Oct 182012
 
Rangers' rookies Tanner Scheppers, Justin Grimm, and Wilmer Font could be viable options to replace Mike Adams.
MLB Free Agent Mike Adams: Should Rangers Re Sign the Righty?

Rangers’ rookies Tanner Scheppers, Justin Grimm, and Wilmer Font could be viable options to replace Mike Adams.

Like most of us, I’m still smarting from the fact that Major League Baseball decided to continue its postseason even after the Texas Rangers were eliminated.

Seems kind of rude, doesn’t it?

So I guess It’s time to move on. And move on we shall. The Texas Rangers are going to be an excellent team for many years to come, even if Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli end up signing elsewhere.

Today we take a look at yet another Texas Rangers free agent, right-handed reliever Mike Adams.

Mike Adams—2012 stats: (5-3, 3.27 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)

Due to injury, Adams wasn’t going to pitch for the Rangers this past postseason. As it turned out, he didn’t miss much. Adams, like fellow free agent reliever Koji Uehara, was acquired at the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline.

The Rangers decision whether or not to re-sign Adams seems easy considering that he was recently diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, or “TOS.”

If you’re like me, your first thought was: “What’s the big deal? Just head on down to the local Thoracic Outlet Mall and grab homeboy another thoracic…”

Evidently it just doesn’t work that way, and TOS is a serious issue that can end careers.

Yikes!

MLB Free Agent Mike Adams: Should Rangers Re Sign the Righty?

Need a new thoracic, friend? Last season’s thoracics have got to go!

So, why waste your office downtime reading about any attempts to re-sign a dude who may never recover from his current injury? I mean after all, you could be watching Kate Upton’s Cat Daddy in slow-mo for the hundredth time, right?

Author’s note: no link provided for the aforementioned Upton dance. Trust me, you follow that link and there is no chance you’ll finish this article, and, well, I couldn’t blame you.

Look, it’s easy to forget, but Adams was one of the best relievers in MLB over a two-year period, and TOS is extremely treatable. Plus, this condition might mean the Rangers could re-sign him on the cheap.

The Sinton, Texas, native earned $4.4M last season, but he could be inked for significantly less should the Rangers make an offer. However, if the Rangers decide to let Adams and his bad wing fly free, all is not lost. Texas does have a bevy of in-house options that could make for a 2013 bullpen enhancement, minus the dinero advancement.

Replacement Options: Tanner Scheppers, Justin Grimm, Wilmer Font

Tanner Scheppers (1-1, 4.45 ERA, 8.4 K/9), at age 25, is eight years younger than Adams, and flashed a good deal of potential during his first taste of the bigs in 2012. All told, the 6’4” former first rounder (2009, 44th overall) showed a plus-fastball that touches triple digits and a decent feel for an off-speed pitch.

Justin Grimm (1-1, 9.00 ERA, 8.4 K/9) burst onto the seen during the Rangers’ June Swoon of pitching problems—when seemingly every pitcher was headed to the dreaded disabled list.

Grimm, a fifth round pick of the Rangers’ in 2010, won his major league debut—albeit against the Houston Astros—and compiled an excellent strikeout to walk ratio of 4.33 over his 14 big league innings of work. Just 24 years old, Grimm’s future is all but, and he has an outside chance of cracking the Rangers’ bullpen (or possibly rotation) in spring training.

Wilmer Font has been in the Rangers’ organization since 2006. So he should be like 34 years old, right? Wrong. Font was signed as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela at the tender young age of 16.

MLB Free Agent Mike Adams: Should Rangers Re Sign the Righty?

Jamie Moyer was 47 when Font was born, and Brian Wilson is looking pretty old these days.

Font had had to grow up fast. Only 22, he’s already had Tommy John surgery and made his big league debut with Texas. Granted, his command was bad—he walked four in his two total innings of work—but his solid stuff was evident. With further refinement, Font could be a key piece in the Rangers’ bullpen for many years to come.

Should the Texas Rangers Make Adams An Offer?

