Oct 092012
 
Will Napoli be back in Texas in 2013?

Mike Napoli: Should The Texas Rangers Re Sign The Slugging Catcher?The Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton is the biggest name in this winter’s MLB Free Agent sweepstakes. So big a name is Hamilton, that another key offensive weapon in Texas is often overlooked. Mike Napoli, despite a precipitous decline from the previous season’s offensive production, provided 24 home runs and has been the team’s most productive catcher since Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

And like Hamilton, Napoli could seek a new suitor this winter. Should Napoli follow Hamilton, the Rangers could find themselves scrambling to replace a combined 67 HRs and 184 RBI from last season.

It’s funny to think that the Rangers wouldn’t re-sign Mike Napoli. After all, 2011—Napoli’s first season in Texas—might be best remembered as “The Year of the Napoli.”

For the better part of 2011, Napoli crushed every offering headed his way. His second-half frenzy and subsequent postseason romp—coupled with Nelson Cruz’s October power surge—helped drive the Rangers towards their second-straight American League Pennant. Tampa Bay’s manager, Joe Maddon—whose team was the first victim of Napoli and company—coined 2011 as “The Year of the Napoli,” a catchphrase that reverberated throughout the postseason as Rangers fans fervently chanted his name: “Nap-O-Li!! Nap-O-Li!!!” Few were the times that Napoli didn’t capitalize on his fan’s chants or the opposition’s pitches. However, as 2012 would attest, it was a good thing the Rangers were patient in signing him to a long-term deal.

The Rangers’ Patience Paid Off

By signing Napoli to a one-year $9.4M deal last February, the Rangers avoided arbitration and skirted a long-term commitment. Granted, there were those—present company included—that clamored to extend Napoli on a multi-year deal. 2011’s magical run proved a strong spell. As it turned out, not committing to Napoli long-term was a shrewd move. Since the Rangers decided to wait it out, they now have tangible proof that 2011 was more hot streak than a sustainable run of promised potential. Granted, since Napoli is one of  the premier power-hitting catchers in baseball, his average annual salary should exceed last year’s one-year deal. A three-year, $36M contract would probably land “Nap-O-Li!!!” back in Arlington for the remaining years of his prime.

Despite last season’s statistical letdown, Mike Napoli—who has averaged 27 HRs per season while in Texas—has been the Rangers’ best offensive catcher since the iconic Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

Down on the Farm: Help at Catcher?

Mike Napoli: Should The Texas Rangers Re Sign The Slugging Catcher?

If there is a glaring weakness in the Texas Rangers’ farm system—a system  ranked as one of MLB’s finest—then it is a lack of depth at the catching position. Former 2010 first round pick, Kellin Deglan is an intriguing prospect. Deglan flashed some power with Hickory of the South Atlantic League (SAL) in 2012, as he hit 12 home runs. Deglan, a career .225 hitter in the bush leagues, is athletic, but raw. Fangraph’s Mike Newman ranks fellow SAL luminary Jorge Alfaro slightly ahead of Deglan, with a high-ceiling and nearly non-existent floor. Like Deglan, the 19-year-old Alfaro is at least three years away from the big leagues.

Geovany Soto and Other FA Catchers (Been there, done that)

Geovany Soto is one option to replace Mike Napoli. Soto was acquired in the trade that netted the Rangers his former Chicago Cubs battery mate, Ryan Dempster, to boot. While with Texas, Soto, the 2008 NL ROY, flashed moments of greatness but was largely a letdown. Ironically enough, most of the free agent catchers available are former Rangers. Gerald Laird, Rod Barajas, Matt Treanor, and Yorvit Torrealba have all played in Arlington with varying degrees of success and failure. Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz, and Atlanta’s Brian McCann, are technically free agents, but both have 2013 club options that their teams are likely to exercise.

So, What do you think? Should the Texas Rangers re-sign Mike Napoli? I’d love to hear your feedback, just respond with your thoughts in our comments section below.

Mike Napoli: Should The Texas Rangers Re Sign The Slugging Catcher?

