May 092012
 

Josh Hamilton is pretty good at this whole hitting a baseball thing

Hey Hamilton deserves to be on the $32 bill! That way he has left over dough after purchasing a gigantic wiener!


Last night, Josh Hamilton had one amazing night. Yep. Even by his lofty standards.

Now, a kick-ass night for Josh Hamilton is quite a good deal different than an excellent evening for most of us normal human beings.

Four home runs constitute a titanic Tuesday for the Hambone. For the rest of the world, the hallmark of a solid day is just one that, well, doesn’t suck.

For some, that means a hangover that goes away before you think you’re dying, coffee that isn’t that crappy, and a trip to the gas pump that only robs you of most of your money.

Sounds like a pretty solid day to me.

Besides, at least you have coffee to drink, gas to guzzle, and there is no tombstone that states: “And his final words were: ‘Dude, I think this hangover is going to kill me.’”

But no, for Hamilton to have a good—no, great day—he’s got to throw it in the normal man’s face…with his gigantic four dongs the only exclamation mark necessary to draw the eye to his truly titillating Tuesday…Alliteration! Come and get some!

Sure, four dongs—and of course they’re all long. Some guys get all the luck.

All kidding aside, even though I wasn’t kidding, Josh Hamilton’s night against the Baltimore Orioles was truly one for the ages.

5-5, with 8 RBI. 18 total bases. His batting average jumped 30 points—to .406. He now leads all of MLB in all three of the Triple Crown categories—.406, 14 HR, 36 RBI.

And Hamilton did all of that in just 5 plate appearances. A quick breakdown of the highlights:

18 total bases—that means that Hamilton ran 1,620 feet of which 1,440 feet were of the trotting variety. That’s over a quarter of a mile! If only cardio were that fun for me.

15 That’s how many players had hit 4 home runs in one game until last night. Unbelievable. To better grasp this, here are three names that NEVER hit 4 in one game: Babe Ruth. Barry Bonds. Tim Howell (okay, once I did hit out three during a home run derby on a little league field…whatever man, a 179 foot power alley is deeper than you think, and my last two I crushed.)

5 Number of home runs Hami has swatted in his last six at-bats. Whoa. He’s had 22 total bases over that span. Boston’s Kevin Youkillis has had 22 total bases all season long

Well, like all great statistical accomplishments, the best way to appreciate them, fully, is to compare them to, uh, comparable stats that suck…big time. So, here we go:

Josh Hamilton’s wonderful night versus Albert Pujols’ piece of shit season:

• Josh Hamilton’s 8 RBI last night are just 1 shy of Albert Pujols’ entire season total…Poo’s got nine, I wasn’t patient enough to wait out your mental calculations.
• Hamilton’s 18 total bases are 18 more than Pujols’ total bases from his 0-4 performance last night. (Note: I just came dangerously close to embedding an emoticon into this article. And yes, it would have been a smiley-faced one.)
• Hamilton hit four home runs in just over three hours. Given his current pace, Pujols will hit his fourth round tripper (which is shorter than a Hami dong but still a dinger) 363 at-bats from now. It will take significantly longer than 3 hours for Pujols to accomplish this.
• Albert Pujols has one more home run now than his gigantic and disturbing bronze statue.

Josh Hamilton is pretty good at this whole hitting a baseball thing

Yes, Albert Pujols' Bronze statue is only one home run shy of catching up with Captain Poo.


• Hamilton, rather than going with the bronze statue, decided to opt for brass balls.
• Albert Pujols should become a rapper. There are all kinds of words that rhyme with Pujols’ favorites—”ang” and “mang”—this would create a Poo Hole Flow of epic proportions…plus Poo’s penchant for ducking out of press interviews when things go wrong would add some serious street cred.
Okay, now it’s time to get off of Pujols.

‘Cuz he just got off of my Mom!!!

I don’t think I said that right.

Go Rangers!

