Sep 132012
 
DutchMcAlli

Rangers, Derek Holland, Eye Sweep of Indians

This is not Derek Holland. But that is a fine mustache, young lady.

No one likes to beat a dead horse. However, the Texas Rangers have had no problems in whipping-up on the nearly-lifeless Cleveland Indians.

After out-scoring the Tribe 11-6 in the first two games of this three-game set, the Rangers are going for the sweep tonight, and will turn to certified Cleveland-killer Derek Holland to get the job done.

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

Cleveland Indians (59-84)

Rangers, Derek Holland, Eye Sweep of Indians

Shin-Soo was 2-for-4 against the Rangers last night, but is riding the pine this evening.


SS Brent Lillibridge
2B Jason Kipnis
DH Carlos Santana
CF Michael Brantley
LF Vinny Rottino
1B Matt LaPorta
RF Thomas Neal
C Lou Marson
3B Jack Hannahan

VS

LHP Derek Holland (10-6, 4.59 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 2.7 BB/9)

Derek Holland has won three of his last four decisions, and certainly pitched well enough to earn the victory in his last start, in Tampa Bay.

To find the victims in Holland’s most recent win, you need look no further than the opposing team’s dugout. Holland, an Ohio native, picked up his tenth win on the year by pitching seven stellar innings against tonight’s foe, the Cleveland Indians, on September 2. All told, the Dutch Oven struck out five, walked just two and scattered five hits.

For Holland to succeed in notching his eleventh victory on the year, it will be crucial for him to have success against Carlos Santana (.385/.467/.923, 2 HRs) as well as Brent Lillibridge (.429/.556/.857, HR), both of whom have hit him well.

Texas Rangers (85-57)

Rangers, Derek Holland, Eye Sweep of Indians

After hitting his 32nd homer of the year last night, Beltre was pulled due to a shoulder issue. He has been cleared to DH this evening, so it’s all good.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF David Murphy
DH Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
3B Michael Young
1B Mitch Moreland
C Geovany Soto
CF Leonys Martin

VS

RHP Zach McAllister (5-7, 4.31 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9)

McAllister, a 6’6″ right-hander from Chillicothe, Illinois, is most likely not very excited about getting the start tonight against the Texas Rangers.

A mere 11 days ago, McAllister was “greeted” by a Texas Rangers’ offense that pounded-out four home runs and recorded seven earned runs over his five innings of work. Remember Jurickson Profar’s first big league homer? Yep, that was off of McAllister. Josh Hamilton found him to his liking too, as he took the righty deep as well.

Sure, Hamilton and Profar are getting the day off today, but it’s not like they were the only Rangers to shellack McAllister. In fact, the only Ranger starting tonight who hasn’t record at least one hit off of him is Mitch Moreland, and, hey, there’s no time like the present, Mitchy!

McAllister is currently riding a five-game losing streak.

So close, yet Profar away

• Rangers’ rookie—and number one prospect—Jurickson Profar was originally slated to start at second base and bat in the nine-hole. However, an MRI of Adrian Beltre’s left shoulder showed no structural damage, and Washington decided to give him the start at designated hitter. Thus, Profar was the odd-man out.

Texas Rangers’ injury news

• Adrian Beltre left yesterday’s game in the fifth inning with a sore left wing, but, as noted earlier, his MRI was negative and he was a late edition to tonight’s starting lineup.

• Josh Hamilton had an injection in his left knee after last night’s game. His injury is not considered serious, but he is getting the night off and is listed as day to day.

• Rangers’ rookie, Mike Olt, was called on to replace Adrian Beltre at third base last night. Olt would leave the game as well as he re-aggravated a plantar fasciitis issue while beating out an infield single. Olt will be sidelined 10-14 days and is set to see a podiatrist in the near future.

• Everyone’s favorite extra-toothy Texas Ranger, Robbie Ross, is scheduled to throw another bullpen tomorrow. He has been sidelined with left forearm tightness, so any throwing not met with subsequent pain is great news for the young lefty.

