Jun 042012
 
Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Close the Doors…

Monday Morning FastballsThe Rangers showed some signs of life yesterday, as they avoided the sweep in Anaheim and beat the Angels, 7-3.  After a painful loss on Saturday night, Ron Washington called a team meeting in an attempt to get the derailed Ranger team back on track.

“It was something teams that aren’t doing the right things do,” Washington said. “It had to change.”

With Sunday’s win, the Rangers hold the Angels at a deficit of 4 1/2 games.  While this isn’t what many Rangers fans were hoping for going into the weekend series, there is now a feeling of content with having at least salvaged one win given the poor execution and mental mistakes from games 1 and 2 of the series.  Hopefully what we saw yesterday was the reemergence of “Rangers baseball”.

“We were happy with the way we played,” designated hitter Michael Young said. “It was just one game, but there were some things we want to make adjusments on and we did a pretty good job.”

Elvis Andrus, who had a mental lapse to be outdone by no other on Saturday felt that the focus was better on Sunday.

“Our focus today was at a whole different level than the last few days,” said Andrus. “Yesterday’s talk opened everybody’s eyes.”

Hat’s off to Wash for realizing it was time to close the doors and get this team re-focused.  Should this meeting have happened prior to the first two losses in Anaheim?  Perhaps, but time will tell if the timing was right.

Not going to rehash yesterday’s game blow-by-blow, but has Nellie’s home run landed yet?

Monday Morning Fastballs

Ride the Scooter

Monday Morning FastballsScott Feldman takes the mound for the Rangers tonight in Oakland as he attempts to showcase his abilities as a starter a few more times before the arrival of Roy Oswalt.  Feldman, who is 0-3 with a 4.61 ERA in his last three starts, needs to prove that he is more than just a long-reliever.  While he is extremely valuable to this team in that role, the Rangers need to know what they have as far as starting rotation insurance and with his name already floating around out there as trade bait, it’d be nice to see him increase his value with a few solid outings.

Getting beyond the 5th inning is a good place to start.  The 5th inning has proven to be fateful for Scooter in his last 3 trips to the mound, giving up 8 runs in that stretch.

“I know I can pitch more than five innings,” Feldman said. “I know it’s happened three times in a row, but I’ve been working on a starter’s program between starts, and hopefully the third time is the charm. I can go deep in a ballgame and give the bullpen a break.”

Oakland will counter with Jarrod Parker (1-2, 2.88 ERA), who despite some good performances recently, hasn’t picked up a win since May 1st in Boston.

Quick Hits

  • Monday Morning FastballsRangers Uber-Prospect, Jurickson Profar, had his run of games reaching base ended at 50 yesterday.
  • Mike Olt continues to demolish minor league pitching as he homered twice yesterday for the third consecutive game.
  • Vote for Josh Hamilton to be the “Mane Man of the Month” here.
  • 2012 First Year Player Draft starts tonight.  Check out Tim Howell’s breakdown of potential Rangers picks.
  • Be sure to check out our most recent podcast.  Jasen and I discuss the current state of the Rangers, get into the impact of the Roy Oswalt signing and propose a fun activity for the upcoming Field Trip.
  • The Baseball Do Forum’s are up and running.  Get signed up and get involved.  This is your chance to get your point across with more than 140 characters.
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Jun 032012
 

Baseball Do Podcast   Episode 15   Current State of the Rangers & the Impact of Roy OswaltIt’s been a while…

We promise to be better…if you just listen.

We break down the current state of the Rangers, break down the Roy Oswalt signing and come up with a new “activity” for the Field Trip.

Podcast will be available on iTunes in the next 24 hours.

Also, the Forums are LIVE.  What are you waiting for?  Sign up for an account and start talking Rangers (or zombies or football or anything else for that matter)!

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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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May 142012
 

Rangers Cruz Past Rival Angels in Rubber Match

Monday Morning FastballsAfter falling to the Angels on Saturday, the Rangers came out and made a bold statement on Sunday night against Angels Ace Jered Weaver in a nationally televised game.  In the first 3 of 19 the two teams will play this season, the Rangers established where the balance of power stood in the American League West.

