Feb 212013
 

Weekly preview of each of the Rangers’ American League West rivals for the 2013 season – from the bottom up.

  1. Houston Astros

Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

The Rangers’ cross-state inter-league rival is making the move to the American League West starting in the 2013 season to become a more frequent opponent on the Rangers’ schedule and potentially bring more intrigue and consequence to each match-up.

Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

New Manager Bo Porter hopes to get things turned around in Houston.

The Astros are a young team who will struggle to really build their identity in the American League in 2013.  However, with new manager Bo Porter in place, a respected front-office and a strong farm system (4th on Keith Law’s organizational rankings),they hope to get out of the cellar in the next 2-3 seasons.

Unfortunately, with the move to the AL West (Hello DH!), the limited experience of many key players (youth) and the anticipated improvement in Seattle, it’s not likely that they will finish anywhere but last this season.  The question is, how many games will this team lose?

After finishing last in the National League Central in 2011 and 2012, with 106 and 107 losses respectively, the win’s won’t come any easier in 2013.  Is another 100+ loss season on tap for the Lastros (sorry, couldn’t resist)?  Uhhhh…yes.

The Bats & Gloves

As stated earlier, the Astros have some young talent at the Major League level and the large majority of that, if not all, falls to the position players.  With some moving parts and flexibility in the line-up, it could easily change, but…

Projected Lineup (from Chip Bailey, Ultimate Astros blog)

  1. Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

    Jose Altuve will set the tone for the Astros’ lineup in 2013.

    Jose Altuve, 2B

  2. Tyler Greene, SS
  3. Brett Wallace, 1B
  4. Chris Carter, LF
  5. Justin Maxwell, CF
  6. J.D. Martinez, RF
  7. Carlos Pena, DH
  8. Jason Castro, C
  9. Matt Dominguez, 3B

There are many potential variations out there for the Astros’ lineup, but the players are pretty set with the exception of OF Fernando Martinez who should crack the lineup regularly throughout the season.

The 5’5″ Altuve is a solid lead-off option, but beyond that the Astros have a number of question marks with inexperience and inconsistency being the big culprits.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some players here, but I don’t think the Astros can count on the offense to improve enough to avoid 100 losses again.

If a couple of the youngsters (Martinez, Martinez, Wallace, Castro & Dominguez) can break out and if they can get some consistency from the veterans (Pena, Maxwell), they could help win 7+ more games in 2013, but….

The Arms

Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

Can the Rocket improve this pitching staff?

A few key figures from 2012:

  • .270 Batting Average Against – 27th in the Majors
  • .337 Opponents On-Base Percentage – 28th in Majors
  • .427 Opponents Slugging Percentage – 25th in Majors
  • 2.17 K/BB – 25th in Majors
  • 1.43 WHIP – 29th in Majors
  • Only blew 19 saves…but that was on only 50 save opportunities, so good enough for a 62% Save Rate – 26th in Majors

With all due respect to Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun and Joey Votto…it’s not going to get any easier in the American League West.

The Astros brought former Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens in to help, but that’s not going to help unless he brought Brian McNamee along.

The Rotation

There are as many as 10 pitchers in the mix, vying for a spot in the starting rotation, but here’s what’s likely:

  1. Bud Norris
  2. Lucas Harrell
  3. Phillip Humber
  4. Jordan Lyles
  5. Erik Bedard

Brad Peacock, Alex White, Jared Cosart and John Ely are all talented young pitchers who will very likely get a shot at some point during the season as well.

The Pen

Looking at this bunch, I would say there are no clearly defined roles with setup and closing duties open for competition in Spring Training – and the possibility of some of the youngsters mentioned above (Peacock, White, Cosart and Ely) fighting for spots in the bullpen (ala Robbie Ross).

More than likely, Jose Veras will be the closer at least to start the season.

The Manager

First year rookie manager Bo Porter has his hands full, but barring a cluster of unforgivable mistakes, expect the Astros front office to have some patience with him.  I, for one, think Porter was an excellent hire and if given time can be a good major league manager.

