Aug 062012
 
troubleintexas

Texas Rangers News: So, Whats Up with Roy Oswalt and Josh Hamilton?The Texas Rangers had just taken two-of-three from the Kansas City Royals, a team that they had failed to defeat in ’12 prior to their three game series last week in KC. That should be good news, but there were some uncharacteristic clubhouse issues that overshadowed the Rangers’ first series win in almost two weeks.

Josh Hamilton—More than a nicotine fit?

• As we all know, Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton is a very troubled man. Also, the entire world (those that care at least) have been enlightened as to why Hamilton went from totally MVP-legit to “can barely muster a hit” in the span of two months.

The man’s personal life is none of my business and really doesn’t concern me in the slightest. However, his quips to the media and his recent scuffles with the coaching staff have lead me to believe that he is going through something more intense than nicotine withdrawal. And no, I’m not hinting at substance abuse. I don’t think that’s the issue here.

However, something is eating at Hamilton—could be his personal life, movie deal, or whatever—that he normally has been able to deal with no problemo. The further Hamilton slips into the recesses of his own mind, the less likely retainment of his services becomes. In fact, I’m of the belief that Hamilton will not be a Ranger next season, and should things continue as they have, he may be given the C.J. Wilson treatment.

Roy Oswalt—Clubhouse Problem?

• Evidently, Roy Oswalt, who looked fantastic last night over his two innings of relief work, was asked to go out for a third inning, and declined. If this was due to any other reason aside from physical inability, it is absolutely inexcusable.

Naturally, Oswalt was a starter his entire career, and there was a fundamental agreement in place that he’d remain in that role for the Rangers. But still, any major leaguer that can look outside of his own personal dilemmas for a fraction of a second should be able to understand that baseball is a business, and the business of winning entails making moves that are best for the team, not best for Roy Oswalt, etc.

Besides that, if Oswalt is the competitor that I believe him to be, he should take this “demotion” as an opportunity to kick butt and show the world that he’s not a shell of his former All-Star self. He can pitch his way back into the rotation, especially given the way the injury bug has feasted on the Rangers’ rotation this season.

Here’s hoping there was some sort of mixup or miscommunication between Washington and Oswalt that will explain yesterday’s scenario. If not, this is the type of rift that can cause clubhouse issues. If that’s the case, it’s too bad. Oswalt had looked really sharp in his two appearances coming out of the ‘pen.

The Michael Young situation

• Is their any coincidence that the very moment I read that Michael Young is starting at shortstop tonight, there was an ear rattling thunderclap followed by rain? Sure, it wasn’t quite a flood of biblical proportions, but Texas in August is about as likely to see precipitation as Rangers’ fans are to, well, see MY start at shortstop…

Elvis Andrus isn’t starting tonight due to a sore shoulder—that he wouldn’t have encountered had he not blown past his third base coach’s stop sign last night. It’s why Young gets the nod at SS.

Young playing defense at all anywhere, is newsworthy. First and foremost, he’s just plain awful in the field. Secondly, it limits Ron Washington’s ability to play Mike Olt.

Young has not-so-quietly strung together his worst season as a major leaguer in 2012. Anytime he is run out there wearing the leather—and to a certain extent offensively—the Rangers’ chances of winning are diminished.

Mike Olt had a bad game yesterday, striking out with the bases loaded and committing the game-ending error on a bad throw from third to second base. Still, his power potential and normally reliable glove work (at third base at least) make him a more viable option to start over Young.

Michael Young’s career UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is -55.5 at shortstop. Yes, my coffee just went down the wrong pipe as well.

I suppose this means that the Rangers backup shortstop, Alberto Gonzalez, has played Plinko with Washington’s Tree of Trust while plummeting down to Earth after hitting every single branch.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers travel to Boston today for a three game series with the Red Sox. Starting tonight for Texas is RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.38 ERA) vs. Boston’s RHP Aaron Cook (2-5, 5.24 ERA).

