Sep 062012
 
greatthursday copy

Rangers turn to Feldman to Capture Royals Series

Adrian Beltre continues his offensive assault, as he swatted home run number 29 last night.

If you are a resident of the greater DFW Metroplex, undoubtedly, today you had a pretty solid day. That’s just the way it is in the DF-dub when both the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys win on the same night.

The Cowboys, as you may recall, defeated the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants a night ago, much like the Rangers nipped the 1985 World Series Champion KC Royals.

It’s the kind of day that your coffee costs $4.14, and the dude at Starbucks waves you on as you plummet into your pockets unsuccessfully searching for the 14 cents.

A mockingbird might just land on your shoulder, and that good-looking person you’ve been oggling at the office actually laughs with you rather than at you.

On a day like today, your skinny pants actually make you feel skinny.

All told, it’s a red-letter, 22-font, all CAPS kind of Thursday.

How could this day get any better? Well, that’s easy, friends. A win tonight for the Texas Rangers would not only get Scooter back on track, but would also claim the season series against the increasingly pesky KC Royals.

Here’s a look at tonight’s lineups:

Kansas City Royals (61-75)

Rangers turn to Feldman to Capture Royals Series

Butler went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored an an RBI in last night’s game.


CF Lorenzo Cain
SS Alcides Escobar
LF Alex Gordon
DH Billy Butler
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Jeff Francouer
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Tony Abreu

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (6-11, 5.01 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 2.1 BB/9)

How many pitchers can you recall have had two six-game losing streaks in the same season? Yeah, I’m stumped too. Well, a loss tonight and Scooter Feldman will hold that ignominious distinction. It’s hard to believe that sandwiched in between his two aforementioned skids, he had a six-game winning streak, too.

Truth be told, over his current five-game skid, Feldman truly hasn’t been that bad; he’s just fallen prey to one really bad inning in each of those losses. Feldman is definitely the type of pitcher that keeps you on your toes, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Ironically, during Scooter’s six-game winning streak, it was these same KC Royals that he defeated 4-2 on August 4. The 6’6″ Hawaiian-born righty has not recorded a win since…so, beating the Royals tonight would just make a strange kind of cosmic sense, right?

Right.

Texas Rangers (81-55)

Rangers turn to Feldman to Capture Royals Series

Michael Young hit his sixth home run of the season, and his second of the series in last night’s 7-6 Rangers win.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Michael Young
DH Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
LF David Murphy
C Geovany Soto
1B Mitch Moreland
CF Craig Gentry

VS

RHP Luke Hochevar (7-13, 5.34 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 6.9 K/9, 3.0 BB/9)

Hochevar, a former number on pick in the 2006 MLB Draft, has occasionally shown flashes of greatness over his career. For example, on June 25 of this year, Hochevar pitched a complete game shutout against the Tampa Bay Rays while collecting eight strikeouts and surrendering just seven hits.

Then, of course, you have the 2 1/3 inning outing against the Yankees on May 6 where Hochevar was undressed to the tune of seven earned runs on seven hits. He didn’t strike out anyone and surrendered two long balls.

The 6’5″, 220-pound Denver, Colorado, native’s career arc is somewhere in between those two vastly different starts. In other words, Hochevar is a solid back-of-the-rotation type of starter.

The Texas Rangers have produced the triple-slash line of: .247/.309/.447 against Hochevar. Michael Young, who is batting second tonight and starting at shortstop, is the only Ranger (aside from catcher Geovany Soto) to have hit a home run off of Hochevar.

News around the A.L. West

• Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ace, Jered Weaver, has been scratched from his next start due to right biceps tendinitis. Although this might not have any long-term implications, it’s never a good thing for your ace to be dealing with any kind of injury issue.

• The Oakland Athletics, currently five games behind Texas, travel to Seattle to take on the Mariners tomorrow, while the Los Angeles Angels welcome the Detroit Tigers to the “Big A.” The Angels are 2 1/2 games behind the A’s and 7 1/2 games behind the Rangers in the A.L. West.

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Sep 062012
 
Jered Weaver  3

The last time I produced an article for BaseballDo, I received unexpected acclaim and notoriety from a couple of local sports radio talk shows which I have admired for many years. To hear my name had been associated with decent writing was pretty surreal based on my past failures in freshman and sophomore English at Bryan Adams High School.