We here at Baseball Do would love to hear what you think about the Texas Rangers’ chances of re-signing this year’s crop of free agents. So, should the Rangers make Mike Adams an offer, or are they just fine moving forward thanks to a deep farm system? Let us know what you think in our comments section below.

Yep, that’s it! Now back to “reading” about Kate Upton…

Follow Timothy @TMurrayHowell

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Jul 042012
 
Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox

Hamilton Hits 26th, But Rangers Get Youked As They Fall to ChiSox 5 4 in 10

Ah whatever, he’s still regressing.

If there’s anything worse than getting curb-stomped, 19-2, it’s losing the next game 5-4, via an extra-inning walk-off.

Texas Rangers’ starter Scott Feldman survived a sordid second inning and kept the Rangers within striking distance Chicago over his six innings of work. Alas, Scooter was stuck with the no-decision as the Rangers’ bats became quiet after the third inning.

Cheer up, Rangers fans. It’s going to be all right.

Tomorrow is another day, America is still the best country in the world and losing streaks—especially meager three gamers—are always just one win away from extinction.

And, oh yes, the “Loss” (ha) Angeles Angels of Anaheim fell to the Tribe 12-3…that should rub some neosporin onto that extra-inning sting.

Thoughts on the 5-4 loss:

Rangers blew their Axelrod

• Yeah it’s not as sexual or horrifying—nor horrifyingly sexual—as it sounds. The Rangers had White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod on the brink of combustion after a three-run first inning. Yet they could muster just one more run off of him—Hamilton’s third-inning solo shot—and zero off of the ChiSox bevy of relievers.

From seeking an eighth to hoping for one

• The loss stops the Rangers’ bid for an eighth-straight series win. Now they’ll just try to get out of Chicago without getting swept.

3-2, 9-9

• Texas is now 3-2 in extra inning games this year, and is playing .500 ball during one run games.

The Face can now regain eye contact

• Mired in an 0-for-13 slump, Michael Young had a big night last night, as he went 2-for-5 with 2 RBI.

His biggest hit came in the first inning off of Axelrod, with two outs. It was a vintage MY rifle shot into the left-field gap. Certainly a good sign for a man having a rough go of 2012.

3-4-5 doing it right

• The Rangers’ 3-4-5 hitters—Hamilton, Beltre, and Young—were 6-for-14 (.429) with 3 RBI and 4 runs scored.

Mini-streak has left the building…

• After, quite literally, supplying ALL of the offense during that 19-2 shellacking, Elvis Andrus’ modest 10-game hitting streak came to a close as the All-Star shortstop finished 0-for-5.

Less than the loneliest number

• Robbie Ross was once again fantastic in relief. Called on in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out and the go-ahead run aboard, the 23-year-old left-hander induced a groundout from Alejandro De Aza for the second out. After an intentional walk of Kevin Youkilis, Ross squelched the White Sox rally as he retired slugger Adam Dunn with a strikeout looking.

Then in the eighth inning it was business as usual for Ross, as he sent the heart of the White Sox order down 1-2-3. Ross’ ERA is now less than one on the season (0.99).

The best and worst of Mike Adams

• Mike Adams came on in the ninth inning and made quick work of the White Sox, producing a very Robbie Ross-like 1-2-3 inning.

• The tenth inning didn’t go so well for the eighth inning specialist from Sinton, Texas. After getting ahead in the count against Alejandro De Aza—and apparently almost killing him as he fouled a pitch off of his leg—Adams walked him on a full count.

De Aza quickly stole second base—thanks to Adams’ blink-and-you-won’t-miss-it delivery—enabling Youkilis to record a walk-off win via a single.

Vote for the Yu! And then, vote for anyone besides David Freese

• As of this writing, Yu Darvish leads the balloting for the final American League All-Star spot. Also, David “it’ll always be too soon to talk about” Freese is leading the N.L. ballot…Let’s get Yu in and keep Freese out? What do you say?

