Results tagged ‘ Ian Kinsler ’

Cautious excitement

Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training in just 2 days, and I’m excited for the Rangers to start getting some of this confusion sorted out!

At the time of my last post, it seemed as if a Michael Young trade was going to happen immediately. Wrong.

Michael still hasn’t been traded, most likely because of the hefty salary that accompanies him. And it’s starting to look more and more like a trade won’t happen.

So I guess that’s kinda good, because it means that the Rangers won’t have a hole in their lineup. But it means that Michael is stuck in a role where he’s not happy.

He could get traded during Spring Training, though. A lot of stuff happens during those 6 weeks.

And I don’t even have to cite examples from multiple years in order to prove that point. Last year should be sufficient.

Players will get injured, putting their spot on the team in jeopardy. Remember what happened to Salty, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, and Ian Kinsler during Spring Training last year?

Players who we thought would be shoe-ins for a particular position will surprise us by underperforming. Remember Khalil Greene from last year? Or the idea of Neftali Feliz as a starter for 2010?

Other players will surprise us by performing way above expectations. See C.J. Wilson, who emerged from Spring Training as one of the top 2 starters on the team. That was something I definitely did not expect!

We traded for several players during Spring Training, including Matt Treanor and Andres Blanco. They were both instrumental in the Rangers’ success in 2010, especially Treanor.

So it’s still possible that Michael Young could get traded after Spring Training starts. You never know. I just hope that if a trade does happen, we get a good bat in return who can fill in as our DH.

As the title of this blog entry implies, I’m excited about the beginning of baseball activities in 2011, but I’m still nervous.

Last year, I was worried. We had gaping holes at utility infielder and catcher, and we thought we had an abundance of pitching.

The holes were filled well by Andres Blanco, Matt Treanor, and Bengie Molina, but our pitching faded quickly. Luckily we were able to trade for Cliff Lee, and we actually made it to the World Series!

This year we seem to be lacking a true ace, and our team captain isn’t happy and is asking for a trade. Again, it’s not looking good.

But perhaps these issues will be resolved and we’ll be back in the World Series in 2011! There’s no way to know what the future has in store.

Spring Training is a time of endless possibilities, and I’m sure that many of my expectations and predictions will be thrown out the window. But it sure is fun tring to predict what will happen!

You’d better hold on tight, because I have a feeling it’s going to be a bumpy ride!!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 2 days

More on the Napoli trade

Since my post yesterday, I’ve learned a bit more about the Mike Napoli trade.

While I was quite enthusiastic to bid farewell to Frank Francisco, the always-astute Joey Matschulat over at BBTiA wonders here about the affect this trade will have on the bullpen.

I neglected to mention yesterday that trading away Francisco most likely means that Neftali Feliz will remain the Rangers’ closer, as opposed to switching to the rotation. I’m fine with this, but there quite a lot of fans who disagree with me on this point.

I’ve also learned that last year Napoli started 70 games for the Angels at 1B. This was mostly due to need, since Kendry Morales broke his ankle in that freak celebration accident.

That just means that Napoli is even more versatile than I thought. Not only can he catch and DH, but he can also play solid 1st base.

It also brings up the question of whether or not we actually need Michael Young.

There has been a lot of speculation that a Michael Young trade is imminent, and the reasons are definitely persuasive enough to make me stop and think.

Ken Rosenthal brought up the facts here that:
1) Michael Young is under contract for the next 3 years at a staggering $16 million/year
2) With Adrian Beltre at 3rd base for the next 5-6 years, Young has been relegated to a role as a super-utility man/DH, a role he’s too young for
3) After the deal with Beltre, they announced Young would DH, but then continued to pursue Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Vladdy, and finally traded for Napoli
4) With Napoli capable of playing 1B/DH, Young’s role is further threatened
5) In May, Young will achieve full veto power of any trade due to the 10/5 rule (10 years in the majors, at least 5 years with one team)
6) The Colorado Rockies were interested in Young at the Winter Meetings to be their 2nd baseman

So if those are the reasons why we should trade Michael Young, then what are the reasons why we shouldn’t?
1) Face of the franchise
2) MY has said in the past that he wants to stay in Texas

But #2 may not apply any more considering his current role. He may decide that he’d rather go somewhere else to get the opportunity to play full-time offense and defense.

Michael Young said here that he doesn’t see himself as a DH, and he considers this a temporary move. But if he thinks that way, he must be thinking about another team, because Beltre is here to stay.

Okay, maybe Michael is seeing himself at another infield position. Let’s look at those options.

He couldn’t possibly be thinking of taking over for Elvis. Just 2 years ago, before Elvis was proven to be Major League-ready, the Rangers asked Michael to give up his role as shortstop, so they’re not likely to switch back now. Especially since Elvis has shown that he is far superior defensively.

