Mar 212013
 

Weekly preview of each of the Rangers’ American League West rivals for the 2013 season – from the bottom up.

  1. Seattle Mariners
  2. Houston Astros

Breaking Down the West   Seattle Mariners   Moving the fences in...The Mariners look forward to the arrival of the Astros in the American League West with the hope of getting out of last place for the first time in the last three years.  The Mariners took some positive steps during the offseason, including securing one of the best pitchers in the game to a long-term contract, but it won’t be enough to overcome Oakland, Anaheim or Texas.

This is a team with young talented players at some key positions in “King” Felix Hernandez (SP), Dustin Ackley (2B), Jesus Montero (C/DH), Kyle Seager (3B), Michael Saunders (RF) and the freshly drafted Mike Zunino (C).  Couple the young talent with some veterans sprinkled in and we should see the Mariners improve upon their 77-85 mark from 2012.  By how much is the question…

The Bats & Gloves

This lineup has some holes in it, but if a few of these guys can take a step in the right direction, it’s a lineup that could greatly improve over last year’s performance.

Projected Lineup

  1. Dustin Ackley, 2B
  2. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
  3. Kyle Seager, 3B
  4. Michael Morse, LF
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Jesus Montero, C
  7. Justin Smoak, 1B
  8. Michael Saunders, RF
  9. Brendan Ryan, SS

I don’t think Manager Eric Wedge has unveiled his official Opening Day lineup, but it should look similar to what’s above, barring injury.  There are three bats in this lineup that peak my interest:

  • Breaking Down the West   Seattle Mariners   Moving the fences in...Dustin Ackley was less than impressive last year (.226/.294/.328) and MUST take a major step in 2013 for this lineup to have success.  Keep in mind that he is still only 25 years old, but as the table-setter, the Mariners will be depending on him to get on base at a higher rate than .294.
  • Kyle Seager is an impressive young player (also only 25) who I secretly admire.  In his first full season last year, Seager put up a pretty respectable line (.259/.316/.423) with many of his metrics improving in the second half.  I think Seager will improve further in 2013 and be an important part of this lineup’s run production.
  • In mid-December, the Mariners shipped the frustrating Jason Vargas to the Angels for Kendrys Morales who just didn’t have a spot in the Angel’s stacked lineup.  It was one of those rare intra-division trades that addressed a need for both teams at the major league level.  I loved this trade for the Mariners.  Morales has has been hindered by injury and lack of playing time over the last two seasons, but it wasn’t that long ago (2009) that he finished 5th in the AL MVP voting (.306/.355/.569) and was the centerpiece of the Angel’s lineup.  Can he return to that form?  He’s only 29 years old, and I could see the change of scenery and opportunity to play ever day get him close.

Defensively, the Mariners are good, as the mantra of “pitching and defense” is still part of their identity.  They only committed 72 errors in 2012 (2nd best in AL) and had the second highest Defensive Efficiency rating in the American League.

The middle of the lineup may get some help from the fences moving in, but remember…that works both ways.

The Arms

The Mariners have something that we Ranger fans have coveted for a long, long time…a true Ace.  Perhaps one of the more upsetting off-season occurrences that didn’t directly involve the Rangers was the contract extension between the Mariners and King Felix which will keep Hernandez in Seattle through 2019.

Quick – who were the other four starters for Seattle last year?

I gave you Vargas, so that doesn’t count, and you probably thought of former-Ranger prospect Blake Beavan.  Do either of those guys do much for you?  Me neither, but the Mainers pitching staff was pretty good in 2012 when compared to the rest of the American League:

  • 4th in team ERA in AL at 3.76
  • 3rd in team WHIP in AL at 1.241

So, this is what a pitcher’s park and King Felix will get you.

Projected Rotation

  1. Felix Hernandez
  2. Hisashi Iwakuma
  3. Joe Saunders
  4. Blake Beavan
  5. Brandon Mauer – this spot is still an open competition, but Mauer’s got my vote. Erasmo Ramirez was probably the favorite to win the spot (ala Martin Perez) and could still win the spot (ala not Martin Perez).