From “The Legend of Bo Porter” on RantSports.com:

Porter studied all 162 games of the Astros season last year. He believes the Astros could have won 35 more games than the 55 that the Astros did actually win. If you do the math, that is 90 win season for the Astros and would have ultimately propelled the Astros into the playoffs as the second Wild Card. Porter said those 35 games were lost at the “breaking point”. He also went on to say all the Astros need was mental toughness, and of course, a little motivation.

Maybe a little much, but shows the enthusiasm and confidence.

The Bottom Line

Breaking Down the West   Houston Astros: Will a move to the AL get them out of the cellar?

Astros’ prospect Delino Deshields Jr.

The facts:

  • New rookie manager
  • Move to the American League
  • Lots of unproven young talent
  • Very shaky (at best) pitching staff
  • Highly regarded front office
  • More young talent in the minor league system

Not working this game by game, but here are my predictions:

  • Best case: 77-95 – Altuve solidifies himself as an up-and-coming MLB star, a couple of the young bats really break out and Brad Peacock and Alex White save the pitching staff.
  • Worst case: 52-110 – Altuve regresses and Porter can’t find the right mix offensively or with his staff all season.

Up next…stay tuned.

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Nov 012012
 
Josh Hamilton 10

According to Dayn Perry (CBSSportsline), the odds-makers over at Bovada.lv have put out odds on where Josh Hamilton will sign this offseason.


Who will sign Josh Hamilton next?

San Francisco Giants: 3-1
Atlanta Braves: 5-1
Texas Rangers: 5-1
Philadelphia Phillies: 7-1
New York Yankees: 9-1
Chicago Cubs: 9-1
Boston Red Sox: 9-1
Pittsburgh Pirates: 10-1
Toronto Blue Jays: 10-1
Los Angeles Dodgers: 15-1


Let me be the first to say that there are a few teams on this list that I think have no shot or no interest in Hamilton

Phillies – No interest and no shot.  Unless they can find a way to unload some of the veteran contracts that they currently have in place, I just don’t see GM Ruben Amaro adding another large contract to the mix, especially a player north of 30 years old.  Here is a quick look at some of their top salaries for 2013:

  • Roy Halladay – $20M

    <b>Thursday Sound Off:</b> Hambones New Home...<br><b>Prediction:</b> Staying in Texas

    Hamels with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro

  • Cole Hamels – $19.5M
  • Ryan Howard – $20M
  • Cliff Lee – $25M
  • Jon Papelbon – $13M
  • Jimmy Rollins – $11M
  • Chase Utley – $15M
That’s $123.5M for 7 players, most of which are getting a little long in the tooth.  This is NOT a team that is going to give a 4-6 year contract to Josh Hamilton.  In addition, the fan base in Philly is quick to turn on poor performance and lack of effort – can you imagine the treatment Josh would have gotten from the fans down the stretch in 2012 if he had been playing for Philly?

Cubs – No interest.  Theo Epstein is in the process of rebuilding and while the Cubs will soon be at a point where they are ready to supplement a strong base of talent in free agency, they aren’t their yet.  Hamilton’s age and the potential for injury and fatigue due to his past and playing style just don’t fit in Theo’s plan.  Cubs fan’s would love Josh…but it’s not happening.

Pirates – Are you kidding me?  No shot.

Official Prediction

Don’t see any odds on the field (everyone else), but would assume they would be somewhere around 30-1, if not larger.  I’d bet on the field at 30-1 (heck, even 25-1) before I’d consider the Phillies, Cubs or Pirates.

In fact, the team that I think will sign Josh Hamilton is not even mentioned above.

My official prediction as to who will sign Josh Hamilton….as of right now….always subject to change….

