Jul 032012
 
Oswalt-sharp-in-first-start-of-the-season-GQ1NTKTC-x-large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

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

Go Rangers!

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Jul 022012
 
YuVentriloquist

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Tough crowd…”

Today marks a much needed and well deserved off-day for Major League Baseball’s best team, the Texas Rangers. Hey kicking ass and taking names is one tough business.

A Rangers-free Monday led my mind to wander. You know, big league players haven’t always made more per diem than most big oil company CEOs. In fact, there was once a time when even the great Nolan Ryan had to have an off-season job just to help make ends meet.

Hmmm, so what would the likes of Ian Kinsler, Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Craig Gentry and Nelson Cruz had done for a living had baseball not worked out? Fortunately for you—and us all, really—I’ve taken the time to find out exactly what they’d be doing to pay the bills…

Ian Kinsler, Author—Pop up Book about Popping Up

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Hello there everybody, I’m Ian Kinsler. Personally, I don’t read, but someone once told me that they read that when you write, it should be about stuff you know. Now, I know a shit-ton about popping up. So I decided to write a pop up book about it. But instead of fairies and dragons and shit, it’s got me…popping up.”

Popping Up, I Hate it but Can’t Help it, a pop up book by Ian Kinsler

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“That’s my book. Yeah, it’s a quick read. Pretty much only one page. I tried to read it, but it gave me a headache, so I just hired that one dude that wrote that book for David Wells a few years ago.”


Nelson Cruz, Model—Eyebrow Division
Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Hello, I’m Nelson Cruz. You know I had no idea I’d ever make a living, you know, being, well, being professionally good-looking. Jajaja. Well I’m still not, but I did just sign a lucrative contract with Loreal. My agent has also booked some eyepatch work for me coming up. Turns out my eyebrows pop out more than Kinsler. Jajajaja. But seriously, try my new “Boomstick” from Loreal, it’ll make your eyebrows “pop” with sexiness…I really really really miss baseball.”


Adrian Beltre, Personal Trainer—Pilates
Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked OutKinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked OutKinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked OutKinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out
Craig Gentry, Women’s Studies—Pimp

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“What’s up bitches? It’s me, Craig Gentry—you know, ‘ole Kitten Face from the TV. Well as I’m sure you already know, I love hot women. But don’t worry, you’re girlfriend, or wife is safe. I only like hot women. Hahahaha”

Gentleman Gentry’s favorite…(ahem)…bitch, just happens to be Cuban.
Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“When I’m not burning that bia bia for a triple, or a double that should have been a triple, I’m usually out at the lake motor boating hotties and slapping their asses with hundred dollar bills.”

Yu Darvish, World’s Worst Comedian—Ventriloquism “Expert”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“こんにちは、私はゆうです。これは私のダミーです。こんにちはダミー言う.”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“こんにちは、私はゆうです。”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“こんにちは、ーです。こんにちはダミー言う こんにちは、私はゆうです。これは私のダミーです。こんにちはダミー言”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Oh okay. Well, what Yu said is a play on words. Woody accused Yu of having a Woody, and Yu, said, no ‘You’ have the Woody…”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“You see, a “Woody” is U.S. slang for a hard-on, and, see, it’s on Yu’s lap…I…jeez, to hell with it, I quit. This is just awful.”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“こんに…Take my…wife…please?”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“Seriously, she is most unpleasant. You can have her…(whistles)…tough crowd.”

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

Kinsler, Gentry, Cruz, Beltre and The Yu: Career Alternatives had Baseball Not Worked Out

“What the F*** are you looking at? And Yu, get your hand out of my ass!”f

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Jul 022012
 
a

Lucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer ClassicThe Texas Rangers will have at least seven representatives at this year’s All-Star Game in Kansas City.

Rookie right-hander Yu Darvish made the final ballot and can be voted onto the All-Star team by following this link—there is NO limit to votes, so, by all means vote “Yu” until your heart is content, or your wrist locks up in a fit of carpal tunnel syndrome…and then vote a few times more.

The Rangers have had as many as five players at the Mid-Summer Classic in previous years—including the last two—but have never had more than two voted to start. The seven—possible eight—players on this year’s roster is by far the most the Rangers have ever had during their 40-year history.

Here’s a quick look at those that have already made the cut:

The starters:

Josh Hamilton, OF—11,073,744 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.314/.381/.643, 25 HRs, 73 RBI

Hamilton obliterated the vote record set last season by Toronto’s Jose Bautista. Fellow A.L. starters, Curtis Granderson (NYY) and Jose Bautista (TOR) combined, received fewer votes than Hamilton’s gargantuan number.

