Aug 102012
 
Feldmania copy copy

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?Although the thermometer hasn’t gotten much relief, August has been much kinder to the Texas Rangers than July. So far, Texas is 6-2—just three wins shy of last month’s total—and they have been averaging the most runs scored in the American League (tied with the San Francisco Giants for most in Major League Baseball with 59).

And as the calendar pushes closer to the end of the regular season, the Rangers’ bats have been heating up at the best possible time.

What better way to gear up for the stretch-run, and its inherent playoff-implications, than in a rematch of last year’s American League Championship Series?

Tonight’s Lineups:

Detroit Tigers (60-52) L10: 6-4

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?

Prince Fielder has never faced Scott Feldman before.


CF Austin Jackson
LF Andy Dirks
3B Miguel Cabrera*
1B Prince Fielder
RF Brennan Boesch
DH Delmon Young
C Alex Avila
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Omar Infante

*Over the last five years, Cabrera is batting .700 with two home runs off of Feldman.

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (6-6, 4.52 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9)

Since the All-Star Break, Feldman has easily been the Rangers’ best starter, going 3-0 with a remarkable 1.19 earned run average. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, the Hawaiian-born righty was 0-6 with an ERA north of seven less than two months ago.

Consider this: Feldman’s three wins during the dreadful month of July were 33% of the team’s total wins. Whoa boy.

Over his last five years, Feldman is 0-2 with a god-awful 8.68 ERA and equally unsightly 2.42 WHIP. However, those numbers exclude the postseason, and Feldman was the Game 2 winner of last year’s ALCS against the Tigers. He pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball in relief while striking out 5 and walking none.

At home, Scooter is at his best as he is 4-3 with a sparkling 2.81 ERA. Right-handed batters are batting .287 with 4 homers off of him, while lefties are hitting .252 with 5 long balls.

Texas Rangers (65-45) L10: 6-4

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?

Hamilton has been showing signs of life lately. Over his last two games, he’s gone 5-for-9 with 5 RBI.


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

VS

RHP Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.72, 1.41 WHIP, 11.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9)

It truly isn’t a stretch to state that Scherzer might just have better pure “stuff” than his fellow teammate and last year’s A.L. MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander.

Like the Rangers’ Yu Darvish, what’s keeping Scherzer from being an elite TORP (top of the rotation pitcher), is his lack of command.

All you need to know about Scherzer’s arsenal can be gleaned from taking a peek at his strikeout per nine innings rate. 11.3! That’s absolutely ludicrous. That would be high for an elite closer. Again, like Darvish, sometimes the sheer electricity of his offerings makes them hard to control, and his walk totals reflect that…the end result of that is he’s behind in the count and forces a pitch into the zone for a strike, and then gets thwacked. In that aforementioned scenario, Scherzer is like Holland minus the ADD.

In his career against Texas, Scherzer is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA, and a 1.27 WHIP. This does not take into consideration his 0-1 record and 9.27 ERA after his ALCS Game 2 thrashing that came largely at the hands of Nelson Cruz.

Scherzer has been slightly better at home (4-2, 4.42) than on the road (6-4, 4.94) and has gone 2-1 with a 4.75 ERA since the All-Star Break of a month ago. Scherzer is susceptible to the long ball from both right-handers and left-handers, as each side has 10 against him in 2012. Righties (.219) fair far worse overall than lefties (.307) against his excellent stuff that features a mid-to-high 90s heater.

As we all know, the Rangers are a fastball-hitting team that sometimes struggles with junk-ballers. Scherzer is certainly a hard-thrower and should he struggle with his control, Texas might just jump on him early.

Go Rangers!


Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?
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Aug 092012
 
JUAN GONZALEZ RANGERS

Texas Rangers Ready for Three Game Homestand with Detroit TigersAfter taking two-of-three from the Boston Red Sox, claiming their second-straight series win, the Texas Rangers are now back home in Arlington enjoying an off-day.