I received instant popularity and credibility throughout social media as I gained at least 10 new followers the first day. You might think I am being sarcastic, but 10 new followers in a day for me is something which does not occur very often, even on Follow Fridays.

In all honesty, I really do not feel I did spectacular work on my article in regards to Michael Young’s struggles so far in 2012. I felt as if I was just providing the reader with information any person could have found on the internet late at night when one is unable to sleep. I am still very grateful for all the kind words though.

Well, my last article might have gained me some baseball writing credibility, but with this piece, I might be losing every bit of the cred I might have earned.

Presenting Team D BagOne popular phrase or moniker for a certain type of individual in today’s society is douchebag. We all are cognizant of what a douchebag, or doucher for short, really is. Douchebags tend to walk around with this arrogant, pompous sense of entitlement like they are better than you.

The clothes douchebags wear are more than annoying. There are the button-up shirts with crosses stitched on the back, Ed Hardy tees, and blue jeans with dragons printed on them. Douchers even style their hair a certain way.

The most vexatious (thank you Google)trait douchers have is the tendency to brag incessantly about their accomplishments, possessions, or jobs where they make an infinite amount of money more than you do . Douchers will even begin to speak about themselves before one even touches the subject. Yes, humility is not in the cards for the doucher.

Being a douchebag can be advantageous as I have noticed women tend to flock towards the doucher, and also the D-bag tends to have a chiseled physique resembling a Greek God, while we are left to look like Al Bundy in the later years of Married with Children.

The term douchebag has also found its way over into the sports world, in particular, the great game of baseball. For some odd reason, some select baseball players have earned a reputation of being a douchebag, despite the fact many of the fans referring to the player as a doucher do not even know the player personally.

Presenting Team D BagI cannot tell you how often I hear a player is awful because he is a douchebag. Recently, I was engaged in an argument over New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher and whether or not the Texas Rangers should pursue him this offseason when Swisher becomes a free-agent. I asked another writer on Twitter what he thought about pursuing Swish. He responded, and I am paraphrasing, he would be surprised if the team did not try to sign the soon to be free agent.

Immediately, I received all kinds of tweets from fans about what a douche Swisher is, and how he would have this pernicious effect on the clubhouse. My response to these tweets I received was Swisher has produced above average numbers since becoming a Yankee as he has yielded an OPS over .800 4 straight seasons, and is on pace to have a career high in extra base hits in 2012. Well, none of that mattered because many still believed Swisher sucks because he smiles a certain way, or walks to the plate with an overly arrogant stroll with his sunglasses a certain color.

The most controversial perceived douchebag in DFW is former Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson, who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels. As the Rangers ‘ace’ heading into the 2011 postseason, Wilson struggled the entire playoffs and the Rangers lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games, a game in which Wilson hit the first batter he faced with the bases loaded in the 5th inning.

When CJ signed with the Angels, many were upset with him (myself included) despite the fact he pitched wonderfully as a starter in two seasons while in Texas. Wilson compiled a 31-15 record with an ERA slightly above 3.00 and a WHIP close to 1.20. Ceej gave the Rangers over 420 innings pitched in two seasons, and earned the contract he was given by LA.

Presenting Team D BagFans are still upset with Wilson for leaving the Rangers to go play with their main rival as they have booed Ceej relentlessly all three times he has pitched in Arlington this season. Fans are angry about last postseason, but most are still annoyed by Wilson’s douchebag like behavior he exhibited while in town. His knife fighting, piloting, and DJing skills are just too much for people in DFW to handle. My belief is the CJ hatred is simply in regards to his incessant boasting, and bragging montages.

While the fans should be showing Wilson appreciation for his years of service in Texas, they boo him because they think he is a douchebag, and they do not even know him personally. Much of what Ceej says can make one roll his or her eyes, but off the field stuff should not matter as long as he produces on the field.

All of this unwarranted douchebag hatred and bashing got me to thinking, “What if all of the perceived MLB douchebags were on one team? How would the team fair against other competition?”

So, I began my research by finding out who in MLB is considered a douchebag by simply asking fans on Twitter. I received a few obvious answers, but had to search the world wide web for a few others. I was even tweeted a picture of the All-Douchebag team someone had taken their time to construct.

