Jul 042012
 
FeldmanFreeze

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

Ugh.

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

Yikes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

VS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

*Craig Gentry gets the night off tonight.

VS

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

Go Rangers!

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Jul 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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Jul 022012
 
a

Lucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer ClassicThe Texas Rangers will have at least seven representatives at this year’s All-Star Game in Kansas City.

Rookie right-hander Yu Darvish made the final ballot and can be voted onto the All-Star team by following this link—there is NO limit to votes, so, by all means vote “Yu” until your heart is content, or your wrist locks up in a fit of carpal tunnel syndrome…and then vote a few times more.

The Rangers have had as many as five players at the Mid-Summer Classic in previous years—including the last two—but have never had more than two voted to start. The seven—possible eight—players on this year’s roster is by far the most the Rangers have ever had during their 40-year history.

Here’s a quick look at those that have already made the cut:

The starters:

Josh Hamilton, OF—11,073,744 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.314/.381/.643, 25 HRs, 73 RBI

Hamilton obliterated the vote record set last season by Toronto’s Jose Bautista. Fellow A.L. starters, Curtis Granderson (NYY) and Jose Bautista (TOR) combined, received fewer votes than Hamilton’s gargantuan number.

This is the fifth All-Star nod for Hamilton, and the fifth straight time he’s been voted in to start. Hamilton is just the third Texas Ranger to receive the most votes in any given year. He joins catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (2,808,456 in 2000), and second baseman Alfonso Soriano (3,466,447 in 2004).

Adrian Beltre, 3B—4,613,180 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.323/.355/.527, 14 HRs, 52 RBI

In an exceptionally close race, Beltre beat-out Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera by just 416,595 votes. To wit, the balloters got this one right, as Beltre’s contributions are just as important in the field as they are at the dish.

Beltre, who started last year’s Mid-Summer Classic due to an injury to Alex Rodriguez, is a three-time All-Star participant.

Mike Napoli, C—4,317,718 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.235/.335/.438, 12 HRs, 30 RBI

“Nap-O-Lee!!!!” finished well ahead of Minnesota’s Joe Mauer to earn the start at catcher. This is Napoli’s first All-Star selection.

Although his numbers haven’t been great thus far, this honor has been bestowed upon him due to overall popularity and fantastic 2011 accomplishments—that, plus the fact that A.J. Pierzynski is a douche-bag of the highest order.

The rest of the Rangers’ best:

Ian Kinsler, 2BLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.276/.335/.451, 9 HRs, 40 RBI

Over the first few weeks of the balloting, Kinsler was in the lead for all A.L. second baseman. NY’s Robinson Cano eventually overtook him for the lead, but Kinsler was voted in by players, managers and coaches.

This is Kinsler’s third trip to the Mid-Summer Classic.

Elvis Andrus, SSLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.307/.383/.412, 16 stolen bases

Andrus was selected by manager Ron Washington as a reserve, after finishing second to the A.L.’s top vote-getter at shortstop, Derek Jeter.

Elvis is having the finest offensive season of his young career. Andrus has the highest OBP of any other A.L. short stop, and is also tops in the league in stolen bases.

This is Elvis’ second All-Star nod.

Matt Harrison, LHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
11-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Harrison is tied for the A.L. lead in wins. Selected by Washington, don’t be surprised if Harrison is the American League’s starting pitcher. After all, the 26-year-old left-hander certainly has the numbers to backup such a decision.

Joe Nathan, RHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
0-2, 1.87 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 18 saves

Just two years removed from Tommy John Surgery that caused him to miss all of the 2010 season, Nathan was selected by Washington to participate in his fifth All-Star Game.

Aside from two early-season hiccups, Nathan has been exactly what the Rangers were looking for—a shutdown closer that’s one of the finest in all of Major League Baseball.

Nathan’s 10.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio is best in all of baseball for any pitcher that has appeared in at least 30 games.

