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!

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Jun 262012
 
Yashi

Mystery Behind Perez Promotion Unveiled as Colby Lewis Placed on DLAnd just like that, 60% of the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation is now on the disabled list. Per Fort Worth Star-Telegrams’s Jeff Wilson, Colby Lewis will join Derek Holland and Neftali Feilz on the DL, with right forearm tendonitis.

This is especially alarming since left-hander Matt Harrison was lifted early from his last start as a precautionary measure because the 10-game winner was suffering from lower back stiffness. It doesn’t appear that Harrison’s back will require him to miss a start.

Earlier this morning word had surfaced that top-ranked pitching prospect, Martin Perez, had been called-up and told to report to the Texas Rangers for tonight’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

Until news of the Colby Lewis injury surfaced, the Perez promotion was seen as mysterious, since it was unknown who the Rangers would move to make room for the 21-year-old left-hander.

Scott Feldman will get his wish and return to the Rangers rotation for a spot start this Thursday against the Oakland Athletics.

There has been no new timetable set for the return of the Rangers’ first DL casualty, Neftali Feliz, but Derek Holland has thrown a side-session and is presumably on track for a return to the Rangers rotation shortly after next month’s All-Star Break.

Currently, the Texas Rangers’ rotation consists of Yu Darvish (who will pitch tonight), Roy Oswalt (scheduled for tomorrow night), Scott Feldman, and Matt Harrison (barring any back issues). Justin Grimm was scheduled to start this Saturday, but Martin Perez could the get the nod instead. As of now, that decision is up in the air.

Left-hander Michael Kirkman—who went five innings in relief last night—is also a possible candidate for a spot-start this weekend.

This is the first time that Colby Lewis has required time on the DL in his two-plus big league seasons since returning from Japan.

It is unknown whether the injury stems from Lewis’ start last Saturday, where he took the loss after surrendering seven earned runs on 12 hits over four innings of work. That start was his shortest of the season.

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Jun 232012
 

Roy Oswalt Shines in Debut, Beltre and Napoli Go Deep As Rangers Win Streak Reaches 7It had been a good while since Major League Baseball fans had been treated to a Roy Oswalt start—approximately ten months.

October 5, 2011…and that wasn’t even a good Roy Oswalt start.

Last night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington—in front of the record-tying twenty-first sellout crowd of the season—fans were treated to a veritable pitching clinic by The Os.

Oswalt struck out six Rockies over his 6 2/3, while walking just one and scattering nine hits while also picking up his first win of the year, 4-1.

Not bad for the dude that prevented Feldman from his spot-start…It didn’t, however, stop Feldy from opening his yap trap.

Yo, Scoots Ma Goots: I feel I can speak on behalf of every Texas Rangers fan on the planet when I say: Chill out, Roy’s got this shi*. And maybe, just maybe, if you’re lucky…Roy’ll play long toss with you or something.

Maybe.

Numbers and Notes:

.094

• Mike Napoli’s batting average over his last ten games. Naps did go yard yesterday launching number 12 of the season in the fourth inning.

• Before Napoli connected, he had been in a 3-for-20 slump (.150 BA).

May 13, 2012

• The last time Joe Nathan surrendered a run—earned or unearned. Nathan’s ERA has plummeted from 3.29 to 1.52 since then, a 1.77 drop.

74.160.13

• Amount of time Donnie Darko has left to save his girlfriend, Jenna? Nope…

Those numbers represent:

• The percentage of strikes thrown by Oswalt last night, Career wins Roy can now call his own. Number of times Oswalt’s opposition found themselves down 0-2.

2-of-3

• Adrian Beltre has hit a home run in two of his last three games, and three of the last five games.

9

• Total wins Oswalt now has against the Colorado Rockies in his career.

2 Months, one day

• The last time the Rangers had won more than 7 games straight…on April 21, they beat the Tigers in Detroit for their eighth-straight win.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers (44-27) will look to push their current seven-game winning streak to eight tomorrow afternoon, at 2:05 (CT). Rangers’ right-hander Colby Lewis (6-5, 3.00 ERA) takes on Colorado’s left-hander Josh Outman (0-3, 8.41 ERA).