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Oct 032012
 
RangersAs

Here we are at game 162…

How the West was won...At no point this season, did I think it would come to this.  Even yesterday, I felt confident that Matt Harrison would get it done.  I felt confident that the bats would come to life just enough to claim victory in game 161 and wrap up the AL West title.

But that’s not the way it worked out…and here we are.

A small part of me is excited.  While I would have loved for the Rangers to have locked up the division a month ago, there is something to be said for this Game 7-like finality.

The more realistic and pessimistic side of me wants to puke.  The Rangers look like a deflated, uninterested, scared team and a meager shell of what we saw early in the season.  This side  of me is not confident that we can secure the division with a win today.  This side of me is not confident we can beat Baltimore in a one game Wild Card to get to the ALDS.  This is not my favorite side of me…

Let’s take a quick look at how the West was won….

AL West Division as of April 30th, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 17 6 .739 124 68 .750
SEA 11 13 .458 6.5 94 103 .458
OAK 11 13 .458 6.5 73 92 .396
LAA 8 15 .348 9.0 80 94 .427
Feeling good at this point.  The Angels were the bigger concern coming into the season, and Rangers fans were just as enthused about their poor start as they were the Rangers strong start.

AL West Division as of May 31st, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 31 20 .608 291 212 .641
LAA 26 26 .500 5.5 199 191 .519
SEA 23 30 .434 9.0 218 216 .504
OAK 22 29 .431 9.0 164 202 .406
That’s more like it.  Angels surged in late-April/May with the arrival of Mike Trout and the bottom feeders took their rightful spots – 9 games out close to 1/3 of the way through the season.

AL West Division as of June 30th, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 50 29 .633 426 324 .623
LAA 43 35 .551 6.5 337 297 .558
OAK 37 42 .468 13.0 297 301 .494
SEA 34 46 .425 16.5 315 344 .460
The Rangers continued to hold a nice lead in the division at 6.5 games over the Angels.  Oakland and Seattle continued to slide as expected.  It clearly looked like a two horse race as we approached the All-Star break.

AL West Division as of July 31st, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 59 43 .578 507 434 .571
LAA 57 47 .548 3.0 475 416 .560
OAK 56 47 .544 3.5 414 384 .534
SEA 49 57 .462 12.0 423 422 .501
What the hell happened here?  Rangers (9-14 in July) gave up some ground to the Angels (14-12 in July) and Oakland got HOT, posting a record of 19-5 during the month of July.  All of the sudden, there looked to be a third horse in the race.  While there July performance couldn’t be ignored, it was seen as a bit flukey and I think many questioned if they could sustain the pace through the end of the regular season.

AL West Division as of August 31st, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 78 53 .595 675 562 .583
OAK 74 57 .565 4.0 560 486 .564
LAA 70 62 .530 8.5 631 588 .532
SEA 64 69 .481 15.0 518 528 .491
The Angels faded during August and Oakland kept pace with the Rangers.  With a month to go, there was still a small fear of a Angels surge and most felt like Oakland was for real at this point.
Wild card for Oakland?  Sure.
AL West title for Oakland?  Seemed like a stretch.

AL West Division as of September 30th, 2012

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 93 66 .585 799 688 .568
OAK 91 68 .572 2.0 694 605 .562
LAA 88 71 .553 5.0 758 677 .552
SEA 73 86 .459 20.0 597 642 .467
This is where we stood Monday morning.  Headed to Oakland in complete control of the division and our post-season placement…and our DESTINY if you dig the emotional cheese.

AL West Division as of Today

Tm W L W-L% GB RS RA pythW-L%
TEX 93 68 .578 803 695 .566
OAK 93 68 .578 701 609 .564
LAA 89 72 .553 4.0 767 687 .550
SEA 74 87 .460 19.0 607 651 .468
Two games with Oakland.  Two losses.  Game 162 today at 2:30pm to determine:
  • The American League West Division Title
  • Post-season placement – Wild Card or #1/#2 seed (depending on Yanks outcome)
  • Another chapter in the Rangers History Book.

Will this team be looked back on as the team that came through when their backs were against the wall – or – will this be the team that cued up changes.  Changes in personnel, changes in approach and changes in how the team is perceived by the rest of the MLB community.