This is the fifth All-Star nod for Hamilton, and the fifth straight time he’s been voted in to start. Hamilton is just the third Texas Ranger to receive the most votes in any given year. He joins catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (2,808,456 in 2000), and second baseman Alfonso Soriano (3,466,447 in 2004).

Adrian Beltre, 3B—4,613,180 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.323/.355/.527, 14 HRs, 52 RBI

In an exceptionally close race, Beltre beat-out Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera by just 416,595 votes. To wit, the balloters got this one right, as Beltre’s contributions are just as important in the field as they are at the dish.

Beltre, who started last year’s Mid-Summer Classic due to an injury to Alex Rodriguez, is a three-time All-Star participant.

Mike Napoli, C—4,317,718 votesLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.235/.335/.438, 12 HRs, 30 RBI

“Nap-O-Lee!!!!” finished well ahead of Minnesota’s Joe Mauer to earn the start at catcher. This is Napoli’s first All-Star selection.

Although his numbers haven’t been great thus far, this honor has been bestowed upon him due to overall popularity and fantastic 2011 accomplishments—that, plus the fact that A.J. Pierzynski is a douche-bag of the highest order.

The rest of the Rangers’ best:

Ian Kinsler, 2BLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.276/.335/.451, 9 HRs, 40 RBI

Over the first few weeks of the balloting, Kinsler was in the lead for all A.L. second baseman. NY’s Robinson Cano eventually overtook him for the lead, but Kinsler was voted in by players, managers and coaches.

This is Kinsler’s third trip to the Mid-Summer Classic.

Elvis Andrus, SSLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
.307/.383/.412, 16 stolen bases

Andrus was selected by manager Ron Washington as a reserve, after finishing second to the A.L.’s top vote-getter at shortstop, Derek Jeter.

Elvis is having the finest offensive season of his young career. Andrus has the highest OBP of any other A.L. short stop, and is also tops in the league in stolen bases.

This is Elvis’ second All-Star nod.

Matt Harrison, LHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
11-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Harrison is tied for the A.L. lead in wins. Selected by Washington, don’t be surprised if Harrison is the American League’s starting pitcher. After all, the 26-year-old left-hander certainly has the numbers to backup such a decision.

Joe Nathan, RHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
0-2, 1.87 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 11.2 K/9, 18 saves

Just two years removed from Tommy John Surgery that caused him to miss all of the 2010 season, Nathan was selected by Washington to participate in his fifth All-Star Game.

Aside from two early-season hiccups, Nathan has been exactly what the Rangers were looking for—a shutdown closer that’s one of the finest in all of Major League Baseball.

Nathan’s 10.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio is best in all of baseball for any pitcher that has appeared in at least 30 games.

On the fringe:

Yu Darvish, RHPLucky 7 (or Elite 8): Texas Rangers Well Represented at 83rd Mid Summer Classic
10-5, 3.59 ERA, 117 strikeouts

Darvish, despite a quality start, lost in his first bid for win number eleven. Regardless, the rookie right-hander from Osaka, Japan, has been outstanding for the Rangers during the first half of 2012. He’s the team leader in strikeouts, second in wins and until last night’s 3-1 loss, had been undefeated at home in the hitter’s haven of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

You can make Darvish the Rangers’ team-record eighth All-Star participant by voting here.

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Jul 012012
 
YUBROOM copy copy

Rangers Look to The Yu to Complete Sweep of OaklandAs those in attendance of Baseball Do’s inaugural field trip witnessed first-hand, the Texas Rangers ripped the Oakland Athletics last night, 7-2, to secure their seventh-straight series win.

Tonight, the Rangers wrap up their four game series against Oakland with a chance to sweep while simultaneously pushing their current five-game winning streak to six.

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

Oakland Athletics (37-42)

Rangers Look to The Yu to Complete Sweep of Oakland

Perhaps powered by his ridiculously thick eyebrows, Cespedes continues to rake against Texas.


DH Coco Crisp
2B Jemile Weeks
RF Josh Red-Dick
CF Yoenis Cespedes
LF Seth Smith
C Derek Norris
1B Brandon Moss
3B Brandon Inge
SS Cliff Pennington

VS

RHP Yu Darvish (10-4, 3.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 10 K/9)

Currently, the Texas Rangers have seven players going to Kansas City next week to participate in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Darvish, regardless of his utterings to the contrary, has put up numbers that are All-Star worthy.