Up Next:

LHP Matt Harrison (11-3, 3.17 ERA) will try to become just the second Texas Ranger to record his twelfth win before the All-Star Break. Fellow LHP Jose Quintana (3-1, 2.19 ERA) toes the rubber for the ChiSox. The first pitch of the final game of this three game set is scheduled for 1:05 (CT).

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Jun 262012
 
YuJosh

Yu Darvish Dazzles as Hamilton and Kinsler Go Deep in 7 5 Win over Detroit

Hami is saying no to snuff, but continues to say yes to galactic moon-shots.

Yu Darvish picked up his tenth win of the year in typical Darvish fashion: he was frustratingly erratic early, then settled down enough for a solid start.

The victory puts Darvish in a tie with Matt Harrison for the most on the team. The game wasn’t as crisp as we’d like it to be, but hey, it’s a win. The Tigers are a tough team (just ask Grimm), and with the Angels winning last night as well, it keeps Texas ahead 4 1/2 games in the AL West.

Kinsler got the show started in the bottom of the first with a leadoff home run. Kinsler’s blast cut the Tigers lead in half, and was his first since June 8 in San Francisco. It marked the third time he’s hit a leadoff jack this season, and the 23rd of his career.

Even though the Rangers were trailing through the first three innings—and Darvish was a little wild—I never panicked or thought that Texas was in a poor position to win. The Yu is always—it seems—standing on shaky ground early on, but once he gets in a groove, he becomes nearly unhittable.

Darvish dealt back-to-back 1-2-3 innings twice last night—in the second and third innings, as well as the sixth and seventh innings. Take away the first and fifth and the dude might have thrown a no-hitter.

Thoughts from last night’s 7-5 win:

Cabrera’s Cabeza

• Tiger’s third baseman, Miguel Cabrera, came into last night with a sizzling .379 batting average at Rangers Ballpark. In his first at bat of the game, Darvish accidentally plunked him on the head with a 92 MPH fastball. Cabrera was 0-3 on the game…Evidently a heater to the noggin is Miggy’s Achilles’ Heel.

Darvish, the whirling dervish

• The term “effectively wild” is overused, but has their ever been a better embodiment of that phrase than Yu Darvish? Maybe not. He was all over the zone—especially in the first inning—but he only hit one batter (Cabrera) and walked just one as well (Austin Jackson.) From pitch-to-pitch you just never know where Darvish will put it, and that system worked well for him last night, as he surrendered just four hits and racked up 10 strikeouts.

Tough luck for the Napster

• Mike Napoli, who got the start at first base, was the only Ranger starter that didn’t record a hit. He barely missed a home run in the eighth inning though, and seems to be squaring up on the ball much better of late. Napoli might be close to getting locked in at the dish.

Josh Hamilton

• Much has been made about the slugging center fielder’s June swoon. After connecting last night for his 24th home run, Hamilton now has homers in back-to-back games for the first time since May. As we all know, Hamilton is talented enough to go from looking lost to suddenly putting on a Ruthian display. Don’t be surprised if Hami heats up enough to reclaim the major league lead in homers by next month’s All-Star Break.

The Tigers and Texas

• Remember when Detroit’s Comerica Park was a house of horrors for the Rangers? That all changed this past April when the Rangers rolled into Motown and took three of four games. Now, the Rangers are in a position to take their sixth-straight series if they can beat Detroit tomorrow night. The series is tied up one game apiece, yet the Rangers have actually been outscored 13-9. Over their first six meetings this year, the Rangers have outscored the Tigers 34-25.

Feeling Young again

• It’s no secret that “super utility man” Michael Young has struggled at the plate this year. Last night he rifled an RBI triple into the left-field gap that ignited the Rangers’ four-run fourth inning. Young wound up 2-for-4 on the night…He might be close to putting together a very MY-like hot streak.

Up Next:

The Rangers’ Roy Oswalt (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will make his second start of 2012 as he faces Detroit’s Doug Fister (1-4, 2.72 ERA), with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

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Jun 062012
 
Derek Holland 4

Rangers rebound in Oakland with strong bullpen

Wednesday Morning CurveballsAlexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan flexed their muscle last night in Oakland, pitching a combined 3 2/3 innings in relief of Derek Holland, surrendering just 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5.  Ogando came in with two on and one out in the 6th with the Rangers holding on to a 2 run lead.  He struck out Kurt Suzuki and got Adam Rosales to pop out to first.