“It’s important to win games against the teams in your division, there’s no doubt about it,” said Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler (2 for 4, 1 RBI in the game). “The most important thing is to win games and to win series and we’re able to get another series under our belt. To be honest with you, I’m not really worried about them. I’m worried about us and what we need to do to win games.”

The Angels sent their Ace to the mound, a day after Rangers fans were treated to seeing C.J. Wilson start his second consecutive game of the series.  Weaver only lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up 8 earned runs on 10 hits and a walk.

“Those guys are good over there, man, and if you fall behind, let them get in hitters’ counts, they’re going to put damage on you,” Weaver said. “Obviously, they’ve been doing it to a lot of people. You have to be on your ‘A’ game against these guys. They don’t give you a chance to breathe. You have to be pretty fine with all your pitches, and that wasn’t the case tonight.”

While all runs are created equal, the big blow came off the bat of Nelson Cruz who, with the game tied at 2, delivered a two out Grand Slam in the bottom of the 3rd to cap off an inning in which the Rangers scored all of their runs (5 in total) with two outs.

Monday Morning Fastballs

“I said before that I felt like my swing was there, just not the results,” Cruz said. “I thought it would come. It’s good to see it.”

Monday Morning FastballsCruz wasn’t alone in his plight to sink the Angels pitching staff.  Every Rangers starter, with the exception of David Murphy, got a hit with Kinsler, Andrus, Hamilton, Cruz, Napoli & Moreland all contributing multi-hit games.  Even the hitless Murph made a very big contribution last night, working a walk after being down 0-2 to Jered Weaver in the 3rd, which loaded the bases and kept the inning alive for Cruz.  While Cruz was the only one that left the yard, the extra base power was there all night as the lineup combined for seven doubles.

“It’s a fun lineup to be a part of,” Josh Hamilton said. “Every night somebody steps up. Either all of us, or bottom of the lineup or top of the lineup. It flip-flops or varies, which is a good thing to be able to say as a team. It’s just fun to be a part of.”

Rangers starter Neftali Feliz, very appreciative of the big lead, pitched well through six innings of work, only giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 5.  The two runs came on a home run by Mark Trumbo who started in right field for the Angels – dude has massive power.

Rangers relief gave up four more runs, with three of those being surrendered by Mark Lowe in his 2/3 innings of work.  Lowe, who had performed pretty well so far this season, set himself back last night in terms of the trust that Rangers fans have in him.  The other run was given in up in the 9th by Joe Nathan via a Kendrys Morales solo shot.  Nathan was getting work in due to the time since he last pitched, not because it was a save situation.

Two other worthy highlights of the night:

  • Elvis Andrus defensive GEM – with the Angels threatening to make it a ballgame in the seventh inning, having already scored 3 and now with the bases loaded, Elvis made a tremendous play to end the inning.  I couldn’t find video of the play, but I’m sure most of you saw it.  He ranged far to his left behind the second base bag, gloved a ball and flipped the ball from his glove to Ian who was covering second, just in time to get the force.  Words don’t do it justice….
  • When Jered Weaver was pulled from the game in the middle of the fourth inning, he showed his fun side by singing along with the “Hit the Road Jack” music being played at the Ballpark.  Goofy, and as many tweeted last night, made him seem a little less douchey.  Video below…

Final words from our friend Jered Weaver:

“You have to be pretty good coming into this place,” Weaver said. “These guys are pretty good at home. That’s been proven. They’ve got a good ballclub over there, man. And if you dig yourself a hole before you get out there, that’s pretty much a game won for them already.”

Quick Hits

  • The Rangers begin their series against Kansas City tonight at the Ballpark.  Scott Feldman gets a spot start against Bruce Chen in the first of the short two game series.
  • We completed our Twitter Ticket giveaway yesterday, and the winner was Larry Bannister.  Thanks to everyone who participated and we’ll try to keep more fun giveaways coming the future.
  • The Baseball Do Field Trip is only a little over 6 weeks away.  What are you waiting for…?  Good food, Rangers baseball and Reckless Kelly!