Breaking Down the West   Seattle Mariners   Moving the fences in...Can Hisashi Iwakuma be a legit #2?  There is no doubt in my mind that he can if he isn’t already.  Last year’s performance was good, but take a closer look – he was great at the end of the season.  Keep in mind 2012 was his first season in MLB, so the inconsistencies near the beginning of the season can be dismissed as part of his “adjustment period”.  In August and September, Iwakuma posted a 7-3 record with an ERA in the low 2′s.  I think he’s adjusted and gives the Mariners a nice 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.

The Pen

The bullpen is fair, anchored by Tom Wilhelmson who assumed the closing duties last year and converted 29 saves on 24 opportunities.  Bullpens are generally boring.

The Manager

Eric Wedge.  Enough said.  Nothing special.  Career 703-755 managerial record with Indians and Mariners.

The Bottom Line

In my opinion, the Mariners could push for 3rd place in the American League West, but I think a 4th place finish is more likely.

IF…the the lineup can get consistency from some of the youngsters (Ackley, Montero, Smoak).  IF…the back-end of the rotation can be average.  IF…they can stay healthy.  Three big IF’s, but it could happen.

  • Best case: 84-78 record behind the emergence of Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero as legit major league all-star caliber players.
  • Worst case: 77-85…again…hey, they have King Felix.

Up next…you can probably figure it out from here.


Side note – we are close to two weeks away from the 2nd Annual Baseball Do Field Trip.  We still have tickets available.  If you want to go and your want your shirt to be ready for the Field Trip,  you need to order your tickets by next Wednesday at the latest.

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Sep 212012
 
MPHI

Perez vs. Iwakumi, A Rangers/Mariners Game 1 PreviewI must apologize for my recent absence and reluctance to post. I have been suffering from acute “papercut-itis.” For those of you that have suffered through this daunting dilemma, it is far more painful than the equally dreaded malady, “keyboard abrasion.”

Seriously though, if Josh Hamilton can sit out a few games with a sinus infection minus the infection, I should be able to skirt a few posts due to a paper cut that didn’t actually break the skin.

Adrian Beltre: Texas Rangers’ MVP?

• Adrian Beltre’s legend continues to grow. Home run number 34 couldn’t have come at a better time. His two-run blast supplied the necessary runs Texas needed to seal the deal on the LAA series, 3-1.

• Beltre’s 34 homers are the most he’s had since he knocked out 48 in 2005 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which led the National League in long balls that year.

Yu Darvish Continues to Dazzle

• For the seventh-consecutive start, The Yu surrendered three earned runs or less while pitching at least 6 2/3 innings. Over that span, he’s seen his ERA drop from 4.54 to 3.90. Since August 24, Darvish has the second-lowest ERA (1.47) in the American League.

• With 214 strikeouts on the season, Darvish now has sole-possession of second place on the all-time list for rookies.

Michael Young: Stringing Together Consistent Excellence

• Over his last 10 games, Michael Young is batting a robust .429. In last night’s dramatic 3-1 win that sealed the series for Texas, MY set the stage for Adrian Beltre’s heroics by doubling off of Angels’ closer Ernesto Frieri.

Scott Feldman is out, Martin Perez is in

• After being the Rangers’ best starter for the entire month of July, right-hander Scott Feldman has fallen back to earth with a resounding thud. After riding a six-game winning streak, Feldman hasn’t ended up on the right side of the win/loss column since way back on August 4 in Kansas City.

• His starts have ranged from average to atrocious and his worst start of his current bad stretch occurred in his most recent start. Scooter lasted just 2 2/3 innings against the Seattle Mariners while he surrendered six earned runs on seven hits.

