Three stat-lines, three players…can you guess who’s who without scouring the internets?
Today’s mash-up compares three starting pitchers over the last four weeks – I know, small sample size, but pretty good barometer of who’s hot and who’s not.
And now, the three pitchers we’ll be comparing…
Clifton Phifer Lee – former Ranger great, current longshot trade target. I’d personally love to have this guy back, but wonder about the potential impact on the clubhouse…after all, he did jump ship after a pretty amazing stretch of baseball in late-2010.
Martin (Jimenez) Perez – dude has been dealing since given his most recent shot in the Rangers starting rotation, but lost last night to the O’s and you have to wonder what he’ll bring to the table down the stretch.
Christopher Steven Tillman – one of the unsung O’s and the guy that shut down the Rangers offense last night (not that it takes Superman to do that these days).
Take a look at the stat-lines below and post a comment with who’s who. Remember, we are on the honor system here…
Last 28 days
Last 28 days
Last 28 days
Again, just a little Monday morning baseball fun. Post your answers below in the comments section.
The Rangers head out to Oakland for a three game series against the Swingin’ A’s, who are currently only 2 games back in the AL West. While the Rangers are the in the driver’s seat and have locked up a position in the post-season, the division title is on the line; not to mention avoiding the craziness of a one game Wild Card game if the division is lost.
Jarrod Parker vs. Martin Perez
Can Perez lock up the division in Game 1 of the series?
With the season on the line, could we ask for anyone better to be on the mound tonight for the Rangers? Yes.
That said, the young Perez is taking the mound whether we like it or not.
Perez has faced Oakland twice this season, both starts, and is 1-1 with a 10.50 ERA and a 2.167 WHIP across 6 innings of work.
Most recent start against the A’s was last Wednesday when he was quickly dispatched after giving up 5 runs on 6 hits after just 2/3 of an inning.
His other start against Oakland, came on June 30th (Baseball Do Field Trip!), where he got the win, giving up 2 earned runs over 5 1/3 innings.
His body of work is really too small to read into it too much….
We know Perez has the ability to be great. We know he has the stuff to shut down the opposition. We have seen glimpses, but nothing sustained. Could he put it together for a solid 6 innings tonight against the A’s? One can always hope.
Oakland’s team batting average over the last 14 days is .253, compared to .237 across all of 2012.
During that same 14 day span, Yoenis Cespedes has a 1.027 OPS and Coco Crisp has a 1.300 OPS.
Oakland’s team BABIP over that same span is .302 compared to .280 for the season.
The A’s are playing great baseball and seem to have a ton of momentum with just the right amount of lady luck mixed in.
Jarrod Parker hates you
The A’s counter the Rangers young left-hander with a youngster of their own in 23 year-old Jarrod Parker. Parker enters tonight’s match-up with a 12-8 record on the season with a 3.44 ERA and 1.260 WHIP.
Parker is 3-1 with a 2.31 ERA over the last month of the season, striking out 27 and walking only 6 during the span.
Parker has two starts against the Rangers on the season, and has earned the victory in both of them, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.857 WHIP.
14 of Parker’s 28 starts have come at home, where he has proven to be more effective with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.170 WHIP.
Parker faces a Rangers offense that we all know is capable of knocking any pitcher in baseball out early…but has been inconsistent throughout the large majority of the 2012 season. Could the Rangers bats be on the verge of a post-season breakout?
Mike Napoli has posted a 1.130 OPS (compared to .818 on the season) over the last 14 days with 5 home runs.
Nelson Cruz is also experiencing a surge with a .940 OPS (compared to .786 on the season) over that same span.
Outside of one inning, the Rangers bats haven’t had much luck against Parker, but given the match-up tonight, that trend has to change.
If the Rangers are going to wrap up the AL West division tonight, it’s going to be a high-scoring affair. Realistically, I just don’t see how Perez will be able to keep the Oakland bats completely at bay. I do think the Rangers can get to Parker, but will it be enough to overcome?