• Rangers’ reluctant bullpen-specialist, Roy Oswalt, is scheduled to attempt to throw today. He lasted just two innings in his last spot-start and noted that it felt like “something bit his elbow.” No word on if he cast an embittered gaze to all parties involved upon discussing said injury; but, yeah, I’m pretty sure he did.

All Quiet on the A.L. West front?

• Sadly, no, no it is not. The Oakland Athletics continue their quest to become the most-unlikely—according to most pre-season rankings, at least—team to make a playoff splash. They are currently just three games behind the Texas Rangers, which is astounding considering the Rangers own the American League’s best record.

• For the A’s, it’s almost as if shedding the weight of Bartolo Colon—both literally and figuratively—has propelled their ascent all the more. Every time I check the standings, there they are, that much closer to an improbable Wild Card playoff berth.

• The only good thing about the A’s winning, is that three of their last four wins have come at the expense of the Angels.

• The Rangers currently hold a 3 1/2 game lead over the A’s and an 8-game lead over the increasingly lowly LA Angels of A-holedom (if that’s not a word, it should be.)

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Sep 062012
 
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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 012012
 
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Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences

Dempster was one cool customer last night, as he held the Tribe to just two hits over his six innings of work.

Fresh off of a 5-3 win at Cleveland’s Progressive Field last night, it’s hard to believe that the Texas Rangers lost two-of-three to these same Indians back in May—while outscored 19-13.

The two-run advantage really isn’t indicative of the dominant effort that the Rangers put forth a night ago, it’s just a sign of how bad Koji Uehara continues to be…even with the rosters expanding to 40 today, you have to wonder why Uehara continues to occupy one of those spots.

That being said here’s a look at some Rangers of note as well as some roster information as the light at the end of the regular season tunnel begins to burn ever brighter…

Ryan Dempster Continues to Cruise

• I wish I could claim to have never felt the pangs of panic concerning Ryan Dempster. But, like most of us, the second time Demples was shellacked for eight runs, I was wiping the sweat from my brow while clenching my fist in anticipation of smashing the proverbial panic button.

However, all anxiety surrounding the right-hander has been subdued by his recent excellence. Over his last three starts, Dempster has gone 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and has notched 20 strikeouts and only seven walks. In short, Dempster has looked like the ace the Rangers have so desperately sought since Cliff Lee’s departure via free agency.

Trade Deadline Comes to a Close as Rosters Expand

• Even after news came of the Mariners’ King Felix being claimed on waivers, it became apparent that he most likely will be staying put in Seattle.

• However, the Texas Rangers did announce that the much-anticipated debut of Jurickson Profar will occur today. Highly regarded pitching prospect Miguel De Los Santos was designated for assignment and it looks like Tanner Scheppers as well as Brandon Snyder will be returning to the big league club for the September stretch run.

• It is uncertain how much playing time the aforementioned Profar will command in the final weeks of the season, but he will be a true utility infielder expected to backup shortstop Elvis Andrus and possibly Ian Kinsler at second base.

Koji Uehara…yeah, you know

• As I’m sure most of you are well aware, I’m not a Koji Uehara fan. It’s nothing personal, he seems like a nice dude and I admire his enthusiasm. But, the guy is just an awful pitcher. Occasionally people point to his statistics to quiet my rage, but with Koji, you have to consider the situations he’s used in. He rarely pitches in a close game that the Rangers are winning and if you’ve ever wondered why, just look at his outing against Minnesota last week and last night’s thunder-shot home run off the bat of the excruitiatingly-average Casey Kotchman…and there you have it.

Personally, I’d leave Koji off of my roster even if it expanded to a 60-man…I just don’t see why he’s ever allowed to pitch.

