Aug 202012
 
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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 202012
 
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Podcast Episode 18: The love/hate relationship with Michael Young & our insanely accurate predictionsMichael Young’s performance is not up to par…and with more venues to express opinion than ever before, the fans aren’t holding back.

Is this hate or just tough love?  Does Michael deserve better given his track record in a Rangers uniform?  Is there really someone else to direct the angst at?  The Baseball Do Semi-Professional Podcast team takes a closer look.

Before the season started, the Baseball Do Executive Team sat down and made five bold predictions for the 2012 season.  That same Executive Team checks in on those insanely accurate predictions.

Now, the Baseball Do Marketing team would like for you to:

  • Listen to this podcast (download via iTunes or hit the play button below)
  • Read this article by our boy Dustin Dietz for a closer look at the numbers behind Young’s performance.
  • Hit us up with a tweet or a twat…follow @baseballdo, @TMurrayHowell &  @DustinDietz18 on Twitter for the ride of your lives…or just to talk about the Rangers.
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Aug 192012
 
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By: Dustin Dietz

One of the more enjoyable things I remember from my childhood was memorizing statistics on the backs of my favorite baseball player’s baseball cards. I loved being able to tell my friends Cecil Fielder hit 51 bombs in 1990, or Ken Griffey Jr. hit .327 in 1991. I have forgotten most statistics I once knew right off the top of my head (I had to look up Griffey’s batting average in 1991), but I still remember quite a few of the stats I learned from the back of baseball cards I purchased as a 9 and 10 year old.

When one glanced at the statistics of his or her favorite baseball player 20 years ago, one would immediately glance at the player’s batting average, home runs, and RBI’s to determine how good the player really was. Batting average, home runs, and RBI’s are the statistical categories we all grew up on. Baseball game broadcasts would use (and still do) the three categories when a player comes to bat for the first time in a game.  If a player had less than 5 home runs in August, most fans were wise enough to realize the player was struggling.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?Well, in the early 00’s baseball statistics and determining a player’s worth changed drastically thanks to Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. Beane was forced to start playing Moneyball with his Oakland A’s teams of the early 00’s because the Oakland franchise was cash strapped and could not afford to sign players to luxurious deals. After players like Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon signed exorbitant contracts with bigger market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, the A’s had to find cheaper replacements like Scott Hatteberg and Jeremy Giambi not because the players hit more home runs or hit for a higher batting average, but because the cheaper players get on base just as often.

Moneyball became a successful book, and then movie, because of how successful the A’s were with players who on paper looked like nothing more than Triple A players (Except Hudson, Mulder, and Zito). The story is quite fascinating really. Numbers gurus and stat geeks stick their middle finger up at scouts using the eyeball test because their radical formulas proved lesser players can be just as effective as star players. However, Beane did not just discover these statistical formulas and categories one day when throwing balled up sheets of paper into a waste basket.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?What many might not realize, except baseball stat nerds, is the Moneyball craze actually started back in the 1970’s with a man named Bill James. James began writing books devoted to baseball history and statistics and coined his new approach to baseball SABERMETRICS. James can be considered the L. Ron Hubbard of SABERMETRICS, and new approach to determining a baseball player’s worth.

Billy Beane actually began using James statistical approaches for his A’s teams in the 00’s and had significant success doing it. Then, the Red Sox hired Bill James in 2003. Boston won the World Series a year later for the first time since 1918, and the rest they say is history.

Today, the moniker floated around for most baseball sabermetricians is baseball hipster. The problem I found most often early on with the baseball hipster was how condescending he or she was too you because you thought players such as Michael Young were still usable players when the hipster had these numbers few actually used to prove otherwise. The baseball hipster would point out Mike Young slugs this, or has a terrible fWAR, or his BABIP is low, which makes the traditionalist look like a moron.