I must apologize for my recent absence and reluctance to post. I have been suffering from acute “papercut-itis.” For those of you that have suffered through this daunting dilemma, it is far more painful than the equally dreaded malady, “keyboard abrasion.”
Seriously though, if Josh Hamilton can sit out a few games with a sinus infection minus the infection, I should be able to skirt a few posts due to a paper cut that didn’t actually break the skin.
Adrian Beltre: Texas Rangers’ MVP?
• Adrian Beltre’s legend continues to grow. Home run number 34 couldn’t have come at a better time. His two-run blast supplied the necessary runs Texas needed to seal the deal on the LAA series, 3-1.
• Beltre’s 34 homers are the most he’s had since he knocked out 48 in 2005 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which led the National League in long balls that year.
Yu Darvish Continues to Dazzle
• For the seventh-consecutive start, The Yu surrendered three earned runs or less while pitching at least 6 2/3 innings. Over that span, he’s seen his ERA drop from 4.54 to 3.90. Since August 24, Darvish has the second-lowest ERA (1.47) in the American League.
• With 214 strikeouts on the season, Darvish now has sole-possession of second place on the all-time list for rookies.
Michael Young: Stringing Together Consistent Excellence
• Over his last 10 games, Michael Young is batting a robust .429. In last night’s dramatic 3-1 win that sealed the series for Texas, MY set the stage for Adrian Beltre’s heroics by doubling off of Angels’ closer Ernesto Frieri.
Scott Feldman is out, Martin Perez is in
• After being the Rangers’ best starter for the entire month of July, right-hander Scott Feldman has fallen back to earth with a resounding thud. After riding a six-game winning streak, Feldman hasn’t ended up on the right side of the win/loss column since way back on August 4 in Kansas City.
• His starts have ranged from average to atrocious and his worst start of his current bad stretch occurred in his most recent start. Scooter lasted just 2 2/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners while he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits.
• Left-handed rookie Martin Perez came on in relief in the aforementioned Scooter start, and had no problems at all with the Mariners, as he surrendered no hits over his 4 1/3 innings of work. That outing impressed the powers that be enough to place Feldman back in the bullpen and to give Perez the fifth-starter slot for the remainder of the regular season.
LHP Martin Perez (1-1, 3.38 ERA) has replaced Scott Feldman as the Rangers’ fifth starter for what is likely the remainder of the season. Perez will oppose Seattle’s RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 3.39 ERA).
The first pitch is scheduled for 9:05 PM (CT) and is the first game of a three-game series with fellow A.L. West “rivals,” the Seattle Mariners.
Just days away from the trade deadline…rumors continue to swirl around the Rangers. Below is a compilation of what’s being said regarding Zack Greinke – so that you don’t have to wander aimlessly around the internets and accidentally stumble across something dirty…
All indications point to Texas reloading its rotation through a trade. The team’s website reports the Rangers want to add a “difference-maker” to the rotation, with Greinke and Hamels leading their wish list. Texas has coveted prospects in Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt, and it would not hesitate to move them for a pitcher like Greinke.
Timothy Rapp (Bleacher Report):
The Rangers are already (arguably) the best team in baseball. With Greinke, I think that argument would have to be put to rest. And perhaps finally—after two seasons coming up just short—the Rangers would finally get a World Series title for a team in its prime.
Tom Haudricourt (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
The Rangers’ primary target was Hamels, and now that he is off the market they will have even more interest in Greinke. Their top prospect is shortstop Jurickson Profar, whom the Brewers would love to have, but Texas considers him an untouchable. Third baseman Mike Olt is another coveted prospect, but the Brewers have a three-year commitment to Ramirez, who would have to be moved to make room. The Brewers would be very interested in obtaining left-hander Martin Perez, the Rangers’ top pitching prospect, and also have scouted right-hander Justin Grimm.