In his last start, he reached a milestone of sorts, as he issued the fewest walks (1) that he has ever surrendered over his 15 big league starts. That solitary free pass, coupled with his 10 strikeouts over seven innings of work were enough for the 6’5” Osaka, Japan native to record his tenth win of the year.

A win tonight against Oakland and The Yu would be tied with All-Star bound Matt Harrison for the team lead with 11.

For Darvish, the Athletics are a team he is quite familiar with. For the first time in his young career, Darvish will challenge a team for the third time. The Yu’ s results have been mixed as he won at home against Oakland in May, going 7 2/3 innings and striking out 7, and took the loss against the A’s early last month.

That loss was the worst start of Darvish’s brief major league career.

He lasted just 5 1/3 innings, put up the rather devilish line of 6 hits, 6 earned runs and 6 walks, and only managed four strikeouts.

Perhaps a tad of revenge—coupled with his success at home—will be the recipe Darvish needs to win his fourth-straight start.

Undefeated in Arlington (7-0, 3.45 ERA), and extremely tough on right-handed hitters (.187/.317/.328),The Yu is certainly capable of subduing an Oakland offense that has already been considerably cooled during the series’ first three games.

Overall, the Athletics are batting .296, with 7 RBI against The Yu. Coco Crisp has been particularly effective against Darvish, batting .667 with one homer and four RBI.

Texas Rangers (50-29)

Rangers Look to The Yu to Complete Sweep of Oakland

After going 0-for-7 during the first two games of the A’s series, Beltre ripped a game-tying homer during last night’s 7-2 win.


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

VS
LHP Travis Blackley (1-2, 3.69 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 5.7 K/9

Australian-born Travis Blackley, sadly, doesn’t pitch submarine-style, so there is no point in my stating that he comes from Down Under, just like his fastball.

You can’t win ‘em all.

Tonight will mark the second time this season that Blackley has dared oppose the mighty Texas Rangers. In his last start, in Oakland, Blackley was Oakland’s lone loser of that three-game stand. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings, surrendering seven hits, five earned runs, and two walks with five strikeouts.

Blackley has yet to record a win away from Oakland this year, and over his last 10 starts he’s factored in to only three decisions, two of which he lost.

His platoon splits are quite similar, as left-handed batters produce a slash line of: .229/.224/.282 with zero home runs. Right-handed batters go: .238/.299/.361 with just one big fly off of the left-hander.

Ian Kinsler and Michael Young have had a good deal of success against Blackley, with Kinsler batting .333 with 2 RBI, and Young notching a triple and a double off the Melbourne, Australia native.

It’s worth noting that Blackley’s pick-off move is one of the finest in the American League, as he has successfully picked off four base runners, to tie him with Toronto’s Ricky Romero for the A.L. lead.

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Jun 292012
 
feldman

Feldman Good Enough as Rangers Bats Stay Hot in 7 6 Win Over OaklandSeriously, how often does a starting pitcher’s ERA begin at 6.00, actually increase by 0.13 over the course of the game, and he earns the win? Probably not too often.

Scott Feldman, much like Roy Oswalt two nights ago, lived dangerously but still escaped with the victory as the Rangers held off the A’s 7-6.

Feldman’s main issue was the long ball—as he surrendered three over his five innings of work. Oswalt basically threw BP against Detroit, coughing up 13 hits over his six innings the night before last.

But hey, both Scooter and the Whiz have now won their last two starts. Hey, for Roy Oswalt this is still spring training. For Feldman, it’s always spring training.

Regardless, it’s good to be on the right side of Texas’ potent offense—especially when you don’t have your best stuff. Just make it through five or six, and let the sticks get your back.

Cliff Lee might be 10-0 right now—rather than winless—had he decided to stay in Arlington. I’m sure he’ll cry himself to sleep on a pillow stuffed with money.

Notes from last night:

• Adrian Beltre remains en fuego. You’re know you’re going well when you go 0-for-3, but still manage to drive in two runs.

• David Murphy continues to tear it up. Murphy went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI last night, and combined with his 4-for-5, 5 RBI night prior, he’s now raised his batting average 20 points. Murphy is not one of the flashiest players on the team, but he has a real knack for turning up his game at the most opportune times.

• Just when the criticism surrounding the Rangers’ leadoff hitter seems to reach a crescendo, Ian Kinsler catches fire. The Rangers’ second baseman is now batting .571 with 6 runs scored over his last three games. Kinsler leads the major leagues in runs scored, and his double last night pushes him into the American League lead, with 25.