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May 092012
 

Hamilton’s Historic Night

“It reminds you of when you’re in Little League and a little kid and just the excitement and why we play the game,” Hamilton said following his 4 homer game. ”Things like that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute blessing.”

There have been 274 recorded no-hitters. There have been 272 cycles. There have been 21 perfect games. Prior to last night, there had been only 15 players hit four home runs in a single game.

Josh would have been happy with a 3 home run game, having never accomplished that feat before, but that’s like saying Superman would have been happy with saving just some of the people from a burning building.

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...On Tuesday night, Josh became the 16th player in MLB history to slug 4 home runs in a single game and only the 7th player in MLB history to have 5 extra-base hits in a single game.  In addition, Hamilton now holds the American League record for the most total bases in a single game with 18.  Tim Kurkjian put that in perspective last night on ESPN when he said that Albert Pujols has 18 total bases over the last 19 games.

“Amazing,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Josh came out tonight, and he wasn’t going to be denied.  History was witnessed tonight.”

The big night brings Josh’s season productivity levels to an unbelievable mark through the first 30 games, as he is currently hitting .406 with 14 HRs and 36 RBI (1.298 OPS) while playing in 27 of those 30 games. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a long season, and Josh has a history of missing time due to injury, but simple math tells you that he’s on pace for 75 home runs and 194 RBI, while missing 10% of the games this season.  Players get hot, as Josh is now, and they cool off, as Josh surely will at some point this season, but any time you project that kind of season through a 30 game stretch…you’re playing at a different level

ESPN Stats & Information provides the following look at the pitch location from last night’s performance.

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...

Nothing earth shattering here, but take note that the Oriole’s pitchers were not putting the ball where Josh had drilled his first 10 home runs of the season.  They worked Josh away all night, but still left it on the plate and allowed him to get extended.  The pitch location is telling when you look at where Josh’s home runs ended up on the other side of the fence (left center to right center).

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...The performance also increased the volume of the cries from Rangers fans to get Hamilton locked up beyond the 2012 season.  Josh, who turns 31 later this month, will be a free agent after this season if a deal is not reached with the Rangers prior to that point.  We don’t know much about where things stand in negotiations, but we do know that Jon Daniels and Hamilton’s agent, Michael Moye, continue to talk.

The feeling is that the Rangers have some apprehension to locking Hamilton up for more than the next 4 season, and to be fair, this is warranted due to his injury history and the unknown but certain toll that his addiction has taken on his body.  That said, Albert Pujols just signed a 10 year contract worth $250M and Joey Votto just signed a 10 year contract worth $225M, so Moye has some rather good comps to use in his argument.

Let’s hope this materializes in the coming month or two and shapes up as a great deal for both sides…stay tuned.

Reaction

This stuff is priceless:

“I’m his lucky charm,” Andrus said. “The time I didn’t get on base, he doubled. Every time I was on base, he hit it out of the park. It was fun. It was unbelievable. I thought after the first swing that he was going to hit it out that last time. I thought, ‘Don’t throw it around the plate.’ He did, and he hit it out.”

“I had a homer and a single and I don’t feel like I did anything,” said Beltre, “That’s fine. I would like to feel like that every day if he’ll do that every day.”

“The best individual performance I have ever seen,” Rangers infielder Michael Young said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It was fun to be a part of. He’s an incredible player.”

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...“He makes it look easy,” said catcher Mike Napoli. “He’s the type of freak, I guess, who can pull stuff off like that. He’s got a gift.”

“To see the fourth one go out was pretty cool,” Young said. “We pretty much went ape.”

“I was hoping we could go around again and see what he could do with his next at-bat,” Beltre said. “I have no doubt he probably would’ve hit another one.”

“After he hit the third one, I knew that if they would pitch to him his fifth at-bat that he was going to hit another one,” outfielder David Murphy said. “I’ve never seen him that focused. His approach was perfect today.” “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball field by an individual,” Murphy said. “Being on the opposing side last year, it’s impressive to see Albert Pujols hit three home runs in a World Series or Adrian Beltre hitting three in a playoff game. But four is just so rare. I feel like an 8-year-old kid right now who just left the ballgame and saw the coolest thing ever.”