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jul 032012
 
Oswalt-sharp-in-first-start-of-the-season-GQ1NTKTC-x-large

Chris Sale vs. Roy Oswalt, a Rangers/White Sox PreviewAfter winning 7-of-10 during their recent home stand, the A.L. West-leading Texas Rangers arrived in the Windy City yesterday for a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox, the first-place club of the A.L. Central.

Unlike the Rangers, the White Sox have been quite a surprise this season. Less than a month ago, they lost their erstwhile ace—and former top Rangers’ prospect—John Danks, for the season due to a shoulder injury.

The A.L. Central is a weak division, but the ChiSox have taken advantage of said disparities thanks to a balanced team that is currently ranked eighth in the A.L. in batting average (.256), and sixth in team ERA (3.96).

The White Sox hold a 2 1/2 game lead over the resurgent Cleveland Indians and a 3 1/2 game lead over the severely underachieving Detroit Tigers.

Although coming off of a disappointing 3-1 loss last Sunday, the Rangers find themselves at 20 games over .500, good enough for the best record in Major League Baseball.

Roy Oswalt makes his third start for the Rangers and his first on the road this year. The White Sox counter with 23-year-old Chris Sale, a left-hander that has blossomed into one of the finest southpaws in the league.

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

Chicago White Sox (42-37, L 10: 6-4)

CF Alejandro De Aza
3B Kevin Youkilis
DH Adam Dunn
1B Paul Konerko
RF Alex Rios
C A.J. Pierzynski
LF Dayan Viciedo
SS Alexi Ramirez
2B Gordon Beckham

VS

RHP Roy Oswalt (2-0, 4.26 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 8.5 K/9…15.6 H/9)

Oswalt most definitely loves pitching for the Texas Rangers. After giving up 22 hits over his first two starts—a career-high 13 last Wednesday against Detroit—Oswalt is 2-0 thanks to the potent Rangers offense.

I’m not concerned about The Wizard of Os, however. After all, without the benefit of Spring Training, we can’t reasonably expect Oswalt to be in top form any sooner than August at the earliest. Oswalt’s true value will be predicated by his potential impact come the postseason, should the Rangers make it into October for a third-straight season.

Regardless, like all Rangers’ fans, I want to watch him win now—and so far, so good on that front.

Over his 11-year career, Oswalt has gone 73-55 with a 3.45 ERA on the road. At Chicago’s US Cellular Field, the Os has a 2.57 ERA over his seven innings of work there.

Since his hits surrendered thus far are unbelievably high, and two starts is a teeny sample size, there’s no need to mention that right-handers are batting .414 off of him, and left-handers .370. Whoops

Let’s go with his career platoon splits, which are much less terrifying—LHB: .263/.309/.387, and .248/.296/.386 against RHB.

Texas Rangers (50-30, L 10: 7-3)

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mitch Moreland
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Craig Gentry

VS

LHP Chris Sale (9-2, 2.27 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 8.9 K/9)

Sale, a former 2010 first-round pick by the White Sox made his big league debut just two months after Chicago selected him with the thirteenth overall pick.

Used exclusively as a reliever prior to this season, Sale has been outstanding as a starter for the ChiSox over his 15 starts.

Sale’s home/road splits are equally intimidating. Sale is undefeated on the road (5-0, 2.85 ERA) and while his two losses on the year have come at US Cellular Field, his 1.69 ERA their is one of the finest in the league.

So sound has Sale been during the first half, that both left-handed and right-handed batters tend to return to their dugouts after uttering an ample amount of curse words to themselves.

Southpaws produce the slash line of: .184/.229/.255 with zero home runs. Right-handed hitters go: .204/.264/.318 with just five home runs.

As a team, the Texas Rangers are batting just .182 against him, but this will mark the first time they have faced him as a starter.

Notes:

• Way back in April, the Texas Rangers took two-of-three from the White Sox, with Joe Nathan blowing a lead and taking the “L” during their only loss. It will be interesting to see how Nathan handles Alex Rios this go-round—should the two faceoff once again.

• Chicago acquired third baseman Kevin Youkilis late last week from the Boston Red Sox. “The Youk” has never faced Roy Oswalt, but has a career slash line of: .319/.407/.524 against the Rangers over his career…

• White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, more famous for being a loudmouthed a-hole than for anything he’s ever done on the field, has a chance to apologize to Rangers skipper Ron Washington face-to-face, starting tonight.