As the A.L. West’s leaders by 5 1/2 over those pesky A’s of Oakland, and with a sparkling 65-45 record through their first 110 games, they have earned a much needed respite.

That being said, a day without a Texas Rangers game is similar to a summer day that doesn’t reach triple digits—it’s probably best for all parties involved—but it just doesn’t seem quite right.

So, what to do with a full day of zero Rangers baseball?

I decided to pass the time by conjuring up Texas Rangers moments of the past. Good ones, of course. You know how it goes, you spend the day digging up all the bad moments, and the next thing you know you’re sporting a vagrant-length beard, babbling about John Burkett, the GD Yankees, and C.J. Wilson—smelling so sour with bitter tears that you’re dog won’t even give you a sniff.

So, here’s a look at today in Rangers’ history as well as how the Rangers fared 110 games into the season during their playoff-run years.

Enjoy.

August 9, in Rangers’ years past

August 9, 1996:

• Texas’ Bobby Witt improved to 11-8 on the season as he out-dueled Toronto’s Paul Quantril, 5-4 in Toronto. Rangers’ closer, Mike Henneman, picked up his 24th save of the season.

The win improved the Rangers to 64-52 on the season and pushed their A.L. West lead to three games over the Seattle Mariners.

The ’96 Rangers would close out the season by going 26-20 en route to their first-ever playoff appearance.

Through their first 110 games: 61-49

August 9, 1998:

• Boston’s Jim Corsi beat the Rangers’ Todd Stottlemyre 14-8, as Stottlemyre dropped to 10-10 on the year. The Rangers’ A.L. West lead shrank to just two games as their record fell to 63-53.

The Rangers would finish out their ’98 campaign by going 24-22 on their way to their second A.L. West Division crown in the last three years.

Through their first 110 games: 59-51

August 9, 1999

Texas Rangers Ready for Three Game Homestand with Detroit Tigers

Yep. This man was one of our best pitchers in 1999. Good thing we hit eleventy-billion home runs, eh?


• The Toronto Blue Jays bludgeoned the Rangers at The Ballpark, 19-4. Perhaps the only saving grace was that the loss was witnessed by only 22,235 in attendance. That number seems small nowadays, but that’s quite a few people to witness a team that had only won one playoff game in their 27 years up to that point. Plus, it’s hot in August.

The lopsided loss dropped Mike Morgan’s record to 12-7 as the Blue Jays’ Joey Hamilton (5-6) earned the win. The Rangers record dropped to 66-45 but they still had a nice 6 1/2 game lead over the Oakland A’s. Billy Beane was just getting settled in as General Manager, as ’99 marked just his second full season at the helm.

The Rangers finished out the ’99 campaign by going 29-22, to finish at 95-67. The mark stood as their finest season until last year’s team went 96-66 on their way to a second-consecutive A.L. Pennant.

Through their first 110 games: 66-44

August 9, 2010:

Yes, hard to believe that the Rangers (as well as their playoff-starved fanbase) would have to wait 11 long years to put a halt to their nine-game playoff losing streak. The 2010 season, of course, would prove to be well worth the wait.

• Much like today, the Texas Rangers had the day off on Monday, August 9, 2010. Though idle, the Rangers held a 7 1/2 game advantage over the second-placed Oakland Athletics on this date.

Through their first 110 games: : 64-46

August 9, 2011:

• The Rangers improved to 66-51 on this date last season, the 7-6 walk-off win over the Mariners came at a crucial time in the season, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were just 1 1/2 games behind Texas in the standings…I’m sure few of us would have believed that last season we’d win the A.L. West by 10 games.

Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz (2-3) earned the victory, thanks to Josh Hamilton’s walk-off single that scored Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the ninth. Hamilton’s heroics came with two-on and no one out off of Mariner’s reliever Aaron Laffey.

Through their first 110 games: : 61-49

Up Next:

Rangers’ right-hander Scott Feldman (6-6, 4.52 ERA) looks to continue his Scooter-fied magic as he opposes Detroit’s heterochromatic-hurler, righty Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.72 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM (CST).

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