Did Young see himself as a first baseman? That’s a position that has suffered since the loss of Mark Tiexiera. But with Mitch Moreland just coming up and the recent acquisition Napoli, that’s pretty much out as a permanent position for MY.

I could see him at 2nd base, but Kinsler is signed through 2012 (with an option for 2013). Plus, Kinsler and Young are good friends, so I can’t really see Young expecting to push Kinsler out.

So Michael must be envisioning himself with another team, right? Who knows.

Although it seems that Colorado would be a good fit for a trade, MLBtraderumors.com says here that the Rockies are financially tapped out.

The fans would throw a fit. Young has spent 10 years (his entire career) as a Ranger. Even though the Rangers have gained a lot more fans after their World Series trip last year, I don’t know if they’d be willing to risk all the fans they’d lose if they traded Young.

There’s also the “clubhouse factor” to consider, as Richard Durrett of RSPN Dallas points out here. Michael is the unquestioned team captain, even if he doesn’t have a “C” on his uniform. Could the Rangers handle the 2011 player turnover without Young as a buffer?

These are some definitely some points that merit discussion. But I’m 99% sure that if the Rangers do plan to trade Young, they will be very upfront about it and will include him in the discussions.

I can’t imagine them blindsiding him with a trade. The respect him too much for that.

Pitchers and catchers report in: 21 days

2011 shaping up

I hope that all of you had a fantastic holiday season! I got some great baseball stuff for Christmas!

My Aunt Paula got me a dozen clear plastic baseball cubes so that I can display some more of my autographed baseballs, and my dad got me 2 more, so I was super excited about that. I still need at least another dozen, but it’s a great start! And I’m planning to keep getting autographs, so I hope my family keeps ‘em coming!

But the best thing was that my dad got me one of the Michael Young bats that was designed when he became the franchise hits leader this season! They only made 2010 bats, and mine came with a certificate stating that it was number 109!!

My dad said he got it several months ago, so it has just been sitting at his house waiting for Christmas!

My mom and step-dad also got me a framed picture that says “Texas Rangers,” but each letter of “Rangers” has a different picture. The first one is the famous Nolan Ryan picture with the bloody jersey after Robin Ventura charged the mound, and all of the other pictures are from the 2010 season, including Josh Hamilton, Vladdy, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Neftali Feliz, etc.

I think those were all of my baseball-related Christmas gifts, but a few days ago I purchased my 2011 20-game Mini Plan! Woo-hoo!!!

I know I haven’t blogged since Cliff Lee decided to go to the Phillies, so some of you may think that it caused me to go into a massive depression and I couldn’t bear to write about baseball.

The truth is that I just got busy. It’s easy to put baseball on the back burner when it’s not baseball season. And the longer I wait, the more stuff happens and I get farther and farther behind. So bear with me, okay?

Alright, in the last month (after Cliff Lee left), Zack Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and Matt Garza was traded to the Chicago Cubs. Uh oh. That means all the good pitchers are gone, right?

Wrong. (Hopefully)

After the Greinke trade but before the Garza trade, the Rangers signed Brandon Webb. When I first heard the name, I knew it sounded familiar, but I couldn’t remember why.

As it turns out, Webb won the Cy Young while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006. But he hasn’t played in a Major League game in the past 2 years because he’s been recovering/rehabbing from a shoulder injury/surgery.

I have a good feeling about Brandon Webb, and his surgery was performed by Rangers’ team doctor Dr. Keith Meister, so THAT’S gotta be good. But Brandon Webb could be to 2011 what Rich Harden was to 2010. Who knows, right?

The Rangers also signed lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes, and I knew his name was familiar as well. He is 41 years old! But he made it to the All-Star team for the first time last year as the representative from the Cincinnati Reds.

He has been in the Major Leagues since 1991, and his age doesn’t seem to be adversely affecting him. He missed all of the 2007 season due to Tommy John surgery, but in the last 3 years since the surgery he’s had a 2.32 ERA and an opponent’s batting average of .204. Not too shabby!

He’s also a native Texan, which is always nice.

But the Rangers’ biggest aquisition this off-season is at what was previously considered a very stable position: 3rd base.

Michael Young is the face of the Texas Rangers, having spent all of his time in the majors on this team and even holding the franchise record for hits. He is signed through 2013. But since his move to 3rd base 2 years ago, his defensive ability seems to have taken a hit.

It had been suggested by numerous blogs (maybe even mine, but I don’t remember) that Young might be better used as a DH. And that is exactly what MY offered to do when Adrian Beltre became available as an option for the Texas Rangers.

Beltre accepted a 6-year $96 million dollar deal from the Texas Rangers, and he will be our 3rd baseman of the future. I’ve always liked Adrian Beltre, but since he’s 31 years old, I’m not too comfortable with giving him such a long contract.