Adrian Beltre—not of this Earth

• Beltre, last week’s A.L. Player of the Week, is continuing to sizzle at the dish. Last night he was 4-for-5, raising his batting average five points to .316 on the season. Over his last 10 games, Beltre has hit .475 with six home runs and 14 RBI. It appears that the sure-handed third baseman is getting hot at the best possible time…

A.L. West Continues to Sizzle

• As great as the Rangers have played over the last several weeks, it’s hard to believe that they have been the A.L. West’s third hottest team over their last ten games.

• The second-place Oakland Athletics have won nine-of-ten and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have started to show signs of life, winning seven-of-ten while feeling the flow of a four-game winning streak.

Robbie Ross Injured

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences

Fan favorite and outstanding lefty reliever, Robbie Ross, is headed to the DL with tightness in his left forearm.

• Word came down late last night that left-handed reliever-extraordinnaire Robbie Ross will be placed on the disabled list due to left-forearm stiffness. The diagnosis is particularly disparaging as tightness in the forearm is often a precursor to elbow ligament damage—see Lewis, Colby.

Up Next:

RHP Scott Feldman (6-10, 4.95 ERA) will look to tap into some of his six-game winning streak magic in hopes of staving off his current four-game skid. Scooter will oppose the Indians’ Jeanmar Gomez (4-7, 5.11 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 (CST).

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences
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It’s Profar time, and I’m stoked!

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Aug 022012
 
Elvis

Walk Off Rangers Win so Huge it Overshadows Dempster/Olt DebutsHad the Rangers lost last night, you’d better believe that this post would be all about Ryan Dempster and Mike Olt’s Texas Ranger debuts.

Only problem with that is the Rangers did not lose. Quite the opposite, as they won in thrilling fashion, 11-10.

And oh boy was that a much needed “w.”

So bad have the Rangers bats been, and so woeful the starting pitching, I feel it’s best we bathe in the glory of last night’s throat punch to the second-place Los Angles Angels of blah-blah-blah.

Stay down, Angels. Save yourself further embarrassment. Should you rise, we’ll just lay you out again, each time more forcefully than the last. This Division, this League, it’s ours. We’ve got this sh**.

That’s how Texas Rangers baseball suddenly feels again—and it’s fantastic.

It’s a win that will be fondly remembered as summer’s heat recedes while the regular season gradually gains intensity before blooming into postseason play.

Man, that Rangers’ tenth inning…A half frame that functioned as snake oil for the soul, capable of healing all ailments, while restoring plummeting batting averages and halting the rise of our chief A.L. West combatants.

Hell, it might even halt Roy Oswalt’s regression and fix Josh Hamilton’s inexplicable batting misadventures.

Some thoughts from last night’s tenth inning Angels-beat down:

Joe Nathan

• In the top of the tenth inning, in a 7-7 tie—in a game that the Rangers had trailed by as much as six runs, closer Joe Nathan immediately delivers his best Koji Uehara impersonation. Eight-hole hitter, Chris Ianetta, promptly whistles a go-ahead home run into the left field seats for an 8-7 advantage.

Then, after two quick outs, Nathan plunks Torii Hunter, and here comes Albert Pujols. Yep. Two-run rocket shot to left field, Rangers down 10-7. I’m not sure what left quicker, Pujols’ homer, or the crowd’s feel-good vibe.

But, so magical was last night, that Joe Nathan not only gets to stay in town unharmed, he gets the win!

Michael Young

• Sure, we all know Michael Young is having a down season. No need to delve deeper than that. Young seemingly grounds out to Angels’ shortstop Andrew Romine, only to reach on an error. He’d eventually score the run that brought the Rangers within one, 10-9.

Mitch Moreland

• Injured for over a month, Mitch Moreland has hit safely in all three of his games since being reactivated from the disabled list on Monday. No hit was bigger than his line-drive single that tied the game up 10-10.

Moreland could provide the stretch run offense the Rangers have so sorely lacked.

