How close you ask?
Consider that in just over three weeks, the 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip will become a reality! And by that time, the Rangers will be four games deep into the 2013 regular season.
And, since the lowly Houston Astros represent three of those first four games, the Rangers should be sitting pretty at 4-0. But talk of the 2013 Rangers season, and even Astros-bashing, seems a tad premature since there are still so many Spring Training questions left unanswered.
Can Alexi Ogando hold down the fourth spot in the rotation? Can Lance Berkman’s body make it back from Surprise in one piece? Who will be the Rangers’ fifth starter, and when will the butcher and candle maker join Jeff Baker?
For Goodness Saker, What’s a Jeff Baker?
Last year in Surprise, Robbie Ross was the feel-good story of the spring. Considered a long-shot to make the roster, Ross not only made the squad, but became a crucial part of the big league bullpen.
So far this spring, major league journeyman Jeff Baker has been all the talk. The Baker Hype has been much deserved as he has put up a triple-slash line of .529/.568/.735 over 34 ABs thus far.
As of right now, it looks as if Baker has the inside track on being the Rangers’ go-to utility infielder, an area of concern since Andres Blanco departed prior to the 2012 season.
Mitch Moreland has never really had a chance to prove his value to the team. He has had some injury issues (2011 his wrist bothered him, and last season it was a hamstring) and when he has been healthy he was either trumped to make room for Mike Napoli/Michael Young, or was flat-out benched against lefties.
Hitting against left-handers had proved to be difficult for the big man from Mississippi. However, not so this spring. Moreland has been thumping southpaws to the tune of: .500/.600/1.00 with one long ball and four RBI thus far…If Moreland can stay healthy, look for him to have a big season in 2013.
The OTHER Martin
I’ve decided to be upbeat. So let’s not talk about the Martin Perez broken arm thing. Whoops, I guess I just did. That is the last time I will mention that Martin Perez may miss up to two months. Promise. Okay, anyhoo, let’s move on to the other Martin. Leonys Martin.
All indications are that Leonys Martin may be ready to become the Rangers’ full-time center fielder. Martin has had some issues defensively, but it is hard even for Ron Washington to ignore Martin’s .394/.447/.576 slash line. Now is the time for the Rangers to see if their $15 million investment in the Cuban defector was worth the, um, investment.
The only negative I can see with Martin getting the nod to start every day in center is that it moves Baseball Do-fave Craig Gentry back to the bench. Gentry is having one sweet spring too and has proved that he can hit right-handers to boot, thanks to his .294/.455/.529 thus far.
Although I’d love to see Gentry start on a regular basis, he is a nifty security blanket just in case Martin should falter. Look for Gentry to be a late-innings defensive replacement this season much like last season.
Lance Berkman Not Yet Broken
So far Lance Berkman has not been injured. However, he has been sporting a full-on beard. How does this matter in terms of injury? Well, should Berkman decide to ditch the face-do, do not be surprised if he blows out a wheel in the process.
Seriously, if you can tear an ACL playing first base, what makes you think you are safe in the shower?
What do I Think-o about Starter Numero Cinco?
It is a good thing that right-hander Alexi Ogando has looked solid over his recent outings. There is already a mini-controversy surrounding the Rangers’ future fifth starter, and you certainly don’t want any questions marks surrounding the fourth spot thrown in the mix too.
And therein lays the problem with the Martin Perez situation. Whoops, I mentioned him again. The aforementioned Robbie Ross has been quite sharp in his starts, but should he make the rotation, who would take over the role of left-handed go-to reliever?
Fellow southpaw Michael Kirkman, should he not make the rotation, is a likely candidate to replace Ross in the ‘pen. Free Agent pickup Kyle McClellan is a possibility in the fifth spot as is Justin Grimm. Grimm has struggled mightily this spring as his north-of-twelve ERA can attest.
Ross is in a similar situation to CJ Wilson three years ago, minus the whole being an incredible d-bag thing.
Essentially Ross will have to be so good as a starter that it is worth it to the club to create a lefty deficit in the pen. This is one of those roster decisions that is going to be right down to the wire.