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Jun 222012
 

Texas Rangers/Colorado Rockies Game 1 Preview: Welcoming the Wonderful Wizard of OsThe Texas Rangers have had their way with the N.L. West thus far. They won two of three from the San Francisco Giants as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks. And as for the lowly, last-place San Diego Padres?

Three Game Sweep…whatever, you can keep the perfect weather, San Diego! We’ll settle for the three wins!

And now it’s time for the Colorado Rockies to march into town. The cold-weather crusaders are currently in Arlington—and the Metroplex is especially pumped.

Why?

“Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does…”

Huh?

“We’re off to see the Wizard…”

Who?

“The wonderful Wizard of Os…”

Oh yeah, tonight’s the debut of “The Wizard of Os,” aka “Roy Oswalt.”

Mr. Oswalt, he of the 159-93 won/loss record over his illustrious career. Yep, the same former two-time 20-game winner. And right again, the one who spent most of his career in Houston with the Astros before spending a year plus in Philadelphia with three other aces.

Sure, his fastball might have lost some zip, and his curveball’s more 11-5 than 12-6, but he’s still a damn fine pitcher—and he’s all ours! He’s hungry for a World Series title, because even with half of planet earth’s aces on one staff, well, it didn’t work out so well for Philly.

Tonight’s lineups:

Colorado Rockies (26-42)

CF Dexter Fowler
2B Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
DH Jason Giambi
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Todd Helton
3B Chris Nelson
C Wilin Rosario
SS Jonathan Herrera

RHPRoy Oswalt

Oswalt hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since October 5, 2011. That was game 4 of the NLDS, and Os took the loss against the St. Louis “still to soon to talk about” Cardinals.

Over his career, Oswalt has loved facing Colorado—he’s 8-1 with a 1.94 ERA. At Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the Os is 2-5 with a 4.78 ERA.

Texas Rangers (43-27)

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

LHP Christian Friedrich (4-3, 5.60 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 9 K/9)

24-year-old Friedrich was a first-round pick by the Rockies in 2008. His home/road splits are almost as bi-polar as his lefty vs. righty ones.

At home—where the balls fly freely much like Rangers Ballpark—Friedrich is 1-2, with a robust 12.60 ERA. On the road he’s 3-1 with a sparkling 2.10 ERA. Against right-handed batters, Friedrich is more Dr. Hyde than Mr. Jekyl, as righties produce this slash line: .276/.346/.441.

Left-handers light him up with frequency: .385/.429/.615.

Whereas the Texas Rangers have loved their time against N.L. West teams, Friedrich is no fan of the A.L. West. He’s 0-2, with a 16.00 ERA, allowing 19 hits and 16 earned runs against the Mariners and Angels this season.

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Jun 052012
 
Scott Feldman 4
Rangers Offense Bottoms out in Oaktown while Feldman Gets Rocked

Yeah. Scooter was lit-up last night.

The hackneyed premise for the recent movie,The Changeup,centers around two dudes that switch bodies after taking a piss in a magical pond.

It makes you wonder at what point the Mariners and the Rangers whizzed in Hurricane Harbor’s Lazy River.
We may never know. But should the secret surface, I’ll give you a shout main.

It’s definitely no secret as to who crapped the cradle for Texas last night: Scott Feldman.

Here are some of my thoughts—the ones that can be printed—after last night’s 12-1 Oakland A’s ass stomping.

Roy Oswalt’s appeal is at an all-time high

• Just like an ugly chick on dollar beer night, Roy Oswalt is looking better by the minute.

• And yes, Roy Oswalt would be one ugly chick—at least for the first nine beers…

Those Crazy 8s

• The Texas Rangers have surrendered eight runs in one inning for the third time in six days.