Ian Kinsler

• Yes, Kinsler was the only out recorded by the Angels in the tenth inning. Yes, it was a meekly hit weak pop-up that didn’t leave the infield…but his game-tying, leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning more than makes up for any of his shoulder-dropping, groan-inducing games of pepper with second baseman the league over.

Nelson Cruz

• Nelson Cruz’s laser beam solo shot should have been for the walk-off win. But that doesn’t matter. What does is that The Boomstick is heating up baby…and Nellie goes nuclear, he can carry the team almost solomente.

Mike Napoli

• Quietly—it’s hard to make much of a racket after last year’s slash line—Mike Napoli is starting to show signs of life—as well as pop. Naps has hit five home runs in his last 10 games and was an almost-overlooked 3-for-4 last night with 2 RBI.

Elvis Andrus

• Despite Ian Kinsler’s big game last night, there will be plenty that feel Elvis Andrus should be the Texas Rangers’ leadoff hitter. I’m beginning to be one of them. It’s not that Kinsler sucks, but it seems his skill-set might be better suited lower in the batting order.

Regardless, Elvis made a case for not only batting leadoff, but for team MVP last night. One of the few Rangers that has stayed consistent at the plate all season long, Elvis’ ringing, walk-off double still induces goose bumps nearly 14-hours later.

Ryan Dempster

• Arguably the happiest Ranger of all, Dempster toes the rubber for his Texas debut tonight. Why so happy? It’s hard enough switching teams, but how about having to be your team’s ace and losing streak stopper all at the same time?

Mike Olt

• If Olt takes to the big leagues as he has at every level of the minors, the Rangers might have their own version of Mike Trout. Okay that’s a bit far-fetched, but Olt has flashed prodigious power, a plus-glove and a knack for drawings walks throughout his minor league career.

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Jul 312012
 
DempOswalt

Ryan Dempster Shakes Things Up for the Texas Rangers (In a good way)Recently acquired right-hander, Ryan Dempster, may be new to the American League, but he is no stranger to the Texas Rangers. The native of Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada, now comes to Arlington, Texas, North America, to the team that originally drafted him during the third round of the 1995 MLB amateur draft.

Colby Lewis is a somewhat relevant comparable to Dempster. Dempster is a few years older and managed to avoid the disabled list—as well as the Japanese League—so he has a considerably larger track record. But looking at each right-hander’s stats this season, you can see certain similarities between Lewis (6-6, 3.43 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, 6.64 SO/BB, 1.4 HR/9) and Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 3.07 SO/BB, 0.8 HR/9).

Lewis featured superior control, as his league-leading strikeout-to-walk ratio indicated, but Dempster is far less susceptible to the long ball.

Dempster’s long ball totals might trend up as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington boasts the 11th highest home run per game total (1.116) in the league. Dempster’s former stomping grounds, Chicago’s Wrigley Field, as clocks in at 16th, with a 0.973 per game average.

Not long after word came down about the Rangers’ acquisition, the team announced that former ROY and converted starter, Neftali Feliz, had a torn elbow ligament and would require season-ending surgery.

This made Feliz the team’s second TJ surgery casualty in the last week, as Colby Lewis was lost for the season just a few days ago.

Dempster’s arrival will help to stave off the near rampant paranoia that swept through Rangerville after Roy Oswalt was thwacked mightily last night during the Rangers 15-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Roy Oswalt to the bullpen

• During Spring Training, the Texas Rangers were kicking the tires on inking a deal with the then unsigned free agent Roy Oswalt. The only reason they didn’t pull the proverbial trigger was due to the diminutive right-hander’s reluctance to pitch out of the bullpen.

• Well, even if you’re a perennial former All-Star, you’ve got to pitch well as a starter to avoid the ‘pen. Roy Oswalt has been moved to the bullpen after last night’s terrible performance. It will be interesting to see if Oswalt will ask for his release.