I must say that I was quite cynical of the sabermetrics for quite a while. I did not see how players with batting averages around .280 could ever be considered useless. However, after giving much thought and opening my mind a little, I have learned to fully accept and appreciate sabermetrics. While I still believe batting average, home runs, and RBI’s are a huge determining factor of a player’s worth, I have learned to admire stats such as WAR (wins above replacement) and UBR (ultimate base running) despite not understanding how in the world to calculate them. I do not think UBR will be on the back of baseball cards for 9 year olds to memorize anytime soon, but I believe the stats have a place in the baseball world.

I apologize for the 700 word spiel so far, but I promise I will get to my point very quickly. One of the favorite statistics baseball hispters like to use today is WAR. The stat, according to Fan Graphs, encapsulates a player’s total value to their team in one stat. There are two different versions of WAR, rWAR (used by baseballreference.com) and fWAR (used by fangraphs.com). The formulas for both are slightly different as fWAR uses a few distinct statistics I will choose not to explain because I will more than likely cause mass confusion for most readers. Basically, rWAR usually is lower than fWAR, but both are usable.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?All of this brings me to Texas Rangers primary designated hitter Michael Young. For much of the season, all we have heard from sabermetric gurus and baseball hispters is how horrendous Young has been because his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage)is low and he has one of the worst WAR’s of all time, and an endless amount of other numbers which proves Young is the worst player in MLB history.

While Michael Young has had his unusual moments off of the field with the Rangers, he still has over 2100 hits and a career batting average over .300. I thought to myself, “He cannot be this bad. Can he? The man was just voted the most underrated player in baseball. That has to stand for something. He is a team leader and well liked in the clubhouse.”

Well, with my newfound appreciation of sabermetrics and my love for the Rangers, I thought I would do a little research to find out how atrocious Michael Young has been. My findings, a line of .269/.300/.342 with an OPS of .642, all pathetic numbers based on what we are used to seeing from MY.

Face has hit 3 home runs, and has only 24 extra base hits. While MY is near the top of the league in singles, his extra base power appears to have completely vanished after 58 extra base hits in 2011. Young also rarely walks as he has only drawn a free pass 22 times. Here is the most concerning stat, Young’s rWAR is -2.1 and fWAR is -1.6. Yes, Young is actually costing his team wins when he plays games.

So, my findings are simple, Michael Young is indeed having an extremely dreadful year at the plate. Yet, manager Ron Washington continues to put him in the lineup and play him over younger players like Mike Olt. While many of us do not understand continuing to play Young, benching Young might cause chaos and mutiny in the locker room because of Young’s leadership status. Wash really has little choice. What we are left with is an interminable amount of Michael Young jokes on Twitter after viewing the Rangers lineup every day.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?Okay, we have established Young sucks this year, and Wash will continue to play him despite Face putting up dead ball era numbers. Well, my next thought was, “How many World Series champions in the last 20 years have had everyday players/major contributors on their team statistically worse than Mike Young?” Well, I decided to research and find out if any everyday player/major contributor worse than Mike Young in 2012 has played on a World Series champion.

Note: I decided to use rWAR instead of fWAR. I realize many use fWAR, and if you choose to not read any further because I used rWAR, you have that prerogative.

Starting with the 1991 Twins, through the 2011 Cardinals (Remember, there was no World Series in 1994), the worst everyday player/major contributor for a World Series champion in the hallowed rWAR stat was Ruben Sierra with the 1996 Yankees who had a -1.1 rWAR. Yes, Michael Young is a full point below that total. Scott Brosius with the 2000 Yankees had the second lowest with a -0.6 rWAR.