“The guy is a freak,” said starter Derek Holland, who was still shaking his head. “He’s unbelievable. It couldn’t happen to a better guy. It’s amazing to sit there and watch. I couldn’t believe it.”

“I’d rather see it from a different dugout,” Showalter said. “He’s one of the best players in the game. You can see why.”

“It was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that. Very special hitter,” Arrieta said on Hamilton. “He didn’t miss tonight.”

Josh was welcomed to the club via Twitter by Carlos Delgado (did it in 2003) and Shawn Green (did it in 2002):

Carlos Delgado tweeted “#Rangers Mr. Josh Hamilton very nice game. Welcome to the club!!!!!!! @shawngreen15,”

Shawn Green followed that up with “Thanks for all of the nice messages tonight and thanks Josh Hamilton for getting people to remember me!”

Quick Hits

  • Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...Neftali Feliz put in a good night of work on the mound, giving up only one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out eight over six innings (105 pitches).  Nice bounce back from a rough outing in Toronto last week.  Last night’s performance puts Feliz at 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA on the season with 26 Ks and 16 BBs over 32 innings.
  • Adrian Beltre returned to action last night and belted his 6th home run of the season…but he only hit one home run in the game, so…
  • Elvis Andrus has now reached base in 26 straight games, and he is 16 for 33 on the current road trip.  All four of Josh’s home runs from last night came with Elvis on base.
  • There were only 11,263 in attendance last night at Camden Yards.  C’mon Baltimore…until Texas came to town, the O’s were playing really well and had the best record in the American League.

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...

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May 022012
 
The Texas Rangers Have Lost Consecutive Series—No need to panic

Sure, he gave up the game winner on Monday to Brett Lawrie, but hey, it's not like that was our finest game of the year or anything.

Last night, for what seemed like the first time in a decade, the Texas Rangers lost a baseball game on the very same day that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won.

Okay, technically, the Angels won during the wee hours of today. But hey, they won, and I’m sure they’re thrilled—it hasn’t happened that often this year.

Sure, we’re 0-2 after our first two Mayday May games. But not to worry, historically the Blue Jays have always been a tough matchup—we were 4-6 against them last year and 3-7 in 2010.

Plus, we knew Jose Bautista would heat up eventually. A-hole that he is.

It’s not all doom and gloom, Rangers fans—there are plenty of positives to be taken from the Rays/Jays-our-first-consecutive-series-losses-of-2012-thing.

Here are some thoughts from the last few games:

Craig Gentry has morphed into Josh Hamilton…

Craig Gentry is an absolute mad man. He’s faster than the mortgage bill when you’re broke and is only slowed by immovable cement structures.

He also has some pop.

That was a pretty sweet moment Monday night when Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry went back-to-back. But, for the love of God, Gentry, take it easy in the outfield man! It’s not spring training, you’re on the big league roster for crying out loud!

Seriously dude, the freaking outfield wall had to be taken out of the game…that’s how hard you hit it! Had Hamilton hit the wall that hard, we’d still be super-gluing the pieces back together (of both the wall and Hami)!

Ron Washington gets no respect, not even on his birthday

Okay, this one was messed up. On Sunday, Ron Washington celebrated his 60th birthday. There is no better way to celebrate getting a year older than at a Texas Rangers game.

Yes, even if they lose.

I’m sure Washington wasn’t expecting a gift from anyone. He definitely wasn’t expecting Old Dutch to wrap up the game with a pretty ribbon and hand it to the Rays.

But as is a theme for the Rangers this year, even during their losses they’re still just a break or two from winning. In the 5-2 loss, the Rangers left the bases loaded after a hard lineout from Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the ninth.

The Texas Rangers are 0-5 on Wash’s birthday—with a rainout—in his six seasons with the club.