Regardless of the eventual roster shakedown, the 2013 season is just around the corner and I am super-stoked!
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)
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
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)
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
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.
New lineup: Kinsler 2B, Andrus SS, Murphy LF, Beltre DH, Cruz RF, Young 3B, Moreland 1B, Soto C, Martin CF. Profar is out.
— Richard Durrett (@espn_durrett) September 13, 2012
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.)
The last time I produced an article for BaseballDo, I received unexpected acclaim and notoriety from a couple of local sports radio talk shows which I have admired for many years. To hear my name had been associated with decent writing was pretty surreal based on my past failures in freshman and sophomore English at Bryan Adams High School.
I received instant popularity and credibility throughout social media as I gained at least 10 new followers the first day. You might think I am being sarcastic, but 10 new followers in a day for me is something which does not occur very often, even on Follow Fridays.
In all honesty, I really do not feel I did spectacular work on my article in regards to Michael Young’s struggles so far in 2012. I felt as if I was just providing the reader with information any person could have found on the internet late at night when one is unable to sleep. I am still very grateful for all the kind words though.
Well, my last article might have gained me some baseball writing credibility, but with this piece, I might be losing every bit of the cred I might have earned.
One popular phrase or moniker for a certain type of individual in today’s society is douchebag. We all are cognizant of what a douchebag, or doucher for short, really is. Douchebags tend to walk around with this arrogant, pompous sense of entitlement like they are better than you.
The clothes douchebags wear are more than annoying. There are the button-up shirts with crosses stitched on the back, Ed Hardy tees, and blue jeans with dragons printed on them. Douchers even style their hair a certain way.
The most vexatious (thank you Google)trait douchers have is the tendency to brag incessantly about their accomplishments, possessions, or jobs where they make an infinite amount of money more than you do . Douchers will even begin to speak about themselves before one even touches the subject. Yes, humility is not in the cards for the doucher.
Being a douchebag can be advantageous as I have noticed women tend to flock towards the doucher, and also the D-bag tends to have a chiseled physique resembling a Greek God, while we are left to look like Al Bundy in the later years of Married with Children.
The term douchebag has also found its way over into the sports world, in particular, the great game of baseball. For some odd reason, some select baseball players have earned a reputation of being a douchebag, despite the fact many of the fans referring to the player as a doucher do not even know the player personally.
I cannot tell you how often I hear a player is awful because he is a douchebag. Recently, I was engaged in an argument over New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher and whether or not the Texas Rangers should pursue him this offseason when Swisher becomes a free-agent. I asked another writer on Twitter what he thought about pursuing Swish. He responded, and I am paraphrasing, he would be surprised if the team did not try to sign the soon to be free agent.
Immediately, I received all kinds of tweets from fans about what a douche Swisher is, and how he would have this pernicious effect on the clubhouse. My response to these tweets I received was Swisher has produced above average numbers since becoming a Yankee as he has yielded an OPS over .800 4 straight seasons, and is on pace to have a career high in extra base hits in 2012. Well, none of that mattered because many still believed Swisher sucks because he smiles a certain way, or walks to the plate with an overly arrogant stroll with his sunglasses a certain color.
The most controversial perceived douchebag in DFW is former Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson, who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels. As the Rangers ‘ace’ heading into the 2011 postseason, Wilson struggled the entire playoffs and the Rangers lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in 7 games, a game in which Wilson hit the first batter he faced with the bases loaded in the 5th inning.
When CJ signed with the Angels, many were upset with him (myself included) despite the fact he pitched wonderfully as a starter in two seasons while in Texas. Wilson compiled a 31-15 record with an ERA slightly above 3.00 and a WHIP close to 1.20. Ceej gave the Rangers over 420 innings pitched in two seasons, and earned the contract he was given by LA.
Fans are still upset with Wilson for leaving the Rangers to go play with their main rival as they have booed Ceej relentlessly all three times he has pitched in Arlington this season. Fans are angry about last postseason, but most are still annoyed by Wilson’s douchebag like behavior he exhibited while in town. His knife fighting, piloting, and DJing skills are just too much for people in DFW to handle. My belief is the CJ hatred is simply in regards to his incessant boasting, and bragging montages.