I then wanted to look at the last 20 World Series champions worst OPS among everyday player/major contributors and see how Michael Young’s OPS compared to those players, and found the following: Michael Young’s current .642 OPS is higher than only 4 of the worst player’s OPS on World Series champions out of the past 20 winners. Here is the list of everyday players/major contributors with a worse OPS than Michael Young currently has:

1. Yadier Molina – .595 (2006 Cardinals)

2. Bengie Molina – .596 (2002 LA Angels)

3. Carlos Ruiz – .620 (2008 Phillies)

4. Kelly Gruber – .627 (1992 Blue Jays)

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?The three worst OPS belong to catchers, and Kelly Gruber was at the least a serviceable 3rd Baseman in 1992, which makes all four of the players usable every day. Young is now primarily a DH relied upon to generate respectable offensive numbers, while the others were not expected to produce much offensively and were in the lineup every day for their gloves. If Young is going to yield such miniscule numbers, he better be able to play defense, which he cannot very well at this point in his career. So, since MY cannot play the field like the 4 everyday players with worse OPS’s, I think we can say MY is still having a worse year than all four of the players mentioned above (None had near as low a rWAR as MY currently has).

After discovering this, I determined if the Rangers are going to win the World Series this year, Michael Young will have been the worst everyday player in the last 20 years on any championship team. However, I then thought to myself, “Which teams have won the World Series in any year with an everyday player/major contributor worse than Michael Young?”

So, at this point, I decided to begin with the 1990 Reds and search Baseball Reference to find out how many everyday players on World Series winners had an everyday player/major contributor with a rWAR lower than Michael Young’s current rWAR. I was going to stop searching when I found a player with a worse rWAR.

Right off the bat, I discovered Todd Benzinger with the 1990 Reds had a rWAR of -1.8. However, the number is still not lower than Mike Young’s rWAR, and Benzinger was mainly used for his defensive prowess at 1st Base. I thought I would find a player very quickly worse than Face.

Then, I searched through the champions of the 80’s. Not one rWAR lower.

Then, the 70’s. No lower rWAR.

The 60’s, the 50’s, and finally into the 40’s I made a startling discovery.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?In 1941, a 1st Baseman for the New York Yankees named Johnny Sturm played in 124 out of 154 games, enough to be considered an everyday player or major contributor, and posted a rWAR of -2.3.

Here is Sturm’s line: .239/.293/.300 with an OPS of .592. Sturm had only 23 XBH’s, 3 home runs, 36 RBI, and 37 walks in 568 plate appearances. Sturm also committed 12 errors in the field.

One can easily look at Sturm’s numbers and determine he had an absolutely terrible year playing a position which requires decent power numbers, and the Yankees still won the World Series. Keep in mind, there were much less teams in MLB back then, and that Michael Young’s rWAR is only .2 higher than Sturm’s. So, we have to go back 71 years to find an everyday player/major contributor for a World Series champion worse than Michael Young.

Since I had gone back to 1941, I decided to check every other World Series winner and see if there was any other everyday player/major contributor with a worse rWAR than Michael Young. Well, I am sad to report I did not find one.

Unfortunately Ranger fans, take it for what it is worth, but one team in over 100 years of the World Series has won a World Series with an everyday player possessing a lower rWAR than Michael Young currently has.

I did find a few everyday players on championship teams who had really putrid years, but with higher rWAR’s than Michael Young. Here is the list of players who come close to Mike Young’s forgettable 2012 season thus far.

1990. Todd Benzinger – Cincinnati Reds – 118 games, .253/.291/.340 with an OPS of .631. 5 HR’s, 46 RBI, 21 XBH in 376 AB’s. -1.8 rWAR.

1985. Onix Concepcion – Kansas City Royals – 131 games, .204/.255/.245 with an OPS of .500. 2 HR’s, 20 RBI, 8 XBH in 314 AB’s. -.9 rWAR.

1961. Bobby Richardson – New York Yankees – 162 games, .261/.295/.316 with an OPS of .610. 3 HR’s, 49 RBI, 25 XBH, and committed 18 errors.-.9 rWAR.