On the fringe:

Yu Darvish, RHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
10-5, 3.59 ERA, 117 strikeouts

Darvish, despite a quality start, lost in his first bid for win number eleven. Regardless, the rookie right-hander from Osaka, Japan, has been outstanding for the Rangers during the first half of 2012. He’s the team leader in strikeouts, second in wins and until last night’s 3-1 loss, had been undefeated at home in the hitter’s haven of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

You can make Darvish the Rangers’ team-record eighth All-Star participant by voting here.

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Jun 292012
 
feldman

Feldman Good Enough as Rangers Bats Stay Hot in 7 6 Win Over OaklandSeriously, how often does a starting pitcher’s ERA begin at 6.00, actually increase by 0.13 over the course of the game, and he earns the win? Probably not too often.

Scott Feldman, much like Roy Oswalt two nights ago, lived dangerously but still escaped with the victory as the Rangers held off the A’s 7-6.

Feldman’s main issue was the long ball—as he surrendered three over his five innings of work. Oswalt basically threw BP against Detroit, coughing up 13 hits over his six innings the night before last.

But hey, both Scooter and the Whiz have now won their last two starts. Hey, for Roy Oswalt this is still spring training. For Feldman, it’s always spring training.

Regardless, it’s good to be on the right side of Texas’ potent offense—especially when you don’t have your best stuff. Just make it through five or six, and let the sticks get your back.

Cliff Lee might be 10-0 right now—rather than winless—had he decided to stay in Arlington. I’m sure he’ll cry himself to sleep on a pillow stuffed with money.

Notes from last night:

• Adrian Beltre remains en fuego. You’re know you’re going well when you go 0-for-3, but still manage to drive in two runs.

• David Murphy continues to tear it up. Murphy went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI last night, and combined with his 4-for-5, 5 RBI night prior, he’s now raised his batting average 20 points. Murphy is not one of the flashiest players on the team, but he has a real knack for turning up his game at the most opportune times.

• Just when the criticism surrounding the Rangers’ leadoff hitter seems to reach a crescendo, Ian Kinsler catches fire. The Rangers’ second baseman is now batting .571 with 6 runs scored over his last three games. Kinsler leads the major leagues in runs scored, and his double last night pushes him into the American League lead, with 25.

• Texas Rangers super-utility man, Michael Young, may have turned the corner on a disappointing start to the season. After going 2-for-4 last night, Young is batting .370 during his current six-game hitting streak.

• Josh Hamilton went 2-for-3 last night with 2 RBI. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Hamilton’s showing last night was his ability to grind-out two walks.

Prior to last night, he’d walked just three times in ten games. Seems he’s seeing the ball better now, and if that’s the case, the Oakland Athletics—as well as the American League as a whole—might be in trouble.

Up Next:

Lefty Matt Harrison (10-3, 3.24) will oppose Oakland’s right-hander A.J. Griffin (0-0, 3.00 ERA). The first pitch scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

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Jun 062012
 
Derek Holland 4

Rangers rebound in Oakland with strong bullpen

Wednesday Morning CurveballsAlexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan flexed their muscle last night in Oakland, pitching a combined 3 2/3 innings in relief of Derek Holland, surrendering just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5.  Ogando came in with two on and one out in the 6th with the Rangers holding on to a 2 run lead.  He struck out Kurt Suzuki and got Adam Rosales to pop out to first.

“That’s what he does,” closer Joe Nathan said of Ogando. “He’s the guy who holds our bullpen together. He’s the glue and tonight was a prime example about how much this guy means to us.”

Holland had his moments, but was apparently being taken down internally by…ahem…let’s just say he had some stomach concerns.  All in, he gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks over 5 1/3, striking out only 2.  He did get the win to improve to 5-4 with a 5.10 ERA.

“I just got a little fatigued out there,” Holland said. “I was doing everything I could to stay out there, but it started creeping up on me in the middle innings. I was doing everything I could. I just need to keep plugging away and get my strength back.”