Scooter, captain clutch

• Wow. When the Rangers decided to sign Oswalt they did so to hedge against Neftali Feliz’s injury. However, they also did so because because Feldman was absolutely terrible in his spot-starts. 5-straight wins later, and fresh off of a dominant eight-inning performance two nights ago, Scooter has beaten out Oswalt for a rotation spot.

• If Feldman can turn it around, Oswalt can too. This is why I was somewhat shocked when I found out that Oswalt was the odd man out in the Rangers current rotational plans.

Move over, Derek Holland

• No, Holland’s spot is safe. But his claim as resident comedian might not be a given. Holland, quasi-famus for his Harry Caray impersonation might have to come up with something knew, as Dempster’s Caray is hard to beat.

• Don’t get me wrong, Dutch’s is pretty spot-on.

• Who do you think gets the edge?

I’m just glad the Geovany Soto addition doesn’t have to stand alone as the “big” trade acquistion

• Yeah, I pretty much said it all in the emboldened title. Ah Well. Go Rangers!

Ryan Dempster Shakes Things Up for the Texas Rangers (In a good way)
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Jul 312012
 
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UPDATE Soto will now be joined with former battery mate, Ryan Dempster. Dempster, snatched away from the Yankees by Rangers GM Jon Daniels moments before the deadline’s time limit, has a 1.55 ERA with Soto catching. The Rangers traded away two Single-A prospects—INF Christian Villanueva and RHP Kyle Hendricks. As long as you kept your receipt on your Geovany Soto jersey, you should be able to get your money back.

Geovany Soto: A Rangers Trade that truly Baffles, Unless...UPDATE: Dempster in the Hizzy

“Your beard is no match for mine, Mark Harmon…even when I’m clean shaven. Besides? Can you hit big league pitching 19% of the time?! I thought not!!!”

So, the Texas Rangers have acquired catcher Geovany Soto and an unspecified amount of cash from the Chicago Cubs for pitching prospect Jacob Brigham.

Since Yorvit Torrealba has been designated for assignment, it is presumed that Soto will function as the backup catcher.

The unspecified cash will most likely be used immediately to get really, really drunk. Because that’s what you do after getting shellacked 15-8 by the Angels.

I suppose it’s time we get to know the man named Soto.

Yorvit Torrealba vs. Geovany Soto

• Wow. Yeah, if UFC had fighters of this caliber, they’d have folded years ago.

• Soto has more pop. Torrealba has more slap. This isn’t Soto’s fault. When you spend this much time manicuring your beard, you don’t want to get punched in the crumb catcher.

• Soto, while flailing about aimlessly in the batter’s box, is more likely to doink one out. Torrealba will kick an umpire’s ass.

• Seriously, have you ever seen a player talk smack to the umpire after a swinging strike call?

Potential Derisive Nicknames and/or drunken proclamations to scream or chant (at your own risk)

Geovany Soto: A Rangers Trade that truly Baffles, Unless...UPDATE: Dempster in the Hizzy

“Hello Ranger Nation, I’m television’s ‘Geovany Soto.’ And I’d like to show you how big boys groom themselves.”


• Yes, Yorvit’s peculiar first name and its rhyming qualities will be missed. Pronounced “Yore-veet,”
“Tore-E-Habla” every time he did something dumb—like get himself crossed up on a fastball he called for—the keen drunken fan could easily proclaim:
“Yep! More sheet from Horri-ablah!” However, you must be careful, as Yorvit will climb into the stands Ty Cobb-style and kick your ass. He’ll also drink your beer, and eat your nachos while staring awkwardly at your significant other. He could pull this off because nobody on the field even noticed he was gone.

• Aside from the basic “Hey Geovany, where’s the rest of the boy band?” There is very little in his actual name that lends itself well to drunken exclamations, but I’m going to try anyways.

Geovany So-So

• Tidily sums up his career as well as capturing (rather optimistically) the level of excitement his arrival brings to Arlington.

Geovany So-terrific!

• Should Soto go completely nuts a la Napoli last season—yeah right—there will be no shortage of tee shirts with this moniker.