But Beltre has won 2 Gold Gloves at 3rd base and is obviously defensively superior to Michael Young. No offense, Mikey, but the Rangers now have the strongest left side in all of baseball with Beltre at 3rd and Elvis Andrus at shortstop.

The only thing that makes me sad about adding Beltre? No more Vladdy. Michael Young has become the DH of the near future, so there’s no longer an open spot for Vladdy.

I know his performance took a sharp downward turn midway through last season, but I just love Vladdy. His personality seemed to fit perfectly in the Rangers’ clubhouse, and his quick smile is so contagious. I’ll miss you, Big Bad Vlad.

Now the Rangers are rumored to be courting Jim Thome to take turns at DH with Michael Young. Since MY can play all 4 infield positions, I’m sure the Rangers can work out a schedule where Young spends half his time at DH and the other half giving the other guys in the infield a break.

Jim Thome seems to make more sense for the Rangers at DH than Vlad for 2011, especially in light of this article by BBTiA a few weeks ago. It predicts that Thome will probably expect 350-400 plate appearances in 2011, whereas Vlad would probably expect somewhere around 600 or so.

Thome is also generally regarded as a good clubhouse guy, so that’s promising. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The Rangers’ Winter Caravan has kicked off, and I’m planning to attend 2 of the appearances to gather some more autographs to my collection.

Then on January 22-23, the Rangers will be hosting their first 2-day Fan Fest, and I can’t wait to see what that entails! Some good stuff coming up!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 34 days

Merry Cliffmas!!

Wow, has it really been 2 weeks since my last blog posting? Once again, I apologize for my dereliction of duty. But I DO have a real job and family and friends that need my attention.

Okay, so… the past 2 weeks have been a wild ride! I went to the last regular season Rangers’ game of the year, and even though the Rangers lost the game, IT WAS AMAZING!

I’ve gone to the last game of the season several times in recent years, but this year it felt completely different.

That’s because in previous years, I always knew that it really was the last Rangers’ game for 6 months. But not this year!!

Because we made the playoffs this year, there was a completely different atmosphere in the ballpark for that final game of the regular season. No one was really that disappointed when the Rangers lost, because everyone knew the game didn’t matter and the Rangers would soon get to play in games that DID matter!

Since the Rangers are post-season newbies and the Tampa Bay Rays can’t seem to get any fans in their ballpark, both of the first 2 games were on while I was at work. I couldn’t pay really close attention to them, but the Rangers completely dominated those games.

Cliff Lee put David Price to shame in Game 1, and C.J. Wilson dazzled in Game 2. It was beautiful, and I couldn’t wait for the Rangers to come back to Arlington!

I had tickets to both Saturday and Sunday’s games in Arlington, but I didn’t think that Sunday’s game would be necessary. My dad and I took brooms to the ballpark, and I truly believed that the Rangers would sweep the Rays.

My dad wore his beloved antler batting helmet, which got a lot of praise, of course! We arrived at the ballpark early, and we were sitting in our seats when Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas spotted the antlers and made his way over to us for an interview.

I had met Richard back in January through TR Sullivan, but he didn’t realize that the “antler man” was with me until after he had already introduced himself to my dad. It was kind of a “hey, small world” moment.

Here is a link to the article: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/texas-rangers/post/_/id/4855711/fans-arrive-early-pumped-for-game-3

The atmosphere at the ballpark on Saturday was absolutely electric! The Rangers were leading until the late innings, when Tampa Bay surged and overtook them. I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach.

But I wasn’t too worried, because the Rangers could still beat the Rays at home on Sunday, and I would be there for that game as well.

But Sunday’s game was even more pathetic than Saturday’s had been. And so it was down to the final game in Florida last night.

I met some friends of mine (and my dad) at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game, and I’m so glad I did! They had the game on just about every TV in there, and there were a ton of Rangers’ fans.

Every time a Ranger would get a hit or Cliff Lee would work himself out of a jam, there would be spontaneous applause. I was doing “the Claw” with complete strangers!

About the 7th inning, when the Rangers were leading 3-1, I looked across the table at my childhood friend Rachel. I said, “Holy $#!+, Rach. They could actually win this game and make it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time ever!”

“Oh wow, they really might do it!” she said with wide eyes. And that was when it really sunk in for me.

Ian Kinsler’s 2-run home run in the 8th solidified the Rangers lead, making the final score 5-1. Coincidentally, Game 1 of this series was played in Tampa Bay with Cliff Lee and David Price as the starting pitchers, and the Rangers won 5-1. Hmm…

Cliff Lee was phenomenal, throwing 120 pitches for a complete game. Cliff Lee is now 7-0 in the playoffs. Maybe he should be the new Mr. October!

I didn’t make it home last night until about 11:00, and I didn’t get to bed until after midnight. So I’ve been pretty bleary-eyed all day. But elated!