While the fans should be showing Wilson appreciation for his years of service in Texas, they boo him because they think he is a douchebag, and they do not even know him personally. Much of what Ceej says can make one roll his or her eyes, but off the field stuff should not matter as long as he produces on the field.
All of this unwarranted douchebag hatred and bashing got me to thinking, “What if all of the perceived MLB douchebags were on one team? How would the team fair against other competition?”
So, I began my research by finding out who in MLB is considered a douchebag by simply asking fans on Twitter. I received a few obvious answers, but had to search the world wide web for a few others. I was even tweeted a picture of the All-Douchebag team someone had taken their time to construct.
After about an hour of research, I had compiled my team of MLB douchebags. I even gave them the moniker ‘Arizona D-Bags,’ using a funny play on words. Without further ado, here is my team of D-Bags based solely on reputation according to baseball fans.
C – AJ Pierzynski
1B – MarkTeixeira
2B – Ian Kinsler
3B – Alex Rodriguez
SS – Jhonny Peralta
LF – Ryan Braun
CF – Bryce Harper
RF – Nick Swisher
DH – Mike Napoli/Josh Reddick
BN – Johnny Gomes, Greg Dobbs, Ryan Theriot
SP – CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver, Stephen Strasburg, James Shields, Bronson Arroyo
RP – Brandon League, Chris Perez, Jonathan Papelbon, Brett Myers, Jose Valverde, Fernando Rodney, John Axford, Robbie Ross
Yes, I realize I have a 26 man roster, but this is a team full of perceived douchers, someone will get injured. Also, I added Robbie Ross and Ryan Theriot to the team because the team needed a left-handed reliever and utility infielder. While Ross and Theriot do not seem like douchebags, one never knows.
My experiment included using the player’s current statistics from 2012, and finding out how the overall combined statistics stack up against other current major league teams.
What I first wanted to do was appease the traditionalist and see how the basic offensive numbers compared to other MLB teams. The 13 D-bag hitters have combined to hit 224 home runs so far as of September 2nd, that would rank 1st in MLB. The Yankees would be 2nd with 202.
Then, every traditionalists’ favorite statistic, batting average. The D-Bags are hitting a mediocre .267 so far in 2012. However, the .267 batting average would rank 7th in MLB.
Next, I thought I would compare the advanced offensive numbers because those are the numbers sabermetricians will tell you matter. The D-Bags OBP is .340, tied for 1st in MLB. They’re slugging .457 as a team, and have a collective .797 OPS, both 1st in MLB. When one adds up the runs all of the D-Bags have scored, one will find out the D-Bags have scored 758 runs between 13 offensive players, also 1st in MLB.
As one can tell, douchebags can apparently hit the baseball as they are 1st in MLB in 5 of the 6 major offensive categories. But, can the douchebags pitch and play defense?
Again, I will begin with the baseball traditionalist favorite pitching statistic, the W-L record. The D-Bags starting rotation is a combined 64-33 so far, the 33 losses would be the lowest in MLB.
Now, let’s go to the traditionalists’ next favorite pitching statistic, ERA. The entire D-Bags’ rotation, bullpen included, possesses a 3.24 ERA, which would be the lowest in MLB.
The D-Bags have combined to strike out 1,141 hitters so far, which would be 2nd in MLB only to the Brewers. The D-Bags have a slight problem walking hitters as the 376 free passes given would rank 11th in MLB.
Now, let’s move on to the more exciting advanced pitching statistics. The .231 average batters hit against the D-bags would be the lowest in MLB, and the 1.19 WHIP the D-Bags pitchers possess would be tied for the best in baseball.
The .284 BABIP against the D-Bags as a team is about average, and the 3.39 team FIP is outstanding. Sorry, but, I could not find team rankings for these stats.
Can the D-Bags play defense? Well, the 75 errors the team has committed in the field (not including pitchers) would rank 7th in baseball. So, apparently douchebags can play defense and pitch too.