The Houston Astros

<b>Thursday Sound Off:</b> Hambones New Home...<br><b>Prediction:</b> Staying in TexasIs this crazy?  Here is my thinking:

  • Money: They have to have money!  They don’t have anyone on their current roster that is deserving of a big contract, so they must have the money to make it happen, even considering they’ll have to overpay.
  • Ownership: Jim Crane is a crazy ass, looking for attention and desperately seeking any opportunity to make a big splash.  So much so, he was considering bringing the Roger Clemens circus to town late in the 2012 season.  Signing Josh Hamilton and being the “mystery team” would be a BIG splash.
  • Location: Josh and his family are clearly comfortable in the DFW area and while it’s still five hours away…it’s as close as he’s gonna get to staying here.
  • AL West: The Astros will be joining the Rangers in the AL West starting in 2013.  Josh is familiar with the lay of the land in the AL West, which benefits the Astros and provides a certain level of comfort for Josh.
  • Houston Fans: Low expectations…if any.  The excitement generated over the signing would follow Josh into the regular season and mask any lack of effort or disinterest – if those issues are still there – which I don’t think they will be.

Nevermind the fact that the Astros are horrible.  I think Josh will value the situation and the contract more than any team’s current level of play or postseason hopes.

Prediction #2 - Josh will play like a man possessed in 2013 and win the AL MVP despite:

  • Houston’s weak lineup which provides him no protection
  • The fact that the Astros will be out of the playoff race by mid-April
This sucks given his poor exit from the Rangers…but you know you agree.

So, what do you think?  Have I sold you on Josh in a Astros uniform in 2013?  Or do you trust the odds provided by Bovada?

Vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments section.

What uniform will Josh be wearing in 2013?
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Texas (Rangers)
Atlanta Braves
San Francisco Giants
L.A. Dodgers
Houston Astros
Other (leave comments)
View Result
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Jun 222012
 

Texas Rangers/Colorado Rockies Game 1 Preview: Welcoming the Wonderful Wizard of OsThe Texas Rangers have had their way with the N.L. West thus far. They won two of three from the San Francisco Giants as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks. And as for the lowly, last-place San Diego Padres?

Three Game Sweep…whatever, you can keep the perfect weather, San Diego! We’ll settle for the three wins!

And now it’s time for the Colorado Rockies to march into town. The cold-weather crusaders are currently in Arlington—and the Metroplex is especially pumped.

Why?

“Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does…”

Huh?

“We’re off to see the Wizard…”

Who?

“The wonderful Wizard of Os…”

Oh yeah, tonight’s the debut of “The Wizard of Os,” aka “Roy Oswalt.”

Mr. Oswalt, he of the 159-93 won/loss record over his illustrious career. Yep, the same former two-time 20-game winner. And right again, the one who spent most of his career in Houston with the Astros before spending a year plus in Philadelphia with three other aces.

Sure, his fastball might have lost some zip, and his curveball’s more 11-5 than 12-6, but he’s still a damn fine pitcher—and he’s all ours! He’s hungry for a World Series title, because even with half of planet earth’s aces on one staff, well, it didn’t work out so well for Philly.

Tonight’s lineups:

Colorado Rockies (26-42)

CF Dexter Fowler
2B Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
DH Jason Giambi
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Todd Helton
3B Chris Nelson
C Wilin Rosario
SS Jonathan Herrera

RHPRoy Oswalt

Oswalt hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since October 5, 2011. That was game 4 of the NLDS, and Os took the loss against the St. Louis “still to soon to talk about” Cardinals.

Over his career, Oswalt has loved facing Colorado—he’s 8-1 with a 1.94 ERA. At Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the Os is 2-5 with a 4.78 ERA.

Texas Rangers (43-27)

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

LHP Christian Friedrich (4-3, 5.60 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 9 K/9)

24-year-old Friedrich was a first-round pick by the Rockies in 2008. His home/road splits are almost as bi-polar as his lefty vs. righty ones.