I have tickets to the first ALCS game this Friday, and I’m excited about the game, but it will be a bittersweet day.  I don’t mean to depress everybody, but I just found out that my only remaining grandparent has passed away. He was 91 years old, so he lived a long and happy life, but it’s still tough.

Anyway, his funeral will most likely be on Friday morning. Hopefully the Rangers will whip some Yankee butt for my Paw Paw’s sake. He LOVED the Rangers!!

But the Yankees still scare me. Oh, by the way, I already bought World Series tickets. Since I had a 16-game mini-plan this year, they let me buy tickets during the pre-sale today. So if the Rangers make it that far, I’ll be there!

I love you, Paw Paw! LETS GO RANGERS!!

Overall Rangers record: 90-72 / 3-2 in the playoffs
My Rangers’ record: 16-10 / 0-2 in the playoffs
Days ’til my next game: 2

It’s good to be home again!

Man, that was a tough road trip. At least we ended it with a win.

Dropping three straight to Tampa Bay was awful. We split the 4-game series in Baltimore, but we probably should have swept them.

So which do you think is worse? That the Rangers were humiliated against a team they will very likely see in the playoffs (TB)? Or the fact that they only took 2 out of 4 against the worst team in baseball (the O’s)?

I’m not giving up on my boys. They just really need to step it up.

Yes, we still have an 8-game lead in the AL West. As long as we win our division, we will get to the playoffs. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get past the first round.

If the season ended today, the Rangers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays would be going to the post-season. And the Rangers would have the worst win/loss record of all the playoff teams.

In the first round, Tampa Bay would play Minnesota, and the Rangers would again face the Yankees. And the Yankees would have home-field advantage.

We’ve seen this before, and it doesn’t end well for the Rangers. They need to prove that they’re not just the Yankees’ whipping boy. Because the goal isn’t just to get to the post-season, but to actually make it past the 1st round.

I really feel like the Rangers have a shot this year. They just need to be careful so that they don’t fade down the stretch.

Speaking of fading down the stretch, I’m concerned about all the injuries hurting our playoff berth. The Rangers currently have 6 players in the 15-day DL. If most of them are well enough to come back by August 31st, we should be good.

I’m sure that most of you know that the active rosters expand on September 1 from 25 up to a maximum of 40 players. But only the players who are on the Rangers’ 25-man roster on August 31st can participate in post-season games, unless there is an injury and someone has to be called up.

Kinsler’s been out since July 29, and hopefully he’ll be able to come back at the end of August. The Rangers could really use Kins in the post-season. Cristian Guzman was pretty useless as Kinsler’s initial replacement.

Taylor Teagarden has been doing a great job filling in for Matt Treanor, so it will be interesting to see what happens if Treanor can make it back before the 31st.

It will be good to get Dustin Nippert back too. Matt Harrison is a great lefty long reliever, but Scott Feldman is not a good option for a righty long reliever. Dustin is no longer having headaches, so I’m not really sure what the hold-up is.

But the player that the Rangers need the most is Nelson Cruz. They need his boomstick as well as his range and strong arm in the outfield. Seriously, I can’t wait for Nelly to come back.

Luckily, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero seem to have emerged from their slumps, lessening the need for Nelly’s bat. But just think how much better we will be with Cruz!!

The Rangers are back in Arlington today, and they are set to play 3 games against Joe Mauer the Minnesota Twins. The Twins are a good team, but the Rangers have been great at home this season.

Rich Harden is starting tonight for the Rangers. Again? I thought we got rid of him! I thought he was gone for good when the Rangers put him on the DL this last time. I mean, how many chances are we gonna give this guy?

He’s just too unpredictable. He’s only had 2 good starts all year long. Enough already!

But then again, maybe he’ll have another stellar performance this evening and continue it all the way through the post-season. Miracles can happen, right?

After Harden, Colby Lewis is expected to pitch on Tuesday night, followed by C.J. Wilson on Wednesday.

My prediction is that we will lose the game tonight (and then hopefully we’ll really be rid of Rich Harden)! Then Colby will finally get his 10th win on Tuesday, followed by another spectacular show by C.J. Wilson, earning us the series win on Wednesday.

I’m going to the game Wednesday, and I’m really excited because I just looked at the 10-day forecast. It looks like tomorrow will be our last day of 100+ degree weather! Yay!!

My dad mentioned that a cold front is supposed to come through on Tuesday night, so I figured the temperature might drop a bit on Wednesday and then climb right back up. But the forecast predicts 93-95 degree highs every day through Wednesday, September 1! Woo hoo!!!

Bring on the Twins! It’s gonna be downright chilly!!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 69-54
My Rangers’ record: 13-8
Days ’til my next game: 2

The Tampa Bay Debacle

This is very frustrating. I want my team to do well, and they’re not.

I’m not a fickle fan who will stop watching the Rangers if they lose. Even if they lose every game for the rest of the season, I’ll still watch every single game. It’s just frustrating.