Finally, I wanted to use the Pythagorean expectation formula created by sabermetrician Bill James to estimate how many games this D-Bags team should win based on their current performance. One will notice the Pythagorean W-L record on baseballreference.com next to the amount of runs a team has allowed and scored. If one so chooses, one can look at any team’s Pythagorean W-L record in baseball history. The formula has been slightly modified since the formula’s genesis, but here is the formula used today on baseballreference.com. Remember, the answer to the formula will be the team’s should be winning percentage.
The D-Bags have scored 758 runs so far this season, and the pitchers have allowed 539. Yes, that is a +219 run differential, which would be far and away 1st in MLB this season. After I entered in the numbers and worked the formula, I arrived at a .651 overall winning percentage for the D-Bags. When I multiplied the .651 winning percentage times the numbers of games the team should have already played (133) the answer was 86.5.
The D-Bags overall record after 133 games should be 87-46, best in MLB by a substantial margin. The D-Bags are on pace to have a final record of 106-56, 50 games over .500, and only 10 off the regular season win record set by the 2001 Seattle Mariners.
What does all of this mean? Well, for one, the perceived douchebag players fans think are horrendous because they might wear an Ed Hardy shirt to a night club can play the game of baseball very well. Also, if a fan considers a player a douchebag, the player is probably a stud the fan secretly wishes were on his or her favorite team.
I realize the numbers do not factor in team chemistry, and whether or not other teammates loathe any of these players personally, but the numbers do not lie. Most of these players are very solid, and are key contributors who will help teams win.
Yes, I have been guilty of name calling in the past, there is proof out there I have done this. However, I have realized my foolish behavior, and you can too. So, before you claim a player sucks because he is a speed reader, or script writer, remember those things have nothing to do with baseball. While the behavior may be annoying, it has nothing to do with what happens on the field. These players are enjoyable to watch. Learn to look past the off the field behavior and appreciate the talent these players display on the field.
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
• 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.
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).
It’s Profar time, and I’m stoked!
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.
• 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?
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).
Alexi Ogando tweeked his groin after legging out an infield single last Sunday against the San Francisco Giants. He was immediately removed from the game, and it has now been made public that he has a groin strain that will require a trip to the disabled list.
After using the same five starting pitchers for the entire season in 2011, the Texas Rangers have now had injuries to two starters (Feliz and Holland) as well as spot-starter and bullpen stalwart Alexi Ogando.
#Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Alexi Ogando will be out 4-6 weeks. … Nothing new on Oswalt front, team wants him 100 percent b/f he comes up
— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) June 12, 2012
• Left-hander Michael Kirkman has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to take Ogando’s spot in the bullpen.
• It is unknown whether Kirkman will be used as a spot-starter as Ogando was, or if the team will possibly move Robbie Ross into the rotation temporarily.
• Ogando was preceded to the disabled list by righty Neftali Feliz and lefty Derek Holland.
• Holland is scheduled to begin throwing later this week and if his shoulder holds up he could return to active duty within the next two weeks.
• Recently signed free agent Roy Oswalt is scheduled to throw 80 pitches tonight for the Texas Rangers’ Double-A affiliate, the Frisco Rough Riders.
As if being shutout by Bartolo Colon 2-0—the team’s first shutout of the year—isn’t bad enough, the Texas Rangers have placed their second starting pitcher of the year on the disabled list.
Derek Holland, whose fastball lost considerable velocity in the fifth and sixth innings of his last start on Tuesday, has been placed on the 15-day DL with what is being described as left shoulder fatigue.
The “diagnosis” of a shoulder issue was unexpected, as it was initially thought that a stomach virus might be what would cause a possible DL stint. Holland has lost 15 pounds over the last two weeks due to the malady.
Derek Holland’s injury creates a broad-range ripple effect throughout the organization.
Alexi Ogando is back in the rotation
I’m a big Alexi Ogando fan, especially as a starter. I was disappointed when he wasn’t given another chance in the rotation out of spring training.