After about an hour of research, I had compiled my team of MLB douchebags. I even gave them the moniker ‘Arizona D-Bags,’ using a funny play on words. Without further ado, here is my team of D-Bags based solely on reputation according to baseball fans.

C  – AJ Pierzynski

1B – MarkTeixeira

2B – Ian Kinsler

3B – Alex Rodriguez

SS – Jhonny Peralta

LF – Ryan Braun

CF – Bryce Harper

RF – Nick Swisher

DH – Mike Napoli/Josh Reddick

BN – Johnny Gomes, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Theriot

SP  – CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver, Stephen Strasburg, James Shields, Bronson Arroyo

RP – Brandon League, Chris Perez, Jonathan Papelbon, Brett Myers, Jose Valverde, Fernando Rodney, John Axford, Robbie Ross

Yes, I realize I have a 26 man roster, but this is a team full of perceived douchers, someone will get injured. Also, I added Robbie Ross and Ryan Theriot to the team because the team needed a left-handed reliever and utility infielder. While Ross and Theriot do not seem like douchebags, one never knows.

My experiment included using the player’s current statistics from 2012, and finding out how the overall combined statistics stack up against other current major league teams.

What I first wanted to do was appease the traditionalist and see how the basic offensive numbers compared to other MLB teams. The 13 D-bag hitters have combined to hit 224 home runs so far as of September 2nd, that would rank 1st in MLB. The Yankees would be 2nd with 202.

Then, every traditionalists’ favorite statistic, batting average. The D-Bags are hitting a mediocre .267 so far in 2012. However, the .267 batting average would rank 7th in MLB.

Next, I thought I would compare the advanced offensive numbers because those are the numbers sabermetricians will tell you matter. The D-Bags OBP is .340, tied for 1st in MLB. They’re slugging .457 as a team, and have a collective .797 OPS, both 1st in MLB. When one adds up the runs all of the D-Bags have scored, one will find out the D-Bags have scored 758 runs between 13 offensive players, also 1st in MLB.

As one can tell, douchebags can apparently hit the baseball as they are 1st in MLB in 5 of the 6 major offensive categories. But, can the douchebags pitch and play defense?

Again, I will begin with the baseball traditionalist favorite pitching statistic, the W-L record. The D-Bags starting rotation is a combined 64-33 so far, the 33 losses would be the lowest in MLB.

Now, let’s go to the traditionalists’ next favorite pitching statistic, ERA. The entire D-Bags’ rotation, bullpen included, possesses a 3.24 ERA, which would be the lowest in MLB.

The D-Bags have combined to strike out 1,141 hitters so far, which would be 2nd in MLB only to the Brewers. The D-Bags have a slight problem walking hitters as the 376 free passes given would rank 11th in MLB.

Now, let’s move on to the more exciting advanced pitching statistics. The .231 average batters hit against the D-bags would be the lowest in MLB, and the 1.19 WHIP the D-Bags pitchers possess would be tied for the best in baseball.

The .284 BABIP against the D-Bags as a team is about average, and the 3.39 team FIP is outstanding. Sorry, but, I could not find team rankings for these stats.

Can the D-Bags play defense? Well, the 75 errors the team has committed in the field (not including pitchers) would rank 7th in baseball. So, apparently douchebags can play defense and pitch too.

Finally, I wanted to use the Pythagorean expectation formula created by sabermetrician Bill James to estimate how many games this D-Bags team should win based on their current performance. One will notice the Pythagorean W-L record on baseballreference.com next to the amount of runs a team has allowed and scored. If one so chooses, one can look at any team’s Pythagorean W-L record in baseball history. The formula has been slightly modified since the formula’s genesis, but here is the formula used today on baseballreference.com. Remember, the answer to the formula will be the team’s should be winning percentage.

The D-Bags have scored 758 runs so far this season, and the pitchers have allowed 539. Yes, that is a +219 run differential, which would be far and away 1st in MLB this season. After I entered in the numbers and worked the formula, I arrived at a .651 overall winning percentage for the D-Bags. When I multiplied the .651 winning percentage times the numbers of games the team should have already played (133) the answer was 86.5.

The D-Bags overall record after 133 games should be 87-46, best in MLB by a substantial margin. The D-Bags are on pace to have a final record of 106-56, 50 games over .500, and only 10 off the regular season win record set by the 2001 Seattle Mariners.