At least Washington was able to enjoy his birthday cake a little early…he was ejected in the seventh inning by home plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing balls and strikes—replays showed that Wash was in the right.

The word “gay” used to mean happy

Yeah. Now “gay” is just a word that rhymes with teams we seem to have trouble with. What gives?

Are the Texas Rangers “homophonic?”

Yu Darvish is getting better while Albert Pujols continues to suck

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, so I’ll just make them up: Albert Pujols hasn’t hit a home run since he really was 32-years-old…in 2001…Craig Gentry has more homers than “The Poo”!

And Yu Darvish. Whoa boy! Don’t worry, I’ll speak of his greatness plenty in the future, but for now, let’s just enjoy the ride.

He’s gotten better every start—especially the last three—and the crazy thing is, the team’s he’s beaten have actually improved too! Sure, the Blue Jays aren’t quite as potent as the Tigers or Yankees, but if you need proof of how viable the crazy Canadians can be, just take a look at how our other starters fared against them this series…

Upcoming goodness to look forward to:

Koji versus old team

Here’s hoping that Koji can continue his recent string of not sucking too bad. Even better, maybe he’s turned the corner and is back to his pre-trade level, which was awesome.

Worst-case scenario, maybe we can swap him for Chris Davis or just duct tape him to an empty locker in Baltimore and “accidentally” leave him behind.

Mitch Moreland versus Chris Davis

Remember when Chris Davis was “Crush” and he was the Texas Rangers’ first baseman of the future?

Well, to jog your memory, Justin Smoak was still the hotshot prospect, and Mitch Moreland was a dude that the powers that be thought might have more value as a middle-reliever.

True story.

Hey speaking of Chris Davis, he’s been hitting the ball pretty well. Batting .333 with 5 home runs. It’s no secret that I have a huge man crush on Chris Davis, and, sadly, there is photographic proof:

The Texas Rangers Have Lost Consecutive Series—No need to panic

I hadn't been that nervous since Prom.

Anyways, it will be fun to watch how Davis hits against us and how Moreland does against the Orioles. For a franchise (Rangers) famous for creating excellent first baseman (and some not so good—cough—Jason Botts). Should be an entertaining head-to-head showdown.

Also of note, the Rangers’ right-handed bench bat, Brandon Snyder, was a former first round pick of the Baltimore Orioles. He’s also a first basemen that is versatile enough to play in the outfield, like Mitch…of course, Snyder was the only first rounder of the three, and he’s the only one not a starter; that’s the way baseball go…

Yu Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson…?

Yeah, it could happen. If the Rangers’ rotation (as well as the Angels’) stays in the same order, on Friday May 11th, it would be Yu Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Whoa. That’d be awesome! “The Young Buck vs. Mr. Playoff Suck”

Now, granted, it’s not a playoff game, so C.J. Wilson won’t be guaranteed to lose…Bing!

I’m intentionally overlooking the next series, with the Cleveland Indians

Yeah, the Cleveland Indians are the Rangers’ next opponent, right before the Orioles. I don’t know, the Indians don’t really scare me much. Maybe it’s because we’re 13-3 against them over the last two seasons combined.

Perhaps it’s because those poor suckers will have to face Yu Darvish.

Anyways, I’m looking past the Indians, in the same vane that we don’t even consider the Oakland Athletics or Seattle Mariners as serious threats, even though they are only 5, and 6 games, respectively, behind the Rangers in the AL West.

Because it’s always fun to say, the Angels are 8 games out of first place and in the cellar—right next to the rusty plumbing and high school yearbooks that you don’t look at, but are too sentimental to get rid of.

Final Diagnosis

Yeah, I know, we’re mired in a losing streak. It sucks. And even though it’s our first of the year, this team is so good it seems like we’ll win every single game.

Not possible.

We were outscored by the Jays 19-12, in the month. And yes, we’ve lost consecutive games on the road. But it’s no time to push the panic button.

Josh Hamilton will be coming back full-strength, as will Adrian Beltre.

We are going to be just fine.