However, he is a damn fine reliever, and I’m all for the Rangers strengthening what aspects of their game they deem necessary—in that case, it was the bullpen that needed some help.
Ogando’s move to the rotation creates a few questions:
• Is he properly “stretched-out” enough? Can he go more than four-innings a start?
•How will his departure impact the bullpen?
Tanner Scheppers is called up from Triple-A
Scheppers was the Texas Rangers’ 44th overall draft pick out of Fresno State in 2009. He has long been on the team’s 40-man roster, but this will be his first time up in “The Show.”
• Scheppers has been healthy this year but has had a history of injuries in the past.
• Anytime a rookie is brought up, you never really know what you’re going to get in terms of success…they don’t always work out as superbly as Robbie Ross.
Koji Uehara’s heightened roll
Right-handed reliever Koji Uehara has been outstanding for the Texas Rangers in 2012. So good has Uehara been that he is no longer my favorite whipping boy for easy laughs.
Hell, it’s not easy to make fun of a 0.54 WHIP. How will Uehara react now that his importance has been increased greatly?
• Can Koji continue to produce at the same level in high-leverage situations?
• Will he be able to work as a “bridge” in Ogando’s absence?
• Can he go multiple innings if the situation dictates?
Scott Feldman remains the team’s number five starter
Feldman has been a hot topic of debate recently. He has yet to earn a win in his spot starts, and has seemingly pitched worse each time he’s run out there.
Most people—especially after his 8-run shellacking on Monday—wanted Feldman’s head on a platter. They wanted him to be left out of the rotation and kicked off the team….if you were one of those fans then the Holland injury is your worst nightmare.
• Feldman will remain the team’s number five starter—and he might even continue in that role when Roy Oswalt makes his debut in a few weeks.
• Believe it or not, Feldman will be missed in the Rangers bullpen. His continued absence could be an additional blow—coupled with Ogando’s loss—that weakens one of the Rangers’ strengths.
You never want any of your starters to go down with an injury. One of the keys to the 2011 Texas Rangers was their ability to stay on the field (rotation-wise). This year’s squad—now with just two DL stints—hasn’t by any means been “injury prone” but anytime you lose a starting pitcher, much less two, there are negative ramifications.
Honestly, I feel that this might have occurred at the best possible time for the Texas Rangers. Not only is it early in the season, but many felt that a change might be necessitated by their recent struggles against inferior teams.
Well, here’s that change you’ve been hoping for. Ogando’s back in the rotation, and we finally get to see what the fire-balling right-hander Tanner Scheppers can do.
Everything is going to be just fine. Yes, I realize that tomorrow we take off to play the San Francisco Giants in a stadium that we have never won a game in. Hey, all this means is that we’re due.
The Texas Rangers are in first place in the AL West by 4 1/2 games. There’s no need placing your finger anywhere remotely near the panic button as long as we are atop our division.
“When I came out of the game, I didn’t even feel like I had thrown,” Lewis said. “I felt like I had some of my best stuff all year. It was just a weird game. I don’t know how to justify that game.”
In one of the more puzzling starts of the 2012 season, by any Rangers starter for that matter, Colby Lewis was both dominant and weak, both baffling and predictable, both great and below average. As he said, “It was just a weird game.”
Lewis got the loss in yesterday’s game, giving up 6 runs on 5 hits and a walk, while striking out 12 over 7 innings of work. The 12 strikeouts is a new career high for Lewis…as is the 5 home runs that he surrendered. Colby gave up 3 consecutive home runs in the 1st inning, and 2 in the 7th…in between he managed to retire all 18 batters he faced.
“The first inning, you still have to keep your team in the game,” Lewis said. “Of course you want a clean inning, but if it doesn’t you still try to go as long as you can and keep your team in the game. You keep making pitches and not worry, eventually somebody was going to get out.”
We are all used to the mandatory home run that Colby gives up in each start, and while it can be frustrating from the fan’s perspective, we put up with it because he often allows that home run in the middle of a above average performance. However, you could see the patience of the Rangers fan wearing very thin on Twitter during yesterday’s start. With such a heralded group of pitching prospects and Feldman and Ogando looming in the bullpen just waiting for their opportunity to move back into the rotation, it’s easy to quickly call for a change…but Colby’s not going anywhere.