How the West was won...

Hey Dempster – need ya to be great today brother!

I want to be the guy that believes the Rangers can wrap this up today and play like I know they are capable of in the post-season.  I also want to be independently wealthy without actually working, but…

Love you all.  See you on the other side.

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Sep 052012
 
MLB: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers

Word on the street is that some other Texas team that plays some other type of sport has a game tonight or something. I doubt seriously that anyone will pay much attention to this bizarre type of “ball” that evidently requires a “foot.”

After all, the Texas Rangers are looking to take their second game of the four game series with the Kansas City Royals this evening. A win tonight would even up the season series with four wins apiece.

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

Kansas City Royals (61-74)

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Per Fangraphs’ WAR, Francouer is having the worst season of any MLB regular, with his -2.0.


CF David Lough
SS Alcides Escobar
LF Alex Gordon
DH Billy Butler
C Salvador Perez
3B Mike Moustakas
RF Jeff Francouer
1B Eric Hosmer
2B Johnny Giavotella

VS

RHP Ryan Dempster (9-6, 2.87 ERA, 1.13 WHIP,7.6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9)

Over his last three starts, Dempster is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 20 strikeouts. Tonight he’ll be looking for his fourth-straight win and might have an advantage over the Royals in that they are largely unfamiliar with him.

Of current Royals players, only Alcides Escobar (.154/.267/.154) and Jeff Francouer (.400/.400/.800, 1 HR, 4 RBI) have faced Dempster in more than four plate appearances.

Texas Rangers (80-55)

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Elvis flashed some pop yesterday, as he launched his third homer of the year in the first inning.


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

VS

LHP Everett Teaford (1-3, 4.30 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9)

This will be Teaford’s first appearance against the Rangers this season. He pitched in relief against Texas on three occasions last season, and did not allow a run in his 1 2/3 innings of work.

Teaford will be making just the eighth start of his big league career, and it was borne out of necessity due to last Saturday’s double header against the Minnesota Twins.

Royals’ skipper Ned Yost, has dubbed tonight’s game as “‘pen day,” due to the fact that Teaford—despite a solid 5 1/3 inning outing last week—is still considered a part of the KC bullpen rather than its rotation.

Regardelss, Teaford profiles as the type of pitcher than can challenge the mighty Rangers’ offense. He’s a soft-tossing port-sider that is largely unknown to the Rangers. He’s only faced David Murphy and Mitch Moreland, and they have gone a combined 0-for-3 against him.

Texas Rangers/Kansas City Royals, a Dempster/Teaford Game 3 Preview

Teaford (left) and Tim Collins (right), found the recently departed Johnathan Broxton’s pants mighty hard to fill.

Oakland Athletics Watch

• After tonight, the A’s will play 17 of their next 20 games on the road, and hopefully, will lose the vast majority of those games.

• As of this post, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were ahead of the A’s 4-1 in the top of the ninth inning. If the Angels hold on for the win, they will have swept the A’s, which, ultimately, helps the Texas Rangers.

• Should the Angels hold on for the victory, the Athletics would drop to 4 1/2 games behind Texas, while the Angels would climb to “just” seven games behind the Rangers.

Notes:

• There was speculation that Jurickson might get the start at second base since Kinsler was manning the DH spot tonight. Alas, it will be MY that gets the nod at his “natural” position.

• Keep your eyes peeled for a possible Profar sighting for tomorrow’s “gettaway” game against he Royals.

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Sep 012012
 
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Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences

Dempster was one cool customer last night, as he held the Tribe to just two hits over his six innings of work.

Fresh off of a 5-3 win at Cleveland’s Progressive Field last night, it’s hard to believe that the Texas Rangers lost two-of-three to these same Indians back in May—while outscored 19-13.

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

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences

Fan favorite and outstanding lefty reliever, Robbie Ross, is headed to the DL with tightness in his left forearm.

• 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.

Up Next:

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).

Ryan Dempster Tosses Two Hitter, Robbie Ross to DL as Jurickson Profar Era Commences
making gifs
It’s Profar time, and I’m stoked!

