Aug 062012
 
troubleintexas

Texas Rangers News: So, Whats Up with Roy Oswalt and Josh Hamilton?The Texas Rangers had just taken two-of-three from the Kansas City Royals, a team that they had failed to defeat in ’12 prior to their three game series last week in KC. That should be good news, but there were some uncharacteristic clubhouse issues that overshadowed the Rangers’ first series win in almost two weeks.

Josh Hamilton—More than a nicotine fit?

• As we all know, Rangers’ slugger Josh Hamilton is a very troubled man. Also, the entire world (those that care at least) have been enlightened as to why Hamilton went from totally MVP-legit to “can barely muster a hit” in the span of two months.

The man’s personal life is none of my business and really doesn’t concern me in the slightest. However, his quips to the media and his recent scuffles with the coaching staff have lead me to believe that he is going through something more intense than nicotine withdrawal. And no, I’m not hinting at substance abuse. I don’t think that’s the issue here.

However, something is eating at Hamilton—could be his personal life, movie deal, or whatever—that he normally has been able to deal with no problemo. The further Hamilton slips into the recesses of his own mind, the less likely retainment of his services becomes. In fact, I’m of the belief that Hamilton will not be a Ranger next season, and should things continue as they have, he may be given the C.J. Wilson treatment.

Roy Oswalt—Clubhouse Problem?

• Evidently, Roy Oswalt, who looked fantastic last night over his two innings of relief work, was asked to go out for a third inning, and declined. If this was due to any other reason aside from physical inability, it is absolutely inexcusable.

Naturally, Oswalt was a starter his entire career, and there was a fundamental agreement in place that he’d remain in that role for the Rangers. But still, any major leaguer that can look outside of his own personal dilemmas for a fraction of a second should be able to understand that baseball is a business, and the business of winning entails making moves that are best for the team, not best for Roy Oswalt, etc.

Besides that, if Oswalt is the competitor that I believe him to be, he should take this “demotion” as an opportunity to kick butt and show the world that he’s not a shell of his former All-Star self. He can pitch his way back into the rotation, especially given the way the injury bug has feasted on the Rangers’ rotation this season.

Here’s hoping there was some sort of mixup or miscommunication between Washington and Oswalt that will explain yesterday’s scenario. If not, this is the type of rift that can cause clubhouse issues. If that’s the case, it’s too bad. Oswalt had looked really sharp in his two appearances coming out of the ‘pen.

The Michael Young situation

• Is their any coincidence that the very moment I read that Michael Young is starting at shortstop tonight, there was an ear rattling thunderclap followed by rain? Sure, it wasn’t quite a flood of biblical proportions, but Texas in August is about as likely to see precipitation as Rangers’ fans are to, well, see MY start at shortstop…

Elvis Andrus isn’t starting tonight due to a sore shoulder—that he wouldn’t have encountered had he not blown past his third base coach’s stop sign last night. It’s why Young gets the nod at SS.

Young playing defense at all anywhere, is newsworthy. First and foremost, he’s just plain awful in the field. Secondly, it limits Ron Washington’s ability to play Mike Olt.

Young has not-so-quietly strung together his worst season as a major leaguer in 2012. Anytime he is run out there wearing the leather—and to a certain extent offensively—the Rangers’ chances of winning are diminished.

Mike Olt had a bad game yesterday, striking out with the bases loaded and committing the game-ending error on a bad throw from third to second base. Still, his power potential and normally reliable glove work (at third base at least) make him a more viable option to start over Young.

Michael Young’s career UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is -55.5 at shortstop. Yes, my coffee just went down the wrong pipe as well.

I suppose this means that the Rangers backup shortstop, Alberto Gonzalez, has played Plinko with Washington’s Tree of Trust while plummeting down to Earth after hitting every single branch.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers travel to Boston today for a three game series with the Red Sox. Starting tonight for Texas is RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.38 ERA) vs. Boston’s RHP Aaron Cook (2-5, 5.24 ERA).