At home—where the balls fly freely much like Rangers Ballpark—Friedrich is 1-2, with a robust 12.60 ERA. On the road he’s 3-1 with a sparkling 2.10 ERA. Against right-handed batters, Friedrich is more Dr. Hyde than Mr. Jekyl, as righties produce this slash line: .276/.346/.441.

Left-handers light him up with frequency: .385/.429/.615.

Whereas the Texas Rangers have loved their time against N.L. West teams, Friedrich is no fan of the A.L. West. He’s 0-2, with a 16.00 ERA, allowing 19 hits and 16 earned runs against the Mariners and Angels this season.

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Jun 162012
 
For Grimm, the future is anything but.

Grimm Reaps Win in Debut as Boomstick Helps Rangers Bag Silver Boot

For Grimm, the future is anything but.

Rookie right-hander Justin Grimm did something during his major league debut that one particular Texas pitcher hasn’t pulled off since 2011.

He earned a win.

Before yet another sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Grimm (1-0, 4.50 ERA) was cool, calm and collected…even after surrendering a first inning solo shot to Houston’s shortstop, Jed Lawrie.

Grimm would be touched up for two more Houston runs in the top of the fifth inning thanks to a Justin Maxwell RBI double and a Jordan Schafer single.

In between the one-run first and two-run fifth, Maxwell struck out five-straight Astros, and finished his day with six innings pitched, seven strikeouts, zero walks and three earned runs.

Not bad for a 22-year-old that had never pitched above Double-A.

And to think that when Grimm threw his final pitch in the sixth inning, he was in line to take the loss, as the Texas Rangers were down 3-0.

The three-run deficit wouldn’t last long.

Moments after Grimm used his 88th and final pitch to record the final out of a 1-2-3 sixth, the Texas Rangers offense suddenly sprang to life.

Better late than never.

After being blanked in their first five frames the Rangers finally solved the Lucas Harrell puzzle. Harrell had surrendered just two hits heading into the sixth. Before he could register the sixth inning’s second out, the Rangers had exploded for five hits and just as many runs, highlighted by a one-out, three-run homer by Nelson Cruz.

¡Gracias, Señor Boomstick!

I’m willing to bet Justin Grimm enjoyed the backing of the most potent offense in Major League Baseball. Here’s hoping the powers that be will grant the kid another big league start in the near future.

Numbers of Note and Notes on Numbers:

33%

• Percentage of the Houston Astros’ total hits that Jordan Schafer recorded from the leadoff spot yesterday. Schafer, Houston’s center fielder, went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base.

Lucas Harrell

• 2 and 0…number of hits and runs Harrell allowed through his first five innings of work.
• 5 and 5…number of hits and runs Harrell allowed in the sixth inning; he recorded just one out before being replaced by Fernando Rodriguez.

The Five-run Inning

• A five-run fifth inning on Friday fueled the Rangers’ to victory in game 1.
• Likewise, it was a five-run outburst—this time in the sixth inning—that was Houston’s downfall yesterday.

June 3rd

• The last time Cruz had hit a home run before yesterday’s go-ahead, three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning.
• Nelson’s big blast was just his second in the month of June.

Silver Boot

• Yesterday’s 8-3 win guaranteed that the Silver Boot is the property of the Texas Rangers forever…this is the last Lone Star Series as the Astros will move into the AL West in 2013.

16

• Run differential between the Rangers and Astros through their first five games. Texas has outscored Houston 29-13.

13

• Number of consecutive at-bats Ian Kinsler had gone without a hit until he singled in the bottom of the sixth inning yesterday.

71.4%

• Justin Grimm’s winning percentage over his minor league career—spanning 38 starts…Grimm’s won 100% of his major league starts.

3rd Straight

• The Texas Rangers secured their third consecutive series win, and will go for their first sweep since late last month tomorrow in the Lone Star Series finale.

Up Next:

Anyone know a good real estate agent? Because the Silver Boot will be looking to buy some land in the DFW Metroplex—it won’t be heading back to Houston.