Geovany So—god **** awful, is tha* th* best yo* got *or us Jon eff*** Daniel*—Terrible

• Only rolls off the tongue well after beer number 18.

Top-notch facial hair

Geovany Soto: A Rangers Trade that truly Baffles, Unless...UPDATE: Dempster in the Hizzy

Oh c’mon, we all used to have this poster.

• Soto’s pristine fur-camouflage is clearly 80-grade. Normally, a beard of this quality comes with an angelic singing voice, skinny pants, and at least four other pre-pubescent 30-year-old dudes that provide background dancing, during performances at the Golden Triangle Mall.

• Okay, that’s a little mean-spirited on my part. I should never make fun of the Golden Triangle Mall.

• I do foresee a potential relationship between Soto’s beard and Koji’s sideburns. Really, that’d be quite beautiful. The unruly ‘burns from the wrong side of the tracks; Japanese-tough, no doubt. Soto’s chin strap and mini-stache, making eyes at that fluffy goodness from the get go…

Geovany Soto: A Rangers Trade that truly Baffles, Unless...UPDATE: Dempster in the Hizzy

Those bad boys mean business.


It’s a baffling trade, unless…

• Yeah, all kidding aside, I’m truly baffled why we move one subpar backup catcher for another. Sure, Soto is four years younger, but a .195 batting average is exactly that. Unless…

Maybe, just maybe, the Soto move is a precursor to bringing in Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster. And if that was the case, it makes a lot more sense.

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Jul 302012
 
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Could Cliff Lee be a Texas Ranger (Again)?

Yeah, that would sure add comfort to even the most restless of Ranger Nation souls.

As I’m sure we are all more than aware, there is approximately 24 hours left for this year’s non-waiver MLB Trade Deadline. I’m also confident that even those of us who still have dial-up Internet access—looking at you Mom and Dad—are well aware that Zack Greinke is a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

And he’s already lost once for the Halos! Snort, giggle, repeat. Guffaw as necessary.

Some of the names that were bandied about have lost a little luster. Josh Johnson. James Shields. Both are solid pitchers, but would either one actually be good enough to rise to the top of a pretty solid Rangers’ rotation? Maybe, maybe not. Shields had 11 complete games last season, and produced a sparkling 2.82 ERA. This year? Zero complete games, a league-leading 156 hits allowed, and a not-so-savory 4.52 ERA.

And the Rays would want one of the killer Ps or the “Oltimate Warrior”? Pass. Besides, if Shields were to wear the Rangers red or blue, it would take away from the pleasure of beating him senseless in the playoffs as the Rangers are want to do.

Josh Johnson? It’s hard to naysay a power-pitcher that’s 6’7″ 250 pounds. But the Marlins supposedly want a bevy of prospects that would even outweigh what the Angels shipped off for Greinke. Yep, you guessed it—it’d be one of the killer Ps and possibly the Oltmeister.

Plus, Johnson’s injury-riddled past leads one to believe that this giant with the eye-popping potential and stuff to match is constructed of paper-mache. You’re going to want something more fireproof when that thermometer hits it’s mid-August southern stride.

So what does that leave in regards to rotation quick fixes? Well, it may be quite a long shot, but it does leave one Clifton Phifer Lee as a possibility.

If you’re a glass is half empty type, Cliff Lee is the dude that lost two games in the 2010 World Series for us. Personally, I’ll always remember him as the only reason we made it to the dang World Series in the first place.

Ciff Lee is about the only name I can think of that would allow me to let loose my death grip on the Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar, and Martin Perez-types. How far-fetched is the notion t hat Cliff Lee could land in Arlington once again? Well, Buster Olney of ESPN seems to think it could happen:

Yes, it would take a premium prospect (or two.) Yes, there would be a HUGE financial investment. But the window for greatness always seems to shut a little prematurely—Philadelphia Phillies, anyone? So if it’s possible, I say get this done. Bring him on down. We always kind of considered Lee one of our own, anyways.