“That’s what he does,” closer Joe Nathan said of Ogando. “He’s the guy who holds our bullpen together. He’s the glue and tonight was a prime example about how much this guy means to us.”

Holland had his moments, but was apparently being taken down internally by…ahem…let’s just say he had some stomach concerns.  All in, he gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks over 5 1/3, striking out only 2.  He did get the win to improve to 5-4 with a 5.10 ERA.

“I just got a little fatigued out there,” Holland said. “I was doing everything I could to stay out there, but it started creeping up on me in the middle innings. I was doing everything I could. I just need to keep plugging away and get my strength back.”

It was creeping up…

Wednesday Morning Curveballs

Offensively, the Rangers accomplished a rare feat – everyone in the lineup got at least one base hit and struck out at least once.

Kinsler showed some signs of life with a 2 run double in the 3rd inning.  Everything else was pretty evening spread across the nine guys who started and ended this game in the lineup.

Lewis vs. Colon tonight

Colby Lewis (4-4, 3.50 ERA) takes the mound tonight, looking for his 5th win on the season.  Lewis pitched well in Anaheim over the weekend, only to have it wasted by defensive miscues and a lack of offensive support.  Since his reemergence in major league baseball (after his stint in Japan), Lewis is 5-3 with a 3.17 ERA against Oakland.

The A’s will counter with 39 year old Bartolo Colon (4-6, 4.34 ERA).  Colon suffered a similar fate to Lewis in his last outing, only giving up 2 runs over 7 innings, but getting a tough loss as his offensive teammates put up a goose egg.

9:05pm first pitch on FSSW.

Headed to Kansas City…

  • Initial All-Star voting results were revealed yesterday and 5 Rangers are leading at their respective positions – Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz & Mike Napoli.  You can vote up to 25 times, which seems a little ridiculous, but whatever.  Vote here if you haven’t already.
  • Josh Hamilton will not be participating in the Home Run Derby this year which is fine by me.  Josh’s performance at the 2008 Derby was unforgettable, and I doubt he could ever top that.  In addition, I’d much prefer Josh preserve every ounce of energy for the All-Star game (which DOES matter) and the second half of the season.

“It’s just not the right time,” Hamilton said. “I haven’t done it the past couple of years. I want to be healthy and the best I can be. I don’t want to risk anything entertaining the fans. So I respectfully declined again. You just take one swing … you’ve got to be smart about it.”

  • Of the 5 mentioned above, Napoli is the only one that hasn’t made an All-Star team before.

“Awesome … thanks to our fans,” Napoli said. “It would mean a lot to me. It would mean a lot to every player to make the All-Star Game. I want my numbers to prove I deserve to be an All-Star. I love the fans giving me such great sport.”

  • Look, I’d really like to see the American League World Series representative have home field advantage this season, so I’m on board with this team featuring as many Rangers as possible, but let’s remember that it was one of our own that cost the AL the All-Star game last year.  Love this quote from Beltre:

“It’s pretty important,” Beltre said of home field advantage. “That might be a key why we didn’t win, even though it was one of us that screwed it up.” 

Quick Hits

  • Scott Feldman will make his next scheduled start, after getting shelled on Monday in Oakland and pitching poorly in the three starts prior to that.  Someone tell Craig Gentry to get ready…
  • From T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), Hal Keller, who drafted, signed and developed some of the best players in the early years of the Rangers franchise, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Sequim, Wash. He was 84.
  • The Forums are up and running…well maybe running is a bit of an overstatement.
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May 302012
 

A night worth forgetting…

Wednesday Morning CurveballsLet’s face it, last night performance was ugly, but it’s part of the 162 game marathon that is a major league baseball season.  Every team is going to have nights like the Rangers had last night – defensive miscues, offensive woes and troubles on the mound.  What separates the great teams from average or even poor teams, is how they bounce back.  Does a performance like last night’s spark a cry for redemption and improvement or do they flounder in their own sorriness and get stuck in a rut?  This team has too much great leadership and camaraderie to get stuck in a rut.