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Aug 022012
 
Elvis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Nathan

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

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

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

Michael Young

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

Mitch Moreland

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

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

Ian Kinsler

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

Nelson Cruz

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

Mike Napoli

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

Elvis Andrus

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

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

Ryan Dempster

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

Mike Olt

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

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Jul 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 052012
 
Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox

Rangers Bats Fall Silent as White Sox Complete Windy City Sweep

Yu Darvish became the eighth member of the Texas Rangers to be included in this year’s Mid-Summer Classic.

The Texas Rangers succumbed to their first sweep of the season as they fell to the Chicago White Sox, 2-1 today.

It had been over a year since an opponent had busted out the brooms on the Rangers. The Windy City White Sox hadn’t swept Texas since 2001.

After combining for 21 runs during the initial game, the two teams combined for just 12 over the final two. With the White Sox outscoring the Rangers during those two contests 7-5.

Losing the opening game of a three game series by 17 runs probably didn’t set the best precedent. Much like Scott Feldman probably wasn’t Ranger Nation’s first choice to right the game one wrong.

The Rangers’ skid has now hit four games—a tie for the longest losing streak of the season. If ever there was a time to feel good about coming home, it’s now. Starting tomorrow—in the friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington—Texas exchanges the A.L. Central’s top team (White Sox) for the Central’s bottom-dwellers (Twins).

Bring ‘em on.

Thoughts from the White Sox series:

You killed us, Youk

• As the Rangers’ new color commentator, Matt Hicks, astutely noted during today’s 2-1 loss: “Kevin Youkilis has only played three home games in Chicago, and the fans are ready to give him the keys to the city.”

Well, that’s what happens when you play like Youkilis did during that three game set at U.S. Cellular Field. Youk hit .462 with 2 HRs, 6 RBI and posted a .923 slugging percentage…over his career, the certifiable “Rangers killer” is batting .328 with 7 HRs, and 35 RBI.

Jose Quintana and Chris Sale

• 23-year-old left-handers appear to have the Texas Rangers’ number. Chris Sale and Jose Quintana combined for 15 1/3 innings of seven-hit baseball, with 12 punchouts and just two walks. The young southpaws surrendered two earned runs between them and only two free passes.

• Quintana, who lacks Sale’s plus-fastball, was particularly nasty against the Rangers. He used excellent command and nasty off-speed offerings to produce plenty of swings-and-misses. The young Colombian struck out 8 over his 8 innings of work.

Mike Napoli’s continued struggles

• Batting well against left-handed pitching was Napoli’s calling card prior to this season—his splits against lefties over his career (.276/.386/.534) is still solid, but Naps has struggled against southpaws so far in 2012: .160/.274/.321.

During his breakthrough 2011 campaign, Napoli was a left-hander’s worst nightmare, as he went: .319/.430/.619.

After getting banged-up by a home plate collision with the White Sox’s A.J. Pierzynski yesterday, it wasn’t a surprise that Washington elected to sit Napoli in favor of Brandon Snyder today.

Snyder, coming into today’s game, had hit left-handers extremely well: .364/..402/.667. Perhaps as a testament to just how outstanding Quintana was today, Snyder went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

The Yu is in!

• Earlier today it was announced that rookie right-hander, Yu Darvish, would be the eighth member of the Texas Rangers to land in this year’s Mid-Summer Classic.

The 83rd Annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be held at Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium next Tuesday.

Up Next:

The Texas Rangers will host the Minnesota Twins for the final home stand before the All-Star Break.

Minnesota is currently in last place of the A.L. Central, 10 games behind the front-running Chicago White Sox. During their last matchup, the Rangers swept the Twins 3-0 in Minnesota’s Target Field.

LHP Martin Perez (1-0, 9.00 ERA) is set to make the second major league start of his career. Perez will oppose Minnesota’s LHP Francisco Liriano (2-7, 5.40 ERA). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 (CT).