Personal shout out – Happy Birthday Dad!

 

Jered Weaver Ballpark Karaoke:

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May 112012
 

Friday Morning KnuckleballsThe Colbra gives up 5 jacks…but strikes out 12!?!?

“When I came out of the game, I didn’t even feel like I had thrown,” Lewis said. “I felt like I had some of my best stuff all year. It was just a weird game. I don’t know how to justify that game.”

In one of the more puzzling starts of the 2012 season, by any Rangers starter for that matter, Colby Lewis was both dominant and weak, both baffling and predictable, both great and below average.  As he said, “It was just a weird game.”

Lewis got the loss in yesterday’s game, giving up 6 runs on 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 12 over 7 innings of work.  The 12 strikeouts is a new career high for Lewis…as is the 5 home runs that he surrendered.   Colby gave up 3 consecutive home runs in the 1st inning, and 2 in the 7th…in between he managed to retire all 18 batters he faced.

“The first inning, you still have to keep your team in the game,” Lewis said. “Of course you want a clean inning, but if it doesn’t you still try to go as long as you can and keep your team in the game. You keep making pitches and not worry, eventually somebody was going to get out.”

We are all used to the mandatory home run that Colby gives up in each start, and while it can be frustrating from the fan’s perspective, we put up with it because he often allows that home run in the middle of a above average performance.  However, you could see the patience of the Rangers fan wearing very thin on Twitter during yesterday’s start.  With such a heralded group of pitching prospects and Feldman and Ogando looming in the bullpen just waiting for their opportunity to move back into the rotation, it’s easy to quickly call for a change…but Colby’s not going anywhere.

“He still kept us in the ballgame,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Five home runs, usually a lot of damage is done and you can’t come back from that. But we almost did.”

The Rangers bats gave it valiant effort in the 9th, down 6-2, when David Murphy hit a 3 run bomb off of O’s closer Jim Johnson, but couldn’t muster another run and fell just short.

Luckily, this was just the first game of a double header (due to Wednesday’s rain out) and the Rangers would have a chance for redemption in the night cap.

Baltimore glad to see Josh go…

Friday Morning KnuckleballsJosh got the tweeters tweeting early last night with a first inning 2-run shot off of Tommy Hunter, as many wondered if we might be in store for another historic night.  But that was all Josh had to offer, and it was all that was needed as the Rangers took the final game of the series in Baltimore, 7-3.  This gave the Rangers a series win after three consecutive series losses.

“I’m tired … hungry … it will be nice to get home,” Hamilton said. “You never know what will happen in this game, that’s why you play the games. I’m excited I had a good series, but the series is over. We can go back home and get ready for Anaheim. We’re ready to get home.”

Tommy “Big Game” Hunter may have summed it  up best…

“He hit a baseball,” Hunter said. “The dude is on fire. What do you want me to say? He is, he’s a freak.”

Friday Morning Knuckleballs

Hamilton’s home run was a big moment, but Mike Napoli’s first triple in over 2 years was key in the win, as was a very productive night at the plate by Elvis Andrus (2-3, 2 RBI, 2 R).  Beltre and Young also both contributed with a RBI a piece.

All  the offense was nice, given the defensive woes from the night, as the Rangers committed three errors…but hey, it’s the 10th game on the road.

The Dutch Oven  gave up three unearned runs in the 2nd inning, but bounced back and got the win. Holland pitched six innings, giving up the 3 unearned on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out five, moving his record to 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA.

It’s time…

The series we have all been waiting for…the game of the season…Yu Darvish (4-1, 2.54 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (4-1, 2.61 ERA).

For those of you going to the game, C.J. is prepared for boos:

“I think the biggest thing will just be that we’ll be playing in front of a huge crowd in a stadium that’s relatively hostile to our team — and I’m sure will be fairly hostile to me,” he said. “I think a lot of people will boo me and stuff.  The main objective is just focusing on the baseball aspect of it and preparing to get their guys out.”