1945. Skeeter Webb – Detroit Tigers – 118 games, .199/.254/.238 with .492 OPS. 0 HR’s, 21 RBI, 14 XBH, and committed 25 errors. -.9 rWAR

1920. Bill Wambsganss – Cleveland Indians – 153 games, .244/.316/.317 with an OPS of .633. 1 HR, 55 RBI, 28 XBH, 54 BB, and committed 38 errors. -1.0 rWAR

Obviously, every player on this list including Sturm had miserable years. Richardson and Wambsganss probably had the worst years based on the fact they played in essentially every game (Wambsganss missed one game and Richardson played in every game). At least Sturm only played in 124 games despite posting the -2.3 rWAR.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?The scary thing is Young has missed only 3 of the Rangers 116 games. One only knows what his rWAR might be towards the end of the season if he does not begin to turn things around.

Now, I am not trying to say I know more about baseball than the average fan like baseball hipsters have the propensity to do. All of the numbers I found are on the internet for one to look up if one chooses too.

However, what I do know is this, if Michael Young does not begin to perform better at the plate, the Rangers will have a difficult time of winning the World Series this year. Teams do not win championships with major contributors performing as poorly as Michael Young currently is. One might be dubious of sabermetrics, but the numbers do not lie, and the numbers appear to be an ominous cloud on what has already been a bizarre season of Rangers baseball. While Michael Young deserves all the respect and admiration from fans for his many years of service in Arlington, all the criticism he is receiving is deserved. If he does not begin to snap out of the season long funk he is in, according to over 100 years of baseball history, the Rangers are in big trouble come October.

Can the Rangers overcome Michael Young?

By Dustin Dietz

Follow Dustin on Twitter @DustinDietz18

 

 

 

 

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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 152012
 
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Feldman Looks to Stop Rangers Skid, Melky Cabrera Suspended for 50 Games, Former Fausto Starts for ClevelandThere have been some interesting developments around the major leagues today. Some are Rangers-centric, others not. Join me as I take you Around the League in 15 Minutes (or faster if you’re a skimmer).

“Melk Man” more manly than most

• Everyone knows that on top of being delicious, a cold glass of milk provides many essential nutrients and vitamins. Milk is always a great call unless it’s a hot day and you’re Ron Burgundy.

• Evidently, San Francisco’s Melky Cabrera—aka the “Melk Man”—had provided a sample that was rich not only in vitamin D and calcium but also testosterone. Melky will be suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games due to abnormally elevated—think Ryan Braun-like—levels of testosterone. With 45 games left in the season and the Giants battling with the Dodgers for first in the N.L. West, you’ve got to wonder if this latest news will sit well with fans of the G-Men.

• Kudos to Major League Baseball for not only being intolerant of all PEDs, but in becoming vehemently lactose intolerant as well.

Cleveland to start “Roberto Hernandez”

• Yes, that’s right, the Tribe is going “Ex Post Fausto.” Right-hander Roberto Hernandez, formerly known to the world as “Fausto Carmona,” has gotten the green light to start tonight. The former Fausto will take on Ervin Santana and the Los Angeles of Anaheim at 9:05 (CST).

• Here’s hoping that the new Roberto Hernandez pitches more like the original Roberto Hernandez rather than the recently-retired Fausto Carmona namesake who was occasionally good, but usually not.

“Not Your Typical Car Guy. Not Your Typical Car Dealership.”

• That’s the slogan for the Mazda dealership that former Rangers lefty (and current Angel) C.J. Wilson purchased recently. Located in Chicago, Wilson’s latest look into life after baseball is only news worthy to me because it is yet another solid reason for Wilson to not retire in Texas.

• And as for the slogan, I’m sure we can all agree that Wilson is definitely not your “typical” kind of guy. As for his dealership, well, I’m sure it will be successful as there is no postseason in the world of car sales.

Yu Darvish is looking to harness his old NPB approach

• Based on Darvish’s unbelievable success in the Japanese professional league, why did his approach ever change? This slightly irks me. Sure I know it’s a far more advanced game in the U.S. and there is no comparison in the talent-level of the hitters, but he’s got plus-everything stuff-wise, so why not attack just as you did in the NPB?