What does all of this mean? Well, for one, the perceived douchebag players fans think are horrendous because they might wear an Ed Hardy shirt to a night club can play the game of baseball very well. Also, if a fan considers a player a douchebag, the player is probably a stud the fan secretly wishes were on his or her favorite team.

I realize the numbers do not factor in team chemistry, and whether or not other teammates loathe any of these players personally, but the numbers do not lie. Most of these players are very solid, and are key contributors who will help teams win.

Yes, I have been guilty of name calling in the past, there is proof out there I have done this. However, I have realized my foolish behavior, and you can too. So, before you claim a player sucks because he is a speed reader, or script writer, remember those things have nothing to do with baseball. While the behavior may be annoying, it has nothing to do with what happens on the field. These players are enjoyable to watch. Learn to look past the off the field behavior and appreciate the talent these players display on the field.

Presenting Team D BagFollow Dustin Dietz on Twitter @DustinDietz18

 

 

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Jul 202012
 
TEX

The Texas Rangers currently have a six-game lead in the A.L. West over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. So, as they say, this one is for all the cheddar.

Lactose intolerant? No problem. How’s this—this one may be for the title.

During this three game series, the Rangers have a chance to ostensibly put the A.L. West title on ice. Don’t just take my word for it, check out what Rev Halofan has to say about it on Halo’s Heaven…however if typos and poor sentence structure give you the willies, I’d advise against the visit.

If the Rangers can pull off the sweep, they’d be looking at a nine game advantage. Should the Halos run the table, the Rangers are still sitting pretty—albeit precariously—with a three-game advantage.

The Angels are fresh off of a series with the Detroit Tigers, where they lost three of four. The Rangers sandwiched in a two-game split with the A’s around two off days.

The Rangers are rested, and here’s hoping they’re ready…

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

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (50-43, L 10: 4-6)

Jered Weaver vs. Derek Holland, an Angels/Rangers Preview

Trout’s having a remarkable season: .352 BA, 14 HRs, 45 RBI, and 30 SB…and he’s doing it for the MLB minimum…why did they sign Pujols again? Lol.


LF Mike Trout
RF Torii Hunter
1B Albert Pujols
DH Mark Trumbo
2B Howie Kendrick
3B Alberto Callaspo
SS Erick Aybar
CF Peter Bourjos
C Bobby Wilson

VS

LHP Derek Holland (6-4, 4.57 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.5 K/9)

This will be the Dutch Oven’s third start since being activated off of the disabled list, due to what is medically referred to as “Shoulder Influenza.”

Since Dutch’s one-month hiatus, all signs have pointed to him once again having a solid second half—he’s 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA since reactivation.

Holland has been tough to beat on the road all year. He’s 4-1 with a 2.58 ERA away from Arlington.

Right-handed batters hit him with power (10 HRs) but have put together a pedestrian slash line: .234/.289/.445. Left-handers bat: .267/.340/.378 with just two home runs.

Tonight will mark Dutchy’s first start against the Angels in 2012. Over his career, Holland is 5-3 with a 4.97 ERA covering nine starts at the Angel Stadium. The Halos are batting .291 off of the left-hander from Newark, Ohio.

Texas Rangers (55-36, L 10: 5-5)

Jered Weaver vs. Derek Holland, an Angels/Rangers Preview

Elvis Andrus has hit Jered Weaver well over his career.


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

VS

RHP Jered Weaver (11-1, 2.26 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 6.7 K/9)

Jered Weaver is one of the game’s elite pitchers. When he toes the rubber at home, he’s arguably the best in the game.

In his career, Weaver has only lost 18 times at the “Big A.” So far this season, he’s gone 6-0 with a microscopic 0.58 ERA.

Current Texas Rangers are batting .258 off the 6’ 7” right-hander, with Elvis Andrus (.429 BA, HR, 4 RBI) leading the charge. Josh Hamilton (.270, HR, 5 RBI), Michael Young (2 HRs) and Ian Kinsler (2 HRs) have also seen some success against the Northridge, CA native.

Right-handed batters produce a slash line of: .230/.279/.373 with 3 home runs off of him with left-handers fairing even worse: .187/.234/.264 with 5 home runs.

Notes:

• Jered Weaver’s lone loss on the season came against the Rangers on May 13 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He lasted just 3 1/3 innings, while surrendering eight earned runs.