Phil Rogers (Chicago Tribune)
Zack Greinke needs important innings to pitch, and the Texas Rangers need a splash. Given the track record that Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels have of getting their men, it will be a surprise if Greinke isn’t traded to the Rangers. The Brewers not only scouted a start by Rangers’ prospect Martin Perezon Tuesday against Boston but also had a scout watchingNeftali Feliz in a minor-league rehab appearance.
Austin Lyon (Orlando Sentinel)
Texas executed a similar trade in 2010 when it acquired Cliff Lee from Seattle and that move helped the Rangers reach the World Series. With a loaded farm system, Texas has more than enough pieces to make an attractive offer to Milwaukee, which appears poised to start rebuilding. With the Angels and suddenly surging Athletics right on the Rangers’ heels, it’s imperative they make a move for the stretch run and I believe they’ll add Greinke.
Greinke seems to be the hot topic right now and more teams are jumping into the mix (White Sox and Nationals to go with standard Braves, Red Sox, Angels & Rangers). How serious are these other teams? Who knows, but we do know that the Rangers have the young talent to best any of them if necessary – let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that. Keep in mind that Greinke is just a rental, but don’t forget that he could put this team over the top…
UPDATE Per ESPN’s Richard Durrett, Rangers’ right-hander Colby Lewis has been diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament that will likely require surgery…Lewis has been the Rangers most successful starter during their last two World Series runs.
The severity of the injury coupled with Lewis’ imminent loss for the remainder of the year may make a trade for pitching help likely…
Worried about Lewis and/or Oswalt? Greinke would more than compensate for either, should they be lost for an extended period of time.
The Texas Rangers’ pitching staff continues to provide an all-you-can-eat buffet for the rabid injury bug.
And the Rangers have begun to plug the holes before the dam explodes.
Rather than Roy Oswalt on the hill tonight, it’s Scott Feldman. Tomorrow night’s starter will be recently re-promoted left-hander Martin Perez.
It appears that Oswalt, who was scratched from tonight’s start due to lower-back stiffness, is being treated day-to-day. However, the fact that Oswalt has dealt with back issues in the not-so-distant past is somewhat alarming.
Colby Lewis, who had just made his first start after being reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, is now back on the dreaded DL. For Lewis, it’s a continued bout with right forearm stiffness. And it’s very clear that that the Texas Rangers aren’t going to take this matter lightly.
Oswalt had really been coming on lately, pitching well over his last two starts after getting banged around by 30-plus hits during his initial three starts. Over his last two games, Oswalt was 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA, while featuring his usual free-pass stinginess.
Lewis was in line to win his most recent start last Wednesday in Oakland. He pitched well, throwing five innings of three-hit ball, but the Athletics scored one run off of each subsequent Rangers reliever, which culminated in a walk-off victory for Oakland, and a no-decision for Lewis.
Although the time might seem ripe to push the panic button with full-force, as long as Roy Oswalt’s back issue is nothing that requires a DL stint, the Rangers are still in fine shape.
Naturally, Scott Feldman isn’t everyone’s first choice to start games, but he has been not horrible over his last three starts.
In that span, he’s 2-0 with a 5.29 ERA, with only two walks and 12 strikeouts. Yeah, I know, that ERA isn’t something that Scooter’s mother would proudly affix to the refrigerator, but it’s better than the six-plus ERA whopper dangling around his neck prior to his first win of the year.
Feldman, oddly enough, is a much better pitcher at home than on the road. He’s 2-3 with a respectable 4.05 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 2012. His road record and ERA (1-3, 7.62) can produce symptoms that closely mirror those of only the most hardcore cases of West Nile Virus.
Dizziness, headaches, nausea. Look at his home numbers again. Now if the symptoms don’t go away, go see a doctor immediately, or stop drinking straight from the beer tap…
21-year-old Venezuelan left-hander, Martin Perez, has looked very solid over his last three appearances, two of which were starts. Over that span, he’s 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA.
So the Rangers have the proper sutures on hand to sew up the recent injury-induced contusions. However, they also have the proper ammunition to amputate the limb entirely, and attache a better arm in its wake.