What’s up with all the injuries?? Ian Kinsler’s obviously been out for a while, but it looks like he’s not coming back any time soon. Hopefully Dustin Nippert and Matt Treanor will be rejoining the Rangers shortly.

Then there’s Nelson Cruz and Cristian Guzman. We’re not missing too much with Guzman gone, but losing Nelly for 2 weeks hurts. Bad.

And Josh Hamilton can’t play defense on Astroturf because of his knees? Yeah, let’s put Vladdy in there, because his knees can take it, and his defense is so great! Gimme a break!

They should have just left Vladdy on the bench and played Brandon Boggs. It’s not like Vlad’s bat is all that stellar lately either.

Wow, I’m being really negative! Sorry about that, it’s just hard to find good things to talk about right now.

 
Michael Young is having trouble with neck stiffness. I can’t be mad at Michael Young, because he always wants to play and he never misses because of injury. I’m just saying it’s bad timing.

Cliff Lee hasn’t been too lucky when starting for Texas. I think it’s time for us to give him a day off here and there, instead of always starting him on the 5th day no matter what. We don’t want him to be burned out before we get to the playoffs.

Tommy Hunter is perplexing. It’s understandable that he wouldn’t do such a great job last Friday, because he was throwing up. But what happened on Tuesday at the Trop??

And Derek Holland yesterday! I didn’t get to watch the game, because I was at work, but I listened to it. He threw 106 pitches in just 4 1/3 innings and gave up 5 earned runs on 6 hits and 4 walks.

We all know that Rich Harden doesn’t have it, and that Scott Feldman doesn’t either. What happened to our multitude of starting pitcher options in Spring Training??

I think we should get Matt Harrison out of the bullpen and give him another shot at starting. It could be a good thing.

Everybody just looks really tired. Half the team is already on the DL, so I think they should just bring up the entire AAA roster for the next couple of weeks. They couldn’t be much worse than the big league team right now.

Monday night’s game seemed to be going pretty well for Rangers’ fans. Cliff Lee was motoring along as usual, and although David Price was great, the Rangers chased him after 6 innings.

They were able to get 2 runs each in the 7th and 8th innings because the Rays’ relief pitchers weren’t necessarily as good as Price. But then again, who is?

Then the bottom of the 8th inning happened, and it all fell apart. The Rangers lost 6-4.

There were several squandered scoring opportunities by the Rangers all throughout the game. If the Rangers had more of a cushion, those 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th wouldn’t have hurt as badly.

I think if the Rangers had been able to pull out a win on Monday, they might not have lost on Tuesday and Wednesday. A win on Monday would have given them some momentum. Oh well, I guess we’ll never know.

Tuesday’s game was just bad all around. We lost 10-1. Blech!

Wednesday’s game looked bad when the Rangers were down 7-2, but then they rallied in the 8th to make it 7-4. And in the 9th they added 2 more runs to make it 8-6. But then the game was over.

Tonight they’re heading to Baltimore for 4 games with the Orioles. No problem, right? The O’s suck.

Except that the last time we faced them, we were swept in a 4-game series. In OUR ballpark. Now they’ve hired Buck Showalter as their manager, and they’re on a hot streak. Great.

Tonight it will be Colby Lewis (9-9, 3.28 ERA) against Brian Matusz (4-12, 5.28 ERA). It looks like Colby’s got this one sewn up.

But Colby has a 2.72 ERA in his last 5 games, and he hasn’t gotten a win in that time. It’s about time Colby got his 10th win, because he’s been pitching really well. He just seems “snakebit” lately, as my dad would say.

A win for Colby would definitely help to get the Rangers out of this funk they’re in. We could use some cheering up! Go Rangers!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 97-52
My Rangers’ record: 13-8
Days ’til my next game: 6

Trade deadline stuff

Remember at the end of my last post when I was excited about what trades the Rangers might make? Well, they lived up to the hype!

On Thursday, the Rangers traded AA right-handed pitchers Omar Poveda and Evan Reed to the Florida Marlins for infielder Jorge Cantu and cash. Yes!

Jorge Cantu had been linked to the Rangers and several other teams over the last week, so this move wasn’t a surprise. I was just happy to hear that the Rangers had won out!

When Ian Kinsler went on the 15-day DL (a day before Jorge Cantu arrived in Arlington), the Rangers called up Mitch Moreland from AAA to fill his roster spot. But Moreland isn’t a 2nd baseman; he’s a 1B/OF. So I just assumed that as soon as Cantu arrived, Mitch would go back to OKC.

Nope. Moreland went 2-for-4 in his major league debut, and he was pretty good at 1st base too. So the Rangers send Chris Davis back to Oklahoma instead, and they are planning on platooning Cantu and Moreland at 1st base.