The Texas Rangers (39-27) will close out their three-game series with the Houston Astros (27-38) today, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:05 PM (CT).

RHP Colby Lewis (5-5, 3.13 ERA) will look for his second-straight win against the Houston Astro’s rookie LHP Dallas Keuchel (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who will be making his big league debut.

Make sure to check back here for the Baseball Do series finale preview!

Grimm Reaps Win in Debut as Boomstick Helps Rangers Bag Silver Boot

Happy Father's Day Dad! You've still got a full head of thick...lettuce. You're the best! Love, Tim (Howell)

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Jun 162012
 
SerenityforYu

Astros Plead Against the Fifth...Backed by The Yu, Texas Rangers Win 6 2Everyone deserves a week off from time to time. Just ask Yu Darvish (8-4, 3.57 ERA).

After getting lit-up by the lowly Athletics in his last start, manager Ron Washington decided to give The Yu an extra two.

Seven (as in days off) might just be The Yu’s new lucky number. You give him seven and watch Yu strikeout eleven…seven-eleven, seven-eleven, seven-even-back-door-little—Jose…Altuve.

My bad, I effed up the rhyme.

It’s hard to rap when you’re happy.

Yu Darvish matched a career high with 11 strikeouts while walking just two. The win was Darvish’s eighth on the year tying him with Matt Harrison for the team lead.

The extra rest worked so well with Yu that word on the street is that Wash is going to give Scott Feldman some extra rest before his next start as well. Scooter’s next start has now been pushed back to December.

Here are some thoughts and observations from last night’s refreshing, Feldman-free 6-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus
Astros Plead Against the Fifth...Backed by The Yu, Texas Rangers Win 6 2
• Over their last ten games, both Andrus and Kinsler are batting .238. However, over their last three games, Elvis has begun to heat up, going 5-for-11 (.455). Kinsler’s last three games have been on the other side of the spectrum, as he has gone an ice-cold 0-for-11.

Leonys Martin

• Martin was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock earlier today to replace Josh Hamilton who was hospitalized with a viral infection. Martin (0-for-3), along with Kinsler, were the only two Rangers that didn’t get at least one hit last night.
• What’s especially intriguing about the Martin promotion is that Julio Borbon wasn’t even considered an option. Remember when he was the starting center fielder seemingly every year out of Spring Training? Borbon, it appears, is an afterthought now. The odds are that Borbon’s only value to the Rangers is as potential trade bait.
• Julio Borbon went 4-for-4 last night for the Triple-A Round Rock Express.

David Murphy!

Astros Plead Against the Fifth...Backed by The Yu, Texas Rangers Win 6 2

David Murphy. Good call, Wash.


• It seems to me that every time the Rangers aren’t getting the usual production from their stars, David Murphy steps up. With Hamilton out of the lineup, Murph came up big once again—last night he was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI.
• He’s hitting .546 (6-for-11) with 2 HRs over his last three games…

The Terror with Two First Names
Astros Plead Against the Fifth...Backed by The Yu, Texas Rangers Win 6 2
• Joe Nathan has been simply amazing. After two strikeouts in last night’s 6-2 (non-save situation), Nathan is now sporting a 1.69 ERA with 33 Ks and just2 BBs.
• Do you remember Neftali Feliz’s approach in non-save situations? Sometimes it seemed as though his concentration and/or desire were anywhere to be found. Not so with Joe Nathan, and, to me, that’s the biggest difference between the two.
• “The Terror with Two First Names” is a pretty lame nickname and probably won’t stick, but unlike his moniker from the first two weeks of April, at least it’s printable.

Martin Perez

Astros Plead Against the Fifth...Backed by The Yu, Texas Rangers Win 6 2

"I was already on the 40-man roster, effers."


• Once considered the number one prospect in the Rangers organization, you have to wonder if he’s not a little pissed at being passed up by Justin Grimm for today’s start?
• Angry or not, Perez put together one of his best starts of the season last night for Round Rock, pitching seven shutout innings in their 2-0 win over Oklahoma City.