• Also, if Darvish is truly struggling to find his old self, how about straight-up emulating Hiroki Kuroda in the mean time? Kuroda, whose stuff isn’t anywhere near Darvish’s, shutdown the league’s most potent offense and relinquished just two hits last night as the Yankees defeated the Rangers 3-0 in New York…Kuroda’s secret? Getting ahead of hitters and using off-speed out of the zone in pitcher’s counts. If Darvish could somehow pull this off, he’d be nearly unhittable.

Up Next:

Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman (6-7, 4.64 ERA) gets the nod for Texas and will oppose right-hander Freddy Garcia (6-5, 4.85 ERA). Garcia, the all-time winningest Venezuelan-born pitcher, has been doing his thing since Fausto Carmona was probably originally going by “Roberto Hernandez.”

First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM (CST)…Go Rangers!

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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 122012
 
Detroit Tigers v Texas Rangers

In dramatic fashion, last night’s 2-1 Texas Rangers’ win over the Detroit Tigers was a perfect example of the past meeting the present.

All decked-out in their 1970s powder-blue retro uniforms, it was fresh-faced rookie Mike Olt (born in 1988) who provided the offensive jolt to fuel the walk-off win.

Did Mike Olt just turn into the “Oltimate Warrior”?

Rangers Play it Olt School With 2 1, Walk Off Win over Detroit
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I’m pretty sure the transformation is complete, friends…

And let’s not forget about Derek Holland, either.

I’m sure we all predicted that Dutch—who has been homer-prone and largely ineffective all season—was going to go toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander.

Yep.

And when Austin Jackson led off the first inning with a home run, we all knew that ‘ole Dutchy was going to settle down just fine, right?

Sure.

Baseball is a crazy, bizarre, occasionally unsettling, always challenging, and prolifically unpredictable game. And somehow all of those things make us love it that much more—especially after a Rangers’ win as exhilarating as that one.

Rangers Play it Olt School With 2 1, Walk Off Win over Detroit

Kicking it Olt-school, no doubt.


Up Next:

Yu Darvish (11-8, 4.72) takes the ball for Texas, with right-hander Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.62) on the hill for Detroit.

Porcello

This will be Porcello’s third start against the Rangers this season, and his second at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

At Comerica Park on April 21, Porcello was blistered, bruised, and beaten badly. He lasted just one inning while allowing 8 earned runs on 10 hits.

Two months later in Arlington, Porcello pitched well, scattering six hits over six innings while striking out seven to pick up the win.

The 24-year-old from Morristown, New Jersey, has a career mark of 2-2 with an 8.47 ERA against the Rangers.

The Yu

I don’t buy into the notion that Yu Darvish is wilting in the Texas heat. Sure, he’s 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA since July, but I don’t think the sweltering summer conditions are to blame. What with global warming and all, it’s hot everywhere…yes, even in Japan. In other words, Darvish has handled the heat before.

For The Yu, his problems are the same-old, same-old. Poor fastball command gets him behind in the count, he tries to pour one in the zone for a strike, then gets too much of the plate…Thwack.

It’s not like his stuff is the issue. He somehow struck out nine in Boston while also surrendering seven doubles. It’s way too early to label him as a “nibbler” but he definitely needs to improve his command while challenging hitters during pitcher’s counts.

This will be Darvish’s third start against the Detroit Tigers. He’s 2-0 with a 3.37 ERA. Yu’s last start against the men from Motown was arguably the finest of his career, as he walked just one—the only time all season he hasn’t given out at least two free passes—while scattering four hits and notching 10 strikeouts.

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Aug 102012
 
Feldmania copy copy

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?Although the thermometer hasn’t gotten much relief, August has been much kinder to the Texas Rangers than July. So far, Texas is 6-2—just three wins shy of last month’s total—and they have been averaging the most runs scored in the American League (tied with the San Francisco Giants for most in Major League Baseball with 59).