On Friday, the Rangers traded AA right-handed pitchers Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark to the Washington Nationals for infielder Cristian Guzman and cash. Cristian Guzman is primarily a 2nd baseman, so this makes a bit of sense considering the fact the Ian Kinsler recently went on the DL.

But what are we going to do with Guzman after Kinsler comes off the DL? I read somewhere (but I don’t remember where) that after Kinsler is back, Guzman will be our utility infielder. He can also play shortstop and third.

But what about Andres Blanco and Joaquin Arias? I don’t know. I’ve never really warmed up to Arias, so it wouldn’t bother me too much to see him go. I’m reluctant to lose Andres Blanco, though. He’s just shown incredible defensive skills and versatility at 3B, SS, and 2B.

Apparently, Guzman originally vetoed the trade, not wanting to uproot his family. But after realizing that he had a chance to be part of a team that is going to the post-season, he acquiesced. Smart move!

It hurts to lose Ryan Tatusko, because I liked him. At the RoughRiders’ game I went to a few weeks ago, he pitched a complete game shut-out, and it was a joy watching him pitch. But the fact that I have autographs of both Tatusko and Tanner Roark assuages my regret a bit.

On Saturday, the Rangers traded AAA catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Boston Red Sox for 3 minor leaguers and $350,000. One of the players hasn’t been decided yet, but the other two are RHP Roman Mendez (short-season A) and 1B Chris McGuiness (high A).

After losing all those players in the Bengie Molina, Cliff Lee, Jorge Cantu, and Cristian Guzman trades (10 players in all), it’s nice to get some more mior leaguers to restock our system. And the $350K will help us sign some of our draft picks from this year’s June draft.

It hurts a little to see Salty go, but maybe a change of scenery will help him. It didn’t seem like he was going anywhere with Texas, and the Red Sox were really interested in him. I’m just sad I didn’t get his autograph while he was here. But I got to pat him on the head!! :)

Since my last post:
-The Rangers won Game 3 vs. Oakland, taking 2 out of 3 and winning the series.
-The Rangers lost 2 out of 3 in Anaheim, losing the series.
-The Rangers are now 8 games ahead of the Angels and 8 1/2 games ahead of Oakland. But today is an off-day for the Rangers, so they will either gain or lose 1/2 game on Oakland and LA.
-Josh Hamilton got a cortisone shot in his knee, and he should be able to start on Tuesday in Seattle.

Overall Rangers’ record: 61-44
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days ’til my next game: 12

Last night’s loss

I’m upset that the Rangers couldn’t win last night, but it’s hard to be too mad. Oakland is a tough team, and Trevor Cahill is an All-Star pitcher. At least we won on Tuesday.

Speaking of Tuesday, it was pretty spectacular. Cliff Lee did a fabulous job, of course, but Nelson Cruz ended up being the hero of the night.

Cliff Lee went 9 innings in his 4th start for the Rangers, giving up 1 earned run on 5 hits and (big surprise) no walks. And he got a career-high 13 strikeouts!

Unfortunately, he got a no-decision. The Rangers were tied 1-1 at the end of 9 innings, so they had to go into the 10th.

Neftali Feliz came in to pitch a scoreless top of the 10th, and then the Rangers’ took over. Vlad came up first in the bottom of the 10th, and he struck out swinging. Then Josh Hamilton stepped up to the plate, and he worked a walk. Okay, good start.

Then Nelson Cruz hit a towering smash to left field, and his walk-off homer allowed the Rangers to win the game 3-1!

Nelly also took away what could have been a 2-run home run by Kevin Kouzmanoff in the 6th inning in a beautiful play at the wall. So Cliff Lee ended up having to share MVP honors on Tuesday. :)

The only bad part on Tuesday was in the 6th inning, when Bengie Molina tried to throw out a runner going from 1st to 2nd. The throw was beautiful, but both Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus just stood there looking at each other.

Ian ended up getting the error, and then he wasn’t in the starting lineup for last night’s game. I assumed Wash was giving him a little bit of rest because of the mental error.

But today, we learned that Ian Kinsler has been put on the 15-day DL for a strained left groin. Uh oh.

Last night, I went to the game, and it was my 7th game for the month of July. No wonder I’m so exhausted!

Colby Lewis got the start last night for the Rangers, which is normally great. But unfortunately for us, Trevor Cahill took the ball for the A’s.

Colby threw 116 pitches in 7 innings, allowing only 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks with 8 strikeouts. But as good as Colby was, Cahill was even better.

Trevor threw 113 pitches in 8 innings, allowing no runs on just 2 hits and 3 walks. The Rangers scored their only run in the 9th inning off of Michael Wuertz.

Darren Oliver came in to pitch the 8th inning, but he was only able to get one out before giving up 2 runs. No bueno!

The Rangers also made 3 errors last night, and I am never happy to see that. I don’t know what happened, but that’s an area where they could use some improvement.