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Aug 202012
 
passport

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview
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After last week’s four-game set with the New York Yankees, the Rangers were in danger of losing ground to the second place Oakland Athletics. It didn’t look good heading into Canada, as the the Toronto Blue Jays had historically given Texas fits.

However, rather than punching the panic button (as fans tend to do), the Rangers returned triumphantly to Texas on the heels of an impressive series win against the always-a-pain-in-the-arse Blue Jays.

Tonight, recently un-restricted list luminary, Ryan Dempster, will make his first start since his most recent shellacking, last Monday in New York. I, for one, have never been too pumped about Dempster’s acquisition, but I’m glad it happened, and I don’t think he’s as bad as he’s shown.

Dempster’s bizarre no-show in Toronto has never really been explained, so it seems pretty obvious that Roy Oswalt pulled a few strings with the Canadian Mounties to bar Dempster’s arrival. C’mon, ‘ole Roy, that’s no way to treat your bestie.

Regardless, there’s nothing like another Melky Cabrera scandal to make Rangers’ rumors disappear.

I had no idea Cabrera was also a web design guru. His unique website—MelkyNoTakeNoPEDs.com—is not only a marvel of my own invention, it’s also still available for purchase.

Tonight’s Lineups:

Baltimore Orioles (66-55) L10: 6-4

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview

Chris Davis has a career-high 60 RBI (and counting). He’s also contributed 20 home runs to the potent Orioles lineup.


RF Nick Markakis
2B Robert Andino
LF Nate McLouth
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Weiters
DH Chris Davis
1B Mark Reynolds
SS Omar Quintanilla
3B Manny Machado

VS

RHP Ryan Dempster (6-6, 3.12 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 8.3 K/9)

The mystery man himself, the “Canadian who no-showed in Canada,” takes the hill tonight with an extra few days of rest.

At Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Dempster is 0-0 with a 15.45 ERA. It really can’t get much worse so I feel it will certainly get better. On the year, Dempster has surrendered 14 home runs, and right-handed batters go: .250/.298/.411, with 8 homers, whereas lefties look like this: .210/.266/.352 with 6 tickets taken to downtown dong city.

Texas Rangers (70-50) L10: 5-5

Ryan Dempster vs. Miguel Gonzalez, a Rangers/Orioles Game 1 Preview

Was yesterday’s 3-for-5 performance a harbinger for things to come for MY? Let’s hope so.


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

VS

RHP Miguel Gonzalez 5-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 6.9 K/9)

Gonzalez, one of just 30 active big leaguers born in Mexico, is having a fine season, especially considering he had been released by both the Angels and Red Sox and had never pitched above Double-A prior to this season.

Away from Baltimore, Gonzalez has yet to lose. He’s 3-0 with a 2.34 ERA. It’s definitely worth noting that the 28-year-old Guadalajara native has never faced the Texas Rangers nor toed the rubber at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. RBIA is an extremely difficult place to pitch in, just ask Ryan Dempster.

Gonzalez has been somewhat prone to the long ball. He’s surrendered 10 total homers, five to left-handed batters and five to right-handers. Overall, he’s tough to hit for righties: .191/.269/.404, and is considerably more hittable against southpaws: .267/.345/.427.

Saving Face?

• Michael Young’s home run, his fourth on the year, was the first time he had gone deep in 89 games. That was way back on May 7, and is best remembered as the “Brandon Snyder 6 RBI game.” For what it’s worth, that game—an eventual 14-3 Rangers win—came against the Baltimore Orioles.

• Young’s 5 RBI were the most he’d had since April 25, 2010.

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Aug 162012
 
best-friends-gifts copy

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock TogetherAs far as the Rangers are concerned, Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster are just two pitchers trying to help Texas reach the playoffs for a third-consecutive season.

And that’s all fine and good—as well as accurate—but what this fails to address is the blooming statistical relationship between these two veteran starters. Folks, Demples and the Os might just be becoming besties..like, totally.

Their statistics are so alarmingly similar, they definitely have plenty to talk about…hey, when it comes to assessing potential lasting relationships, who needs tarot cards when you have statistics?

