Mar 132013
 

Texas Rangers Spring Training Questions, Answered! (Sort of)Well, the 2013 Major League Baseball season is just about upon us.

How close you ask?
Consider that in just over three weeks, the 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip will become a reality! And by that time, the Rangers will be four games deep into the 2013 regular season.

And, since the lowly Houston Astros represent three of those first four games, the Rangers should be sitting pretty at 4-0.  But talk of the 2013 Rangers season, and even Astros-bashing, seems a tad premature since there are still so many Spring Training questions left unanswered.

Can Alexi Ogando hold down the fourth spot in the rotation?  Can Lance Berkman’s body make it back from Surprise in one piece? Who will be the Rangers’ fifth starter, and when will the butcher and candle maker join Jeff Baker?

For Goodness Saker, What’s a Jeff Baker?

Last year in Surprise, Robbie Ross was the feel-good story of the spring.  Considered a long-shot to make the roster, Ross not only made the squad, but became a crucial part of the big league bullpen.

So far this spring, major league journeyman Jeff Baker has been all the talk.  The Baker Hype has been much deserved as he has put up a triple-slash line of .529/.568/.735 over 34 ABs thus far.

As of right now, it looks as if Baker has the inside track on being the Rangers’ go-to utility infielder, an area of concern since Andres Blanco departed prior to the 2012 season.

Mitch Moreland

Mitch Moreland has never really had a chance to prove his value to the team.  He has had some injury issues (2011 his wrist bothered him, and last season it was a hamstring) and when he has been healthy he was either trumped to make room for Mike Napoli/Michael Young, or was flat-out benched against lefties.

Hitting against left-handers had proved to be difficult for the big man from Mississippi. However, not so this spring.  Moreland has been thumping southpaws to the tune of: .500/.600/1.00 with one long ball and four RBI thus far…If Moreland can stay healthy, look for him to have a big season in 2013.

The OTHER Martin

I’ve decided to be upbeat.  So let’s not talk about the Martin Perez broken arm thing. Whoops, I guess I just did.  That is the last time I will mention that Martin Perez may miss up to two months. Promise.  Okay, anyhoo, let’s move on to the other Martin. Leonys Martin.

All indications are that Leonys Martin may be ready to become the Rangers’ full-time center fielder.  Martin has had some issues defensively, but it is hard even for Ron Washington to ignore Martin’s .394/.447/.576 slash line.  Now is the time for the Rangers to see if their $15 million investment in the Cuban defector was worth the, um, investment.

The only negative I can see with Martin getting the nod to start every day in center is that it moves Baseball Do-fave Craig Gentry back to the bench.  Gentry is having one sweet spring too and has proved that he can hit right-handers to boot, thanks to his .294/.455/.529 thus far.

Although I’d love to see Gentry start on a regular basis, he is a nifty security blanket just in case Martin should falter.  Look for Gentry to be a late-innings defensive replacement this season much like last season.

Lance Berkman Not Yet Broken

So far Lance Berkman has not been injured.  However, he has been sporting a full-on beard. How does this matter in terms of injury? Well, should Berkman decide to ditch the face-do, do not be surprised if he blows out a wheel in the process.

Seriously, if you can tear an ACL playing first base, what makes you think you are safe in the shower?

What do I Think-o about Starter Numero Cinco?

It is a good thing that right-hander Alexi Ogando has looked solid over his recent outings. There is already a mini-controversy surrounding the Rangers’ future fifth starter, and you certainly don’t want any questions marks surrounding the fourth spot thrown in the mix too.

And therein lays the problem with the Martin Perez situation.  Whoops, I mentioned him again.  The aforementioned Robbie Ross has been quite sharp in his starts, but should he make the rotation, who would take over the role of left-handed go-to reliever?

Fellow southpaw Michael Kirkman, should he not make the rotation, is a likely candidate to replace Ross in the ‘pen.  Free Agent pickup Kyle McClellan is a possibility in the fifth spot as is Justin Grimm.  Grimm has struggled mightily this spring as his north-of-twelve ERA can attest.

Ross is in a similar situation to CJ Wilson three years ago, minus the whole being an incredible d-bag thing.

Essentially Ross will have to be so good as a starter that it is worth it to the club to create a lefty deficit in the pen.  This is one of those roster decisions that is going to be right down to the wire.

Regardless of the eventual roster shakedown, the 2013 season is just around the corner and I am super-stoked!

@TmurrayHowell

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Oct 112012
 
Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees

Jason Churchill of ESPN.com noted this morning that the Rangers could be in the market for an everyday centerfielder, regardless of Josh Hamilton’s return or departure.

The Texas Rangers, whether or not they re-sign Josh Hamilton this offseason, may be in the market for an everyday centerfielder. The Boston Red Sox may be at the point where trading Jacoby Ellsbury, a free agent after the 2013 season, makes more sense than not.

Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald suggests the two clubs could match up in a trade, and wonders if the Rangers could be open to parting with left-hander Derek Holland for Ellsbury.

A few things to note:

  • Thursday Sound Off: Dutch for Ellsbury?The 29 year-old Ellsbury is under contract only through the end of 2013, after which he will become a free agent.  He was paid around $8M in 2012 and is arbitration eligible for 2013.
  • Holland (26) is under control through 2018, with ’17 and ’18 both being club options, with pay escalating to $10M plus in 2016 and beyond.
  • Craig Gentry…

So, what do you think?  Would you like to see Dutch pack his bags for a move to Boston in return for one year of Ellsbury in center?

Vote on the poll and sound off in the comments section!

 

Should the Rangers trade Derek Holland to Boston for Jacoby Ellsbury?
Yes
No
View Result

 

Got other thoughts on what the Rangers should do this off-season?  Check out “Time for Changes in Arlington” and let us hear from you.

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

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

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

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

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

In-House Options: Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Free Agent Market

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

@TMurrayHowell

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

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Jul 192012
 
MLB: AUG 15 Diamondbacks at Nationals

OK, so this may be the longest of long shots, but it’s also one of the most intriguing in terms of potential trade targets for the Rangers.  While Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin and David Murphy are all doing a pretty good job of holding down the third spot in the Rangers outfield with Josh and Nellie, B.J.’s little brother is attractive in more ways than one…

Justin Irvin Upton

Potential Trade Target Profile: Justin Upton

The Player

If Justin Upton is truly on the trading block, he is by far the most talented offensive player available.  The Diamondbacks, after making the playoffs in 2011, are a sub-.500 team this year (44-47) and sitting 7 games back in the NL West of the division leading Giants (and 7 games back in the Wild Card race).  Not too far back to make a second half run, which Upton would have to play a key role in, if it were to happen.

Upton is a 24 year-old 2-time NL All-Star who finished 4th in the NL MVP voting in 2011.  He was the first pick in the 2004 MLB Draft and made his debut in Arizona at the age of 19 in 2007.

Upton has played right field exclusively since coming up to the big leagues, but some speculate that he could play CF or LF effectively.

Upton isn’t having his best season, after strong campaigns over the last four years.  This simply makes it seem even more far-fetched that the D’Backs would consider moving the young star, as it’s definitely not an opportunity to “sell high”.

Upton is also under contract through 2015, which from the Rangers perspective, could serve as an insurance policy against losing Josh Hamilton in free agency after the season.  If Hamilton is resigned by the Rangers, it would facilitate his permanent move to LF if Upton could play CF.  Upton’s contract pays him $6.75M this season and $9.75M, $14.25M, $14.5M over the next three seasons.

So, a young talented player with a limitless ceiling with proven success at the major league level…locked up through 2015…not currently playing up to his full potential…for a team that isn’t completely out of the playoff race in the National League.

Why would Arizona deal him?  While he may not be performing up to his potential so far this season, he’s young and talented enough that it’s not a huge knock on his value.  Sure, the D’Backs wouldn’t be selling him at his true “high”, but there is no question of his long-term value.  Arizona is a team built to contend, and Upton’s age and potential play right into that.

All that said, the D’Backs know the market is better suited for sellers right now.  With the revisions to the Playoffs this year (additional Wild Card team), there are more buyers at the trade deadline than ever before.  Sure Upton is young and talented, but if Arizona could exchange him for a slew of young and talented players that fit the current and future needs of his teams…he’d do it.

“I don’t know whether we’ll trade Justin or not,” Arizona General Manager Kevin Towers said. “We’ll have to see if the right deal presents itself. We’re in the information-gathering business. The information we get now may be useful this winter. We’ll find out what teams have interest in him.”

So, it all comes down to the right deal…

The Measurables

Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2007 19 ARI 43 140 17 31 8 3 2 11 2 11 37 .221 .283 .364 .647
2008 20 ARI 108 356 52 89 19 6 15 42 1 54 121 .250 .353 .463 .816
2009 21 ARI 138 526 84 158 30 7 26 86 20 55 137 .300 .366 .532 .899
2010 22 ARI 133 495 73 135 27 3 17 69 18 64 152 .273 .356 .442 .799
2011 23 ARI 159 592 105 171 39 5 31 88 21 59 126 .289 .369 .529 .898
2012 24 ARI 85 311 55 85 13 2 7 38 11 36 78 .273 .354 .395 .749
6 Yrs 666 2420 386 669 136 26 98 334 73 279 651 .276 .357 .476 .832
162 Game Avg. 162 589 94 163 33 6 24 81 18 68 158 .276 .357 .476 .832
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/19/2012.