Brett Wallace’s lower half

Astros Plead Against the Fifth...Backed by The Yu, Texas Rangers Win 6 2

Dude's got some large leggings.


• Seriously, did you peep the trunk on that dude? Good thing my TV isn’t 3D or his wheels would’ve knocked the beer right out of my hand!
• You could easily fit a Jose Altuve inside of each thigh.
• Brett Wallace’s legs are the only thing on the planet that make Melissa McCarthy look small.

Up Next:

Rangers’ RH Justin Grimm (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his major league debut against the Houston Astro’s RH Lucas Harrell (6-4, 4.83 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:15 PM (CST).

Astros Plead Against the Fifth...Backed by The Yu, Texas Rangers Win 6 2

Just trying to make up for the dude-leg closeups.

Astros Plead Against the Fifth...Backed by The Yu, Texas Rangers Win 6 2

Yeah, that ain't the large lady from Bridesmaids.


Be sure to check back here for the Baseball Do pregame preview!

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Jun 152012
 
YuLyles

Yu Darvish Looks to Lead the Charge in the Final Leg of the Silver Boot SeriesThis is the final leg of the somewhat legendary Lone Star Series—the winners of which receive the magnificently mediocre Silver Boot.

The Texas Rangers want that boot. The Texas Rangers deserve that boot. In order to get it, they’ll have to take two-of-three from the lowly Astros this weekend.

It might not be pretty.

No, not the series…I feel confident the Rangers are going to shellack the Astros, I mean the actual removal of the Silver Boot from the Astros’ a**—where the Rangers stomped Houston until it stuck last month. The excavation, if you will, might not be too pretty.

Tonight, it will be The Yu versus The Who? as Texas looks to lay claim to the Silver Boot and the Lone Star Series for one final time.

A look at The Yu
RH Yu Darvish (7-4, 3.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 9.5 K/9)

Darvish has never faced the Houston Astros. I think he’s going to enjoy it. After all, The Yu has yet to lose at home during his MLB career. He’s 5-0 with a 3.38 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Right-handed batters are hitting just .210 against Darvish with lefties batting .254. Darvish is coming off of the worst start of his big league career as he took the loss in Oakland after surrendering 6 earned runs on 6 hits with 6 walks. Yes, those three consecutive sixes were placed there intentionally to further illustrate the devilishly bad time Darvish had in Oaktown.

He was given two extra days of rest and will be looking to right his own ship tonight on seven days of rest.

Checking out The Who?
RH Jordan Lyles 1-2, 5.40 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 5.7 K/9)

21-year-old Jordan Lyles will be making just his seventh start of the season tonight. Lyles has already faced the Rangers once before and I’m pretty confident he’s not much looking forward to doing it again.

The Rangers’s slash line against the right-hander is: .391/.464/.565. The Rangers hit Lyles so well last month in Houston that in order to conserve space, I’m going to limit the list of Rangers that hit him well to just those batting over .500 against him…Josh Hamilton*(.571 HR), Colby Lewis**(.667 2 RBI), and David Murhpy (.500 HR).

*Josh Hamilton will not be in tonight’s starting lineup due to an intestinal virus. I’m sure that’s fine with Lyles.

**Yes, that’s right, Colby Lewis, the pitcher. Colyashi went Sgt. Kabuki-man all over Lyle’s ass…no word on if manager Ron Washington plans on sliding Lewis into the DH slot tonight…

Much like Darvish’s dreadful previous start, Lyles had his worst outing of his young major league career last time out. Against the White Sox he surrendered 7 hits, recorded no strikeouts, walked three and lasted just 4 1/3 innings, the shortest start in his career.

As previously mentioned, The Yu has not lost at home, and, that, coupled with the fact that Lyles has never won away from home, seems to favor the Rangers’ odds tonight. Lyles is particularly susceptible to left-handed batters, as they hit .333 off of him on the year. Righties are hitting .256 against the former first round selection from 2008 (38th overall selection).