Pierzynski made incredibly short-sided and overtly ignorant statements regarding his All-Star “snubbing” by Wash, the A.L.’s skipper for the second-straight season…I’m willing to bet Pierzynski will do nothing of the sort.

Go Rangers!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jun 212012
 

The Rangers beat the Padres & Baseball Do beat something MALICIOUSWe are MALWARE free!

Ok, really not convinced there was ever a serious problem with the site, but there was definitely some “malicious code” on the site and it has now been completely removed.  In addition, we’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.  What a beating…

BaseballDo.com is once again a safe place for you to cyber-hang!

Lot’s of speculation if the infection that we had here on baseballdo.com could have been the same one that attacked our beloved Josh Hamilton over the weekend.  Biological investigation pending…

Due to all of these issues, we had to remove the Forums – could be temporary, could be permanent.  Let us know if you have an opinion on that.

Rangers Sweep the San Diego Fathers

The Rangers beat the Padres & Baseball Do beat something MALICIOUSRangers completed the sweep of the Padres last night behind a strong performance from Yu Darvish.  Darvish gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks over 8 innings, while striking out 8.  Both of the Padres’ runs were driven in by the pitcher, Anthony Bass, in the second inning.  After that little hiccup, Darvish was lights out before handing over the reigns to Joe Nathan who secured his 15th save of the season.  Darvish, who is now tied for the AL lead in Wins,  improves to 9-4 with a 3.45 ERA on the season.

“The first two innings, it looked like he was trying to find his rhythm,” Washington said. “From that point on, he wasn’t going to be denied. His breaking ball came, his cutter came, he moved the ball around the zone pretty good. He did a great job.”

Darvish also got his first MLB hit in the game, a broken bat single to right.

Rangers shuffle rotation

Roy Oswalt will make his Rangers debut tomorrow night at the Ballpark against the Rockies, replacing Scott Feldman in the rotation.

“He’s ready to go,” manager Ron Washington said. “The reports we got say he’s ready to go. That’s what we brought him for, to bring him to the big leagues, and he’s ready, so we made the decision to do it. We challenge him now.”

Scott Feldman slides back into the bullpen, a move that he’s none too happy with.

“Basically, telling me that I’m not in the plans for the second time this year, spring training and then now, that’s fine, if I’m not in their plans,” Feldman said. “But it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.”

Look, Scooter didn’t really do much to prove that he deserved more opportunities and while he’s clearly not happy with the move back to the pen, it’s an important role for the TEAM.  His unhappiness is nothing to be worried about, and if anything shows that he’s a competitor that wants to be in the rotation.  If he get’s another opportunity, somewhere down the line with the Rangers or another team, hopefully he’ll show better.

The Rangers’ rotation, starting Friday, is Oswalt, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Grimm and Yu Darvish.

Dutch and Feliz both continue to make good progress in rehab, both throwing off the mound yesterday.  Holland is hoping to return to the rotation on July 1st and Neftali is hoping for mid-July.  Barring any more injuries, Grimm would more than likely go back to the minors and Feliz will go to the pen in a set-up/7th inning role.

 Field Trip is quickly approaching…

If you haven’t already purchased your ticket to the Baseball Do First Annual Field Trip, jump on it.  It’s a great deal, and should be a great time!  We still have some spots available!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Jun 042012
 
Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Close the Doors…

Monday Morning FastballsThe Rangers showed some signs of life yesterday, as they avoided the sweep in Anaheim and beat the Angels, 7-3.  After a painful loss on Saturday night, Ron Washington called a team meeting in an attempt to get the derailed Ranger team back on track.

“It was something teams that aren’t doing the right things do,” Washington said. “It had to change.”

With Sunday’s win, the Rangers hold the Angels at a deficit of 4 1/2 games.  While this isn’t what many Rangers fans were hoping for going into the weekend series, there is now a feeling of content with having at least salvaged one win given the poor execution and mental mistakes from games 1 and 2 of the series.  Hopefully what we saw yesterday was the reemergence of “Rangers baseball”.