The Bright Spots:

  • Josh Hamilton hit his 21st home run of the season last night.  Hamilton sits 5 ahead of his closest competition in all of baseball, Adam Jones, Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion.  His 3 RBI on the night put him at 56, which is 13 ahead of the current runner-up in MLB, Andre Ethier.
  • Elvis Andrus continues to rake, going 2-4 with a double and 2 runs scored last night, raising his batting average on the season to .308.
  • Craig Gentry is knocking on the door to .300 after going 2-3 last night, he currently sits at .299.  Gentry also stole his 7th base of the season last night.  As you would expect, his splits on the 2012 season favor situations against left-handed pitchers (.333/.417/.429), but at least his performance against righties hasn’t been debilitating (.257/.316/.343).

The Not-So-Bright Spots

  • On a night when Scooter Feldman’s fate was sealed as returning to the bullpen, albeit to a role that is vital for this team, his performance on the mound wasn’t great.  He gave up 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks over 4 2/3 innings.  He gave up 2 unearned runs as well on a throwing error by Adrian Beltre.
  • Mike Adams pitched poorly.
  • Alexi Ogando looked horrible.
  • Ian Kinsler went 0-5, leaving 5 runners stranded, and took plenty of heat from the Twitter world.
  • Napoli, Cruz and Young went a combined 0-8.

Enough about that…they will bounce back.

Wednesday Morning Curveballs

Rangers Sign Roy Oswalt

The Rangers agreed to terms with free agent pitcher Roy Oswalt yesterday, a signing that has been a discussion topic for Rangers fans since the winter.  With the recent injury to Neftali Feliz, the signing made sense at this point, and at $5M presenting relatively low risk.

Oswalt will start this Saturday for Round Rock, and the plan is for him to make 4-5 minor league starts before being called up and inserted in the major league rotation.

“I think if you look at our ballclub, my relationship with him, Jackie Moore, Mike Maddux, some of our players, there is a familiarity there,” Nolan Ryan said. “He’s pitched here and there’s a close proximity to his home. Plus the fact we’re in the position we’re in all worked in our favor. The fact that he’s healthy, once he gets innings in, he’ll fit into our rotation and be able to pitch deep into the game.”

The dominoes that fall from the signing will more than likely look like this:

  • Scott Feldman will return to a long relief role in the bullpen.
  • Neftali Feliz will return to the bullpen upon his healthy return.  While I hate to see Neftali make this move, it’s the best move for the team assuming Oswalt is pitching well and there are no other injuries that impact the rotation.  Feliz still has absolutely FILTHY stuff and can be an impact arm in the bullpen with Ogando, Ross, Adams & Nathan.
  • Tateyama will have to return to the minors to make room for Oswalt.
  • The next move is not as clear, but when Feliz returns, the Rangers will have to make room.  My guess would be that they demote or attempt to trade Mark Lowe or Koji Uehara, but we are a month or more away from that point, so the front office has some time to let the chips fall where they may.

Lot’s of good arguments on both sides of the Oswalt signing.  I’m on board with the signing given the relatively low risk that  the Rangers are exposed to with regards to the contract.  Just a few tidbits here that I wanted to share…nothing earth shattering:

  • Oswalt has been a National League pitcher his entire career, but has made 2-4 starts per season against American League opponents given inter-league play.  His record against American League teams in his career is 11-11 with a 3.70 ERA.
  • He has finished in the top 6 of NL Cy Young voting 6 times in his career, with the most recent being a 6th place finish in 2010, the season in which he was dealt from Houston to Philadelphia.
  • Oswalt has pitched in the post-season during 4 seasons of his career – 2004 and 2005 with the Astros and the last two seasons with the Phillies.  Across his 11 post-season starts, Oswalt has compiled a record of 5-2 with a 3.73 ERA, with his most impressive series coming against the Giants in 2010, where he had a 1.84 ERA over 14 1/3 innings of work with a 4.67 SO/BB ratio.
  • Oswalt wanted to be here…let’s not forget this.  Texas has long been a destination to avoid for starting pitchers.  Granted, Oswalt has something to prove, but he did have value and was desired by some other teams (Red Sox and Dodgers to name two), but he wanted to be here.  That alone has to make Rangers fans feel good.