Eerie statistical similarities over their first three games

Ryan Dempster:

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

“Hey everybody, I’m whacky!”

IP: 17 1/3, 8.31 ERA, 24 hits, 16 Earned Runs, 16 Ks, 6 BBs, and 5 HRs

Roy Oswalt:

IP: 17 1/3, 7.79 ERA, 35 hits, 15 Earned Runs, 16 Ks, 4 BBs, and 3 HRs

Other likenesses:

• Ryan Dempster (DOB: 5/3/77) is slightly older than Roy Oswalt (DOB: 8/29/77).

• Both are right-handed…whoa, I’m starting to get a little freaked out here.

• I’m reasonably certain that both had mullets in high school, and each currently own at least three Pearl Jam albums…

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

“Hey man, I can be the life of the party too man. Check out my over-sized hat man!”


I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right. After all, those numbers are essentially meaningless and hold zero weight until they are presented to Chan Ho Park for further inspection. Fortunately, I pulled some strings and was able to get everyone’s favorite Ho to weigh in on the matter.

As I’m sure you guessed, he was extremely pleased. I mean how often does he get to see two pitchers who had an even worse time during their first three starts with the Texas Rangers than he did?

Um, not very often. Okay, never.

Consider the Park Ho’s stats from back in 2002, his first year (and, unfortunately, not his last year) with the Texas Rangers:

IP: 16 1/3, 6.61 ERA, 20 Hits, 16 Earned Runs, 13 Ks, 3 BBs, and 2 HRs

So, even though Chan Ho has resigned from his previous career of being a professionally horrendous hurler, his prior success at suckdom is more than enough to lend his Oswalt and Dempster assessment plenty of industry heft.

So, what do you think of the two blooming besties, Ho?

Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster: Statistical Birds of a Feather that Flock Together

Don’t let the suit fool you. Chan Ho is still whacky.

“I think they better be best friends—quick. They both so shitt* they need arm to cry on. Tear towel only thing hairy arms good for now! Hahahahaha. Roy small enough to leave plenty of bullpen bench for Dempster. Hahahaha. At least they have good taste in music, though. Pearl Jam best band ever. That song Black change my life.”

And there you have it.

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Aug 132012
 
Dempster

Rangers/Yankees Game 1 Preview: Dempster vs. Phelps (not Michael)

This is fake. That much gold in the Bronx would be stolen before the word “cheese.”

As we creep closer to the Ides of August, I feel comfortable in saying that the Texas Rangers are enjoying themselves far more now than a month ago. After all, a win tonight against the New York Yankees and the Rangers will equal their win total from July.

That’s right, last month Texas was a woeful 9-14. This month, thanks in part to a resurgent Josh Hamilton and a Michael Young that has gone from horrendous to decent, the Rangers are sitting pretty at 8-3.

With a four game series against the Bronx Bombers starting tonight, the Rangers find themselves in a great position to further their A.L. West over the Oakland Athletics as well as put a stranglehold on the American League’s best record.

As the Angels sink further and further behind both the A’s (1.5 games back) and the Rangers (8 games back), the time to start thinking about home field advantage for the playoffs is close at hand.

Tonight’s Lineups:

New York Yankees (67-47) L10: 6-4

Rangers/Yankees Game 1 Preview: Dempster vs. Phelps (not Michael)

Swisher has 5 RBI vs. Dempster over his career.


SS Derek Jeter
DH Nick Swisher
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Eric Chavez
CF Curtis Granderson
C Russell Martin
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Ichiro Suzuki

VS

RHP Ryan Dempster (6-5, 2.65 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 7.4 K/9)

Dempster earned his sixth win of the year—and first as a Ranger—last Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox. Dempster pitched well as he went 6 2/3 innings while yielding no earned runs.

Tonight will be Dempster’s debut at the newest incarnation of Yankee Stadium. Over his career against the Bronx Bombers, Dempster has gone 0-3 with a 6.45 ERA. He last faced the Yankees on June 18, 2011 at Wrigley Field. In his four career starts against New York, Yankees batters have hit him to the tune of: .333/.472/.786.