“We were happy with the way we played,” designated hitter Michael Young said. “It was just one game, but there were some things we want to make adjusments on and we did a pretty good job.”

Elvis Andrus, who had a mental lapse to be outdone by no other on Saturday felt that the focus was better on Sunday.

“Our focus today was at a whole different level than the last few days,” said Andrus. “Yesterday’s talk opened everybody’s eyes.”

Hat’s off to Wash for realizing it was time to close the doors and get this team re-focused.  Should this meeting have happened prior to the first two losses in Anaheim?  Perhaps, but time will tell if the timing was right.

Not going to rehash yesterday’s game blow-by-blow, but has Nellie’s home run landed yet?

Monday Morning Fastballs

Ride the Scooter

Monday Morning FastballsScott Feldman takes the mound for the Rangers tonight in Oakland as he attempts to showcase his abilities as a starter a few more times before the arrival of Roy Oswalt.  Feldman, who is 0-3 with a 4.61 ERA in his last three starts, needs to prove that he is more than just a long-reliever.  While he is extremely valuable to this team in that role, the Rangers need to know what they have as far as starting rotation insurance and with his name already floating around out there as trade bait, it’d be nice to see him increase his value with a few solid outings.

Getting beyond the 5th inning is a good place to start.  The 5th inning has proven to be fateful for Scooter in his last 3 trips to the mound, giving up 8 runs in that stretch.

“I know I can pitch more than five innings,” Feldman said. “I know it’s happened three times in a row, but I’ve been working on a starter’s program between starts, and hopefully the third time is the charm. I can go deep in a ballgame and give the bullpen a break.”

Oakland will counter with Jarrod Parker (1-2, 2.88 ERA), who despite some good performances recently, hasn’t picked up a win since May 1st in Boston.

Quick Hits

  • Monday Morning FastballsRangers Uber-Prospect, Jurickson Profar, had his run of games reaching base ended at 50 yesterday.
  • Mike Olt continues to demolish minor league pitching as he homered twice yesterday for the third consecutive game.
  • Vote for Josh Hamilton to be the “Mane Man of the Month” here.
  • 2012 First Year Player Draft starts tonight.  Check out Tim Howell’s breakdown of potential Rangers picks.
  • Be sure to check out our most recent podcast.  Jasen and I discuss the current state of the Rangers, get into the impact of the Roy Oswalt signing and propose a fun activity for the upcoming Field Trip.
  • The Baseball Do Forum’s are up and running.  Get signed up and get involved.  This is your chance to get your point across with more than 140 characters.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
May 312012
 

Like the “Do the Wash” shirt?

You can get one just like it on eBay from our sponsor, Ink’N'Stitch.  Just go to eBay and search for “Do the Wash”!

They have some other awesome Rangers shirts up for sale on eBay as well, search:

  • “Napoli ever after”
  • “Mike Napoli Dirtbag”
  • “Ron Washington Baseball Do”
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
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…
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
May 092012
 

Hamilton’s Historic Night

“It reminds you of when you’re in Little League and a little kid and just the excitement and why we play the game,” Hamilton said following his 4 homer game. ”Things like that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute blessing.”

There have been 274 recorded no-hitters. There have been 272 cycles. There have been 21 perfect games. Prior to last night, there had been only 15 players hit four home runs in a single game.

Josh would have been happy with a 3 home run game, having never accomplished that feat before, but that’s like saying Superman would have been happy with saving just some of the people from a burning building.

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...On Tuesday night, Josh became the 16th player in MLB history to slug 4 home runs in a single game and only the 7th player in MLB history to have 5 extra-base hits in a single game.  In addition, Hamilton now holds the American League record for the most total bases in a single game with 18.  Tim Kurkjian put that in perspective last night on ESPN when he said that Albert Pujols has 18 total bases over the last 19 games.

“Amazing,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “Josh came out tonight, and he wasn’t going to be denied.  History was witnessed tonight.”