It was creeping up…

Wednesday Morning Curveballs

Offensively, the Rangers accomplished a rare feat – everyone in the lineup got at least one base hit and struck out at least once.

Kinsler showed some signs of life with a 2 run double in the 3rd inning.  Everything else was pretty evening spread across the nine guys who started and ended this game in the lineup.

Lewis vs. Colon tonight

Colby Lewis (4-4, 3.50 ERA) takes the mound tonight, looking for his 5th win on the season.  Lewis pitched well in Anaheim over the weekend, only to have it wasted by defensive miscues and a lack of offensive support.  Since his reemergence in major league baseball (after his stint in Japan), Lewis is 5-3 with a 3.17 ERA against Oakland.

The A’s will counter with 39 year old Bartolo Colon (4-6, 4.34 ERA).  Colon suffered a similar fate to Lewis in his last outing, only giving up 2 runs over 7 innings, but getting a tough loss as his offensive teammates put up a goose egg.

9:05pm first pitch on FSSW.

Headed to Kansas City…

  • Initial All-Star voting results were revealed yesterday and 5 Rangers are leading at their respective positions – Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz & Mike Napoli.  You can vote up to 25 times, which seems a little ridiculous, but whatever.  Vote here if you haven’t already.
  • Josh Hamilton will not be participating in the Home Run Derby this year which is fine by me.  Josh’s performance at the 2008 Derby was unforgettable, and I doubt he could ever top that.  In addition, I’d much prefer Josh preserve every ounce of energy for the All-Star game (which DOES matter) and the second half of the season.

“It’s just not the right time,” Hamilton said. “I haven’t done it the past couple of years. I want to be healthy and the best I can be. I don’t want to risk anything entertaining the fans. So I respectfully declined again. You just take one swing … you’ve got to be smart about it.”

  • Of the 5 mentioned above, Napoli is the only one that hasn’t made an All-Star team before.

“Awesome … thanks to our fans,” Napoli said. “It would mean a lot to me. It would mean a lot to every player to make the All-Star Game. I want my numbers to prove I deserve to be an All-Star. I love the fans giving me such great sport.”

  • Look, I’d really like to see the American League World Series representative have home field advantage this season, so I’m on board with this team featuring as many Rangers as possible, but let’s remember that it was one of our own that cost the AL the All-Star game last year.  Love this quote from Beltre:

“It’s pretty important,” Beltre said of home field advantage. “That might be a key why we didn’t win, even though it was one of us that screwed it up.” 

Quick Hits

  • Scott Feldman will make his next scheduled start, after getting shelled on Monday in Oakland and pitching poorly in the three starts prior to that.  Someone tell Craig Gentry to get ready…
  • From T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), Hal Keller, who drafted, signed and developed some of the best players in the early years of the Rangers franchise, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Sequim, Wash. He was 84.
  • The Forums are up and running…well maybe running is a bit of an overstatement.
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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 012012
 

Texas Rangers Look to Reignite Winning Ways out West, vs. AL West Rival Anaheim AngelsAfter taking two-of-three from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last month in Arlington, the Texas Rangers now travel to the “Big A” to see if they can take another series from their hated division rivals.

For the Rangers (31-20) it may appear as though the time is ripe for a quick sweep of the ankle-biting Angels (26-26).

After all, the Angels just lost everyone’s favorite crooner, their staff ace, Jered Weaver, to a back injury. Despite the loss of Weaver, the Angels have been the hottest team in the AL not named the Chicago White Sox.

They’ve managed to win eight of their last ten games as Pujols was somehow plucked from his personal sea of suck.

Don’t take off that lifejacket yet, Poo, it’s a loooong season.

Over his last 10 games, “Captain Poo” has seen his batting average rise 31 points—all the way up to .243. He’s also hit five home runs over that span, giving him 8 on the year.

However, the Poo-meister has only managed a less-than-stellar .167 batting average against the Rangers with one solitary RBI during the regular season.