Ian is downplaying it here, and you can’t blame him.  This is the perspective that players have to have.

“It will be fun, a chance to face somebody you know, but other than that it’s just another game,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said.

But fans don’t have to have that same perspective…to us, this is BIG.  I’ve heard the plan is to give him the silent treatment when he is announced.  I’ve also read plenty of tweets from fans that will be at the game saying they are going to boo the hell out of him.  Regardless what you do, make sure you put far more effort into cheering for Yu and chanting “NA-PO-LI” every time Nap comes to the plate.

The ESPN Baseball Tonight guys give a preview of the series here.

Friday Morning Knuckleballs

“It’s fun to play in front of packed houses and we’ve had that almost every game,” Michael Young said. “When our park gets going, it’s the loudest ballpark in the big leagues. I’ve played in the World Series twice and played in other parks. It’s the loudest. The Cardinals said the same thing to us last year in those games in Arlington. Lots of parks don’t seat 40,000 and we’ve got close to 50,000 and the just the way the ballpark is structured, it makes for a very loud place. We’ve been spoiled this year. We’ve had big crowds nearly every night. We feed off of it. We love it.”

I’m so pumped for this series.  I can honestly say that this feels like playoff baseball…

Quick Hits

  • One of the more bizarre story lines from yesterday’s double-header came in the second game when Robbie Ross was warming up in the bullpen…in the wrong colored uniform.  The Rangers were wearing their blue uniforms, but Robbie had on the road grays.
  • Angels catcher Chris Ianetta will be out tonight as he will undergo surgery on his right wrist today that will keep him out of action an estimated 6-8 weeks.  Everytime I hear or read the words “Angels” and “catcher” together I snicker and chant “NA-PO-LI” under my breath and give a silent shout-out to Frankie Francisco and the Blue Jays…
  • If you missed it last night, we are doing a Twitter Ticket Giveaway.  Be sure to check it out, follow us on Twitter and retweet one of our tweets about the giveaway and you’ll  be eligible…easy as that.  4 front row Lexus Club level seats for next Tuesday’s game!

Enough said…GAME ON!

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May 022012
 

Wednesday Morning CurveballsWash ain’t gonna cry…

A baseball season is long and full of ups and downs.  Last night was a down…

Wash says it best…

“Any loss is difficult to take, whether they got a base hit up the middle and the run scored or it left the ballpark and the run scored. The thing is they beat us,” Washington said. “Yeah, we may helped them a little, but they beat us. We got back in the ballgame, and Lawrie deserves some credit. He hit the ball out of the ballpark. Mike Adams has been flawless. That’s why I say there’s no perfection in this game. But I’m not going to cry, we’ll bounce back tomorrow.”

Brett Lawrie did the dirty deed and Mike Adams gave it up.  No need to rehash something like this too much.  This was an ugly game top to bottom, and the Adams pitch was just the final dagger.

“It was a cutter, slider, whatever you want to call it,” Adams said. “It caught too much of the plate. I knew he hit it well. I didn’t know whether it was out or not. I thought it might be going off the wall, but obviously it hit off the top of the wall. He did his job.”

E6?

Wednesday Morning CurveballsElvis Andrus had his streak of consecutive games without an error come to a screeching halt in the bottom of the 7th when he wasn’t able to successfully transfer the ball from glove to hand.

Elvis had played 54 innings without committing an error at one of the most demanding positions on the field.  As this streak became discussion-worthy over the last few days, I had assumed that when the streak ended, it would be on a play that could have been argued to be a hit and not an error.  I could see thousands of tweets saying “shouldn’t have been an error.  no other SS in mlb would have even gotten to that ball…”.  Does this mean that Wash is going to have to start busting E’s balls a little more?  Doesn’t sound like it.

“It’s a clunker,” Wash said. “I think anybody that’s ever been out there has had that happen to them. It’s just a clunker. He backhanded the ball, and he just didn’t find it properly in his glove and it fell out. It happens.”