The major tests have been passed—can we beat the playoff caliber teams? Absolutely. Can Yu Darvish harness his command? You’d better believe it…can we score runs without Beltre and Hamilton in our lineup? Affirmative.

Plus, the way Yu Darvish continues to improve every start, he’ll probably close out the month with consecutive perfect games.

And I believe that will be a record…and speaking of records, 17-8 ain’t so bad.

UPDATE!!! Jered Weaver just threw a no-hitter against the Twins! Yes, I checked, it does count even if thrown against Minnesota…Too bad they only gain a half game, huh? Pujols was 1-5, but I’m sure we already guessed that.

Peace out, and Go Rangers!

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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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Apr 242012
 

Tuesday Morning Sliders

On a night when the Rangers were on the national stage against the biggest empire in Major League Baseball, they fell short of victory.
On a night when many Rangers fans were fighting back tears of joy as one of the greatest Rangers of all-time announced his retirement, the evening didn’t end with victorious fireworks.

On a night when our starting pitching wasn’t dominant, and our hitting couldn’t rescue it….we still went to bed with the best record in the American League.

The Rangers fell 7-4 to the hated Yankees last night, on a night that will be remembered for the end and new beginning of Pudge Rodriguez more so than what happened on the field.  Derek Holland (2-1, 4.78 ERA) took the loss, giving up all 7 runs over 6 innings of work.  Josh hit his league leading 8th home run (solo shot) and my second favorite Craig got 2 RBI, but it wasn’t enough.

“I’m pretty upset with myself,” said Holland. “I didn’t battle as well as I usually have been before. The walks really killed me. I didn’t give my defense anything to play with.”

“It was poor execution,” Holland said. “I was trying to overthrow a little bit. It was a mental thing. I didn’t hit my spots. It was just one of those nights, I guess.”

  • The vote of confidence from Face:

“The thing with Derek is, one, he knows he’s really good, which is a great thing to have if you want to be an impact big leaguer,” Young said. “When you’re talking about him, knowing him, he’s already chomping at the bit for his next start. When he looks at this start, he’ll look at things he wants to get better at. He’ll make his really good adjustments, and he’ll be ready to roll in five days. We look forward to playing behind him.”

Pudge hits:

  • Tuesday Morning SlidersT.R. Sullivan recaps the Pudge retirement ceremony here with a short video clip of Pudge firing down to second base for the last time.
  • The ceremony was very well done…kudos to the Rangers organization for making this happen.
  • While it was a great opportunity to look back on one of the all-time great careers, one of the more exciting moments came when Nolan said said the Rangers are working on an agreement with Pudge to have him work with the organization in an undetermined capacity.
  • More to come on Pudge…

Quick hits:

  • Adrian Beltre may return to the lineup tonight after his MRI returned normal results yesterday.  Beltre has some mild inflammation of his hamstring and is currently listed as day-to-day.
  • Two former Nippon greats will face off tonight when Yu Darvish (2-0, 3.57 ERA) takes the mound against Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 5.00 ERA).  More details on the match-up here.
  • Anthony Castrovince (MLB.com) wrote a good column on the progress that Darvish is making both on and off the field.

First pitch is 7:05 tonight.  Hit us up on Twitter (@baseballdo) if you wanna chat during the game.  We are postponing this week’s podcast due to conflicts with our schedules.  We’ll get one up as quickly as possible.

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Apr 182012
 
<b>Things you didn’t know about Koji Uehara, plus poor poetry</b>

Koji Uehara and his balls

Last night’s drubbing of the helpless Boston Red Sox by a score of 18-2 (Uehara homers happen too frequently to count anymore…) was a thing of absolute beauty!

Well, except for that little appearance by the batting machine with sideburns with his infamous splitter that doesn’t split and world famous hanging fastball.

When Koji pitches, it’s like the first time you got dumped. Sure, in a few hours you won’t care anymore, but at that moment you’re moved enough to write some epically bad poetry.