“He still kept us in the ballgame,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Five home runs, usually a lot of damage is done and you can’t come back from that. But we almost did.”
The Rangers bats gave it valiant effort in the 9th, down 6-2, when David Murphy hit a 3 run bomb off of O’s closer Jim Johnson, but couldn’t muster another run and fell just short.
Luckily, this was just the first game of a double header (due to Wednesday’s rain out) and the Rangers would have a chance for redemption in the night cap.
Baltimore glad to see Josh go…
Josh got the tweeters tweeting early last night with a first inning 2-run shot off of Tommy Hunter, as many wondered if we might be in store for another historic night. But that was all Josh had to offer, and it was all that was needed as the Rangers took the final game of the series in Baltimore, 7-3. This gave the Rangers a series win after three consecutive series losses.
“I’m tired … hungry … it will be nice to get home,” Hamilton said. “You never know what will happen in this game, that’s why you play the games. I’m excited I had a good series, but the series is over. We can go back home and get ready for Anaheim. We’re ready to get home.”
Tommy “Big Game” Hunter may have summed it up best…
“He hit a baseball,” Hunter said. “The dude is on fire. What do you want me to say? He is, he’s a freak.”
Hamilton’s home run was a big moment, but Mike Napoli’s first triple in over 2 years was key in the win, as was a very productive night at the plate by Elvis Andrus (2-3, 2 RBI, 2 R). Beltre and Young also both contributed with a RBI a piece.
All the offense was nice, given the defensive woes from the night, as the Rangers committed three errors…but hey, it’s the 10th game on the road.
The Dutch Oven gave up three unearned runs in the 2nd inning, but bounced back and got the win. Holland pitched six innings, giving up the 3 unearned on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out five, moving his record to 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA.
The series we have all been waiting for…the game of the season…Yu Darvish (4-1, 2.54 ERA) vs. C.J. Wilson (4-1, 2.61 ERA).
For those of you going to the game, C.J. is prepared for boos:
“I think the biggest thing will just be that we’ll be playing in front of a huge crowd in a stadium that’s relatively hostile to our team — and I’m sure will be fairly hostile to me,” he said. “I think a lot of people will boo me and stuff. The main objective is just focusing on the baseball aspect of it and preparing to get their guys out.”
Ian is downplaying it here, and you can’t blame him. This is the perspective that players have to have.
“It will be fun, a chance to face somebody you know, but other than that it’s just another game,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said.
But fans don’t have to have that same perspective…to us, this is BIG. I’ve heard the plan is to give him the silent treatment when he is announced. I’ve also read plenty of tweets from fans that will be at the game saying they are going to boo the hell out of him. Regardless what you do, make sure you put far more effort into cheering for Yu and chanting “NA-PO-LI” every time Nap comes to the plate.
The ESPN Baseball Tonight guys give a preview of the series here.
“It’s fun to play in front of packed houses and we’ve had that almost every game,” Michael Young said. “When our park gets going, it’s the loudest ballpark in the big leagues. I’ve played in the World Series twice and played in other parks. It’s the loudest. The Cardinals said the same thing to us last year in those games in Arlington. Lots of parks don’t seat 40,000 and we’ve got close to 50,000 and the just the way the ballpark is structured, it makes for a very loud place. We’ve been spoiled this year. We’ve had big crowds nearly every night. We feed off of it. We love it.”
I’m so pumped for this series. I can honestly say that this feels like playoff baseball…
- One of the more bizarre story lines from yesterday’s double-header came in the second game when Robbie Ross was warming up in the bullpen…in the wrong colored uniform. The Rangers were wearing their blue uniforms, but Robbie had on the road grays.