• Mike Trout has jettisoned past the “having a great year” realm and smack-dab into “greatest season ever by a 20-year-old” territory. So far in July, the fleet-footed center fielder is batting .414 with 6 home runs.

• The Angels are currently fifth in the A.L. in pitching with a 3.76 ERA. They’re in a three-way tie for second place with a .269 batting average…The Texas Rangers are the A.L. leaders in batting average, with a .278 mark, and are second in pitching, with a 3.68 ERA—so take that, Anaheim!

• In their previous six matchups coming into tonight, the Rangers and Angels have split the difference, with each team going 3-3, as the Rangers took two-of-three in Arlington in May, with the Angels doing the same in Anaheim last month.

Go Rangers!

Up Next:

RHP Yu Darvish (10-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.60 ERA)—Saturday, 3:05 (CT).

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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 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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Feb 182012
 

This is the final round of our American League West Position Rankings.  To see how we got to our current standings/scores, be sure to check out the first three round.

Score at the end of Round 3:

    1. Rangers: 53
    2. Angels: 49
    3. Mariners: 26
    4. Athletics: 22

The primary reason for doing a full review of the American League West, rather than a Rangers vs. Angels review, was to provide a better reference point for how a player truly stacks up against his peers.  That said, the Rangers and the Angels have dominated the top two spot at most positions (exceptions being DH and CF).  The final round will consist of all facets of each team’s pitching, including 5 rotation spots, relief and the closer position.  Similar to the adjustments we made to the scoring for Manager and DH, we’re going to increase the weighting for the relief position since that is made up of a handful of pitchers and not just one.

Starting Pitching

We’re going to go through the starting 5 for each team’s rotation and stack them up against each other.  In order to avoid making assumptions around the rotation order, I’m going to be the using the depth charts for each team that they have posted on their team’s website.  They seem to be pretty accurate as to what most would think, with the exception of a few.

2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final Scores

The Ace

  1. Jered Weaver, LAA
    1.  Felix Hernandez, SEA
  2. Colby Lewis, TEX
  3. Brandon McCarthy, OAK

Only real debate lies between the top two here, and I’ve gone back and forth on the order of these two guys quite a bit over the last few days.  It’s very close, but I give Weaver the slight edge, no I give it to Felix, no Weaver…you get the point.

2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final ScoresYou could debate for days over who will have a better year in 2012, and in the end, I think they will both have dominating years where they finish in the top 8 in Cy Young voting.  With that said, I’m going to give them both the top spot from a points perspective, and I’m going to give them both the bonus point.  It’s not a knock on Colby Lewis, it’s just how good these two guys are.

The #2

  1. Dan Haren, LAA
  2. Yu Darvish, TEX
  3. Dallas Braden, OAK
  4. Jason Vargas, SEA
2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final ScoresI’d love to give Yu the nod here, and this is one where I could dispute the order of the rotation, as I envision Darvish being the 3rd starter and Holland pitching 2nd, but it wouldn’t really matter, as Haren has an edge on both of them given the unknowns around Darvish and the need for continued development with Holland. While I think Darvish is capable of putting up similar numbers to what Haren delivered in 2011 (16 W’s, low 3 ERA, low WHIP), Haren has proven what he can do at the MLB level and takes the top spot here.Darvish takes the second spot in the rankings over a rehabbing Dallas Braden and a mediocre Jason Vargas.

You could make an argument for putting Vargas in the third spot, but I think Braden is the better pitcher if he can bounce back from injury successfully (and word is he is ahead of schedule).

The #3

  1. 2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final ScoresC.J. Wilson, LAA
  2. Derek Holland, TEX
  3. Brett Anderson, OAK
  4. Hisashi Iwakuma, SEA

This is another close race between the top two, and I know my fellow Ranger fans are throwing their hands up in the air as they look at the ranking, but if I put my bias aside and look at the two  pitchers, I lean towards C.J. having a slightly better campaign in 2012.

Baseball Do followers probably don’t want to hear this, but I think C.J. is going to improve slightly in 2012, primarily due to his new ballpark and being closer to home – which you could argue that his pitching ability isn’t really improving, but rather his conditions are.

I also believe that Holland is going to take the next step in his progression towards being a front-line MLB starter.  He showed flashes of brilliance last year down the stretch and of course in showing us all that he could one day be an Ace with his performance in Game 4 of the World Series.  All that said, he needs to prove that he can put a full season together, avoiding a slow start and showing more consistency.