And as the calendar pushes closer to the end of the regular season, the Rangers’ bats have been heating up at the best possible time.

What better way to gear up for the stretch-run, and its inherent playoff-implications, than in a rematch of last year’s American League Championship Series?

Tonight’s Lineups:

Detroit Tigers (60-52) L10: 6-4

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?

Prince Fielder has never faced Scott Feldman before.


CF Austin Jackson
LF Andy Dirks
3B Miguel Cabrera*
1B Prince Fielder
RF Brennan Boesch
DH Delmon Young
C Alex Avila
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Omar Infante

*Over the last five years, Cabrera is batting .700 with two home runs off of Feldman.

VS

RHP Scott Feldman (6-6, 4.52 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9)

Since the All-Star Break, Feldman has easily been the Rangers’ best starter, going 3-0 with a remarkable 1.19 earned run average. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago, the Hawaiian-born righty was 0-6 with an ERA north of seven less than two months ago.

Consider this: Feldman’s three wins during the dreadful month of July were 33% of the team’s total wins. Whoa boy.

Over his last five years, Feldman is 0-2 with a god-awful 8.68 ERA and equally unsightly 2.42 WHIP. However, those numbers exclude the postseason, and Feldman was the Game 2 winner of last year’s ALCS against the Tigers. He pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-hit ball in relief while striking out 5 and walking none.

At home, Scooter is at his best as he is 4-3 with a sparkling 2.81 ERA. Right-handed batters are batting .287 with 4 homers off of him, while lefties are hitting .252 with 5 long balls.

Texas Rangers (65-45) L10: 6-4

Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?

Hamilton has been showing signs of life lately. Over his last two games, he’s gone 5-for-9 with 5 RBI.


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

VS

RHP Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.72, 1.41 WHIP, 11.3 K/9, 3.2 BB/9)

It truly isn’t a stretch to state that Scherzer might just have better pure “stuff” than his fellow teammate and last year’s A.L. MVP and Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander.

Like the Rangers’ Yu Darvish, what’s keeping Scherzer from being an elite TORP (top of the rotation pitcher), is his lack of command.

All you need to know about Scherzer’s arsenal can be gleaned from taking a peek at his strikeout per nine innings rate. 11.3! That’s absolutely ludicrous. That would be high for an elite closer. Again, like Darvish, sometimes the sheer electricity of his offerings makes them hard to control, and his walk totals reflect that…the end result of that is he’s behind in the count and forces a pitch into the zone for a strike, and then gets thwacked. In that aforementioned scenario, Scherzer is like Holland minus the ADD.

In his career against Texas, Scherzer is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA, and a 1.27 WHIP. This does not take into consideration his 0-1 record and 9.27 ERA after his ALCS Game 2 thrashing that came largely at the hands of Nelson Cruz.

Scherzer has been slightly better at home (4-2, 4.42) than on the road (6-4, 4.94) and has gone 2-1 with a 4.75 ERA since the All-Star Break of a month ago. Scherzer is susceptible to the long ball from both right-handers and left-handers, as each side has 10 against him in 2012. Righties (.219) fair far worse overall than lefties (.307) against his excellent stuff that features a mid-to-high 90s heater.

As we all know, the Rangers are a fastball-hitting team that sometimes struggles with junk-ballers. Scherzer is certainly a hard-thrower and should he struggle with his control, Texas might just jump on him early.

Go Rangers!


Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview: Can Detroit and Scherzer Halt Scooter mania?
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Aug 092012
 
JUAN GONZALEZ RANGERS

Texas Rangers Ready for Three Game Homestand with Detroit TigersAfter taking two-of-three from the Boston Red Sox, claiming their second-straight series win, the Texas Rangers are now back home in Arlington enjoying an off-day.

As the A.L. West’s leaders by 5 1/2 over those pesky A’s of Oakland, and with a sparkling 65-45 record through their first 110 games, they have earned a much needed respite.