Quick Hits

  • Rangers send Derek Holland (4-3, 4.05 ERA) to the mound tonight to lead the charge back into the win column.  The Mariners will counter with former Ranger (and a key to that magical 2010 season) Blake Beavan (2-4, 4.38 ERA).
  • From Christian Corona (MLB.com), “Since blowing his only save of the year in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners on April 11, Joe Nathan has held opponents scoreless in 17 of his past 18 appearances. Opposing batters are hitting .194 against him during that span as Nathan has posted a 0.51 ERA, fourth-lowest in the Majors. Until a Michael Saunders single Tuesday, opposing batters had not recorded a hit in their past 21 at-bats against Nathan.”
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May 232012
 

Harrison, Adams and Nathan secure Rangers win despite lack of offense

Wednesday Morning CurveballsOn a night when the Rangers offense could only muster four hits, the pitching came up big.  Matt Harrison pitched 7 strong, giving up a single run on 7 hits and 2 walks.

“My defense was making play after play behind me tonight,” Harrison said. “It definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to start the first inning. I felt good going into the game. My arm felt the best it has felt all season. I may have been overthrowing. I needed to settle down and pound the strike zone.”

The run was surrendered in a 35 pitch first inning after which Harrison was in command of the game…until the 8th inning…enter Mike Adams.  Harrison gave up hits to the first two batters he faced in the 8th inning, and the two run lead looked vulnerable.  Adams came in to face the heart of the Mariners order, and got Jesus Montero to fly out harmlessly before striking Justin Smoak and Kyle Seager out.

“Mike has been big for us since the day we traded for him,” designated hitter Michael Young said. “The eighth inning is important and we’ve got one of the best in the business handling it. He did a great job tonight.”

Joe Nathan came on in the 9th to get his 10th save of the season.  He struck out two as well after getting the lead off hitter to ground out weakly.

Nathan was impressive and I know the definition of a save…that said, when the game was on the line, Mike Adams saved the Rangers.

“I don’t keep track of my stats,” Adams said. “I go by how I’ve been throwing, and the last few outings I feel I’ve been throwing the ball well.”

Great pitching all around, which was needed as the Rangers were only able to muster up four hits, a season low.  Mariners started Hector Noesi pitched well, and really only gave the Rangers one opportunity to put runs on the board, and they seized that opportunity with a 3-run 3rd inning.  Noesi walked Cruz and Moreland, whom were driven in by an Elvis Andrus triple.  Andrus came in to score on a Josh Hamilton ground-rule double.

T.R. Sullivan summed it up well here:

The Rangers were 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position while the Mariners were 1-for-9. That was a testament to both Adams and Harrison, who survived a 35-pitch first inning to make it into the eighth.

Quick Hits

  • When Pudge retired, we all heard that he was going to take on a role with the Rangers, and it looks like he’s received his first assignment, as he’ll serve as the Rangers representative at the First Year Player Draft in June (4th through 6th, with the 1st Round live on MLB TV).  The Rangers hold the 29th pick in the first round, along with two picks in the compensation round they received for losing C.J. Wilson and Darren Oliver in free agency.
  •  Ian Kinsler and Scooter Feldman are both being recruited to play for Israel in the World Baseball Classic.  Both players have Jewish heritage, which makes them eligible to play for Israel if they so choose.

“I would definitely like to play for Team USA if that’s possible,” Kinsler said. “If not, I will consider whatever else comes up.”