The big night brings Josh’s season productivity levels to an unbelievable mark through the first 30 games, as he is currently hitting .406 with 14 HRs and 36 RBI (1.298 OPS) while playing in 27 of those 30 games. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a long season, and Josh has a history of missing time due to injury, but simple math tells you that he’s on pace for 75 home runs and 194 RBI, while missing 10% of the games this season.  Players get hot, as Josh is now, and they cool off, as Josh surely will at some point this season, but any time you project that kind of season through a 30 game stretch…you’re playing at a different level

ESPN Stats & Information provides the following look at the pitch location from last night’s performance.

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...

Nothing earth shattering here, but take note that the Oriole’s pitchers were not putting the ball where Josh had drilled his first 10 home runs of the season.  They worked Josh away all night, but still left it on the plate and allowed him to get extended.  The pitch location is telling when you look at where Josh’s home runs ended up on the other side of the fence (left center to right center).

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...The performance also increased the volume of the cries from Rangers fans to get Hamilton locked up beyond the 2012 season.  Josh, who turns 31 later this month, will be a free agent after this season if a deal is not reached with the Rangers prior to that point.  We don’t know much about where things stand in negotiations, but we do know that Jon Daniels and Hamilton’s agent, Michael Moye, continue to talk.

The feeling is that the Rangers have some apprehension to locking Hamilton up for more than the next 4 season, and to be fair, this is warranted due to his injury history and the unknown but certain toll that his addiction has taken on his body.  That said, Albert Pujols just signed a 10 year contract worth $250M and Joey Votto just signed a 10 year contract worth $225M, so Moye has some rather good comps to use in his argument.

Let’s hope this materializes in the coming month or two and shapes up as a great deal for both sides…stay tuned.

Reaction

This stuff is priceless:

“I’m his lucky charm,” Andrus said. “The time I didn’t get on base, he doubled. Every time I was on base, he hit it out of the park. It was fun. It was unbelievable. I thought after the first swing that he was going to hit it out that last time. I thought, ‘Don’t throw it around the plate.’ He did, and he hit it out.”

“I had a homer and a single and I don’t feel like I did anything,” said Beltre, “That’s fine. I would like to feel like that every day if he’ll do that every day.”

“The best individual performance I have ever seen,” Rangers infielder Michael Young said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It was fun to be a part of. He’s an incredible player.”

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...“He makes it look easy,” said catcher Mike Napoli. “He’s the type of freak, I guess, who can pull stuff off like that. He’s got a gift.”

“To see the fourth one go out was pretty cool,” Young said. “We pretty much went ape.”

“I was hoping we could go around again and see what he could do with his next at-bat,” Beltre said. “I have no doubt he probably would’ve hit another one.”

“After he hit the third one, I knew that if they would pitch to him his fifth at-bat that he was going to hit another one,” outfielder David Murphy said. “I’ve never seen him that focused. His approach was perfect today.” “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball field by an individual,” Murphy said. “Being on the opposing side last year, it’s impressive to see Albert Pujols hit three home runs in a World Series or Adrian Beltre hitting three in a playoff game. But four is just so rare. I feel like an 8-year-old kid right now who just left the ballgame and saw the coolest thing ever.”

“The guy is a freak,” said starter Derek Holland, who was still shaking his head. “He’s unbelievable. It couldn’t happen to a better guy. It’s amazing to sit there and watch. I couldn’t believe it.”

“I’d rather see it from a different dugout,” Showalter said. “He’s one of the best players in the game. You can see why.”

“It was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that. Very special hitter,” Arrieta said on Hamilton. “He didn’t miss tonight.”

Josh was welcomed to the club via Twitter by Carlos Delgado (did it in 2003) and Shawn Green (did it in 2002):

Carlos Delgado tweeted “#Rangers Mr. Josh Hamilton very nice game. Welcome to the club!!!!!!! @shawngreen15,”

Shawn Green followed that up with “Thanks for all of the nice messages tonight and thanks Josh Hamilton for getting people to remember me!”