That was just a confusing way to say that the Texas Rangers have eight more days to make a trade, should they feel the need to do so.
You’ve heard the names. Zach Greinke. Cole Hamels. Possibly even a Matt Garza.
Of course the flip-side of that coin are the names that would have to be in place in order to initiate the speculative trade.
Jurickson Profar. Mike Olt. Perhaps Martin Perez.
Profar is most likely off limits, but should he be dangled as trade bait, the sting of his potential loss could easily be soothed by a World Series Championship…and should Texas bring in one of the aforementioned aces, the end result of the 2012 season could possibly bring forth the organization’s first championship.
RHP Scott Feldman (3-6, 6.25 ERA), versus LHP Felix Doubront (10-4, 4.24 ERA)…
OK, so this may be the longest of long shots, but it’s also one of the most intriguing in terms of potential trade targets for the Rangers. While Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin and David Murphy are all doing a pretty good job of holding down the third spot in the Rangers outfield with Josh and Nellie, B.J.’s little brother is attractive in more ways than one…
Justin Irvin Upton
If Justin Upton is truly on the trading block, he is by far the most talented offensive player available. The Diamondbacks, after making the playoffs in 2011, are a sub-.500 team this year (44-47) and sitting 7 games back in the NL West of the division leading Giants (and 7 games back in the Wild Card race). Not too far back to make a second half run, which Upton would have to play a key role in, if it were to happen.
Upton is a 24 year-old 2-time NL All-Star who finished 4th in the NL MVP voting in 2011. He was the first pick in the 2004 MLB Draft and made his debut in Arizona at the age of 19 in 2007.
Upton has played right field exclusively since coming up to the big leagues, but some speculate that he could play CF or LF effectively.
Upton isn’t having his best season, after strong campaigns over the last four years. This simply makes it seem even more far-fetched that the D’Backs would consider moving the young star, as it’s definitely not an opportunity to “sell high”.
Upton is also under contract through 2015, which from the Rangers perspective, could serve as an insurance policy against losing Josh Hamilton in free agency after the season. If Hamilton is resigned by the Rangers, it would facilitate his permanent move to LF if Upton could play CF. Upton’s contract pays him $6.75M this season and $9.75M, $14.25M, $14.5M over the next three seasons.
So, a young talented player with a limitless ceiling with proven success at the major league level…locked up through 2015…not currently playing up to his full potential…for a team that isn’t completely out of the playoff race in the National League.
Why would Arizona deal him? While he may not be performing up to his potential so far this season, he’s young and talented enough that it’s not a huge knock on his value. Sure, the D’Backs wouldn’t be selling him at his true “high”, but there is no question of his long-term value. Arizona is a team built to contend, and Upton’s age and potential play right into that.
All that said, the D’Backs know the market is better suited for sellers right now. With the revisions to the Playoffs this year (additional Wild Card team), there are more buyers at the trade deadline than ever before. Sure Upton is young and talented, but if Arizona could exchange him for a slew of young and talented players that fit the current and future needs of his teams…he’d do it.
“I don’t know whether we’ll trade Justin or not,” Arizona General Manager Kevin Towers said. “We’ll have to see if the right deal presents itself. We’re in the information-gathering business. The information we get now may be useful this winter. We’ll find out what teams have interest in him.”
If 2008 through 2011 is a true indication of the potential of Justin Upton, there is no doubt that the sky is the limit for this kid. Keep in mind that he is only 24 this season (turns 25 in late August), so his best years should still be ahead of him.
Looking at similar players, Adams Jones, Jay Bruce and our very own Nelson Cruz make the list. Historically, the most similar player in terms of production through the age of 24 is Ruben Sierra…doesn’t it feel like it was meant to be?
Upton’s current WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is a weak 1.1…again, you can’t put too much value on his performance so far this season given his age and what we have seen over the previous 3-4 years. His WAR in 2011 was 5.7, good for 6th in the National League.