• The Seattle Mariners did it last week in consecutive innings. They’re batting .236 as a team

• The Oakland Athletics entered last night’s game batting .204…it jumped up to .213, which is still the worst in all of MLB if not the world.

Closed door meeting

• Seemed to work for the defense…not so much for the offense. How about an open-door testicle-tazing? Might just put a charge into them.

Rangers Offense Bottoms out in Oaktown while Feldman Gets Rocked

Okay. Whose balls are first?

Forgot to pack the bat

• Beltre is 0-for-12 with 8 strikeouts over his last three games.

Scooter’s pooter

• In eerie fashion to Derek Holland a week ago, Feldman retired the first three A’s he faced while striking out 2-of-3…only to get rocked for 8 eight runs in the second inning.

Rangers Offense Bottoms out in Oaktown while Feldman Gets Rocked

This is how Feldman's pitches appeared from the batter's box during his fatal second inning.

Jarrod Parker is good, but they’re still the A’s

• Parker had a no-hitter going through seven innings; had he finished it off there would have been 10,000 in attendance to have witnessed it—but only 5,000 would have admitted to being there.

If it were up to me

• I’d option Scott Feldman to the minor leagues; or place him on the 15-day disabled list.

• Then I’d call up a lefty for the bullpen (Michael Kirkman) and I’d let Robbie Ross pitch in the five-hole until Roy Oswalt is ready.

• I would also hold Feldman contractually obligated to buy Papa John’s pizza for any Rangers’ fan that freely admits to having watched his second inning.

• The pizzas would be hand-delivered to us in bikinis by the Fox Sports Chicks.

• Maybe it would be a better idea for the Fox Sports Chicks to be in the bikinis rather than us…
Rangers Offense Bottoms out in Oaktown while Feldman Gets Rocked
2012 MLB Draft Picks

• The Rangers drafted Lewis Brinson with their 29th pick tonight. Joey Gallo was their next pick at 39th, and Colin Wyles was their final first-round selection, and was taken 53rd overall.

• None of the three are available for tomorrow night’s game. I already asked.

Tonight’s Head Scratcher

• Why go with center fielder Craig Gentry to pitch the eighth rather than Mitch Moreland?

Moreland was a closer at Mississippi State, his fastball sat in the low to mid 90s. Craig Gentry had TJ surgery in college (Arkansas).

Silver Lining in a sea of crap

• The Angels lost 8-6 last night.

• Thus the Rangers’ lead is still 4 1/2 games in the American League West; and being in first place is ALWAYS a good thing—so long as you’re not first in being last, whatever the hell that means.

Up Next:

Derek Holland toes the rubber for the first time since the Mariners provided him with an auxiliary a-hole last Wednesday…make sure to check back here for tomorrow’s BaseballDo pregame preview as well as a Rangers Draft review…

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Jun 032012
 

Baseball Do Podcast   Episode 15   Current State of the Rangers & the Impact of Roy OswaltIt’s been a while…

We promise to be better…if you just listen.

We break down the current state of the Rangers, break down the Roy Oswalt signing and come up with a new “activity” for the Field Trip.

Podcast will be available on iTunes in the next 24 hours.

Also, the Forums are LIVE.  What are you waiting for?  Sign up for an account and start talking Rangers (or zombies or football or anything else for that matter)!

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Jun 012012
 

Rangers head to Los Angeles of Anaheim

Friday Morning Knuckleballs5 1/2 games separate the Rangers and Angels.  By the end of the weekend, that margin could be as small as 2 1/2 or as large as 8 1/2.  It’s hard to label this series as “pivotal” given the separation between the two teams and the fact that it’s still early June, but we know how good the Angels could be, and we were all expecting that this would be a season long battle for the American League West.

Three weeks ago, the Rangers and Angels met at the Ballpark, with the Rangers taking 2 of 3.  Since then, the Angels have gone 11-6, including an 8 game winning streak.  During that same stretch, Albert Pujols has started showing signs of life (7 home runs) and former Ranger C.J. Wilson has been nothing short of spectacular…still a douche…but spectacular (1.05 ERA in last 3 starts).