Feliz struggles with control and the BIG inning

Neftali Feliz gave up 4 earned runs on 4 hits and 6 walks over 5 innings of work while striking out 4, getting a no-decision in the loss.  The 3rd inning proved to be a fatal one in Nefti’s worst start of the young season, as he gave up all 4 runs on home runs by Kelly Johnson and Jose Bautista.

Feliz was skipped his last time through in the rotation, as Scooter Feldman made the spot start.  The time off didn’t prove to be helpful for Neftali, as he experienced his worst start of the young season.  Keep in mind that he’s still a young pitcher, and even in a poor outing like last night there were flashes of brilliance.

“It’s growing,” Washington said of the 23-year-old Feliz. “He’s got to grow. He’ll grow into it. The main thing is he just couldn’t get the ball down. He elevated it.”

Quick Hits

  • Josh Hamilton & Adrian Beltre were both out of the lineup last night due to soreness and stiffness.  Beltre was the DH on Monday, but the turf seemed to bother his hammy.

“That turf killed him, so he came in sore and we’re going to back off,” Washington said. “We’ll just see how he comes in Wednesday. Me personally, I don’t care if he plays tomorrow or not. I don’t want him to get hurt, and if he’s sore, I don’t want to take any chance. He wasn’t having this problem before we came on this turf.”

  • A Yu Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson match up on Friday, May 11th looks very likely at this point…tasty!
  • Go vote for the Rangers All-Time Team.
  • Matt Harrison (3-1, 3.38 ERA) and Ricky Romero (3-0, 3.18 ERA) face off today (11:37 CST) in the rubber match.
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Apr 032012
 

We recorded our 2012 Season Preview podcast last night and will have it up on the site later today.

Tuesday Morning SlidersBold Prediction #2 – Elvis Andrus will be the starting short-stop for the 2012 American League All-Star team.

This builds on yesterday’s prediction of Ian Kinsler winning the 2012 AL MVP.  As I wrote yesterday, I think one of the keys for Kinsler is going to be the improvement of Andrus’ offensive performance in 2012 which would help provide Kinsler with more line-up protection – aka, can’t pitch around Kinsler if Elvis is hitting the ball well.  Elvis worked to build his upper body and core strength during the off-season and that, along with his experience, athleticism and advancing maturity and discipline a the plate are going to make him a threat in the 2-hole for the Rangers all season.

The best part about this prediction is that my fellow Rangers fans can help me make it come true by voting for Elvis when the voting commences this season.  No doubt the Yankees and Indians fans will vote in droves to try to get their short stop the starting role, but Elvis will prevail…and it won’t be because Rangers fans have stuffed the ballot boxes because Elvis is simply a Ranger.  It will be because Elvis has deserved and proven he is the top player at his position.

Nolan Ryan spoke with media yesterday before the Rangers and the AAA Round Rock Express played.  Ryan addressed a number of hot topics including the Angels, Josh Hamilton and Yu Darvish.

“The Angels have stepped up and helped themselves,” Ryan said. “It’s going to be a tough division for us. They are very competitive, and it will come down to who stays healthiest. They have real strong pitching, so we know we have our work cut out for us.  It should make it interesting. It should make it a good rivalry. I’m looking forward to it. I still think we have the best ballclub.”

When asked if the Rangers-Angels rivalry compares to the Red Sox-Yankees, Ryan said “Are we the West Coast version of it?  I don’t know. I don’t think a lot about it. Obviously, the fact that we’ve won the division the last two years and they felt like they had a lock on that. [Angels owner] Arte [Moreno] stepped up and tried to do something about it.  It will be good for our division and baseball, and it’s going to stimulate more interest, obviously, with Pujols and C.J. over there.”

“[Center field is] where he wants to be,” Ryan said about Josh Hamilton. “It’s where he is happiest. It’s where his focus is. He’ll be fine there.”

“He has a good feel for pitching,” Ryan said about Yu Darvish. “He tried to make some adjustments. Each start he had he worked on things. I saw improvement. I thought that was a positive.  We don’t have any numbers we’re putting with him.  We think he’ll pitch in the rotation and he should pitch a lot of innings. I think he’s at the point in his career where he’s accustomed to throwing 200-plus innings. Somewhere in that neighborhood, I think, would be the expectations.”