“I don’t know if it’s the greatest idea for a pitcher to play in that,” Feldman said. “If I got asked, I would think about it. I don’t know if it’s a good idea. Pitchers can get hurt anytime. It would stink getting hurt doing something like that. We’ll see how many innings I pitch this year and how my arm feels and if I get asked.”

  • The Rangers have an off-day on Thursday but will not use it to give anyone extra rest or change up their rotation. Feldman pitches tonight, followed by Derek Holland, Colby Lewis and Yu Darvish this weekend against the Blue Jays.
  • Former Ranger Kevin Millwood (2-4, 4.17 ERA) will take the mound tonight against Scooter (0-1, 3.00 ERA).  Millwood’s splits show that he pitches much better on the road than he does at Safeco, evidenced most recently by a dominating outing in Colorado last week, so here’s hoping the Rangers get to him early and see plenty of the Mariners bullpen.
  • Feldman, who has moved to the rotation after Neftali Feliz was put on the DL, is hoping to throw 100 pitches tonight, something he hasn’t done since June of 2010.

“Let’s see how he gets through it,” manager Ron Washington said. “It depends on the stress he has. If he’s able to get through some innings early without stress, that may lead to some leeway late in the game.”

  • Prediction for tonight: Rangers 6, Mariners 3 with Yoshinori Tateyama working an instrumental 7th inning to stave off a Mariners rally and Mitch Moreland doing some damage with the bat…
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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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Feb 292012
 

If you missed our most recent Podcast, check it out here.  We had a good time talking about Josh Hamilton with our guests, Jennifer and Holly from RangersTalkers.com.

Wednesday Morning CurveballsJerry Crasnick (ESPN.com) asks the question Do the Rangers have an Ace in their stable?

  • As Crasnick puts it, the Rangers pitching staff is long on talent, but short on experience.  ”The Texas rotation, as currently constructed, is long on talent and relatively short on experience. Colby Lewis, the elder statesman of the group at 32, has 631 big league innings if you exclude his time in Japan. Lefties Derek Holland, 25, and Matt Harrison, 26, continue to grow and evolve. Neftali Feliz is transitioning from closer, and Alexi Ogando could land in the rotation or the bullpen. The Rangers also have Scott Feldman, who was a postseason savior as the team’s long man in October.  Which brings us, finally, to Yu Darvish, whose talent and stuff prompted the Rangers to shell out almost $112 million between the posting fee and the contract.”
  • Crasnick then asks the real question – does it matter if their is a true ace or not?  He goes on to name all of the teams in MLB that have a legitimate ace, and says “Despite the absence of Rangers from the list, two big league front-office people said Texas’ rotation is worthy of a pennant contender, particularly because it’s supported by such a formidable lineup.”
  • Crasnick makes some good points in the article and it’s definitely worth the read, but I’m really hoping that one of two things happen in 2012:
  1. One of the existing Rangers starters develops into an ace over the course of the year and can serve in that role during the playoffs – Darvish or Holland seem to make the most sense to me.
  2. If #1 doesn’t happen, the Rangers are in a position to trade for a true ace at the trade deadline.

The uncomfortably named Michael Weiner, Executive Director of the MLB Players Association, was at Rangers camp yesterday for the Rangers union meeting.  With both last year’s player rep and the back up, C.J. and O’Day respectively, no longer with the club, the team will need to identify replacements.

  • Weiner talked briefly about Ryan Braun’s recent “testing” debacle, saying ”Any strong program has to to deter use, has to have appropriate penalities and also has to have a fair appeals process.  This doesn’t take away from our process. Anybody that wants both a tough and fair program should be satisfied with this result.”
  • Weiner also talked about Josh Hamilton’s recent relapse, ”The union and the Commissioner’s Office jointly administer a program and Josh is a part of that.  Josh is working hard under that program and our first concern is for Josh’s well-being. Josh has the resources that he needs,” Weiner said.