Keys to a Rangers Victory:

Offensively, just jump on Lyles like last time. That should do it. The real question for the Rangers tonight surrounds Yu Darvish. Will it be “good Yu” or “bad Yu”? And how will he respond to seven days off and his second go-round with Houston?

My hunch is that Darvish will do just fine.

Prediction time:

Darvish strikes out seven, and walks just one. Leonys Martin is an apt temporary replacement for Josh Hamilton and the Rangers roll 7-1—inching that much closer to claiming final dibs on the silver boot.

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Jun 142012
 
Screen shot 2012-06-14 at 5.36.57 PM

Koji Uehara to DL, for the Rangers the future is Grimm

The Grimm puns are going to get old real fast.

The injury bug for Texas Rangers pitchers is spreading like wild fire. Right-handed reliever Koji Uehara is the latest name placed in the disabled list log.

Uehara will miss an unspecified amount of time due to a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle—the very spelling of which angers my computer greatly.

The Texas Rangers have promoted right-hander Justin Grimm from Double-A Frisco and have slated him to start this Saturday against the Houston Astros.

Grimm was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the thirteenth round of 2007, but declined in order to attend the University of Georgia. The Rangers selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.

There was rampant speculation that left-hander Robbie Ross (6-0, 1.30 ERA) might be the man that Ron Washington would turn to for a spot start this Saturday. Washington has repeatedly stated that Ross will stay right where he is, which is the bullpen.

Now that Uehara—a right-hander that is especially effective against lefties—is on the DL, the Grimm promotion makes more sense.

Grimm is in the midst of a spectacular season with the Frisco Roughriders. He’s 8-3, with a 1.87 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP and averages 7.8 K/9.

Over 38 games in the minor leagues, Grimm has never appeared in relief; thus it likely means that recently promoted Michael Kirkman, will work primarily out of the bullpen and can also be available for a spot-start if necessary.

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May 292012
 

Texas Rangers, Scott Feldman, can breath easy—Wizard of Os is on the wayThe Texas Rangers have signed former Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt for a reported amount in the $5.5 million dollar range.

What with a rash of recent injuries to multiple team’s top-of-the-rotation studs—Roy Halladay, and Jered Weaver—the signing sends a ripple through the ranks of Major League Baseball.

In other words, simply by signing the diminutive Mississippian right-hander, the Rangers have prevented chief-rivals, the Los Angeles Angels of that city that houses Disneyland and little else, from scooping him up.

Take that suckas!

The only down side to the great gift of Roy Oswalt pitching for the two-time defending AL Champions is that it can’t be opened for a few more weeks.

It’s basically a layaway gift; an excellent insurance policy should Scott Feldman continue to falter in his temporary role as Rangers’ fifth starter.

For the Texas Rangers (31-18) to win their fifth-straight game tonight it will be all about how Feldman fares in his third start of the season—his second consecutive start against the AL West’s bottom dwelling Seattle Mariners (21-30).

Even though “Scooter” lacked command against the Mariners a week ago, he still pitched well enough to earn the win, save for one ill-fated pitch.

Feldman grooved a sinker to Alex Liddi with the bases loaded and the young Italian prospect didn’t miss it. After the grand slam, the day was done for the Hawaiian-born right-hander.

In life, rare are the occasions when we’re afforded second chances; and tonight Feldman will get a shot at hardball atonement.

Alex Liddi is batting .800 (4-for-5) versus Feldman, with a double, and 4 RBI thanks to that bases-loaded four-bagger. Justin Smoak (.400, 1 HR), John Jasso (.500) and Ichiro Suzuki (.286) are also hurdles that Feldman must jump for a successful second stab at Seattle.

But you know what? Even if Feldman fails to harness his control and leaves a sinker hanging once again, denizens of Rangers Nation can all rest assured that help is on the way.

Thank you Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan et al!