Rangers ready to take a bite out of the Angels:

Mike Napoli. He’s batting .362/450/.754 with 6 HRs and 10 RBI lifetime against the Halos. Naps also has 54 HRs and 140 RBI while playing in the “Big A.”

Josh Hamilton. This season, “Hambone” is batting .462 with 3 HRs and 6 RBI against LAA. In his career at the “Big A” he’s gone: .317/.372/.591 with 13 HRs and 48 RBI.

Ian Kinsler. Kinsler has always hit well in Anaheim. His .303/.389/.520 with 13 HRs and 44 RBI certainly validate that point. Although he hasn’t done much yet this year against the Halos, you get the feeling that this sleeping giant is about to awaken…and he might be pissed.

• This season, Nelson Cruz has had a series of ups-and-downs, slumps and mini-slumps. Throughout it all his favorite whipping boys have been the Angels, and he’s gone .545/.643/.909 with a HR and 6 RBI thus far. In his career, “Boomstick” has 14 HRs with 45 RBI against the hated Halos.

Tonight’s Matchup: RH Colby Lewis (4-3, 3.58 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.1 K/9 vs. RH Jerome Williams (5-2, 3.81 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, K/9: 5.8)

Lewis

Lewis is coming off a no-decision at home against Toronto in which he skirted trouble throughout his 5.1 innings pitched. He scattered 10 hits without issuing a walk and struck out 6.

This is “Colbyashi’s” first appearance against the Angels this season. However, the current roster is batting just .205 off of him over his career.

Loves to face: Albert Pujols (.143), Torii Hunter (.125, 5 Ks) and Howie Kendrick (.176, 7 Ks).

Hates to face: Peter Bourjus (.313), and Mark Trumbo (.400, 1 HR, 4 RBI).

Williams

Jerome Williams is one of just five active Hawaiian-born major leaguers (of the five, he and the Rangers’ own Scott Feldman are the only pitchers.) The Honolulu native was a former 1st Round Draft pick of the San Francisco Giants in 1999.(39th overall pick).

In his last start, Williams earned the victory against the Seattle Mariners by scattering five hits over his six innings pitched with 5 Ks and 2 BBs.

The burly right-hander didn’t fare nearly as well in his most recent start against the Rangers. He luckily escaped with the no-decision as he was hit hard and often during his May 11th start at the Rangers’ Ballpark in Arlington. All told, he lasted 6 2/3 innings but surrendered 6 ER on 11 hits with just 3 Ks and 2 BBs.

Overall, the Texas Rangers are batting a ridiculous .473 off of Williams—here’s hoping that’s a trend that will continue tonight.

Loves to Face: Elvis Andrus (0-for-5 lifetime).

Hates to Face: Just about everyone else…but here’s a short list:*

Nelson Cruz (.800/.857/1.833, 2 HRs, 6 RBI)
Craig Gentry (.750/.750/1.250, 2 RBI)
Josh Hamilton (.667/.600/2.667, 2 HRs, 3 RBI)
Adrian Beltre (.500/.500/.900, 1 HR, 3 RBI)
Mike Napoli (.429/.429/1.143, 1 HR).

*Yes, believe it or not, the slash lines are not mere hyperbole; they are really real…no, really.

Have fun with that, Mr. Williams.

Currently, the Texas Rangers lead the Angels by 5.5 games in the AL West. Worst case scenario, if the Rangers are swept, they’ll still be up by 2.5 games. But it’d be a whole lot more fun to pull off the sweep and have that lead where it should be: 8.5.

The first pitch tonight is scheduled for 9:12 PM (CST).

Go Rangers!

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May 232012
 

Harrison, Adams and Nathan secure Rangers win despite lack of offense

Wednesday Morning CurveballsOn a night when the Rangers offense could only muster four hits, the pitching came up big.  Matt Harrison pitched 7 strong, giving up a single run on 7 hits and 2 walks.