• Texas Rangers super-utility man, Michael Young, may have turned the corner on a disappointing start to the season. After going 2-for-4 last night, Young is batting .370 during his current six-game hitting streak.

• Josh Hamilton went 2-for-3 last night with 2 RBI. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Hamilton’s showing last night was his ability to grind-out two walks.

Prior to last night, he’d walked just three times in ten games. Seems he’s seeing the ball better now, and if that’s the case, the Oakland Athletics—as well as the American League as a whole—might be in trouble.

Up Next:

Lefty Matt Harrison (10-3, 3.24) will oppose Oakland’s right-hander A.J. Griffin (0-0, 3.00 ERA). The first pitch scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

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Jun 262012
 
YuJosh

Yu Darvish Dazzles as Hamilton and Kinsler Go Deep in 7 5 Win over Detroit

Hami is saying no to snuff, but continues to say yes to galactic moon-shots.

Yu Darvish picked up his tenth win of the year in typical Darvish fashion: he was frustratingly erratic early, then settled down enough for a solid start.

The victory puts Darvish in a tie with Matt Harrison for the most on the team. The game wasn’t as crisp as we’d like it to be, but hey, it’s a win. The Tigers are a tough team (just ask Grimm), and with the Angels winning last night as well, it keeps Texas ahead 4 1/2 games in the AL West.

Kinsler got the show started in the bottom of the first with a leadoff home run. Kinsler’s blast cut the Tigers lead in half, and was his first since June 8 in San Francisco. It marked the third time he’s hit a leadoff jack this season, and the 23rd of his career.

Even though the Rangers were trailing through the first three innings—and Darvish was a little wild—I never panicked or thought that Texas was in a poor position to win. The Yu is always—it seems—standing on shaky ground early on, but once he gets in a groove, he becomes nearly unhittable.

Darvish dealt back-to-back 1-2-3 innings twice last night—in the second and third innings, as well as the sixth and seventh innings. Take away the first and fifth and the dude might have thrown a no-hitter.

Thoughts from last night’s 7-5 win:

Cabrera’s Cabeza

• Tiger’s third baseman, Miguel Cabrera, came into last night with a sizzling .379 batting average at Rangers Ballpark. In his first at bat of the game, Darvish accidentally plunked him on the head with a 92 MPH fastball. Cabrera was 0-3 on the game…Evidently a heater to the noggin is Miggy’s Achilles’ Heel.

Darvish, the whirling dervish

• The term “effectively wild” is overused, but has their ever been a better embodiment of that phrase than Yu Darvish? Maybe not. He was all over the zone—especially in the first inning—but he only hit one batter (Cabrera) and walked just one as well (Austin Jackson.) From pitch-to-pitch you just never know where Darvish will put it, and that system worked well for him last night, as he surrendered just four hits and racked up 10 strikeouts.

Tough luck for the Napster

• Mike Napoli, who got the start at first base, was the only Ranger starter that didn’t record a hit. He barely missed a home run in the eighth inning though, and seems to be squaring up on the ball much better of late. Napoli might be close to getting locked in at the dish.

Josh Hamilton

• Much has been made about the slugging center fielder’s June swoon. After connecting last night for his 24th home run, Hamilton now has homers in back-to-back games for the first time since May. As we all know, Hamilton is talented enough to go from looking lost to suddenly putting on a Ruthian display. Don’t be surprised if Hami heats up enough to reclaim the major league lead in homers by next month’s All-Star Break.

The Tigers and Texas

• Remember when Detroit’s Comerica Park was a house of horrors for the Rangers? That all changed this past April when the Rangers rolled into Motown and took three of four games. Now, the Rangers are in a position to take their sixth-straight series if they can beat Detroit tomorrow night. The series is tied up one game apiece, yet the Rangers have actually been outscored 13-9. Over their first six meetings this year, the Rangers have outscored the Tigers 34-25.

Feeling Young again

• It’s no secret that “super utility man” Michael Young has struggled at the plate this year. Last night he rifled an RBI triple into the left-field gap that ignited the Rangers’ four-run fourth inning. Young wound up 2-for-4 on the night…He might be close to putting together a very MY-like hot streak.

Up Next:

The Rangers’ Roy Oswalt (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will make his second start of 2012 as he faces Detroit’s Doug Fister (1-4, 2.72 ERA), with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

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Jun 262012
 
Yu Darvish 6

Rangers/Tigers Game 2 Preview—featuring The YuAnytime The Yu takes the bump, the buzz around Ranger Nation is amplified accordingly.