Quick Hits

  • Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...Neftali Feliz put in a good night of work on the mound, giving up only one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out eight over six innings (105 pitches).  Nice bounce back from a rough outing in Toronto last week.  Last night’s performance puts Feliz at 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA on the season with 26 Ks and 16 BBs over 32 innings.
  • Adrian Beltre returned to action last night and belted his 6th home run of the season…but he only hit one home run in the game, so…
  • Elvis Andrus has now reached base in 26 straight games, and he is 16 for 33 on the current road trip.  All four of Josh’s home runs from last night came with Elvis on base.
  • There were only 11,263 in attendance last night at Camden Yards.  C’mon Baltimore…until Texas came to town, the O’s were playing really well and had the best record in the American League.

Wednesday Morning Curves   He didnt miss...

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
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!

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
May 022012
 

Wednesday Morning CurveballsWash ain’t gonna cry…

A baseball season is long and full of ups and downs.  Last night was a down…

Wash says it best…

“Any loss is difficult to take, whether they got a base hit up the middle and the run scored or it left the ballpark and the run scored. The thing is they beat us,” Washington said. “Yeah, we may helped them a little, but they beat us. We got back in the ballgame, and Lawrie deserves some credit. He hit the ball out of the ballpark. Mike Adams has been flawless. That’s why I say there’s no perfection in this game. But I’m not going to cry, we’ll bounce back tomorrow.”

Brett Lawrie did the dirty deed and Mike Adams gave it up.  No need to rehash something like this too much.  This was an ugly game top to bottom, and the Adams pitch was just the final dagger.

“It was a cutter, slider, whatever you want to call it,” Adams said. “It caught too much of the plate. I knew he hit it well. I didn’t know whether it was out or not. I thought it might be going off the wall, but obviously it hit off the top of the wall. He did his job.”

E6?

Wednesday Morning CurveballsElvis Andrus had his streak of consecutive games without an error come to a screeching halt in the bottom of the 7th when he wasn’t able to successfully transfer the ball from glove to hand.

Elvis had played 54 innings without committing an error at one of the most demanding positions on the field.  As this streak became discussion-worthy over the last few days, I had assumed that when the streak ended, it would be on a play that could have been argued to be a hit and not an error.  I could see thousands of tweets saying “shouldn’t have been an error.  no other SS in mlb would have even gotten to that ball…”.  Does this mean that Wash is going to have to start busting E’s balls a little more?  Doesn’t sound like it.

“It’s a clunker,” Wash said. “I think anybody that’s ever been out there has had that happen to them. It’s just a clunker. He backhanded the ball, and he just didn’t find it properly in his glove and it fell out. It happens.”

Feliz struggles with control and the BIG inning

Neftali Feliz gave up 4 earned runs on 4 hits and 6 walks over 5 innings of work while striking out 4, getting a no-decision in the loss.  The 3rd inning proved to be a fatal one in Nefti’s worst start of the young season, as he gave up all 4 runs on home runs by Kelly Johnson and Jose Bautista.

Feliz was skipped his last time through in the rotation, as Scooter Feldman made the spot start.  The time off didn’t prove to be helpful for Neftali, as he experienced his worst start of the young season.  Keep in mind that he’s still a young pitcher, and even in a poor outing like last night there were flashes of brilliance.

“It’s growing,” Washington said of the 23-year-old Feliz. “He’s got to grow. He’ll grow into it. The main thing is he just couldn’t get the ball down. He elevated it.”

Quick Hits

  • Josh Hamilton & Adrian Beltre were both out of the lineup last night due to soreness and stiffness.  Beltre was the DH on Monday, but the turf seemed to bother his hammy.

“That turf killed him, so he came in sore and we’re going to back off,” Washington said. “We’ll just see how he comes in Wednesday. Me personally, I don’t care if he plays tomorrow or not. I don’t want him to get hurt, and if he’s sore, I don’t want to take any chance. He wasn’t having this problem before we came on this turf.”