“My defense was making play after play behind me tonight,” Harrison said. “It definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to start the first inning. I felt good going into the game. My arm felt the best it has felt all season. I may have been overthrowing. I needed to settle down and pound the strike zone.”

The run was surrendered in a 35 pitch first inning after which Harrison was in command of the game…until the 8th inning…enter Mike Adams.  Harrison gave up hits to the first two batters he faced in the 8th inning, and the two run lead looked vulnerable.  Adams came in to face the heart of the Mariners order, and got Jesus Montero to fly out harmlessly before striking Justin Smoak and Kyle Seager out.

“Mike has been big for us since the day we traded for him,” designated hitter Michael Young said. “The eighth inning is important and we’ve got one of the best in the business handling it. He did a great job tonight.”

Joe Nathan came on in the 9th to get his 10th save of the season.  He struck out two as well after getting the lead off hitter to ground out weakly.

Nathan was impressive and I know the definition of a save…that said, when the game was on the line, Mike Adams saved the Rangers.

“I don’t keep track of my stats,” Adams said. “I go by how I’ve been throwing, and the last few outings I feel I’ve been throwing the ball well.”

Great pitching all around, which was needed as the Rangers were only able to muster up four hits, a season low.  Mariners started Hector Noesi pitched well, and really only gave the Rangers one opportunity to put runs on the board, and they seized that opportunity with a 3-run 3rd inning.  Noesi walked Cruz and Moreland, whom were driven in by an Elvis Andrus triple.  Andrus came in to score on a Josh Hamilton ground-rule double.

T.R. Sullivan summed it up well here:

The Rangers were 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position while the Mariners were 1-for-9. That was a testament to both Adams and Harrison, who survived a 35-pitch first inning to make it into the eighth.

Quick Hits

  • When Pudge retired, we all heard that he was going to take on a role with the Rangers, and it looks like he’s received his first assignment, as he’ll serve as the Rangers representative at the First Year Player Draft in June (4th through 6th, with the 1st Round live on MLB TV).  The Rangers hold the 29th pick in the first round, along with two picks in the compensation round they received for losing C.J. Wilson and Darren Oliver in free agency.
  •  Ian Kinsler and Scooter Feldman are both being recruited to play for Israel in the World Baseball Classic.  Both players have Jewish heritage, which makes them eligible to play for Israel if they so choose.

“I would definitely like to play for Team USA if that’s possible,” Kinsler said. “If not, I will consider whatever else comes up.”

“I don’t know if it’s the greatest idea for a pitcher to play in that,” Feldman said. “If I got asked, I would think about it. I don’t know if it’s a good idea. Pitchers can get hurt anytime. It would stink getting hurt doing something like that. We’ll see how many innings I pitch this year and how my arm feels and if I get asked.”

  • The Rangers have an off-day on Thursday but will not use it to give anyone extra rest or change up their rotation. Feldman pitches tonight, followed by Derek Holland, Colby Lewis and Yu Darvish this weekend against the Blue Jays.
  • Former Ranger Kevin Millwood (2-4, 4.17 ERA) will take the mound tonight against Scooter (0-1, 3.00 ERA).  Millwood’s splits show that he pitches much better on the road than he does at Safeco, evidenced most recently by a dominating outing in Colorado last week, so here’s hoping the Rangers get to him early and see plenty of the Mariners bullpen.
  • Feldman, who has moved to the rotation after Neftali Feliz was put on the DL, is hoping to throw 100 pitches tonight, something he hasn’t done since June of 2010.

“Let’s see how he gets through it,” manager Ron Washington said. “It depends on the stress he has. If he’s able to get through some innings early without stress, that may lead to some leeway late in the game.”

