 RBI) as well as Alex Rios (.304, 2 HRs, 5 RBI) have had particular success against him.

During his current two-game winning streak, Feldman has posted a 4.91 ERA.

Texas Rangers (50-31, L 10: 6-4)

Roy Oswalt...Ah, forget about it—Feldman Looks to Stop Rangers Skid

Elvis knocked in the Rangers’ only runs last night with a two-run double.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Michael Young
DH Nelson Cruz
RF David Murphy
C Mike Napoli
CF Leonys Martin*

*Craig Gentry gets the night off tonight.

VS

RHP Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 4.50 ERA, 1.35 WHIP)

Axelrod has never pitched against the Texas Rangers and has yet to win his first game of the season.

The 26-year-old Santa Barbara, California native was originally a 30th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2007.

Tonight will mark just the tenth major league appearance for Axelrod, and just his seventh start.

Notes:

• During his six game losing streak, Feldman surrendered 29 hits over 25 2/3 innings. Oswalt has now given up 35 hits over 17 innings spanning just three games.

* Andrus’ two-run double last night not only kept the Rangers from being shutout for just the second time all season, but it also stretched his hitting streak t0 10 games.

• Since 1970, only five pitchers have allowed 13 hits in consecutive starts, with Livan Hernandez being the most recent in 2008, and HOF Bob Gibson being the most famous; he achieved this dubious distinction in 1970.

Go Rangers!

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Jul 032012
 
Oswalt-sharp-in-first-start-of-the-season-GQ1NTKTC-x-large

Chris Sale vs. Roy Oswalt, a Rangers/White Sox PreviewAfter winning 7-of-10 during their recent home stand, the A.L. West-leading Texas Rangers arrived in the Windy City yesterday for a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox, the first-place club of the A.L. Central.

Unlike the Rangers, the White Sox have been quite a surprise this season. Less than a month ago, they lost their erstwhile ace—and former top Rangers’ prospect—John Danks, for the season due to a shoulder injury.

The A.L. Central is a weak division, but the ChiSox have taken advantage of said disparities thanks to a balanced team that is currently ranked eighth in the A.L. in batting average (.256), and sixth in team ERA (3.96).

The White Sox hold a 2 1/2 game lead over the resurgent Cleveland Indians and a 3 1/2 game lead over the severely underachieving Detroit Tigers.

Although coming off of a disappointing 3-1 loss last Sunday, the Rangers find themselves at 20 games over .500, good enough for the best record in Major League Baseball.

Roy Oswalt makes his third start for the Rangers and his first on the road this year. The White Sox counter with 23-year-old Chris Sale, a left-hander that has blossomed into one of the finest southpaws in the league.

Here’s a look at tonight’s starting lineups:

Chicago White Sox (42-37, L 10: 6-4)

CF Alejandro De Aza
3B Kevin Youkilis
DH Adam Dunn
1B Paul Konerko
RF Alex Rios
C A.J. Pierzynski
LF Dayan Viciedo
SS Alexi Ramirez
2B Gordon Beckham

VS

RHP Roy Oswalt (2-0, 4.26 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 8.5 K/9…15.6 H/9)

Oswalt most definitely loves pitching for the Texas Rangers. After giving up 22 hits over his first two starts—a career-high 13 last Wednesday against Detroit—Oswalt is 2-0 thanks to the potent Rangers offense.

I’m not concerned about The Wizard of Os, however. After all, without the benefit of Spring Training, we can’t reasonably expect Oswalt to be in top form any sooner than August at the earliest. Oswalt’s true value will be predicated by his potential impact come the postseason, should the Rangers make it into October for a third-straight season.

Regardless, like all Rangers’ fans, I want to watch him win now—and so far, so good on that front.

Over his 11-year career, Oswalt has gone 73-55 with a 3.45 ERA on the road. At Chicago’s US Cellular Field, the Os has a 2.57 ERA over his seven innings of work there.

Since his hits surrendered thus far are unbelievably high, and two starts is a teeny sample size, there’s no need to mention that right-handers are batting .414 off of him, and left-handers .370. Whoops

Let’s go with his career platoon splits, which are much less terrifying—LHB: .263/.309/.387, and .248/.296/.386 against RHB.

Texas Rangers (50-30, L 10: 7-3)

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mitch Moreland
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Craig Gentry

VS

LHP Chris Sale (9-2, 2.27 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 8.9 K/9)

Sale, a former 2010 first-round pick by the White Sox made his big league debut just two months after Chicago selected him with the thirteenth overall pick.

Used exclusively as a reliever prior to this season, Sale has been outstanding as a starter for the ChiSox over his 15 starts.

Sale’s home/road splits are equally intimidating. Sale is undefeated on the road (5-0, 2.85 ERA) and while his two losses on the year have come at US Cellular Field, his 1.69 ERA their is one of the finest in the league.

So sound has Sale been during the first half, that both left-handed and right-handed batters tend to return to their dugouts after uttering an ample amount of curse words to themselves.

Southpaws produce the slash line of: .184/.229/.255 with zero home runs. Right-handed hitters go: .204/.264/.318 with just five home runs.

As a team, the Texas Rangers are batting just .182 against him, but this will mark the first time they have faced him as a starter.

Notes:

• Way back in April, the Texas Rangers took two-of-three from the White Sox, with Joe Nathan blowing a lead and taking the “L” during their only loss. It will be interesting to see how Nathan handles Alex Rios this go-round—should the two faceoff once again.

• Chicago acquired third baseman Kevin Youkilis late last week from the Boston Red Sox. “The Youk” has never faced Roy Oswalt, but has a career slash line of: .319/.407/.524 against the Rangers over his career…

• White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, more famous for being a loudmouthed a-hole than for anything he’s ever done on the field, has a chance to apologize to Rangers skipper Ron Washington face-to-face, starting tonight.

Pierzynski made incredibly short-sided and overtly ignorant statements regarding his All-Star “snubbing” by Wash, the A.L.’s skipper for the second-straight season…I’m willing to bet Pierzynski will do nothing of the sort.

Go Rangers!

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