Current Yankees that have had the most success against Dempster are: Andruw Jones (.325, 2 HRs, 8 RBI), newly acquired Casey McGehee (.323, HR, 4 RBI) and Nick Swisher (5 RBI in 5 at bats).

Texas Rangers (67-46) L10: 7-3

Rangers/Yankees Game 1 Preview: Dempster vs. Phelps (not Michael)

Moreland homered off of Phelps the first time he faced him back in June.


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

VS

RHP David Phelps (0-1, 2.08 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 11.1 K/9)*
*Statistics from Phelps’ starts; he has been the Yankees’ long relief man for the better part of the season.

With C.C. Sabathia’s return to the disabled list—this time due to elbow inflammation—the Yankees turn to rookie right-hander David Phelps for the spot start.

Phelps, a 14th Round selection in 2008 out of Notre Dame, will be making just his fourth big league start. He was used almost exclusively as a starter during his time in the minor leagues—called on in relief just once back in 2010.

Although the Rangers have never faced him as a starter, they have seen the 25-year-old once before—and liked what they saw. Over his 2 1/3 innings in relief on June 25 in Texas, the Rangers produced a .500/.615/.1.100 triple-slash line off of Phelps.

Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry went a combined 4-for-6 (.666 BA) with a home run, three walks, and two RBI off of him.

Phelps uses a low 90s fastball that can touch 95 MPH to set up his above-average curveball and developing changeup.

This will be just Phelps’ second start at Yankee Stadium, and overall he is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA over 8 appearances in the Bronx. He has never lasted longer than 5 1/3 innings nor has he ever exceeded 89 pitches thrown in a game.

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Aug 092012
 
5Stages

Roy Oswalts 5 Stages of Bullpen Acceptance + Dustin Pedroia JokesFormer Texas Rangers starting pitcher, Roy Oswalt, didn’t take too well to the news of his demotion to the bullpen. He lost out on a rotation spot due to the reemergence of Scott Feldman—coupled with his own mysterious blend of extreme-hitability and acute suck.

Psychologically speaking, Roy Oswalt is making marked improvements. From the fan’s perspective, he’s still being an a-hole.

Hey, we all understand that the road to bullpen acceptance is an arduous journey, marked by the self-acceptance of regression and marred by the subsequent roundhouse kicks to the ego.

I mean, really, aside from the $4M dollar deal (for half a season’s work) coupled with the fact that a trip to the bullpen is actually an easier job…let’s not forget that Roy Oswalt truly is the victim here…

Let us now join Roy Oswalt as he so astutely navigates his way through the 5 Stages of Bullpen Acceptance

1. Denial

“I still consider myself a starter.”

That’s actually quite healthy, Roy. When you go out there in the sixth inning rather than the first inning, just say to yourself “I’m starting now. I still consider myself a starter.” Do that, please…because when you were a starter your mantra was apparently “I’m a gas can. I consider myself a a can of gas; to make this fire explode.

2. Pain and Guilt

I actually think ‘ole Roy skipped right over this one and had another heaping helping of denial.

“I had two bad starts. We won four of my six starts. Guess I should have won ‘em all.”

Oh, Roy. You had one decent start. Dude, in your other five starts you were hit so hard that pitching machines secretly high-fived when not hanging their metallic heads in mock embarrassment.

3. Anger

“I’m gonna kick Scott Feldman’s ass. Freaking Hawaiian-born hippie.”

Okay, Roy Oswalt never actually said that. I’m sure we all realize he was thinking it, though. Probably word for word.

Why so angry Roy O?

Well, it’s pretty simple. Remember when Scooter wasn’t the best pitcher in the history of MLB, way back when he was 0-6 with a sideways 8 for an ERA?

Well, so does Roy. Yep, so does Roy. Roy remembers… And it chaps his ass.

4. Depression

“I haven’t said anything like that.”

Roy, the first sign of depression is a refusal to admit something that you’ve already admitted even though you don’t recollect said admittance.

Duh.

That’s Psychology 101 brah!

5. Acceptance

“I’m in the bullpen. I’ll throw down there and see how it goes.”