Darvish plus a slew of Rangers-related events has made today that much crazier.

First, there was the news that top-ranked prospect, Martin Perez, was promoted to the big leagues and placed in the bullpen.

After morning turned to afternoon, there was more and more speculation as to which roster spot would be vacated to make room for Perez.

Then, just a few hours ago—right about when the thermostat began to cry its triple-digit tears—news broke that Colby Lewis would be placed on the 15-day disabled list due to tendonitis in his right forearm.

Yikes.

Can’t do anything about the injuries—aside from hope that no additional ones transpire. Now it’s time to look to The Yu for not just a win, but for a pleasant distraction from all the injury woes.

Darvish has yet to lose at home this season. Detroit’s Drew Smyly has yet to drop a game on the road. Someone’s going to lose tonight…here’s hoping it’s the men from Motor City.

Tonight’s Lineups:

Detroit Tigers 36-37

Rangers/Tigers Game 2 Preview—featuring The Yu

Cabrera was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI last night.


CF Austin Jackson
LF Quentin Berry
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Delmon Young*
RF Brennan Boesch
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alexi Avila
2B Ramon Santiago

*Young, along with Don Kelly who is not starting tonight, are the only two Tigers to get a hit off of Darvish during his last start against Detroit at Comerica Park.

VS

RHP Yu Darvish (9-4, 3.45 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 9.7 K/9)

Darvish has been terrific in his last two starts, as he went eight innings in each, posting a combined ERA of 2.25, with 19 Ks and 5 BBs.

In Arlington this season, Darvish has been unbeatable, as he has gone 6-0 with a 3.15 ERA. Plus, Detroit is batting just .095 against him.

The Yu is extremely tough on right-handed hitters: .202/.329/.355. However, 5 of his 7 home runs allowed thus far have come from the right side of the box off of him.

Southpaws swing it to the tune of: .252/.343/.352 off of the Osaka, Japan native.

Darvish earned the win on April 22 in Detroit as he fanned five over his 6 1/3 innings of work. He surrendered just two hits, while walking five in the Rangers’ 10-2 win.

A win tonight and Darvish would be tied for the team lead with Matt Harrison, at 10.

Texas Rangers (45-29)

Rangers/Tigers Game 2 Preview—featuring The Yu

Beltre was 3-for-5 last night, raising his BA to .328.


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton (3-for-3 with a HR vs. Smyly)
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
LF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
RF Brandon Snyder

VS

LHP Drew Smyly (2-2, 3.96 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 8.2 K/9)

23-year-old Drew Smyly was a second round selection by the Detroit Tigers out of the University of Arkansas during the 2010 MLB Draft.

Smyly received a tough luck no-decision in his previous start against the Rangers on April 22 in Detroit. He went six innings, allowing just one run (earned) while striking out seven, walking two and limiting Texas to just five hits.

His lefty/righty splits are quite similar, as southpaws bat: .269/.301/.487 whereas righties go: .255/.319/.455.

The Texas Ranges are batting .227 (5-for-22) against Smyly thus far in his career, with slugger Josh Hamilton accounting for three of the five hits.

Go Rangers!

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Jun 252012
 

Justin Grimm vs. Rick Porcello, a Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview

The Rangers are now finished with their summer fling—aka the N.L. West.

Much like that wonderful summer camp fling, interleague play has come to a close.

Yes, the National League—as well as that young lady that believed you were “All-State in two different states”—will be greatly missed.

The Texas Rangers went 14-4 against the National League this year—a success rate (77%) that wouldn’t be believed even during beer-fueled boasts around the campfire.

Granted, the N.L.—especially the N.L. West—didn’t present the toughest of challenges, but hey, for every girl that gives you the cold shoulder, there’s always that naïve new girl—usually from Beaumont—that buys your BS.

So let’s not denigrate the Rangers’ accomplishments against inferior foes. Hey, they’ve won 12 of 15 as well as 8 of their last 10—so who cares if the contestants speak with a stammer or make their own clothes?

You’ve still got to win, baby.

Tonight the Rangers will have to raise their game—having a car isn’t enough to make the ladies swoon anymore, and plating four runs won’t do it against the A.L.—with the Detroit Tigers landing in Arlington for a three-game series.

Regardless of their standings (third in the A.L. Central), the Tigers represent the toughest lineup the Rangers have faced in quite some time. It will be fun to see if the team with the best record in the bigs—the Rangers!—can continue their dominance against non-N.L. foes.