  • Prediction for tonight: Rangers 6, Mariners 3 with Yoshinori Tateyama working an instrumental 7th inning to stave off a Mariners rally and Mitch Moreland doing some damage with the bat…
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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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Apr 302012
 

Rangers lose first series of season; Holland and Hamilton roughed up

Monday Morning FastballsIt couldn’t have set up any better last night for Ian Kinsler and all Rangers fans.  Down by 3, bases loaded with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th, Kinsler approached the plate after being at the center of manager Ron Washington’s ejection from the game in the 7th inning.  As a Rangers fan, this is what you wanted…a chance at redemption…and a chance to get a win on Wash’s birthday for the first time since he took the reins.

But as the great and hated former MLB Commissioner, Bart Giamatti, once said “it breaks your heart…it is designed to break your heart.”  Maybe that’s a bit overly dramatic, given that we’re still in late April, but the ESPN guys last night said it best, “you’d think it was mid-October by the way these Texas fans are cheering”.  The Rangers lost 2 of 3 to a good team…a team that they have eliminated from the postseason in each of the past two years.

“At least the cake tasted pretty good,” Washington said. “That’s all right … we’ll bounce back tomorrow.”

Monday Morning Fastballs

Some video of Wash’s ejection.

Derek Holland’s record fell to 2-2 after taking the loss last night, with a 5.13 ERA over his first five starts.  He pitched 7 complete, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 8.  Holland’s worst stretch last night came in the 2nd inning when gave up 3 runs to the Rays, which if you were watching seemed like limited damage given the way they were hitting the ball.  Mark Lowe and Scooter Feldman wrapped it up with a scoreless 8th and 9th.

“During the second inning, he misplaced some fastballs,” Washington said. “After that, he got a grip on that and had great secondary stuff. Just in that second inning, he got his fastball up. He’ll have to make an adjustment and we believe he will.”

“He’s going to be fine,” catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. “He’s getting behind in the count and his fastball command wasn’t there, especially tonight. His offspeed pitches were good. I’m not worried about it. He had some rough outings. He’s probably been the best pitcher we’ve had lately. He’ll be able to make adjustments.”

While Holland’s outing wasn’t inspiring, it wasn’t the biggest concern of the evening, as Josh Hamilton left the game after the 2nd inning with back stiffness.  He is currently listed as day-to-day, and expects to play tonight in Toronto.

Monday Morning Fastballs“I made contact and I hit the ball, and about the third or fourth step out of the box, I felt my mid-back spasm up on me,” Hamilton said. “I got to first and tried to stretch it out a little bit and it wouldn’t release. I came back in and stretched my back underneath, and then I went out there and realized I couldn’t really rotate like I wanted to. And I told Skip I couldn’t go.”

“I’m not worried about it because I didn’t feel anything alarming or anything like that,” Hamilton said. “It was just a little tight this morning, but nothing out of the ordinary. I just came in and got loosened up and it felt great.”

Hamilton may get a start at DH during the series with the Blue Jays, and then will benefit from a day off on Thursday before the team heads to Cleveland for three with the Indians.

Quick hits:

  • Yu Darvish (3-0, 2.42 ERA) takes the mound tonight against Doug Drabek’s son (2-1, 2.25 ERA) in Toronto.  Remember, it was the Blue Jays who were rumored to have won the negotiating rights with Yu in the days leading up to the announcement that the Rangers were the high bidder.

“It depends on the team,” Darvish said of his game-to-game adjustments. “Every team is different. The umpires are different, and the strike zone is different. It also depends on the ballpark. Every ballpark right now is a first time for me. I have to experience everything. I’m not just learning the players. I’m understanding the atmosphere and I’m able to control my emotions.”

  • Toronto is the first of three stops along a 10 game road trip that will also include Cleveland and Baltimore.
  • Josh Hamilton has a chance to take full claim of the club’s record for home runs in April tonight.  He is currently tied with four other players with 9 – one of which is Ian Kinsler who his 9 in April of 2007.
  • According to T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), over the past 20 years, the Rangers have not gone through an entire April without calling up at least one player from the Minor Leagues.

Happy Belated Birthday to Wash (yesterday – 60) & Happy Birthday to Willie Nelson (today – 79)

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