Not only am I the optimistic sort, I also believe in atonement…there’s a chance—albeit remote—that Cliff Lee could land back in Texas. Hey, everyone deserves a second chance to make the right decision.

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Jul 252012
 
portraitoffuturestarters copy

Texas Trade Rumors: With Cole Hamels off the board, will it be Josh Johnson, or Zack Greinke?

“You mean I’m going to be traded to a team with postseason aspirations?! Hells yeah I’m cool with that!”

Cole Hamels will not be coming to Arlington after all. Evidently he wants to languish in last place with Philadelphia. And per various reports, he has about 144 million reasons why.

Here’s a look at some pitchers that are on the Rangers’ radar. You can call them “trade possibilities” or, better yet, potential agents serving the noble cause also know as the “Scott Feldman to Playoff Rotation Protection Program.” SFiPRPP if you’re so inclined.

Clifton Phifer Lee

Yeah, hard to believe a dude from Benton, Arkansas has the middle name of “Phifer,” huh? Yeah, not really. Kind of shocking that it’s not his first name.

”Phifer! Gramma is out of pseudoephedrine for her crystal meth. Here’s some cash, now you hitch on down to Allsup’s and gather her up some, y’hear? Get me a pack of Pall Malls too, hon.”

Look, I don’t think Cliff Lee is going anywhere. I’m also convinced that his Arkansas kin aren’t meth manufacturers—it’s not like he’s from Missouri.

Seriously, Lee’s exorbitant contract makes him far less movable than Michael Young, even back when The Face could still hit.

Phifer’s owed $75 million over the next three seasons (not counting this one), plus a vesting option of $27.5 million in 2016 (insert ear-rattling whistle here.)

Lee will be 34-years-old next month. At his current age of 33, he’s giving up home runs to pitchers. Also, he hasn’t won a postseason game since he beat the Yankees in the 2010 American League Championship Series…

You still want him over here?

Yeah, me too.

Since the Rangers probably won’t snatch the far-fetched Lee, with whom do they have left to choose?

Zack Greinke—The “Section 8”
What do you think, R. Lee Ermey?

Texas Trade Rumors: With Cole Hamels off the board, will it be Josh Johnson, or Zack Greinke?

“Greinke’s a section 8! Plus there’s no damn ‘k’ in ‘Zachary,’ so what gives with the ‘Zack’ thing?!”


I’m sure we’ve all seen Full Metal Jacket. Rather than a fully loaded M14 rifle (as well as a crippling case of insanity), Greinke comes equipped with a 98 MPH fastball, wipeout slider and a slight Social Anxiety Disorder.

As a baseball fan, I love Zack Greinke—even if his full name is “Zachary” which has nary a “k” in it. But as a Rangers fan, I’m a little iffy on selling the farm to get him to Arlington.

He’s a strange cat. Last night, he pitched brilliantly, went dong-city on Cliff Lee and did it all on 11 days of rest. Evidently, he needed to “recharge his batteries.” Hmmph.

Greinke’s downside is that he hasn’t had the playoff experience of Cole Hamels. And he certainly hasn’t seen the postseason success of the 2008 World Series MVP.

Plus, why can someone with such an unbelievable arsenal not dominate no matter the domicile?

Greinke’s home/road splits over his career are perplexing. Home: 51-28, 3.42 ERA, 4.12 SO/BB ratio. Road: 34-48, 4.18 ERA, 3.05 SO/BB ratio. Hmmm.

And in the playoffs, Greinke’s been hit hard. It’s a small sample size, but in his three career postseason starts (all of which came last season…the Royals don’t play in October, silly), he’s gone 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA.

Regardless, I’d love to see Greinke in a Rangers uniform. He’s already turned down a nine-figure deal from Milwaukee, so you know he’s up for a change. Now it’s just up to JD to pull the trigger.