Upton’s name is scattered all over the leader boards for offensive performance in 2011 – WAR, Slugging %, Runs, Total Bases, Doubles, Home Runs, Runs Created, etc.
Could Justin be a Ranger?
OK, I’m officially excited about the thought of this guy in a Rangers uniform through 2015. That said, I view this as the longest of long shots.
Does a trade for Upton fill a need? Yes, while the offense is already strong (outside of recent performance), Upton provides another dynamic threat to the line-up and provides an everyday OF for the Rangers (Hamilton-Upton-Cruz).
Does dealing for Upton fill the team’s top need? That’s debatable, but my thought is if you have an opportunity to get a player of this caliber for a price that you deem fair, you pull the trigger.
As far as what Arizona would require in return for Upton…the price tag is going to be higher than that of say Cole Hamels or another other player who is eligible for free agency after the season. Again, Upton is locked up through 2015. I think it will require a group of top level prospects (2-4 of them) along with a current major league player (if only to provide the Arizona fans with something new for this season).
So, what is the “right deal”? You know Jon Daniels has a different idea from Kevin Towers as to what the “right deal” is. Hence, the reason this deal more than likely won’t happen.
If you consider Jurickson Profar to be untouchable, the deal would more than likely center around Mike Olt and Martin Perez (or a pitching prospect of similar value), and could include a 1-2 more minor league players from a notch or two below these two…possibly someone like a Julio Borbon.
So, would you (yes, you) make that move? Olt and Perez represent a big part of what is considered the future (near future is more like it) of this team. The difference with a deal like this, as opposed to Cole Hamels or a soon-to-be free agent, is Justin Upton would also be considered the future of this team…as well as be more impactful this season.
If JD could find a way to make this deal happen while not dealing away Profar and Olt, I’d be on board. I like Perez, but we have good pitching depth at the Major League level as well as down on the farm. I’m sure the Rangers will do their due diligence and see what’s here, but a deal for Upton just seems unlikely…but it’s fun to ponder.
Regardless of what happens, this type of deal, whether the Rangers are the D’Backs’ trading partner or not, would likely occur at the 11th hour. Should be fun to watch!
The Texas Rangers dropped their fourth-straight game yesterday, as they fell to the Chicago White Sox, 2-1. Chicago’s sweep was the first time the Rangers had failed to win at least one game in a series of three games or more in 2012.
The Rangers’ four game skid is tied for their longest of the year, and the first time they’ve dropped that many in a row since early last month.
For the final home stand before the MLB All-Star break, the Rangers welcome the A.L. Central bottom-dwellers, the Minnesota Twins. In their last meeting, in April, the Texas Rangers were on the right side of a sweep, as they took all three games from Minnesota at Target Field.
Here’s hoping the Rangers can head into the break on a high note.
A look at tonight’s starting lineups:
Minnesota Twins (35-47, L 10: 5-5)
Mauer has hit .300 against left-handed pitchers over his career. He’s gone: .283/.353/.413 versus the Texas Rangers.
CF Ben Revere
RF Darin Mastroianni
DH Joe Mauer
LF Josh Willingham
1B Justin Morneau
3B Trevor Plouffe
SS Brain Dozier
C Drew Butera
2B Alexi Castilla
LHP Martin Perez (1-0, 9.00 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 9 K/9)
Making just the second major league start of his young career tonight, 21-year-old Martin Perez made good in his initial outing last Saturday. He earned the win against the Oakland Athletics.
However, the Texas Rangers haven’t won a game since.
Texas Rangers (50-33, L 10: 5-5)
Napoli is 1-for-3 against Liriano. His one hit? A three-run bomb.
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Craig Gentry
LHP Francisco Liriano (2-7, 5.40 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 8.9 K/9)
Liriano, who has a no-hitter on his resume, first came into the league in 2005. A converted outfielder, Liriano finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2006, as he went 12-3, with a terrific 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts over just 122 innings pitched.