“It’s not surprising,” Rangers outfielder David Murphy said. “They’re basically playing how we and everyone else in the world expected them to play. When you spend as much money in free agency as they did and when you get off to as bad of a start as they did, you’re bound to draw some negative attention. They’re back on track.”

During that same stretch, the Rangers have put together an uninspiring 8-8 record.  The pitching staff has continued it’s descent back to earth and the offense has been sporadic at best.  That said, the Rangers are good enough to display a level of dominance that could beat an all-star team at any moment, and it’s this that makes us feel good heading into this weekend…that and the fact that Jerome Williams can’t continue to pitch as well as he has (5-2, 3.81 ERA).

“Beyond the fact that they’re the defending AL West champions and a pretty good ballclub, we have to approach them like any other team,” Angels slugger Mark Trumbo said. “If we treat them like Goliaths, I think we’re going to be defeated going into the series. I don’t think you’re ever going to hear anybody in this room say they’re fearful of that team or think that they’re a better ballclub because that’s just not the case.”

Quick Hits

  • Rangers closed out the month of May with a .500 record at 14-14.
  • New Ranger Roy Oswalt will make his first start of the season tomorrow for Round Rock.  Oswalt spoke with media yesterday, and sounds eager to contribute.

“Looking at the team as a whole, one through nine, it’s probably the best lineup in the game,” Oswalt said. “I was thinking that if I could get over here and help the team out, as far as eating up some innings and take a little pressure off the bullpen, that maybe it would push them over the top.”

  • Oswalt also shared his wait-and-see approach to this season.

“This is the team to beat,” Oswalt said. “I made the decision to wait until the season started. It gave me a little bit of an opportunity to evaluate the teams and see just who I thought would be the best team going into it. A lot of times, you look good on paper at the beginning of the season, and then things can change here and there.”

Take me to the Card Shop

Friday Morning Knuckleballs

Larry Cox sporting the sweet beard…before they were uncool and then cool again.

 

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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 292012
 

Texas Rangers, Scott Feldman, can breath easy—Wizard of Os is on the wayThe Texas Rangers have signed former Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt for a reported amount in the $5.5 million dollar range.

What with a rash of recent injuries to multiple team’s top-of-the-rotation studs—Roy Halladay, and Jered Weaver—the signing sends a ripple through the ranks of Major League Baseball.

In other words, simply by signing the diminutive Mississippian right-hander, the Rangers have prevented chief-rivals, the Los Angeles Angels of that city that houses Disneyland and little else, from scooping him up.

Take that suckas!

The only down side to the great gift of Roy Oswalt pitching for the two-time defending AL Champions is that it can’t be opened for a few more weeks.

It’s basically a layaway gift; an excellent insurance policy should Scott Feldman continue to falter in his temporary role as Rangers’ fifth starter.

For the Texas Rangers (31-18) to win their fifth-straight game tonight it will be all about how Feldman fares in his third start of the season—his second consecutive start against the AL West’s bottom dwelling Seattle Mariners (21-30).

Even though “Scooter” lacked command against the Mariners a week ago, he still pitched well enough to earn the win, save for one ill-fated pitch.

Feldman grooved a sinker to Alex Liddi with the bases loaded and the young Italian prospect didn’t miss it. After the grand slam, the day was done for the Hawaiian-born right-hander.

In life, rare are the occasions when we’re afforded second chances; and tonight Feldman will get a shot at hardball atonement.

Alex Liddi is batting .800 (4-for-5) versus Feldman, with a double, and 4 RBI thanks to that bases-loaded four-bagger. Justin Smoak (.400, 1 HR), John Jasso (.500) and Ichiro Suzuki (.286) are also hurdles that Feldman must jump for a successful second stab at Seattle.

But you know what? Even if Feldman fails to harness his control and leaves a sinker hanging once again, denizens of Rangers Nation can all rest assured that help is on the way.