Quick hits:

  • Wednesday Morning CurveballsRon Washington is impressed with Neftali Feliz’s attitude, ”He’s focused and he’s confident and he’s getting the opportunity to use all his pitches in batting practice.  He has been a leader in his group out there. So far, he seems very happy to be a starter. To me, that is 50 percent of it. The other 50 percent is going out and getting it done. He’s determined to do well. He’s going to win some game for us.”
  • Elvis Andrus (foot) didn’t participate in any running drills yesterday, but did hit in the cage and take grounders.  Should be back to full speed soon.
  • Mike Adams (hernia) will throw again today and plan’s to pitch in the intrasquad game on Friday.
  • Jeff Wilson (Star-Telegram) writes about David Murphy’s hope for more playing time in 2012.
  • Jon Daniels when asked if he’s optimistic about Josh Hamilton remaining with the Rangers beyond 2012 after his comments from last Friday and over the weekend, “The comments don’t play into it much. Maybe I’m an optimist but I’d like to think that at the appropriate time, we’ll sit down and be able to work something out. Bottom line is the club would like to keep Josh in Texas, and I think he’d like to be here. It’s been a mutually beneficial relationship, without a doubt. Every situation is unique and requires some level of creativity. If that’s the mindset on both sides, we’ll be OK. For now though, we all think it’s best to let Josh’s family and sobriety be the priority, followed by getting ready for the season. We’ll handle the contract talks privately at some point.”
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Feb 182012
 

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

Score at the end of Round 3:

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

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

Starting Pitching

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

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

The Ace

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

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

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

The #2

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

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

The #3

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

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

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

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

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

The #4

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

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

The #5

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

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

Relief (not including Closer)

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score of the Baseball Do American League West Position Rankings

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

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

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

‘case that’s the way baseball go…

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

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Jan 182012
 
  • Wednesday Morning Curves   Darvish Deadline DayIt’s Yu Deadline Day!  We’ll know by 4pm today if the Rangers and Darvish were able to reach an agreement.  Richard Durrett & David Schoenfield face off on ESPN’s Hot Button explaining why they feel the Rangers should sign (Durrett) or pass (Schoenfield).  That link also displays a Jim Bowden video that provides nothing new, but if you’re wanting to drown yourself in Yu Darvish today, give it a watch.
  • Tim Kirkjian feels that “one way or another, Yu Darvish is going to sign with the Rangers”, and that seems to be the general sentiment of much of the MLB Media.
  • David Murphy, Matt Harrison, Mark Lowe and Mike Adams reach deals with the Rangers to avoid arbitration yesterday.  This leaves Mike Napoli, Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus as the three remaining players that could go to arbitration if a deal is not reached.  T. R. Sullivan provides some more details on this matter here.
  • Would you want the Rangers to sign Prince Fielder, if it meant that they would not be able to resign Josh Hamilton after the 2012 season?  Jasen posted a good article last night examining the scenario, and Jean-Jacques Taylor sided with Hamilton in an article posted on ESPN Dallas this morning.  Decide for yourself, and leave a comment below.
  • Greg Maddux kicked-off his career as a Ranger yesterday getting up to speed with some of the minor-league pitching talent within the organization.  According to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram, “While Greg Maddux will familiarize himself with the pitching prospects this week, one area that he will surely be involved with throughout spring training is the pitchers’ fielding technique.  The Rangers’ pitching staff combined for 16 errors last season, including four each by Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis and three by Derek Holland. Greg Maddux, on the other hand, won 18 Gold Gloves during his career, committing 53 errors over 23 seasons.”
  • Former Ranger Curtis Wilkerson is coming back to DFW.  This time as a manager, as he’ll oversee the Ft. Worth Cats in the 2012 season.
  • The Tigers took a serious shot to their line-up yesterday as news broke that Victor Martinez would likely be out for the 2012 season after tearing his ACL during off-season winter workouts.  Doesn’t seem likely the Tigers would jump in the Prince Fielder sweepstakes as Prince said he has no interest in being a full-time DH.
  • Cole Hamels and the Phillies reached a 1 year agreement yesterday ($15M) to avoid arbitration.  The Phillies are said to still be working on a long-term deal with the lefty.  If a deal is not reached, Hamels would surely be one of the top free agents next off-season.
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