Here are three episodic Haikus followed by some things that you didn’t know about Mr. Uehara. Enjoy.

Koji Uehara

Enables opposition

Four-hundred foot blasts

*****

Koji Uehara

Needs to take his uncanny suck

To another team

*****

Anaheim Angels:

Koji Uehara might be

A great fit for you

*****

1. According to Elias Sports Bureau, when facing Koji, it is three times more difficult to NOT hit a home run than it is to take him downtown—or, as they say: “deep into the heart of Dong City.” Okay, only I say that.

2. Fellow Japanese import, Yoshinori Tateyama, was a High School teammate of Koji. Back then, Koji was an outfielder. Now, if you’re HS coach won’t let you pitch…Just sayin’.

3. During last year’s ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, Koji pitched 1 1/3 innings while surrendering 3 home runs…HE ONLY GAVE UP ONE FEWER HRs THAN OUTS RECORDED.

4. The whole “it ain’t over ‘till the fat lady sings” thing is tired and cliché. A better rested, new cliché should be: “It ain’t over until Koji Uehara gets an out.”

5. Forget number four. Realistically, if Koji is in there, the ******* thing is already over.

6. In Japan, a popular pitch is named “shuuto.” When Koji throws it, it is referred to as “shit throw.”

7. Throughout his Major League Baseball career (2009-Present), Koji has had an excellent walk rate. This is not due to his outstanding location or control. This is due to a basic baseball philosophy: Why walk when you can hit a home run?

8. Koji’s English translator isn’t even bilingual. Hell, he’s not even “bi.” He’s simply a tape recorder with a pre-recorded message that says: “I am sorry. I did not have my good stuff today. I wish to go back to Baltimore where the team is bad and expectations are low. Thank you.”

9. Fellow Japanese pitchers Yu Darvish and Yoshi Tateyama actually speak in English anytime Koji is near.

10. Balls thrown by Koji Uehara accumulated 3,000,000 frequent flyer miles last year. Koji’s balls cashed in the miles and, like, totally vacationed in Puerto Rico—where they were held, but not for ransom. Booya!

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Apr 182012
 

Wednesday Morning Curveballs“The ball was carrying pretty good tonight.” – Josh Hamilton

At some point last night, I just laughed.  I wasn’t laughing at the Red Sox, but rather it was a joyful laugh…an emotion that could only come from pride in just how good this team is.  I just laughed….at how ridiculously talented this line-up is from top to bottom, even with it’s interchangeable parts.  I just laughed…as Colby settled in after giving up a first inning 2-run shot to Dustin Pedroia.  I just laughed…as Ranger Nation was in full force on Twitter, watching an offensive explosion in fellowship and celebrating with each run.  I couldn’t help myself…I just laughed.

If your reading this, more than likely you were watching that.  If not, just know that in game 11 of 162 in 2012, the Rangers looked like an All-Star team…on the road…against at quality opponent.

Wednesday Morning CurveballsOn our last podcast, Jasen and I talked about the depth of this team, and how you can have players like Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli slumping and it’s offset by players like Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler surging (insert any of the core names in this scenario).  Last night, everyone was surging, and hopefully the surge will carry over through the remainder of this road trip (next stop Motown after wrapping short series with BoSox tonight) and beyond.

18 runs on 21 hits with 3 doubles and 6 home runs.  Every Rangers player that got an AB, got a hit with the exception of Alberto Gonzalez who came into the game for Kinsler, after Kins had gotten 5 ABs.  Boston Ace Jon Lester gave up 7 over 2 IP.  New acquired Red Sox relieve Mark Melancon gave up 6 without recording an out (an ERA killer!!).  Meanwhile, Colby Lewis gave up 2 runs on 8 hits and no walks over 7 IP, while striking out 7 batters and making the Red Sox lineup look foolish on many occasions.   It was a slaughter.

It’s fun to watch and fun to rehash, but today is a new day, and the Rangers have to take care of business again tonight against that same Red Sox team they embarrassed last night.