Roy Oswalt, the 34-year-old major league veteran of 11 seasons was plucked from free agent purgatory this afternoon and should be ready to pitch in his first big league game of 2012 in the next four weeks.

The immediate impact of the “Wizard of Os” following his yellow brick (cold hard cash-tinged) road down to Arlington is multi-faceted.

Oswalt in the Rangers rotation means:

• Neftali Feliz will not be rushed back; he can take his time getting his elbow back up to snuff.

• Scott Feldman can go back to being the spot-starter/long man; a role that he has excelled at over the last couple of seasons.

• Should Feliz return to 100% and there are no unforeseen injuries in the rotation, the Rangers may choose to place Feliz in the bullpen for the playoff run, similar to how they handled Alexi Ogando last season.

• A healthy Oswalt is a true number one, which gives the Rangers the ace they’ve so coveted since Cliff Lee’s departure via free agency following the 2010 season.

• In short, with the addition of Roy Oswalt, the Rangers have unprecedented pitching depth to match their deep and versatile lineup.

Game two of this three-game series between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners is scheduled for a 7:05 first pitch.

Scott Feldman (0-2, 4.68 ERA 1.40 WHIP, 3.7 K/9) opposes Jason Vargas (5-4, 3.58, 1.02 WHIP, 6 K/9)

Go Rangers!

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May 182012
 

Texas Rangers and Houston Astros engage in 12th Lone Star Series: Who will win first leg of the Silver Boot?A popular Nancy Sinatra song from 1966 speaks of the wonders of boots that are made for walking. After broaching her brogan’s business it’s a letdown to learn that walking—rather than knocking—was all those bad boys were up to way back when.

The Silver Boot is far less ambiguous. It’s the annual award handed out to the winner of the interleague series between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers.

This boot exists for one reason, and one reason only:

For kicking the shi@ out of the Houston Astros.
Texas Rangers and Houston Astros engage in 12th Lone Star Series: Who will win first leg of the Silver Boot?

The Texas Rangers travel to Houston today to start a three-game series. Normally, I’d breakdown how each team matches up against the other. However, I’m going to skip that because I couldn’t find any information on the Astros. Turns out MLB.com only lists statistics for major leaguer ball players Bing!

Aw hell, it’s pretty much just Bud Norris, and then the rest will bore us. You can use that if you want to.

Here are some interesting tidbits about the Lone Star Series:

• Despite having 12 opportunities to pitch against the Rangers during his two seasons in Houston, Roger Clemens was always too frightened to toe the rubber against Texas.
• The future demise of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim occurred the very moment that Gary Matthews Jr. made his circus grab against the Astros on July 1, 2006. Had it not been for that spectacular catch, the Halos wouldn’t have started their string of cash whipping outfielders past their prime. See: Wells, Vernon (yes it was a trade but they’re stuck with that contract). Abreu, Bobby. Hunter, Torii. Etc, ad infinitum.
• The Lone Star Series started in 2001, but the Rangers and Astros first played each other in 1997, one year after both the Astros and Rangers retired Nolan Ryan’s number 34.
• The Texas Rangers and Astros have split three Lone Star Series. The Rangers won all three as they outscored the Astros overall.
• The Rangers have won the boot 73% of the time, including the last five years straight.
• The Silver Boot was originally made out of 14-karat solid gold, but Tom Hicks pawned it in 2009.

Texas Rangers and Houston Astros engage in 12th Lone Star Series: Who will win first leg of the Silver Boot?

Yep, Tom Hicks pawned the Gold Boot here in 2009. What a jerk.

The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM, Houston time, which is exactly like DFW time yet smoggier and infinitely more humid.

Neftali Feliz (3-1, 3.32 ERA) will oppose Wandy Rodriguez (3-1, 1.99 ERA).

Go Rangers!

Texas Rangers and Houston Astros engage in 12th Lone Star Series: Who will win first leg of the Silver Boot?

Walking Boots? No thanks. Knocking Boots? Yes, please.

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