Quick hits:

  • Josh Hamilton hit his first homer of the Spring yesterday against Round Rock, blasting a 426 foot 2-run 3rd inning home run to center field.
  • Derek Holland started the game and threw 78 pitches, giving up a 2-run home run to Yangervis Solarte.  Holland felt good after the start, despite the long ball.

“I’m ready to go for sure, despite the home runs,” Holland said. “I thought everything was good. I left a couple of pitches up for strikes. That’s part of getting ready for the season.”

  • Matt Harrison pitches tonight at the Ballpark against Mexico City, 7:05pm first pitch.
  • The Rangers have rounded out their roster, sending Julio Borbon to AAA to start the season.  Alberto Gonzalez, Brandon Snyder and Craig Gentry all secured the final bench spots on the team.  Snyder gives the team a lot of flexibility as the 3rd catcher, 3rd baseman and corner outfielder.
  • Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar will be starting for the Frisco Rough Riders to start the season.  Maybe the next Field Trip will be to Frisco to see these two budding stars.
  • 2012 opening MLB Power Rankings have the Rangers in 2nd.
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Mar 072012
 

Baseball Do Episode 10 – Spring Training Games & Surprise Players of the Year

Tim Howell joins Baseball Do to talk about the Rangers start to Spring Training, the upcoming Yu Darvish debut and all three of the guys pick their surprise player of the year.

Who do you think will be the Mike Napoli of 2012 that exceeds all expectations and shocks the pants right off of us?

Give the podcast a listen and be sure to comment below to let us know what you think.

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Feb 292012
 

If you missed our most recent Podcast, check it out here.  We had a good time talking about Josh Hamilton with our guests, Jennifer and Holly from RangersTalkers.com.

Wednesday Morning CurveballsJerry Crasnick (ESPN.com) asks the question Do the Rangers have an Ace in their stable?

  • As Crasnick puts it, the Rangers pitching staff is long on talent, but short on experience.  ”The Texas rotation, as currently constructed, is long on talent and relatively short on experience. Colby Lewis, the elder statesman of the group at 32, has 631 big league innings if you exclude his time in Japan. Lefties Derek Holland, 25, and Matt Harrison, 26, continue to grow and evolve. Neftali Feliz is transitioning from closer, and Alexi Ogando could land in the rotation or the bullpen. The Rangers also have Scott Feldman, who was a postseason savior as the team’s long man in October.  Which brings us, finally, to Yu Darvish, whose talent and stuff prompted the Rangers to shell out almost $112 million between the posting fee and the contract.”
  • Crasnick then asks the real question – does it matter if their is a true ace or not?  He goes on to name all of the teams in MLB that have a legitimate ace, and says “Despite the absence of Rangers from the list, two big league front-office people said Texas’ rotation is worthy of a pennant contender, particularly because it’s supported by such a formidable lineup.”
  • Crasnick makes some good points in the article and it’s definitely worth the read, but I’m really hoping that one of two things happen in 2012:
  1. One of the existing Rangers starters develops into an ace over the course of the year and can serve in that role during the playoffs – Darvish or Holland seem to make the most sense to me.
  2. If #1 doesn’t happen, the Rangers are in a position to trade for a true ace at the trade deadline.

The uncomfortably named Michael Weiner, Executive Director of the MLB Players Association, was at Rangers camp yesterday for the Rangers union meeting.  With both last year’s player rep and the back up, C.J. and O’Day respectively, no longer with the club, the team will need to identify replacements.

  • Weiner talked briefly about Ryan Braun’s recent “testing” debacle, saying ”Any strong program has to to deter use, has to have appropriate penalities and also has to have a fair appeals process.  This doesn’t take away from our process. Anybody that wants both a tough and fair program should be satisfied with this result.”
  • Weiner also talked about Josh Hamilton’s recent relapse, ”The union and the Commissioner’s Office jointly administer a program and Josh is a part of that.  Josh is working hard under that program and our first concern is for Josh’s well-being. Josh has the resources that he needs,” Weiner said.