Wednesday Morning Curveballs“I’m just finding holes,” Hamilton said. “I don’t feel great. The home run felt good, the others I just kind of rolled over and found holes. I’m getting there. My timing is still early. I’m getting away with some things. I want to continue to improve.”

“I’m getting close,” Cruz said. “I feel pretty good. I feel like I’m seeing the ball better and my timing is there.”

“I’m definitely feeling better,” Napoli said. “I have been in the cage trying to iron it out. It feels good to put some swings into it and barrel up the ball. I just want to do it for a full game.”

These statements can’t make opposing pitchers feel good…

Quick hits:

  • The Rangers are officially splitting up Holland and Harrison in the rotation.  The day off on Monday afforded them the opportunity to flip-flop Harrison and Darvish in the rotation and they are taking advantage of it.  According to Wash, it has more to do with Yu then splitting the lefties.

“We wanted to keep Darvish pitching on four days’ rest,” Washington said. “He pitched, what, once a week in Japan? We want him to get used to four days down and then pitching on the fifth day. It just so happens to split the left-handers.”

  • Moreland returned to the team last night in Boston after battling oral issues.

“I’m so much better. It was a rough few days,” Moreland said. “I probably got five hours sleep total in two days, but I feel 100 percent better. I slept great last night.”

  • The Rangers will have 3 of the first 53 picks in the upcoming MLB Amateur Draft.  The Rangers will have the 29th overall pick in the first round. They will also have two picks in the compensation round, including the 39th overall pick as compensation for C.J. Wilson signing with the Angels and the 53rd pick for Darren Oliver signing with the Blue Jays.
  • Jonathan Mayo (MLB.com) covers the draft order in more depth.
  • Michael Young left in the 8th inning last night with back stiffness.  It’s not expected to be serious.

“He’ll be fine,” manager Ron Washington said. “He was just a little stiff so we got him out of there. We had the lead there. He’ll be in there Wednesday.”

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Apr 172012
 

Podcast Episode 14: Rangers start strong & early season surprises!

The Rangers are 8 – 2…if you want to know why…listen to this podcast.

  • Early season observations
  • Top surprises from the first 10 games
  • Jasen’s day job…
  • Paying Josh

Jasen also threw down the gauntlet…let us hear from you!

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Apr 162012
 

Monday Morning FastballsThe price tag keeps going up…

Trailing by one run in the 8th after an RBI triple by Elvis Andrus had plated Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton hit a no-doubter to the upper deck in right field that silenced the hometown Twins once and for all and wrapped up the opening road series sweep.

  • It’s the first time that the Rangers have swept the Twins in Minnesota since 1999.
  • Prior to the sweep, the Rangers had lost 20 of their last 26 in Minnesota, including 9 of 10 at Target Field.

“You know I don’t watch them,” Hamilton said regarding the distance of his home run. “I know it feels good and sounds good and Ron yells, ‘Yes!’ pretty loud. That’s about it. But that one felt pretty good.”

“That was awesome,” outfielder David Murphy said. “We didn’t get our offense going, but with this offense, we’re never out of it. Huge shot by Josh. As long as we have outs, we’re never out of it.”

“We played good baseball,” Washington said. “We pitched, we played defense, we ran the bases, we delivered the big hit when we needed them. Everything fell into place.”

  • Joe Nathan closed the door, working a perfect 9th against the middle of the Twins order and earning his 3rd save on the season.

“It’s nice to come in here and sweep these guys,” Nathan said. “I know the Twins have done pretty well against this club at this park. Today was a good win, come-from-behind win, and to hold down a one-run lead, it was nice.”

  • Monday Morning FastballsNeftali Feliz (5 IP, 3 ER on 5 hits and 2 BB, 3 K) pitched well early in the game but ran into some trouble in the 6th and was relieved by rookie Robbie Ross, who earned the win and pitched two brilliant innings.

“It was a pretty fun weekend,” Ross said. “I enjoyed it. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself, just relax and try to get guys out.”