• Left-handed rookie Martin Perez came on in relief in the aforementioned Scooter start, and had no problems at all with the Mariners, as he surrendered no hits over his 4 1/3 innings of work. That outing impressed the powers that be enough to place Feldman back in the bullpen and to give Perez the fifth-starter slot for the remainder of the regular season.

Up Next:

LHP Martin Perez (1-1, 3.38 ERA) has replaced Scott Feldman as the Rangers’ fifth starter for what is likely the remainder of the season. Perez will oppose Seattle’s RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-5, 3.39 ERA).

The first pitch is scheduled for 9:05 PM (CT) and is the first game of a three-game series with fellow A.L. West “rivals,” the Seattle Mariners.

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Jul 162012
 
Texas Rangers v San Diego Padres

Before I even get into the updates below, I want to throw out the idea of a sitcom called “Dutch and Harry” starring Derek Holland and Matt Harrison – two cops just trying to keep the streets of Arlington safe.  Holland plays the funny one and Harrison plays the straight-laced one…

Any buyers?

Dutch Oven looks strong

Rangers take series in Seattle behind Dutch & Harry

Who would have thought that a massive case of diarrhea (could be slightly exaggerated) could end up being the best thing that happened to Derek Holland, and subsequently, the Texas Rangers this year?

OK, maybe it won’t be the BEST thing, but it could be one of those times that we all look back upon when this season is over, knowing that the Dutch Oven was better because of it.

The diarrhea led to arm rest.  The arm rest may prove to be vital to Holland’s success in the second half of the season.

I used be bothered by typing the word “diarrhea”, but clearly I’m over that now.

Derek Holland’s second start since returning from the DL was his best of the season…albeit against a poor Mariner’s offense.  It was refreshing to see Dutch work the way he did on Friday night after a first half filled with ups and downs – unfortunately more downs than ups (5-4, 5.05 ERA & 1.329 WHIP).

Mariners continue to own Yu

Rangers take series in Seattle behind Dutch & HarryWhat can you say?  Sometimes certain players don’t perform well in certain situations or against certain teams.  Darvish doesn’t pitch well against the Mariners…

In 3 starts against Seattle, he is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA and a 2.125 WHIP.  Small sample size in a young career may be a cheap view here, but nonetheless, it’s not good.

I’m of the belief that it’s not just coincidental.  I think the Mariners are larger than life for Yu, primarily because of the world-wide following they garnered when Ichiro joined them years ago…when Yu was an impressionable youngster.

He’ll get over it eventually.

Didn’t help matters that his counterpart, Felix Hernandez, was dominant on Saturday.  King Felix shut down the Rangers bats, giving up only 3 hits and allowing only one Ranger to make it into scoring position.

Harrison spins a gem

Rangers take series in Seattle behind Dutch & HarrySo, the rubber match pitted Matt Harrison against Hisashi Iwakuma yesterday.  Harrison pitched brilliantly to get his 12th win on the season and secured the series win for the Rangers on the road.

Harrison has staked claim to the title of “Staff Ace” in 2012.  If you had asked me to rank the pitching staff in order of who could emerge as the Ace in 2012, I’m pretty sure I would have put Harry 4th or 5th behind Darvish, Holland and Feliz for sure, and possibly behind the Colbra.  I wasn’t in favor of replacing Harrison in the rotation or anything, I just saw him as a solid back of the rotation guy.  He’s more than that…much more.

Harrison is now 12-4 with a 2.87 ERA over 122.1 innings of work so far in 2012.  He’s not a strike-out guy, but he knows how to pitch…he’s earned that tag of “methodical”, which was a term used often to describe the pitching of Greg Maddux.  He’s quiet and unassuming, yet a workhorse that goes after hitters and isn’t afraid to stake claim to the inside half of the plate.  In short…I’m falling in love with this guy.