2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final Scores

The #4

  1. Neftali Feliz, TEX
  2. Ervin Santana, LAA
  3. Blake Beavan, SEA
  4. Brad Peacock, OAK
Not going to spend a ton of time on these next two spots.  If you don’t already know how we feel about Feliz and what we expect from him production-wise in 2012, check out “The Other New Guy”.  Santana is a very good #4, but I think Feliz will have a better year.

2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final Scores

The #5

  1. Matt Harrison, TEX
  2. Jarrod Parker, OAK
  3. Jerome Williams, LAA
  4. Charlie Furbush, SEA
We all know how good of a pitcher Matt Harrison is, primarily because his case has been stated so often as a reason for not signing Roy Oswalt.  For many teams, he is easily a mid-rotation guy, and far outpaces the other three pitchers on this list, and for that get’s the bonus point.
I give Parker the edge over Williams on speculation of what Parker could become vs. what we know of Jerome Williams.

2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final Scores

Relief (not including Closer)

Given the importance of the bullpen and the fact the bullpen is generally made up of 6-8 pitchers, we are going to adjust the scoring for this position by multiplying it by two.

Keep in mind, that the names representing each team’s bullpen could change between now and Opening Day, and obviously by mid-season or season’s end.  That said, I’m going to try to avoid too much speculation with prospects and trades.

  1. Adams, Uehara (or maybe Mike Gonzalez…), Feldman, Ogando, Tateyama, Lowe – TEX
  2. Downs, Hawkins, Takahashi, Thompson, Cassevah, Bell, Mills, Jepsen – LAA
  3. Devine, Balfour, Fuentes, Wagner, Blevins, Carignan, Godfrey, De Los Santos – OAK
  4. Kelley, Wilhelmsen, Ruffin, Delabar, Sherrill, Jimenez – SEA
You could write an entire article breaking down the bullpens, but this is not the place.  The Rangers take the top spot primarily based on depth.  Downs and Adams are both top-notch set-up men, from there I think the depth of the Ranger bullpen gives them the edge.  They still need another left-handed specialist to replace Darren Oliver, which could be Mike Gonzalez, whom they are rumored to sign after they deal Koji Uehara.

2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final ScoresCloser

  1. Brandon League, SEA
  2. Jordan Walden, LAA
  3. Joe Nathan, TEX
  4. Whoever, OAK
Three years ago, JoeNathan is the clear cut leader on this list and easily gets the bonus point.  That was then.  Now Nathan has something to prove, and while I’m fairly optimistic that Nathan will serve as a strong closer, I think Walden and League rank higher until Nathan proves it.I went back and forth between League and Walden for the top spot here.  League was better last year, and while I think Walden will get more saves than him in 2012, it’s going to be based on the fact that he will be presented with many more opportunities.  The better number to look at here is Save% (Saves/Opportunities), where League (88%) outshines Walden (76%) and I think he’ll continue to do so in 2012.

Final Score of the Baseball Do American League West Position Rankings

  1. Rangers: Score After 3 Rounds of 53 + 2 + 3 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 8 + 2 = 80
  2. Angels: Score After 3 Rounds of 49  + 5 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 6 + 3 = 76
  3. Mariners: Score After 3 Rounds of 26 + 5 + 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 4 = 42
  4. Athletics: Score After 3 Rounds of 22 + 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 4 + 1 = 36
There you have it.  On paper, according to Baseball Do, the Rangers should win the American League West in 2012.  And while I’m always on board with victory for the Rangers, the best part of all the time and work that went into these rankings and write-ups is that the games still have to be played on the field.

Keep in mind as well, that all four of these teams could look different by the trade deadline, with the Rangers and Angels both of some attractive pieces they could move in order improve, and the Mariners and Athletics have some attractive veterans they could deal in an effort to add youth.

My honest belief is that this is going to be one hell of a season for the Rangers and the Angels, which will come down to the final week, if the not the final 2-3 games.  The final series between the two is here in Arlington, September 28th through 30th, so get your tickets for those games now, as the entire season could hinge on those three games.  As fans, let’s just enjoy the ride.  A ride which will hopefully continue into the post-season for the Rangers and end with the ultimate reward…

‘case that’s the way baseball go…

2012 American League West by Position (Part 4)   Final Scores

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