  • This was a big one, as the Rangers were able to put the final nail in the coffin and get a series sweep…on the road no less.  There was much to be impressed with in this game, including the clutch hitting of Josh and Elvis, the plate discipline of Kins, the first four innings from Nefti, the dominance of the rookie Robbie Ross…but the moment that put the biggest grin on my face was Joe Nathan closing the door on his former teammates.  Once we can trust in Joe (which he has to earn through consistent dominant pitching), this thing is unstoppable.

Quick hits:

  • Rangers are off today…what the hell are we supposed to do now!
  • Colby Lewis will pitch in game one of the two game series in Boston.  He’ll face off with Boston ace Jon Lester.  Lewis has not had much success against Boston in his career (.329/.388/.685 in 80 PAs).  Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz in particular have hammered the Colbra in the past (Gonzalez: 6 for 7 with 2 HRs and a double; Ortiz: 5 for 15 with 3 HRs)
  • Derek Holland vs. Josh Beckett on Wednesday to wrap the short series, then it’s on to Motown for a four game set with the Tigers and home to face the hated Yankees…who, while they’ll always be hated by Rangers fans, are no longer public enemy #1.

“They’re chasing us,” echoed second baseman Ian Kinsler. “It shouldn’t matter to us. We’re not chasing them. Obviously, they are some of the best teams in the American League, but we feel like it’s got to come through us. We just have to play good baseball.”

  • Mitch Moreland missed his second straight game Sunday due to a painful abscessed tooth. He flew back to Dallas last night and is scheduled to undergo oral surgery today.  The plan is for him to rejoin the club tomorrow in Boston.
  • In an effort to split up the lefties in the rotation, Wash said he was considering switching Darvish and Harrison during the series with the Tigers, but no official decision has been made yet.
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Apr 092012
 

Monday Morning FastballsA couple of months ago when the Rangers were rumored to be interested in free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt, he was the guy who was thought to lose his spot in the rotation.

For the last 2-3 years when writers/fans praise Jon Daniels for the quality bounty he got in return for Mark Teixeira from the Atlanta Braves, he isn’t mentioned first…or even second.

When (most of) you think of the breakout left-handed starter on the Texas Rangers, he’s not the first name that comes to mind.

Last night…he was brilliant, and we all took notice.

Matt Harrison was dominant throughout Spring Training, and he brought that same command and presence into the regular season last night in front of 45,368 cheering Rangers fans and possibly more importantly, in front of baseball fans worldwide on the nationally televised ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game.  Harrison pitched six scoreless frames against the Chicago White Sox to give the Rangers the 2-1 series win.

“I was able to throw my offspeed pitches for strikes early in the game,” Harrison said. “It gave them something to swing at besides my fastball. They fouled a lot of pitches off early, but I just kept pounding the strike zone and making them put the ball in play.”

“Harrison pitched great,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “This is one of those where you tip your hat to him.”

“Outstanding,” manager Ron Washington said. “Harrison had a good sinker working, he was moving the ball up and down, in and out, good breaking ball. Early in the game they fouled off so many pitches it put him in a bad way at the end, but he gave us what we needed tonight.”

  • Harrison gave up 4 hits and allowed 2 walks while striking out 3 across his six innings of work.
  • Hamilton, Beltre & Murph all went yard in this game, with Hamilton’s being a ridiculous 441 foot blast that initially looked like it was going to exit the stadium.
  • Hamilton also made two nice snags in center field.

Quick Hits:

  • Tonight is the debut of Yu.  Tickets are still available from the Rangers and on StubHub.  Why aren’t you going?
  • Robbie Ross was impressive last night in his Major League debut, working a scoreless 8th inning, striking out Paul Konerko and walking one.
  • Jasen and I will be at the game tonight, so hit us up on Twitter (@baseballdo).
  • We will be recording this weeks podcast tomorrow night.  If you’d like to submit a question or topic, please comment on this post or sent it via the Contact Us page.
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