Quick Hits

  • Rangers are off today before a short 2-game series in Oack on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by another day off before a weekend series in Los Angeles against the Angels.
  • Neftali Feliz will make a rehab start in Frisco today.
  • Alexi Ogando and Koji Uehara are expected to be activated from the DL tomorrow.
  • Yorvit Torrealba will not be with the team for the Oakland series as he travels home for the birth of his daughter.
  • Trade deadline is fast approaching.  We’re hoping to get a podcast up this week where we’ll be discussing some of the rumors.
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Jul 122012
 
jairo_beras_jpeg_480x290_crop-,0_upscale_q95

Texas Rangers Ready for Second Half—News and Notes

You’re not fooling anyone, JD. We all know you’re a ninja.

As it turns out, the All-Star Break was about as much fun as taking three days off from work, just so you can help a friend move.

And your friend lives in Kansas City…well that’s what you get for telling him you own a truck.

After the National League torqued the A.L. 8-0, I feel safe in saying that we are all ready for the second half to commence.

And commence, it will, as the Texas Rangers are headed to the Pacific Northwest for a three game series against fellow A.L. West combatants, the Seattle Mariners.

The Mariners, at 36-51, have a worse record than the Rangers (52-34) even if you’re dyslexic…just look at their record first or that makes less sense than Verlander getting thwacked last Tuesday.

Since the initial road trip of the second half features a call to the West Coast, the start time makes it seem as if it’s far further away than one full day.

Alas, tomorrow night, at 9:10 (CT), recently reactivated Derek Holland (5-4, 5.05 ERA) will make his second start since his month-long stay on the disabled list. He’ll oppose former Ranger Kevin Millwood (3-6, 3.69 ERA). Millwood has been lights-out against the Rangers this year, going 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts.

Jeez Millwood, you mad?

Holland, against Seattle, well, he’s had some problems

Here’s a look at some Rangers news and notes, as their four-day break nears a close.

Ranger Injury Updates

Both Alexi Ogando (strained right groin muscle) and Neftali Feliz (sprained right elbow) are set to have a minor league rehabilitation assignment in the near future.

Ogando, sidelined since June 10, will conduct his rehab assignment this Thursday with Triple-A Round Rock. He’s penciled in for a two-inning outing.

Feliz, out since May 18, is scheduled to throw live batting practice this Thursday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. If that outing goes as planned, he’ll be cleared to pitch two innings with Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday.

As noted by Rangers beat writer T.R. Sullivan, it appears as though Feliz will be stretched out to remain in the Rangers rotation upon his return.

Reliever Koji Uehara is scheduled to pitch an inning for Round Rock this Saturday, and should his lat injury not limit him, he could be set to rejoin the bullpen as early as next week.

Mark Lowe, sidelined with a rib cage strain, is expected to resume a throwing program this weekend in Seattle.

Colby Lewis should be reactivated for a start against Oakland next Wednesday.

Rangers’ deal with IFA (International Free Agent) Jairo Beras holds up

As if we needed any further notice that Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels is a true ninja…

Per Joey Matschulat of Baseball Time In Arlington, Major League Baseball has decided to uphold the $4.5 million bonus the Rangers signed Beras to.

There was controversy surrounding Beras’ age, almost from the onset of the deal. Initially, Beras provided the powers that be with a birth certificate that stated he was born in 1995. Had that been the case, the Rangers’ deal would have been revoked as Beras would have been too young to sign a professional contract.

C’mon, you should know by now that what fools MLB can’t pull the wool over JD…

Long story short—please read Matschulat’s fine article for all the details—the Rangers felt that Beras was actually born in 1994, MLB agreed, and thus the deal was upheld due to his now being old enough to sign said deal.

Beras is being punished by a one-year suspension, however.

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May 312012
 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

 

I’m going to spare you the harrowing details.

You could have equipped a Roman gladiator with a shield camera and you wouldn’t have captured half the gore and bloodshed witnessed in tonight’s 21-8, two-possession, one-sided, testicle-shattering loss by the Texas Rangers.

A  loss that came at the hands of the freaking Seattle Mariners.  Yep, those Mariners.

And to think it all started off so innocently.