The July 31 trade deadline is coming up soon, and I’m excited to see what moves the Rangers make! After the Cliff Lee trade, I’m confident that whatever happens, it will be good.

C.J. Wilson is getting the start for tonight’s game, and I’m excited to see how Cliff-Lee-like C.J. is tonight. Should be fun!

Overall Rangers’ record: 58-42
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days til my next game: 16

Lots o stuff

Wow. Just yesterday I posted my prediction for the Opening Day rotation, but last night I checked TR Sullivan’s blog and found out that I was apparently completely off. The lefties and righties are still interspersed, like I predicted they would be, but their placement does not appear to reflect skill level. Just to recap, this is what I predicted:

Rich Harden (R)
Scott Feldman (R)
Matt Harrison (L)
Colby Lewis (R)
C.J. Wilson (L)

Here’s what Mike Maddux envisions for the 2010 rotation:

Rich Harden (R)
C.J. Wilson (L)
Scott Feldman (R)
Matt Harrison (L)
Colby Lewis (R)

Rich Harden
Both rotations list Rich Harden as the ace. Duh. But everything else is different.
Usually, the starting rotation reflects a pitcher’s skill level. You’ll often hear the terms “top-of-the-rotation pitcher” and “back-of-the-rotation pitcher” when speaking of starters, and it is generally understood that pitchers at the top of the rotation are more skilled than the pitchers at the back of the rotation.

CJ Wilson

C.J. has done an amazing job in Spring Training, and he has a lot of years of experience in professional baseball either as a starter or reliever. But he does not qualify as a No. 2 starter. For Pete’s sake, he’s been competing for a job all Spring Training! Yeah, he’s worked as a starter in the past, but those experiments all failed. Until he proves himself as a starter, he shouldn’t be our No. 2 man. He should be our No. 5 man.
Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman was guaranteed a starting job at the end of the 2009 season. He should be the Rangers’ No. 2 starter. Given, Feldman didn’t begin the 2009 season in the starting rotation, but he was our best pitcher last year. He had a 17-win season! Come on, people!
Colby Lewis
Colby Lewis is the Rangers’ only pitcher with a multi-year contract. He has been tearin’ it up in Japan for the last 2 years. He was guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation in 2010. And Maddux puts him as the No 5 starter??? I had him as the No. 4 starter, but only because I wanted to diversify the rotation with a lefty. As far as talent goes, he should be the No. 3 starter of this Rangers’ rotation.
Matt Harrison
Sure, Matt Harrison spent most of the 2009 season on the DL. But he was one of the Rangers’ starting pitchers on Opening Day in 2009, and he amazed in the Arizona Fall League immediately after the end of the 2009 regular season. Plus, he comes into 2010 a full 30 pounds lighter than he was in 2009. That shows dedication. But we knew Harrison was competing for a spot as a back-of-the-rotation starter, so it doesn’t really hurt my feelings that Maddux lists Harrison as his No. 4 man. I only had him at No. 3 because he’s a lefty.

So, to summarize, I think my rotation is better. But then again, Mike Maddux has a pretty stellar reputation. I mean, look at what he did for the Rangers’ pitching staff in his very first year as pitching coach: he brought the team ERA down a whole run. That’s pretty impressive! I trust his judgement, but there was so way I could let this slide without getting my 2 cents in first.

I would also like to interject here at Evan Grant’s projected starting rotation is identical to mine. Grant came up with his prediction on Monday, March 22, but I looked at it just now, and it looks exactly like mine! I guess great minds think alike! It also goes to prove that my assumptions weren’t completely baseless.

Tommy Hunter

On a related note, Tommy Hunter finally admitted today that he won’t be able to open the season as one of the Rangers’ starters. TR Sullivan predicted this first late last week, almost immediately after his injury last Thursday evening.

Anyway, today Tommy grudgingly admitted that he wouldn’t be ready by Opening Day. But he does think he’ll be ready by April 8, just 3 days later. Wishful thinking?? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

With the starting rotation pretty much figured out, Evan Grant has predicted the following 7 players for the Rangers’ bullpen: RHP Frank Francisco (closer), RHP Neftali Feliz, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Darren O’Day, RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Dustin Nippert, and RHP Doug Mathis.

Jamey Newberg thinks it will be RHP Frank Francisco (closer), RHP Neftali Feliz, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Darren O’Day, RHP Dustin Nippert, RHP Doug Mathis, and RHP Chris Ray.

As much as I admire Evan and Jamey, I think the Rangers will need more than one lefty in the bullpen. Darren Oliver is a fabulous pitcher, but I’m not sure he will be able to fill all of the club’s needs for a lefty reliever by himself.