  • A Yu Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson match up on Friday, May 11th looks very likely at this point…tasty!
  • Go vote for the Rangers All-Time Team.
  • Matt Harrison (3-1, 3.38 ERA) and Ricky Romero (3-0, 3.18 ERA) face off today (11:37 CST) in the rubber match.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Apr 302012
 

Rangers lose first series of season; Holland and Hamilton roughed up

Monday Morning FastballsIt couldn’t have set up any better last night for Ian Kinsler and all Rangers fans.  Down by 3, bases loaded with 2 out in the bottom of the 9th, Kinsler approached the plate after being at the center of manager Ron Washington’s ejection from the game in the 7th inning.  As a Rangers fan, this is what you wanted…a chance at redemption…and a chance to get a win on Wash’s birthday for the first time since he took the reins.

But as the great and hated former MLB Commissioner, Bart Giamatti, once said “it breaks your heart…it is designed to break your heart.”  Maybe that’s a bit overly dramatic, given that we’re still in late April, but the ESPN guys last night said it best, “you’d think it was mid-October by the way these Texas fans are cheering”.  The Rangers lost 2 of 3 to a good team…a team that they have eliminated from the postseason in each of the past two years.

“At least the cake tasted pretty good,” Washington said. “That’s all right … we’ll bounce back tomorrow.”

Monday Morning Fastballs

Some video of Wash’s ejection.

Derek Holland’s record fell to 2-2 after taking the loss last night, with a 5.13 ERA over his first five starts.  He pitched 7 complete, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 8.  Holland’s worst stretch last night came in the 2nd inning when gave up 3 runs to the Rays, which if you were watching seemed like limited damage given the way they were hitting the ball.  Mark Lowe and Scooter Feldman wrapped it up with a scoreless 8th and 9th.

“During the second inning, he misplaced some fastballs,” Washington said. “After that, he got a grip on that and had great secondary stuff. Just in that second inning, he got his fastball up. He’ll have to make an adjustment and we believe he will.”

“He’s going to be fine,” catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. “He’s getting behind in the count and his fastball command wasn’t there, especially tonight. His offspeed pitches were good. I’m not worried about it. He had some rough outings. He’s probably been the best pitcher we’ve had lately. He’ll be able to make adjustments.”

While Holland’s outing wasn’t inspiring, it wasn’t the biggest concern of the evening, as Josh Hamilton left the game after the 2nd inning with back stiffness.  He is currently listed as day-to-day, and expects to play tonight in Toronto.

Monday Morning Fastballs“I made contact and I hit the ball, and about the third or fourth step out of the box, I felt my mid-back spasm up on me,” Hamilton said. “I got to first and tried to stretch it out a little bit and it wouldn’t release. I came back in and stretched my back underneath, and then I went out there and realized I couldn’t really rotate like I wanted to. And I told Skip I couldn’t go.”

“I’m not worried about it because I didn’t feel anything alarming or anything like that,” Hamilton said. “It was just a little tight this morning, but nothing out of the ordinary. I just came in and got loosened up and it felt great.”

Hamilton may get a start at DH during the series with the Blue Jays, and then will benefit from a day off on Thursday before the team heads to Cleveland for three with the Indians.

Quick hits:

  • Yu Darvish (3-0, 2.42 ERA) takes the mound tonight against Doug Drabek’s son (2-1, 2.25 ERA) in Toronto.  Remember, it was the Blue Jays who were rumored to have won the negotiating rights with Yu in the days leading up to the announcement that the Rangers were the high bidder.

“It depends on the team,” Darvish said of his game-to-game adjustments. “Every team is different. The umpires are different, and the strike zone is different. It also depends on the ballpark. Every ballpark right now is a first time for me. I have to experience everything. I’m not just learning the players. I’m understanding the atmosphere and I’m able to control my emotions.”

  • Toronto is the first of three stops along a 10 game road trip that will also include Cleveland and Baltimore.
  • Josh Hamilton has a chance to take full claim of the club’s record for home runs in April tonight.  He is currently tied with four other players with 9 – one of which is Ian Kinsler who his 9 in April of 2007.
  • According to T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com), over the past 20 years, the Rangers have not gone through an entire April without calling up at least one player from the Minor Leagues.

Happy Belated Birthday to Wash (yesterday – 60) & Happy Birthday to Willie Nelson (today – 79)

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Login