That being said, a day without a Texas Rangers game is similar to a summer day that doesn’t reach triple digits—it’s probably best for all parties involved—but it just doesn’t seem quite right.

So, what to do with a full day of zero Rangers baseball?

I decided to pass the time by conjuring up Texas Rangers moments of the past. Good ones, of course. You know how it goes, you spend the day digging up all the bad moments, and the next thing you know you’re sporting a vagrant-length beard, babbling about John Burkett, the GD Yankees, and C.J. Wilson—smelling so sour with bitter tears that you’re dog won’t even give you a sniff.

So, here’s a look at today in Rangers’ history as well as how the Rangers fared 110 games into the season during their playoff-run years.

Enjoy.

August 9, in Rangers’ years past

August 9, 1996:

• Texas’ Bobby Witt improved to 11-8 on the season as he out-dueled Toronto’s Paul Quantril, 5-4 in Toronto. Rangers’ closer, Mike Henneman, picked up his 24th save of the season.

The win improved the Rangers to 64-52 on the season and pushed their A.L. West lead to three games over the Seattle Mariners.

The ’96 Rangers would close out the season by going 26-20 en route to their first-ever playoff appearance.

Through their first 110 games: 61-49

August 9, 1998:

• Boston’s Jim Corsi beat the Rangers’ Todd Stottlemyre 14-8, as Stottlemyre dropped to 10-10 on the year. The Rangers’ A.L. West lead shrank to just two games as their record fell to 63-53.

The Rangers would finish out their ’98 campaign by going 24-22 on their way to their second A.L. West Division crown in the last three years.

Through their first 110 games: 59-51

August 9, 1999

Texas Rangers Ready for Three Game Homestand with Detroit Tigers

Yep. This man was one of our best pitchers in 1999. Good thing we hit eleventy-billion home runs, eh?


• The Toronto Blue Jays bludgeoned the Rangers at The Ballpark, 19-4. Perhaps the only saving grace was that the loss was witnessed by only 22,235 in attendance. That number seems small nowadays, but that’s quite a few people to witness a team that had only won one playoff game in their 27 years up to that point. Plus, it’s hot in August.

The lopsided loss dropped Mike Morgan’s record to 12-7 as the Blue Jays’ Joey Hamilton (5-6) earned the win. The Rangers record dropped to 66-45 but they still had a nice 6 1/2 game lead over the Oakland A’s. Billy Beane was just getting settled in as General Manager, as ’99 marked just his second full season at the helm.

The Rangers finished out the ’99 campaign by going 29-22, to finish at 95-67. The mark stood as their finest season until last year’s team went 96-66 on their way to a second-consecutive A.L. Pennant.

Through their first 110 games: 66-44

August 9, 2010:

Yes, hard to believe that the Rangers (as well as their playoff-starved fanbase) would have to wait 11 long years to put a halt to their nine-game playoff losing streak. The 2010 season, of course, would prove to be well worth the wait.

• Much like today, the Texas Rangers had the day off on Monday, August 9, 2010. Though idle, the Rangers held a 7 1/2 game advantage over the second-placed Oakland Athletics on this date.

Through their first 110 games: : 64-46

August 9, 2011:

• The Rangers improved to 66-51 on this date last season, the 7-6 walk-off win over the Mariners came at a crucial time in the season, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were just 1 1/2 games behind Texas in the standings…I’m sure few of us would have believed that last season we’d win the A.L. West by 10 games.

Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz (2-3) earned the victory, thanks to Josh Hamilton’s walk-off single that scored Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the ninth. Hamilton’s heroics came with two-on and no one out off of Mariner’s reliever Aaron Laffey.

Through their first 110 games: : 61-49

Up Next:

Rangers’ right-hander Scott Feldman (6-6, 4.52 ERA) looks to continue his Scooter-fied magic as he opposes Detroit’s heterochromatic-hurler, righty Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.72 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM (CST).

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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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