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

Derek Holland looked sharp in the first inning, striking out two of three on just 10 pitches.

Sadly, the first inning would be the last time Holland would get three outs. The second inning, or, as it will be remembered from this point forward: “The GD Mother F****** second inning” would rear its ugly head all too soon.

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

It started off with a Jesus Montero single. No biggie, he's going to be a fine big league hitter.

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

That wasn't Justin Smoak that ripped a double to left field was it?

 

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

Well, there's no way Miguel Olivo is going to drive in those two runners!

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

Well I'll be g** damn**, Olivo just drove in those two runners!

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

Sure, Brendan Ryan is going to get a hit every now and then. Dustin Ackley is an easy out...

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

Are you fu***** kidding me? After Ackley homers Chone gets a hit? I'm pretty sure I struck him out once in a slow-pitch softball tournament.

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

Well there's no way Seagar is going to hit! Hahaha! He's like 0-for-May.

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

Okay, Dutch. Calm down. Breath. As long as Jesus Montero doesn't take you to downtown Dong city, you'll be fine.

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

Mother f****** p**** o* shi* how the f*** did that f***** s*** just f****** happen?!?!?

 

The Horrifying Transformation of Derek Holland, A Visual Examination of Total Disintegration

And after two consecutive walks to Justin Smoak and Alex Liddi, the Kafka-esque metamorphosis is complete. Welcome back, Chan, you Ho.

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May 302012
 

A popular expression to help one get over the occasional dire dealings of daily life goes as follows:

“Well, it’s better than a swift kick in the pants…”

I’m not so sure if that one makes me feel any better after the Texas Rangers were out-hit, outplayed and outpitched by the lowly Seattle Mariners last night.

After all, isn’t a 10-3 thrashing exactly the same thing as a roundhouse in the royal rubies?
Rangers look to Derek Holland to erase bad taste from Terrible Tuesday
Seemed that way to me.

It’s cool, there’s always a silver lining…yep, even when your favorite baseball team picks up a sledgehammer to play piñata with your privates…

• Mike Adams surrendered 3 runs and recorded no outs. His Zero innings pitched means, of course, that it never really happened.

• Elvis Andrus is still on fire—as only he and Craig Gentry recorded more than one-hit against Jason Vargas, Seattle’s apparently sullen and sleep-deprived lefty.

• Josh Hamilton hit his 21st home run of the season…remember last season he hit only 25 all year, and during his 2010 MVP campaign managed “just” 32…

• 21 home runs in 50 games is astounding, but to add additional weight, consider this:

• In 1993, on his way to 46 HRs, Juan Gonzalez managed just 16 dingers through his first 50 games.

• In 2002, A-Rod ended up hitting 57 long balls. Of those 57, only 15 were hit through his first 50 games.

• The year was 1999, and we partied, by god, like it was, indeed, 1999—the great Rafael Palmeiro wound up hitting 47 taters…he had just 14 through the team’s first 50 games.

Okay, if those tidbits didn’t help lighten the gloom, you can always fall back on this one:

Blame Roy Oswalt:

The Texas Rangers are now 0-1 since signing the Wizard of Os.

Still no help? Well, I’ve got nothing for you pal. Except for this: The Seattle Mariners have already used up all of this month’s run supply and have none left for tonight.

Poor Seattle, you don’t get roll-over runs

Get ready, it’s a mustache-less Derek Holland taking on Cliff Lee-deal giveaway, Blake Beavan.

Holland did so well without his cracker mullet that minus his lip mistake we might expect even greater things. Fewer creeped out kids, regardless.

Derek Holland (4-3, 4.05 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 8.3 K/9) versus Blake Beavan (2-4, 4.38 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 4.7 K/9) will take place tonight with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 at the recently rain-swept Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Go Rangers!

Rangers look to Derek Holland to erase bad taste from Terrible Tuesday

Yes, you can rub my Nads all over your body.