Glad to have you aboard, Roy…

Really Easy (yet curiously satisfying) Dustin Pedroia Jokes

Normally, in this space, I’d simply make fun of Dustin Pedroia’s sub-dimunitive size…so why should today be any different?

• Dustin Pedroia is earning some extra income nowadays thanks to a lucrative Just For Men TV spot. Perhaps you’ve seen it:
Roy Oswalts 5 Stages of Bullpen Acceptance + Dustin Pedroia Jokes
• Pedroia isn’t even going gray! Just For Men hired him because they can save that much more money by not having to teach an actual infant to dance.

• Did you know that you can actually fit two Jose Altuve’s into one Dustin Pedroia? Just make sure to ask Jose Altuve if it’s cool with him before attempting to do so…

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Aug 022012
 
Elvis

Walk Off Rangers Win so Huge it Overshadows Dempster/Olt DebutsHad the Rangers lost last night, you’d better believe that this post would be all about Ryan Dempster and Mike Olt’s Texas Ranger debuts.

Only problem with that is the Rangers did not lose. Quite the opposite, as they won in thrilling fashion, 11-10.

And oh boy was that a much needed “w.”

So bad have the Rangers bats been, and so woeful the starting pitching, I feel it’s best we bathe in the glory of last night’s throat punch to the second-place Los Angles Angels of blah-blah-blah.

Stay down, Angels. Save yourself further embarrassment. Should you rise, we’ll just lay you out again, each time more forcefully than the last. This Division, this League, it’s ours. We’ve got this sh**.

That’s how Texas Rangers baseball suddenly feels again—and it’s fantastic.

It’s a win that will be fondly remembered as summer’s heat recedes while the regular season gradually gains intensity before blooming into postseason play.

Man, that Rangers’ tenth inning…A half frame that functioned as snake oil for the soul, capable of healing all ailments, while restoring plummeting batting averages and halting the rise of our chief A.L. West combatants.

Hell, it might even halt Roy Oswalt’s regression and fix Josh Hamilton’s inexplicable batting misadventures.

Some thoughts from last night’s tenth inning Angels-beat down:

Joe Nathan

• In the top of the tenth inning, in a 7-7 tie—in a game that the Rangers had trailed by as much as six runs, closer Joe Nathan immediately delivers his best Koji Uehara impersonation. Eight-hole hitter, Chris Ianetta, promptly whistles a go-ahead home run into the left field seats for an 8-7 advantage.

Then, after two quick outs, Nathan plunks Torii Hunter, and here comes Albert Pujols. Yep. Two-run rocket shot to left field, Rangers down 10-7. I’m not sure what left quicker, Pujols’ homer, or the crowd’s feel-good vibe.

But, so magical was last night, that Joe Nathan not only gets to stay in town unharmed, he gets the win!

Michael Young

• Sure, we all know Michael Young is having a down season. No need to delve deeper than that. Young seemingly grounds out to Angels’ shortstop Andrew Romine, only to reach on an error. He’d eventually score the run that brought the Rangers within one, 10-9.

Mitch Moreland

• Injured for over a month, Mitch Moreland has hit safely in all three of his games since being reactivated from the disabled list on Monday. No hit was bigger than his line-drive single that tied the game up 10-10.

Moreland could provide the stretch run offense the Rangers have so sorely lacked.

Ian Kinsler

• Yes, Kinsler was the only out recorded by the Angels in the tenth inning. Yes, it was a meekly hit weak pop-up that didn’t leave the infield…but his game-tying, leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning more than makes up for any of his shoulder-dropping, groan-inducing games of pepper with second baseman the league over.

Nelson Cruz

• Nelson Cruz’s laser beam solo shot should have been for the walk-off win. But that doesn’t matter. What does is that The Boomstick is heating up baby…and Nellie goes nuclear, he can carry the team almost solomente.

Mike Napoli

• Quietly—it’s hard to make much of a racket after last year’s slash line—Mike Napoli is starting to show signs of life—as well as pop. Naps has hit five home runs in his last 10 games and was an almost-overlooked 3-for-4 last night with 2 RBI.