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Jul 042012
 
Texas Rangers v Chicago White Sox

Hamilton Hits 26th, But Rangers Get Youked As They Fall to ChiSox 5 4 in 10

Ah whatever, he’s still regressing.

If there’s anything worse than getting curb-stomped, 19-2, it’s losing the next game 5-4, via an extra-inning walk-off.

Texas Rangers’ starter Scott Feldman survived a sordid second inning and kept the Rangers within striking distance Chicago over his six innings of work. Alas, Scooter was stuck with the no-decision as the Rangers’ bats became quiet after the third inning.

Cheer up, Rangers fans. It’s going to be all right.

Tomorrow is another day, America is still the best country in the world and losing streaks—especially meager three gamers—are always just one win away from extinction.

And, oh yes, the “Loss” (ha) Angeles Angels of Anaheim fell to the Tribe 12-3…that should rub some neosporin onto that extra-inning sting.

Thoughts on the 5-4 loss:

Rangers blew their Axelrod

• Yeah it’s not as sexual or horrifying—nor horrifyingly sexual—as it sounds. The Rangers had White Sox starter Dylan Axelrod on the brink of combustion after a three-run first inning. Yet they could muster just one more run off of him—Hamilton’s third-inning solo shot—and zero off of the ChiSox bevy of relievers.

From seeking an eighth to hoping for one

• The loss stops the Rangers’ bid for an eighth-straight series win. Now they’ll just try to get out of Chicago without getting swept.

3-2, 9-9

• Texas is now 3-2 in extra inning games this year, and is playing .500 ball during one run games.

The Face can now regain eye contact

• Mired in an 0-for-13 slump, Michael Young had a big night last night, as he went 2-for-5 with 2 RBI.

His biggest hit came in the first inning off of Axelrod, with two outs. It was a vintage MY rifle shot into the left-field gap. Certainly a good sign for a man having a rough go of 2012.

3-4-5 doing it right

• The Rangers’ 3-4-5 hitters—Hamilton, Beltre, and Young—were 6-for-14 (.429) with 3 RBI and 4 runs scored.

Mini-streak has left the building…

• After, quite literally, supplying ALL of the offense during that 19-2 shellacking, Elvis Andrus’ modest 10-game hitting streak came to a close as the All-Star shortstop finished 0-for-5.

Less than the loneliest number

• Robbie Ross was once again fantastic in relief. Called on in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out and the go-ahead run aboard, the 23-year-old left-hander induced a groundout from Alejandro De Aza for the second out. After an intentional walk of Kevin Youkilis, Ross squelched the White Sox rally as he retired slugger Adam Dunn with a strikeout looking.

Then in the eighth inning it was business as usual for Ross, as he sent the heart of the White Sox order down 1-2-3. Ross’ ERA is now less than one on the season (0.99).

The best and worst of Mike Adams

• Mike Adams came on in the ninth inning and made quick work of the White Sox, producing a very Robbie Ross-like 1-2-3 inning.

• The tenth inning didn’t go so well for the eighth inning specialist from Sinton, Texas. After getting ahead in the count against Alejandro De Aza—and apparently almost killing him as he fouled a pitch off of his leg—Adams walked him on a full count.

De Aza quickly stole second base—thanks to Adams’ blink-and-you-won’t-miss-it delivery—enabling Youkilis to record a walk-off win via a single.

Vote for the Yu! And then, vote for anyone besides David Freese

• As of this writing, Yu Darvish leads the balloting for the final American League All-Star spot. Also, David “it’ll always be too soon to talk about” Freese is leading the N.L. ballot…Let’s get Yu in and keep Freese out? What do you say?

Up Next:

LHP Matt Harrison (11-3, 3.17 ERA) will try to become just the second Texas Ranger to record his twelfth win before the All-Star Break. Fellow LHP Jose Quintana (3-1, 2.19 ERA) toes the rubber for the ChiSox. The first pitch of the final game of this three game set is scheduled for 1:05 (CT).

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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 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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