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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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May 212012
 

King Felix vs. The Yu: A Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners PreviewTonight, the Texas Rangers will look to dispatch yet another potential AL West contender not named the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

And, as if fueled by the overpriced coffee that Seattle is famous for, there is quite a buzz surrounding tonight’s series opening starters.

This is what happens when The Yu comes to town. And when you pit Yu Darvish against Felix Hernandez, you’re looking at two of the most exciting right-handers in the American League if not the planet.

The King vs. The Yu is intriguing too given it’s not a particularly good matchup for either pitcher.

King Felix has struggled against the Rangers, and this is the first time Yu will have faced a team twice, and the initial visit didn’t go so well.

Normally, during a series preview, it’s extremely pertinent to, well, preview the series.

Much like a photo of Katy Perry in a bikini, with King Felix, you’re already looking at the best part of the team, so why bother going further?

King Felix vs. The Yu: A Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners Preview

On team Katy Perry, I'd gladly be the designated hitter.

The Seattle Mariners minus Hernandez are basically Katy Perry in a parka. I’m sure there are many other wonderful things about the two, but who gives a shit?

Yu Darvish vs. Seattle

In his well-chronicled debut, Darvish needed 42 pitches to get out of the first inning, and was particularly susceptible to fellow Japanese-born bats. Munenori Kawasaki (Kagoshima) was 1-3 off of Yu with an RBI, and Ichiro Suzuki (Kasugai) went a very Ichiro-like 3-4 with a double.

Hell, the Mariners lit up Darvish so well that even castaway Ranger Justin Smoak got a hit. Kyle Seagar will be the biggest out for Darvish to establish dominance tonight; the diminutive infielder went 2-3 with 3 RBI during Yu’s outing back in April.

The Seattle Mariners are batting .318 off of Darvish with 4 RBI, 4 BBs and 4 Ks.

King Felix vs.Texas

Obviously, the sample size for King Felix against the Rangers is much larger than Yu’s versus the Mariners. It’s also the only thing that Felix can claim to be bigger than anything Yu possesses.

Since Felix’s debut back in ’05, the Rangers have hit .258 with 12 homers and 45 RBI off of Seattle’s ace.

Elvis Andrus has hit him to the tune of a .349 BA with 8 RBI. David Murphy has mashed against the King, with a team-leading 10 RBI and 2 home runs, while hitting at a .310 clip.

Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler have combined for 6 home runs off of him with 10 RBI, but have also struck out 18 times against the King. Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, and the aforementioned Kinsler have batted below .200 with 31 combined strikeouts against his highness, the Mariner’s Majesty.

Of Rangers regulars, Adrian Beltre has seen Felix the fewest times. He’s batting a pedestrian .222 off of him, but has a home run and 2 RBI over his 10 plate appearances.

Prediction time:

I can guarantee that Yu Darvish will throw fewer than 42 pitches in the first inning of tonight’s game. Munenori Kawasaki had his best game of the season thus far in Yu’s first start; since then he hasn’t even been an everyday player.

Ichiro is Ichiro, so if he gets his knocks in against Darvish it should surprise no one. I’m taking Darvish to win this game, but it’s going to be a low scoring affair—mainly because the Mariners can’t hit— and the Rangers have been in a tad of a power surge. Plus, Safeco is the American League’s Petco Park in terms of being pitcher-friendly.

Here’s my imaginary line, straight-up from the fake future fool!:

Yu: 7 IP, 1 ER, 7 Ks, 2 BBs
Felix: 5 1/3 IP, 3 ER, 5 Ks, 1 BB

The Rangers will win 5-2. And even if I’m wrong and the Rangers lose, I’ve still got a sweet bikini pic of Katy Perry to (ahem) pick me up when I’m feeling down.

Go Rangers!

King Felix vs. The Yu: A Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners Preview

No dude, it's cool. Her eyes are down there too.

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Apr 132012
 

There’s nothing like a Dutch Oven in the middle of the day!