Josh Johnson—Mr. Glass

Texas Trade Rumors: With Cole Hamels off the board, will it be Josh Johnson, or Zack Greinke?

They call him…”Mr. Glass.” Okay, just me. But still.


Josh Johnson is a stud, and possesses every skill you (or anybody else) would want from a TORP.

Upper-90s fastball, with an excellent slider. He grew up just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, so you know he understands how awesome Texas is.

Plus, at 6’ 7” and 250 pounds, Johnson is a dude you want on your side when the shit goes down—be it down the stretch, in the playoffs, or in the parking lot of the local Whataburger.

So what’s the downside? Well, he’s often-injured. He’s already had Tommy John surgery—who hasn’t, right?—and various shoulder issues forced him to be shutdown in 2010, and to miss most of 2011.

I’m all for a Josh Johnson pick up. Even though he has a checkered injury past, if he could just stay 100% this season—that might be all the Rangers need for the ultimate postseason prize…

Other possibilities…

Matt Garza: The Rangers have been interested in Garza for a number of years. He’s an enchanting option, since, like Johnson, he has another year of control.

James Shields: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are supposedly hot and heavy over Mr. Shields. The Rangers should acquire him and them dump him in Oakland…just so the A’s will win enough games to keep the Angels from making the playoffs.

Mwahahahahahahaha!

The Tampa Bay Rays aren’t exactly out of the A.L. East race, and with Joe Maddon at the helm, I’m not sure you can ever dismiss them…the Rays might not want to move Shields anywhere.

And that’s cool with me, as long as those dang Angels don’t snag him (or anything other than missed opportunities.)

The non-move move

It’s definitely not the sexiest of moves. The “non-move,” that is. But there is word that the Rangers are willing to slide Ogando back into the rotation. Not only would this create a viable playoff rotation, it would also keep our fantastic farm system and its bevy of prospects intact.

Texas could then focus on picking up some far less expensive bullpen pieces, and making a postseason go with their rotation “as is.”

Forecast

In true Ron Washington fashion, my “gut” tells me that the Rangers are going to acquire a pitcher sometime between now and next Tuesday’s non-waiver deadline.

Wow, I’m really going out on a limb, eh?

I tend to agree with Joey Matches in that the Mike Olt for Josh Johnson trade speculation is long on mutual benefits…it could definitely happen.

After all of the rampant rumors and spine-tingling speculations, it’d be hard to “settle” for a non-move. It’d be a letdown similar to car shopping with crappy credit—look at all the cool stuff we’re not getting!

But an even tougher sell than remaining static would be a playoff rotation with a name like “Scott Feldman” in it.

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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 032012
 

Nelson Cruz and Texas Rangers Stop Skid, Dispatch Angels 7 3Better late than never.

If you’re going to win one game of a three game series, make it be the final one. That way no matter what, the next time we play the Halos, they won’t have to be reminded of who their Daddy is.

Hint: It’s us.

Some numbers of note from the Angels and Rangers series:

12

• Men left on base by Josh Hamilton and Adrian Betre during the Rangers’ series-ending 7-3 win.

4

• Number of games the Rangers had lost in a row.

347

• Number of days since the Rangers had a losing streak of that length.

1

• Run differential between the Rangers and Angels. The Rangers held the advantage, 11-10.

5.1

• Number of scoreless innings pitched by the Texas bullpen.

2.75

• Starters ERA for the Texas Rangers during the series.

.133

Rangers’ batting average with RISP during their two losses.

.250

• Team batting average with RISP during their 7-3 victory.

.462

• Mike Trout’s batting average during the three game series against Texas.

484

• Estimated distance in feet of Nelson Cruz’s gargantuan game 3 dinger.

.000

• Captain Poo’s batting average during the series.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers continue their trek through Cali and the AL West as they travel to Oakland to take on the Athletics tomorrow night at 9:05 (CST).

Make sure to check back for the Official BaseballDo Game Day Preview tomorrow afternoon!

Go Rangers!

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