- Angels catcher Chris Ianetta will be out tonight as he will undergo surgery on his right wrist today that will keep him out of action an estimated 6-8 weeks. Everytime I hear or read the words “Angels” and “catcher” together I snicker and chant “NA-PO-LI” under my breath and give a silent shout-out to Frankie Francisco and the Blue Jays…
- If you missed it last night, we are doing a Twitter Ticket Giveaway. Be sure to check it out, follow us on Twitter and retweet one of our tweets about the giveaway and you’ll be eligible…easy as that. 4 front row Lexus Club level seats for next Tuesday’s game!
Enough said…GAME ON!
The Rangers have won 6 straight series to open a season for the first time in franchise history…
The Rangers haven’t lost a 3 game series in Arlington since July1st-3rd of 2011 against the Marlins…
“We’re doing everything well,” Washington said. “We’re swinging the bats, playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played, pitching well, running the bases, playing defense. We’re playing a complete game. We’re just playing the best game we can possibly play that night. If you do that you’ll have fun, and we’re having a lot of fun right now.”
The Rangers beat the Yankees last night 7-3, in a game in which Ron Washington elected to utilize his bullpen from beginning to end by giving the spot start to Scott Feldman who was followed by Robbie Ross, Neftali Feliz, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan. All pitched relatively effectively with Feldman giving up 2 runs and Feliz giving up a solo shot Raul Ibanez in the 7th. Whether you are a fan of the approach or not…it worked.
“We didn’t look at it as a bullpen game,” designated hitter Michael Young said. “Scott Feldman is a legitimate big league starter and a huge part of our team.”
The Rangers bullpen, continuing to exert it’s dominance early in the season, has a 2.03 ERA through the club’s first 19 games.
- Joe Nathan – 3.72 ERA & 1.14 WHIP over 9.2 IP w/ 5 saves
- Mike Adams – 1.00 ERA & 0.78 WHIP over 9 IP w/ 1 save
- Alexi Ogando – 1.00 ERA & 0.44 WHIP over 9 IP w/ 1 save
- Robbie Ross – 2.25 ERA & 0.88 WHIP over 8 IP w/ 4 wins
- Mark Lowe – 0.00 ERA & 0.50 WHIP over 4 IP
- Koji Uehara – 3.60 ERA & 0.80 WHIP over 5 IP
“We have a very good bullpen,” Washington said. “Ross has been tremendous, and tonight he did exactly what we needed done — he set it up for the rest of the guys.”
Just another strength of this team…the best team in MLB.
- Neftali Feliz got an inning of work last night, but should benefit from the added rest as it was his spot in the rotation that was skipped. His next start will come Tuesday against Toronto. Looking back to 2011, Alexi Ogando never got a similar early season rest, and his mid-season fade is a big part of the change in approach with Feliz.
“We really didn’t have a plan for Ogando, we just let him fly,” Washington said. “We learned from that.”
“Of course having the extra day is going to help me,” Feliz said. “You never know. It’s a long season. You never know how hard I’m going to be throwing and how many innings I’m going to work. I think it’s going to help me out in the end.”
- Harrison, Lewis & Holland will get the starts against the Rays this weekend.
- Speaking of the Rays…anyone go into this week more concerned with the three games with them than the three games with the Yanks? I did. Rangers fans need to be just as loud, rowdy and supportive for these three games as they were for the hated Yanks…
“Obviously we have a ton of respect for them,” Rangers infielder Michael Young said. “This is the American League, every team is going to be tough. We just have to focus on keep getting better every day. Right now our pitching is what’s gotten us off to such a good start. They just keep us in the game every night.”
- The Elvis Andrus errorless streak is at 50 now, which is the third longest in club history for a shortstop. The franchise record is 60, held by Wayne Tolleson who did it in a back-up role during the mid-80′s.
“I haven’t said a word to Elvis since Spring Training,” Washington said. “If I haven’t said a word to him, that means he’s doing OK. He’s doing the same things, he’s just doing it with maturity and experience. That breeds consistency.”
- Interesting tidbit from T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), Yu Darvish’s 8 1/3 scoreless innings on Tuesday was the longest scoreless start by a Rangers pitcher against the Yankees since Bob Tewksbury threw six against them on July 7, 1995, in Arlington.
Enjoy the day off…