After his breakout 2006 campaign, Liriano had to undergo Tommy John surgery due to a torn elbow ligament. It really wasn’t until 2010 that it looked like he might be back to his old dominant self. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA and 201 strikeouts while finishing eleventh in the Cy Young Award voting.
The 6′ 2″ Dominican struggled in 2011, as he posted a 9-10 record and a robust 5.09 ERA.
Whether Liriano is on or not, he is not susceptible to the long ball. Over his career, he has allowed just 0.8 HR/9 rate. According to FanGraph’s PitchFX, Liriano’s fastball is averaging 93.3 MPH, his highest average velocity since 2010.
This season Liriano is has been lights-out against lefties: .161/.260/.194. Right-handers have fared much better: .268/.368/.432. Liriano has yet to win a game on the road in 2012, he’s 0-5 with a 5.41 ERA away from the friendly confines of Target Field.
• Liriano is 2-1 with a 3.96 ERA over his career at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Over the last month, Liriano has pitched far better than his overall numbers indicate. The 28-year-old Dominican is 1-1 with a 3.88 over that span.
• Martin Perez’s current ERA (9.00) is skewed greatly by his first appearance, a relief outing against Detroit where he allowed four earned runs over just 2/3 of an inning. In his lone start last Saturday against Oakland, Perez’s ERA for the game was 3.38. Even with his relief appearance taken into consideration, Perez’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a much more palatable 4.24.
• Mike Napoli, the starting catcher for next week’s MLB All-Star Game, is currently in an 11-for-69 slump (.159). Napoli’s tough season can be attributed to his inability to hit left-handed pitching. He’s currently batting a paltry .160 against southpaws after posting a robust .320 last season, and a .274 BA over his career.
23-year-old Drew Smyly was a second round selection by the Detroit Tigers out of the University of Arkansas during the 2010 MLB Draft.
Smyly received a tough luck no-decision in his previous start against the Rangers on April 22 in Detroit. He went six innings, allowing just one run (earned) while striking out seven, walking two and limiting Texas to just five hits.
His lefty/righty splits are quite similar, as southpaws bat: .269/.301/.487 whereas righties go: .255/.319/.455.
The Texas Ranges are batting .227 (5-for-22) against Smyly thus far in his career, with slugger Josh Hamilton accounting for three of the five hits.
And just like that, 60% of the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation is now on the disabled list. Per Fort Worth Star-Telegrams’s Jeff Wilson, Colby Lewis will join Derek Holland and Neftali Feilz on the DL, with right forearm tendonitis.
This is especially alarming since left-hander Matt Harrison was lifted early from his last start as a precautionary measure because the 10-game winner was suffering from lower back stiffness. It doesn’t appear that Harrison’s back will require him to miss a start.
Until news of the Colby Lewis injury surfaced, the Perez promotion was seen as mysterious, since it was unknown who the Rangers would move to make room for the 21-year-old left-hander.
Scott Feldman will get his wish and return to the Rangers rotation for a spot start this Thursday against the Oakland Athletics.
There has been no new timetable set for the return of the Rangers’ first DL casualty, Neftali Feliz, but Derek Holland has thrown a side-session and is presumably on track for a return to the Rangers rotation shortly after next month’s All-Star Break.
Currently, the Texas Rangers’ rotation consists of Yu Darvish (who will pitch tonight), Roy Oswalt (scheduled for tomorrow night), Scott Feldman, and Matt Harrison (barring any back issues). Justin Grimm was scheduled to start this Saturday, but Martin Perez could the get the nod instead. As of now, that decision is up in the air.
Left-hander Michael Kirkman—who went five innings in relief last night—is also a possible candidate for a spot-start this weekend.
This is the first time that Colby Lewis has required time on the DL in his two-plus big league seasons since returning from Japan.
It is unknown whether the injury stems from Lewis’ start last Saturday, where he took the loss after surrendering seven earned runs on 12 hits over four innings of work. That start was his shortest of the season.