Elvis Andrus

• Despite Ian Kinsler’s big game last night, there will be plenty that feel Elvis Andrus should be the Texas Rangers’ leadoff hitter. I’m beginning to be one of them. It’s not that Kinsler sucks, but it seems his skill-set might be better suited lower in the batting order.

Regardless, Elvis made a case for not only batting leadoff, but for team MVP last night. One of the few Rangers that has stayed consistent at the plate all season long, Elvis’ ringing, walk-off double still induces goose bumps nearly 14-hours later.

Ryan Dempster

• Arguably the happiest Ranger of all, Dempster toes the rubber for his Texas debut tonight. Why so happy? It’s hard enough switching teams, but how about having to be your team’s ace and losing streak stopper all at the same time?

Mike Olt

• If Olt takes to the big leagues as he has at every level of the minors, the Rangers might have their own version of Mike Trout. Okay that’s a bit far-fetched, but Olt has flashed prodigious power, a plus-glove and a knack for drawings walks throughout his minor league career.

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Jul 312012
 
DempOswalt

Ryan Dempster Shakes Things Up for the Texas Rangers (In a good way)Recently acquired right-hander, Ryan Dempster, may be new to the American League, but he is no stranger to the Texas Rangers. The native of Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada, now comes to Arlington, Texas, North America, to the team that originally drafted him during the third round of the 1995 MLB amateur draft.

Colby Lewis is a somewhat relevant comparable to Dempster. Dempster is a few years older and managed to avoid the disabled list—as well as the Japanese League—so he has a considerably larger track record. But looking at each right-hander’s stats this season, you can see certain similarities between Lewis (6-6, 3.43 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, 6.64 SO/BB, 1.4 HR/9) and Dempster (5-5, 2.25 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 3.07 SO/BB, 0.8 HR/9).

Lewis featured superior control, as his league-leading strikeout-to-walk ratio indicated, but Dempster is far less susceptible to the long ball.

Dempster’s long ball totals might trend up as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington boasts the 11th highest home run per game total (1.116) in the league. Dempster’s former stomping grounds, Chicago’s Wrigley Field, as clocks in at 16th, with a 0.973 per game average.

Not long after word came down about the Rangers’ acquisition, the team announced that former ROY and converted starter, Neftali Feliz, had a torn elbow ligament and would require season-ending surgery.

This made Feliz the team’s second TJ surgery casualty in the last week, as Colby Lewis was lost for the season just a few days ago.

Dempster’s arrival will help to stave off the near rampant paranoia that swept through Rangerville after Roy Oswalt was thwacked mightily last night during the Rangers 15-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Roy Oswalt to the bullpen

• During Spring Training, the Texas Rangers were kicking the tires on inking a deal with the then unsigned free agent Roy Oswalt. The only reason they didn’t pull the proverbial trigger was due to the diminutive right-hander’s reluctance to pitch out of the bullpen.

• Well, even if you’re a perennial former All-Star, you’ve got to pitch well as a starter to avoid the ‘pen. Roy Oswalt has been moved to the bullpen after last night’s terrible performance. It will be interesting to see if Oswalt will ask for his release.

Scooter, captain clutch

• Wow. When the Rangers decided to sign Oswalt they did so to hedge against Neftali Feliz’s injury. However, they also did so because because Feldman was absolutely terrible in his spot-starts. 5-straight wins later, and fresh off of a dominant eight-inning performance two nights ago, Scooter has beaten out Oswalt for a rotation spot.

• If Feldman can turn it around, Oswalt can too. This is why I was somewhat shocked when I found out that Oswalt was the odd man out in the Rangers current rotational plans.

Move over, Derek Holland

• No, Holland’s spot is safe. But his claim as resident comedian might not be a given. Holland, quasi-famus for his Harry Caray impersonation might have to come up with something knew, as Dempster’s Caray is hard to beat.

• Don’t get me wrong, Dutch’s is pretty spot-on.

• Who do you think gets the edge?

I’m just glad the Geovany Soto addition doesn’t have to stand alone as the “big” trade acquistion

• Yeah, I pretty much said it all in the emboldened title. Ah Well. Go Rangers!

Ryan Dempster Shakes Things Up for the Texas Rangers (In a good way)
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