If 2008 through 2011 is a true indication of the potential of Justin Upton, there is no doubt that the sky is the limit for this kid.  Keep in mind that he is only 24 this season (turns 25 in late August), so his best years should still be ahead of him.

  • Looking at similar players, Adams Jones, Jay Bruce and our very own Nelson Cruz make the list.  Historically, the most similar player in terms of production through the age of 24 is Ruben Sierra…doesn’t it feel like it was meant to be?
  • Upton’s current WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is a weak 1.1…again, you can’t put too much value on his performance so far this season given his age and what we have seen over the previous 3-4 years.  His WAR in 2011 was 5.7, good for 6th in the National League.
  • Upton’s name is scattered all over the leader boards for offensive performance in 2011 – WAR, Slugging %, Runs, Total Bases, Doubles, Home Runs, Runs Created, etc.

Could Justin be a Ranger?

Potential Trade Target Profile: Justin UptonOK, I’m officially excited about the thought of this guy in a Rangers uniform through 2015.  That said, I view this as the longest of long shots.

Does a trade for Upton fill a need?  Yes, while the offense is already strong (outside of recent performance), Upton provides another dynamic threat to the line-up and provides an everyday OF for the Rangers (Hamilton-Upton-Cruz).

Does dealing for Upton fill the team’s top need?  That’s debatable, but my thought is if you have an opportunity to get a player of this caliber for a price that you deem fair, you pull the trigger.

As far as what Arizona would require in return for Upton…the price tag is going to be higher than that of say Cole Hamels or another other player who is eligible for free agency after the season.  Again, Upton is locked up through 2015.  I think it will require a group of top level prospects (2-4 of them) along with a current major league player (if only to provide the Arizona fans with something new for this season).

So, what is the “right deal”?  You know Jon Daniels has a different idea from Kevin Towers as to what the “right deal” is.  Hence, the reason this deal more than likely won’t happen.

If you consider Jurickson Profar to be untouchable, the deal would more than likely center around Mike Olt and Martin Perez (or a pitching prospect of similar value), and could include a 1-2 more minor league players from a notch or two below these two…possibly someone like a Julio Borbon.

So, would you (yes, you) make that move?  Olt and Perez represent a big part of what is considered the future (near future is more like it) of this team.  The difference with a deal like this, as opposed to Cole Hamels or a soon-to-be free agent, is Justin Upton would also be considered the future of this team…as well as be more impactful this season.

If JD could find a way to make this deal happen while not dealing away Profar and Olt, I’d be on board.  I like Perez, but we have good pitching depth at the Major League level as well as down on the farm.  I’m sure the Rangers will do their due diligence and see what’s here, but a deal for Upton just seems unlikely…but it’s fun to ponder.

Regardless of what happens, this type of deal, whether the Rangers are the D’Backs’ trading partner or not, would likely occur at the 11th hour.  Should be fun to watch!

For your entertainment:

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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 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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Jun 142012
 
Harri6.13.12

Matt Cain was Perfect; Matt Harrison was pretty good too as Rangers win 1 0

Matt Harrison—once again—was terrific.

Last night, the Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 for their third-straight win and their fourth in the last five games.

The Rangers did it—once again—with great starting pitching. We won’t focus on the sputtering offense as that takes away from the eye-popping performances of Matt Harrison and Wade Miley…plus, last night—across the big leagues—it was all about pitching.

June 13th 2012 is going to go down as one great day for pitchers. Former Ranger R.A. Dickey threw a remarkable complete game, one-hitter for his 10th win—and he did it with an 80-plus MPH knuckleball. Amazing.

Matt Cain threw a no-hitter against the Houston Astros. Yeah I know technically it was the 22nd perfect game in Major League Baseball history… I’m down grading it to a no-hitter though. After all it was thrown against the Houston Astros.

I’m kidding.

The Houston Astros’ offense isn’t really that bad. They’re hitting .250 as a team, and that’s good for 18th in baseball. No it’s not great but there are 12 teams more offensively inept—like the Seattle Mariners—and we all know what even the Mariners are capable of when the stars are aligned.

So, in a nutshell…

Kudos to Matt Cain!
Emphatic smooching should be heaped upon his hindquarters.

Yes, even more than has already graced him where the good Lord split him—he deserves it.

But let’s not forget about Matt Harrison.

Awash in a wave terrible “Abel/Able” puns will be lefty Matt Harrison’s 7 1/3 from the very same night as that dude from San Fran’s successful stab at perfection.

On a side note, aren’t you glad we missed Matt Cain’s turn in the rotation last week?

Harrison’s line was far from perfect. He walked more than knuckleballer Dickey (2) and surrendered more hits (6) as well. Heck, he wasn’t even as awesome as the “other guy”—Arizona’s Wade Miley (7 2/3, 3 hits, 8 Ks, 1 ER).

But, against a team that had clobbered him the only other time he’d ever faced them, and on a night where Arizona’s Miley was near unhittable—Harrison kept his team in a position to win.