Tonight’s Lineup:

Detroit Tigers (35-37)

Justin Grimm vs. Rick Porcello, a Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview

Miggy mashes Texas: .379/.415/.568 with 8 HRs.


CF Austin Jackson
LF Quintin Berry
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder
DH Delmon Young
RF Brennan Boesch
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Ramon Santiago
C Gerald Laird

VS

RHP Justin Grimm (1-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.5 K/9)

Grimm made his major league debut in his last start, and pitched well despite getting into trouble almost immediately, surrendering a first inning home run to Houston’s shortstop, Jed Lawrie.

Grimm ducked and dodged danger effectively, allowing three runs on six hits with zero walks and seven strikeouts over his six innings of work.

A very solid debut, no doubt.

Tonight he’ll have his work cutout for him as he looks to subdue a Tigers offense that is MUCH stronger than the Houston Astros’. Detroit has the seventh-best offense in MLB: .262/.327/.408.

Grimm—in the ultimate example of a small sample, one game—dominated right-handed batters: .167/.167/.333. On the flip-side, southpaws mauled him: .364/.364/..727 with one home run (Lawrie).

This will be the first time Grimm will face an American League team during his brief big league career.

Texas Rangers (45-28)

Justin Grimm vs. Rick Porcello, a Rangers/Tigers Game 1 Preview

Murphy has been stellar against Detroit: .310/.347/.483 with 3 HRs over his career.


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

VS

RHP Rick Porcello (4-5, 4.95 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 5.9 K/9)

Porcello has had a rough go of it since finishing third in the Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2009. Since that promising rookie campaign that saw Porcello go 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA, he’s gone 24-21 with a 4.83 ERA (excluding his 2012 numbers).

It’s safe to say that the opposition has figured him out.

And if any team has mastered Porcello, it is the Texas Rangers. On April 21, of this year, the Rangers absolutely crushed the 6’5” right-hander.

How bad was it?

Well, let’s just say he wasn’t just manhandled, he was “Feld-manhandled
Porcello lasted one inning, surrendering nine runs (eight earned) while allowing 10 hits and one home run. He did, somehow, manage one strikeout with one free pass sprinkled in for good measure.

The Texas Rangers own a .377 batting average against Porcello. In terms of splits this year, Porcello has been remarkably mediocre whether it be at home (2-3, 4.70 ERA), on the road (2-2, 5.29 ERA); against left-handed batters (.330/.375/.511, 5 HRs) or right-handed batters (.308/.349/.442, 3 HRs).

David Murphy (.800, 2 RBI), Ian Kinsler (.667, 5 RBI) and Michael Young (.500, 6 RBI) will be particularly pleased to see Porcello this evening.

Prediction time:

I think the Rangers will pound on Porcello once again. As is usually the case with my predictions, I could be as wrong as skinny pants and hipsters, so I offer no guarantees on my often misguided attempts at clairvoyance.

Regardless:

Rangers roll 9-3 as Grimm picks up his second win in as many chances and Josh Hamilton goes yard for the first time since June 8, and not one damn summer camp ex-girlfriend follows me back on Twitter.

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Jun 252012
 

<b><i>Dirty Byrd:</b></i> Former Ranger, Marlon Byrd, Busted for PED useAccording to this crazy thing known as the world wide web, former Texas Ranger, Marlon Byrd, has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games, due to a failed drug test.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jeff Wilson
Made the news known via Twitter:

Byrd, a fan favorite during his three seasons in Texas, had the finest season of his 11-year career in 2009, while with the Rangers. He hit .283 with 20 home runs and 89 RBI that year, and signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs during the following offseason.

After a terrible start to his 2012 campaign—he was batting .070 through 13 injury-plagued games—Byrd was shipped to Boston for Michael Bowden and Hunter Cervenka.

Less than one month after acquiring him, the Red Sox let Byrd fly free, as they issued his unconditional release. Byrd, currently a free agent, has hit .210 with just one home run and nine RBI combined during this year with the Cubs and Red Sox.

The alleged drug that caused the positive test, Tamoxifen, is generally used for treatment of breast cancer for both men and women. However, it is on MLB’s banned substance list.

According to USA Today’s Gabe Lacques, Byrd had been working with former BALCO president Victor Conte, who has vehemently denied supplying Byrd with anything illegal.

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Jun 232012
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe.

Numbers and Notes:

.094

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

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

May 13, 2012

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

74.160.13

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

Those numbers represent:

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

2-of-3

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

9

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

2 Months, one day

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

Up Next:

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

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