Derek Holland

Derek Holland will almost certainly find himself starting in AAA. The Rangers will want to keep him stretched out as a starter in case he’s needed in the Bigs in 2010. Ben Snyder seems to be the only other viable lefty option, but he has been unimpressive so far in Spring Training. Maybe Jon Daniels will sort through other teams’ “trash piles” and grab another lefty reliever off waivers or the Rule 5 Draft. JD’s always got something up his sleeves. :)

Brandon McCarthy
While I agree that Brandon McCarthy is worthy of the big league club, he may prefer to stay a stretched out as a starter down in AAA rather than join the big league ballclub. Doug Mathis can fill the Rangers’ needs for a long reliever/spot starter. And I don’t know anything about Chris Ray, since he was only acquired by the Rangers this off-season (received in the trade for Kevin Millwood).

In other news, the Rangers have made what appears to be a bit of progress in finding a utility infielder. Hernan Iribarren, who was nabbed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers, cleared waivers with the Rangers today and was outrighted to AAA. So apparently they don’t see Iribarren making the big league club.

Also today, the Rangers announced that they had traded pitcher Edwar Ramirez (recently acquired from the Yankees and rumored to be trade bait) to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Gregorio Petit. Petit’s experience has been primarily at shortstop, which is what the Rangers have been looking for.

This search for a utility infielder has been exhausting. The Rangers will need 2 guys to do what Omar Vizquel (SS/2B/3B) and Hank Blalock (1B) did last year. First there was an almost-trade for Mike Lowell (1st/3rd baseman) in the early off-season, but he failed the physical, so that put the kibosh on those dealings. Then we got Khalil Greene, and it looked like everything was going to be just fine.

Wrong.

The Rangers had an influx of new infielders vying to win the SS/2B job, but they all seemed to be lacking. Joe Inglett, Mitch Hilligoss, Hernan Iribarren, and Erik Morrison joined Esteban German, Joaquin Arias, and Ray Olmedo in the pursuit of a utility infielder for the Rangers. But none of them were a very good fit.

Now that a month of Spring Training has passed, Matt Brown is looking like the frontrunner for the backup 1st/3rd baseman, and he has shown quite a bit of pop in his bat this Spring Training. Could Gregorio Petit be the SS/2B the Rangers have been searching for?

TR Sullivan doesn’t think so. He predicts that Petit will play SS in AAA, now that Ray Olmedo has been traded away. And apparently, the Rangers are still looking at veteran infielders Augie Ojeda (Diamondbacks), Ramon Vazquez (Pirates), Kevin Frandsen (Giants), and Willie Bloomquist (Royals).

Ian Kinsler

Ian Kinsler is planning to get into a Spring Training game next Monday, March 29. This will give him one week to practice in game situations before Opening Day. This sounds great. I just hope Kinsler’s ankle really is okay by Monday, and he doesn’t cause more health problems for himself that end up keeping him out of regular season games. If he does have to miss, I guess we’ll be seeing our newly minted utility infielder sooner than we thought!

 
The only other question remaining for the starting lineup? Catcher. It will be the best/healthiest two out of Salty, Taylor Teagarden, and Matt Treanor. Who knows?

I just know I’m excited for the season to start. Vlad Guerrero in a Rangers jersey!!! SqueeeeEEEEE!!!

12 days ’til Opening Day!!

Ron Washington’s lineup

At Vlad Guerrero’s press conference yesterday, Ron Washington revealed his lineup for the 2010 Rangers. And it’s nearly identical to the lineup I envisioned yesterday.

my lineup
CF Julio Borbon (L)
3B Michael Young (R)
LF Josh Hamilton (L)
DH Vladimir Guerrero (R)
RF Nelson Cruz (R)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S)
SS Elvis Andrus (R)

Wash’s lineup
CF Julio Borbon (L)
3B Michael Young (R)
LF Josh Hamilton (L)
DH Vladimir Guerrero (R)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
1B Chris Davis (L)
RF Nelson Cruz (R)
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S)
SS Elvis Andrus (R)

The only difference is that in my lineup, Nelson Cruz would bat 5th, before Ian Kinsler and Chris Davis. In Wash’s lineup, Cruz bats 7th, after Kinsler and Davis.

Wash wants to alternate between lefties and righties as much as possible, so this lineup makes sense… if Salty always bats lefty. If he doesn’t, then you’ve got 3 righties in a row. But because Salty is a switch hitter, our opponents won’t know for certain if they’ll get 3 righties in a row, and that’s the beauty of it. If they bring in a right-handed relief pitcher, Salty can bat lefty. And vice versa.

See, in my lineup, you’ve got Vlad, Nelly, and Kinsler in a row, and they’re all righties. Predictable. I just think Nelly is better suited to the 5 hole (in the middle 3rd of the order), Kinsler hits best 6th (albeit a small sample size), and CD belongs in the bottom 3rd of the order. But that’s just my opinion. Ron Washington probably knows more about it than I do.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.