In a perfect bit of baseball irony the Texas Rangers’ Matt Harrison proved to the world that he’s a winner—even if all he earned was a no-decision.

Up Next:

The series finale between the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks is scheduled for a 7:05 (CST) first pitch. RH Scott Feldman (0-5, 6.39 ERA) and RH Daniel Hudson (2-1, 6.06 ERA) get the starts on the hill, in the battle of the six-plus ERA.

Make sure to check back here tomorrow for the BaseballDo Game 3 Preview!

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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 092012
 
TheGentry5

Texas Rangers Score the Cinco, Give Zito and Giants El StinkoLast night’s 5-0 victory over the always-tough-on-Texas San Francisco Giants couldn’t have possibly come at a better time.

Clearly, the Texas Rangers were in a funk, and getting damn tired of the entire state of California. In their last seven games, they’d lost five; two-of-three in Anaheim and three-of-four in Oakland.

Yeah, Oakland. Ugh.

So, naturally, their final opponent during their 10-day West Coast tour was the San Francisco Giants.

Remember them? Sure, they were the ones who finally solved Cliff Lee’s unbeatable postseason riddle— ending the Rangers’ World Series bid in five games back in 2010.

The G-men also happen to play in a park that Texas had yet to win a game in. Not one stinking game! Heck, the Rangers hadn’t won a game in the city of San Francisco since 1998.

And oh yeah, toeing the rubber in game one was Barry Zito (18-6 career against Texas.)

If Zito pitched as well against every other team as he usually does against the Rangers, he might be punching a ticket to the Hall of Fame.

But, hey, if baseball was even moderately predictable it sure as hell wouldn’t be as much fun…especially when it’s the Texas Rangers’ turn to defy the odds.

Playing crappy in Cali? Craig Gentry wasn’t having it. Woeful on the westside? Ian Kinsler had had enough. Add another losing streak to the Rangers long list of recent letdowns? Matt Harrison said “no way.”

Harrison (8-3, 3.87 ERA) was masterful. He scattered just five hits over his nine innings of work, with four strikeouts and zero free passes.

Of his 111 pitches, 77 were of the strike variety (69%) and 18 of the 27 batters he retired he did so via the ground ball out.

Harrison’s fine effort was the highlight of the night but not the whole story…

Craig Gentry, hitting machine

• Gentry matched the entire Giant’s hit total with his 5-for-5 performance last night. His average skyrocketed 40 points, to .341. His 2 RBI—from the 8-hole—would have been enough by themselves for the win.

When Ian Kinsler pops it up 380-feet, we don’t groan

• Second pitch of the game, Kinsler takes Zito deep to left field for his seventh big fly of the year.

Let the hitters hit

• Every starting non-pitcher (NL ball is a beating) recorded at least one hit last night for the Rangers.

Here’s a look at some other numbers of interest from last night:

0.76

• Average number of long balls launched at AT&T Park per game in 2012—the lowest of any park in the major leagues.

22

• Career total in leadoff homeruns for Ian Kinsler after his first inning smash.

• Also the number that Josh Hamilton now has on the year.

• Coming into last night’s contest, 22 was the total amount of homers hit at AT&T ballpark all season before Kinsler and Hamilton connected.

8

• With the 5-0 win, Matt Harrison picked up his 8th win, tying him for the American League’s most with Rays left-hander David Price.

3

• Number of shutouts Harrison now has in his career.
• Also, the number in years since he threw his last one.

2

• Number of home runs the Rangers had managed over their last 8 games…they needed only five innings to match that total last night against Zito.

10…

• …long days since Hamilton had hit his last home run—May 29th against the Seattle Mariners.

Here’s hoping the Rangers can start their first winning streak since last month’s Toronto Blue Jays beat down…

The second game of this best-of-three series is scheduled for a 3:05 (CST) first pitch and will feature the Rangers’ Scott Feldman (0-4, 7.01 ERA) against the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong (4-2, 2.38).

Sure, on paper this might look like another mismatch favoring the Giants. But so did last night’s game, and that one worked out just fine.

Make sure to check back this afternoon for the full game two preview as only BaseballDo can…um…do!

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Mar 272012
 

Baseball Do Podcast Episode 12   What to do with Robbie Ross?  Garlic Fries vs. Cheese Fries??Jennifer Cobb & Megan Parr from www.RangersTalkers.com join us to talk about:

  • Robbie Ross – bullpen lefty or minor league starter in 2012?
  • Center Field options – Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry or trade possibilities?
  • Tailgating
  • Ballpark foods – who hates hot dogs?

Give it a listen and be sure to let us know what you think!

Also, be sure to sign up for the Field Trip if you haven’t already (spaces are limited) and stay tuned for a special giveaway in the next few days!

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