Quick hits:

  • Wednesday Morning CurveballsRon Washington is impressed with Neftali Feliz’s attitude, ”He’s focused and he’s confident and he’s getting the opportunity to use all his pitches in batting practice.  He has been a leader in his group out there. So far, he seems very happy to be a starter. To me, that is 50 percent of it. The other 50 percent is going out and getting it done. He’s determined to do well. He’s going to win some game for us.”
  • Elvis Andrus (foot) didn’t participate in any running drills yesterday, but did hit in the cage and take grounders.  Should be back to full speed soon.
  • Mike Adams (hernia) will throw again today and plan’s to pitch in the intrasquad game on Friday.
  • Jeff Wilson (Star-Telegram) writes about David Murphy’s hope for more playing time in 2012.
  • Jon Daniels when asked if he’s optimistic about Josh Hamilton remaining with the Rangers beyond 2012 after his comments from last Friday and over the weekend, “The comments don’t play into it much. Maybe I’m an optimist but I’d like to think that at the appropriate time, we’ll sit down and be able to work something out. Bottom line is the club would like to keep Josh in Texas, and I think he’d like to be here. It’s been a mutually beneficial relationship, without a doubt. Every situation is unique and requires some level of creativity. If that’s the mindset on both sides, we’ll be OK. For now though, we all think it’s best to let Josh’s family and sobriety be the priority, followed by getting ready for the season. We’ll handle the contract talks privately at some point.”
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Feb 282012
 

We recorded he podcast last night with Jennifer Cobb and Holly Ballantine from www.RangersTalkers.com.  We’ll have it posted up here on the site later this morning be sure to check it out to hear how the sTalkers got started and all of our thoughts on the recent Josh Hamilton news.  Disclaimer: Jennifer’s dog is named “Hambone”.

  • Tuesday Morning SlidersThe Rangers announced Yu Darvish will  make his first Spring Training start on March 7th at 2 p.m. against San Diego in Peoria.  The game will be broadcast on texasrangers.com.  Darvish threw 36 pitches yesterday and seemed to be happy with the outing.
  • Here is the full rotation for the first five Spring Training games:
    March 4: Colby Lewis, Scott Feldman
    March 5: Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando
    March 6: Matt Harrison
    March 7: Darvish
    March 8: Neftali Feliz
  • Richard Durrett (ESPNDallas) provides an overview of the center field battle.

Ron Washington has said he’s going to allow Elvis Andrus to start taking responsibility for his own play, rather than watching over the young shortstop as closely and proactively addressing his play.  Andrus,while still only 23 years old, has been a full-timer at the major league level for the Rangers for the last three seasons.

  • Tuesday Morning SlidersWashington on Andrus, “He’s established himself now to the point where he knows what he has to do.  We’re going to give him some leeway. His teammates will make sure he does what he needs to do. I think we’ll see less of him zoning out than we have in the past.”
  • Andrus on the new found freedom, ”I am learning how to handle my body and my mind better.  Last year, he wasn’t on me quite as much. I appreciate the help and I needed it, but at the same time, as you grow as a player and a person, you want that responsibility to do it yourself. I don’t expect him to be behind me like he was earlier. I know when I make a mistake. I know he’ll be there to help me when I need it too.”
  • Andrus on wanting to improve his power stroke, ”I want to add some power.  I don’t mean home runs. Those happen with good swings. But I want to drive the ball more to the gaps.”

The starting rotation has been much of the talk so far this Spring Training, with potentially 7 viable options, not counting the always looming presence of free-agent veteran Roy Oswalt, and only 5 spots.

  • T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) writes that Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz are both making solid impressions early in camp here.
  • Sullivan on Feliz, “It is still early in camp but Washington likes what he sees from both pitchers, especially Feliz. Washington said he sees a pitcher who came to camp determined to be a starter.”
  • Scott Miller (CBSSports) writes that Oswalt still wants the Rangers.
  • For our take on the rotation, be sure to check out the Spring Training podcast special we recorded last week.
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