Friday Morning Dutch Ovens

Derek Holland and Michael Young led the Rangers to a 5-3 victory over the Mariners yesterday.  Holland pitched 7 1/3 innings (115 pitches), giving up 2 earned on 5 hits and no walks, while striking out 8.  Young accounted for 80% of the clubs RBI’s with 4, increasing his batting average on the young season to .321.

  • Young hit from the 2 hole, as Manager Ron Washington gave Elvis Andrus the day off.  Lot’s of banter on Twitter concerning Young’s position in the batting order, with the majority wanting to see MY10 permanently moved to the 2 hole.  I’m personally a fan of the lineup with Young batting 5th and Andrus batting 2nd.  This may be one where Jasen and I are split in our opinions, so instead of diving into here, we’ll save this topic for a podcast or future article.
  • Rangers starters now have a 2.42 ERA on the season, which is impressive, but keep in mind that 4 of the 7 games have been against the Mariners and all 7 games have been at home.  First road test kicks off today, and I’m hoping to see the strong performance continue.

“They are throwing early strikes, which is something that’s preached around here, and they aren’t giving in,” cather Mike Napoli said. “But more than that, the young guys are growing up. They’re not throwing out there. They’re pitching.”

“I wanted to stay consistent with both my fastball and off-speed pitches,” Holland said. “The big thing that Mike Maddux pitches to us is first-pitch strikes. If we go out there and throw our first-pitch strikes, go after hitters right away, it makes it a lot tougher for those hitters to react.”

“We’re trying to motivate each other,” Holland said. “We’re very happy with the way things have taken off. We’ve been doing our jobs. That’s to go out there and make sure we give our team a chance to win.”

  • Box Score Note – both Napoli & Cruz were hitless in the game, continuing their slow starts.  One of the beauties of this team is the depth across all facets of the roster.  They’ll come around eventually and when they do, more than likely someone else will slump a little.  The points is, one way or another, the Rangers are going to score runs because there are NO holes in their lineup.

Quick hits:

  • Friday Morning Dutch OvensMatt Harrison takes the mound tonight in Minnesota looking for win number 2.  The Twins will send Anthony Swarzak to the hill…who?
  • Harrison attributes his strong opener and recent success to working inside:

“Once you have some success against some guys in, it shows that you’re able to pitch inside,” Harrison said. “Whenever that happens you’re willing to do it more often. Once you start getting strikes in there, you start to open up the inner half. It’s a lot better for you when command both sides of the plate and keep the hitters more uncomfortable.”

  • Adams got the save in yesterday’s game, after Nathan pitched in back to back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Wash is sticking by closer Joe Nathan after lots of knee-jerk reactions from fans and media after Wednesday night’s blown save and loss.

“Two things can happen: You get off good, you get off bad,” Washington said. “We’re going to support Joe Nathan 100 percent. Once he recovers from workload last night, he’ll close. If he’s in position to close a second night, we’ll give him the ball.”

Looking for feedback:

We are contemplating kicking off the Baseball Do Forums in the next week or so and trying to gauge what the participation would be like.  Let us know what you think.  You can comment here on the site or hit us up on Twitter (@baseballdo) or Facebook (Baseball Do Facebook Page).

Not signed up for the Baseball Do Field Trip yet?  What’s the hold up?  Gonna be a great time of Rangers Fan Fellowship, great food & drink and Reckless Kelly!

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Mar 172012
 

St. Patricks Day Ticket GiveawayBeing that Jasen and I are both full-blooded Irish (from the pant’s down if you know what I mean), we are in the giving mood on this fine (overcast) St. Patrick’s Day!

With that being said, we are giving away a pair of tickets to see the Rangers host the Mariners on Wednesday, April 11th at the Ballpark!

To be eligible, all you have to do is comment here with your favorite thing to do on St. Patrick’s Day.  We’ll accept entries through tomorrow night and announce the winners on the Monday Morning Fastball’s!

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