Thank you Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan et al!

Roy Oswalt, the 34-year-old major league veteran of 11 seasons was plucked from free agent purgatory this afternoon and should be ready to pitch in his first big league game of 2012 in the next four weeks.

The immediate impact of the “Wizard of Os” following his yellow brick (cold hard cash-tinged) road down to Arlington is multi-faceted.

Oswalt in the Rangers rotation means:

• Neftali Feliz will not be rushed back; he can take his time getting his elbow back up to snuff.

• Scott Feldman can go back to being the spot-starter/long man; a role that he has excelled at over the last couple of seasons.

• Should Feliz return to 100% and there are no unforeseen injuries in the rotation, the Rangers may choose to place Feliz in the bullpen for the playoff run, similar to how they handled Alexi Ogando last season.

• A healthy Oswalt is a true number one, which gives the Rangers the ace they’ve so coveted since Cliff Lee’s departure via free agency following the 2010 season.

• In short, with the addition of Roy Oswalt, the Rangers have unprecedented pitching depth to match their deep and versatile lineup.

Game two of this three-game series between the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners is scheduled for a 7:05 first pitch.

Scott Feldman (0-2, 4.68 ERA 1.40 WHIP, 3.7 K/9) opposes Jason Vargas (5-4, 3.58, 1.02 WHIP, 6 K/9)

Go Rangers!

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Feb 282012
 

We recorded he podcast last night with Jennifer Cobb and Holly Ballantine from www.RangersTalkers.com.  We’ll have it posted up here on the site later this morning be sure to check it out to hear how the sTalkers got started and all of our thoughts on the recent Josh Hamilton news.  Disclaimer: Jennifer’s dog is named “Hambone”.

  • Tuesday Morning SlidersThe Rangers announced Yu Darvish will  make his first Spring Training start on March 7th at 2 p.m. against San Diego in Peoria.  The game will be broadcast on texasrangers.com.  Darvish threw 36 pitches yesterday and seemed to be happy with the outing.
  • Here is the full rotation for the first five Spring Training games:
    March 4: Colby Lewis, Scott Feldman
    March 5: Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando
    March 6: Matt Harrison
    March 7: Darvish
    March 8: Neftali Feliz
  • Richard Durrett (ESPNDallas) provides an overview of the center field battle.

Ron Washington has said he’s going to allow Elvis Andrus to start taking responsibility for his own play, rather than watching over the young shortstop as closely and proactively addressing his play.  Andrus,while still only 23 years old, has been a full-timer at the major league level for the Rangers for the last three seasons.

  • Tuesday Morning SlidersWashington on Andrus, “He’s established himself now to the point where he knows what he has to do.  We’re going to give him some leeway. His teammates will make sure he does what he needs to do. I think we’ll see less of him zoning out than we have in the past.”
  • Andrus on the new found freedom, ”I am learning how to handle my body and my mind better.  Last year, he wasn’t on me quite as much. I appreciate the help and I needed it, but at the same time, as you grow as a player and a person, you want that responsibility to do it yourself. I don’t expect him to be behind me like he was earlier. I know when I make a mistake. I know he’ll be there to help me when I need it too.”
  • Andrus on wanting to improve his power stroke, ”I want to add some power.  I don’t mean home runs. Those happen with good swings. But I want to drive the ball more to the gaps.”

The starting rotation has been much of the talk so far this Spring Training, with potentially 7 viable options, not counting the always looming presence of free-agent veteran Roy Oswalt, and only 5 spots.

  • T.R. Sullivan (MLB.com) writes that Yu Darvish and Neftali Feliz are both making solid impressions early in camp here.
  • Sullivan on Feliz, “It is still early in camp but Washington likes what he sees from both pitchers, especially Feliz. Washington said he sees a pitcher who came to camp determined to be a starter.”
  • Scott Miller (CBSSports) writes that Oswalt still wants the Rangers.
  • For our take on the rotation, be sure to check out the Spring Training podcast special we recorded last week.
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