Results tagged ‘ Adrian Beltre ’
Here’s a wrap-up of the week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.
Rangers Record: 5-2
Overall: 29-15 (1st Place AL West) (+6.5)
Mitch Moreland .308/.345/.846 2 Doubles 4 HR 10 RBI
Adrian Beltre .448/.500/.655 3 Doubles 1 HR 5 RBI
Ian Kinsler .125/.263/.125 And he hit the Disabled List to boot.
Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):
Joe (Call Me Joseph) Ortiz 3 IP 1 Hit 3 K’s
Raspa Frio (Pitching):
Derek Lowe 2/3 IP 2 Runs (could be DFA’d today)
Last week I said a 3-4 record would be satisfactory with Texas at Oakland for 3 and home for a 4-game set against Detroit. Color me ecstatic today with the Rangers’ 5-2 record for the week. What made the weekend series with the Tigers so unique is the guys you expect to be the best pitchers, Yu Darvish and Derek Holland, both struggled against the vaunted Detroit offense, while the two we expected to get shelled, Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm, both pitched well, though Tepesch was the loser of record in his start.
Just to show how weird baseball is, though: Texas entered the week with a 6-game lead on Oakland, took 2 of 3 from the A’s followed by 3 of 4 from Detroit and only managed to put another half game of ground between the second place A’s and themselves.
This week begins with three more against Oakland, this time in the friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. After an off day Thursday, it’s off to Seattle for three against the improved Mariners.
Two DL moves in the last week as well. Alexi Ogando went on the DL Thursday. Cody Burns got the call from AAA Round Rock and pitched two games in relief this weekend, but Ogando’s official replacement is Josh Lindblom, acquired in the Michael Young trade, who starts tonight’s series opener against the A’s. Texas will have to make a move today and the popular opinion is that veteran Derek Lowe will get released, since Burns did so well in his first two games. Meanwhile, Ian Kinsler hit the DL on Saturday, with the roster opening taken by #1 prospect Jurickson Profar. Profar didn’t play in Sunday’s series finale against Detroit, but expect him at second base tonight and for most of Kinsler’s DL stay. Should be an interesting week of baseball!
The Texas Rangers were not as good as their initial 16-8 record seemed to indicate. Conversely, the Texas Rangers are not nearly as bad as they’ve shown in their last five games, four of which were losses.
What we do know, however, is that right now, today, May 3rd, 2013, the Texas Rangers are not very good against left-handed pitching.
Regular readers of this page know this is not something new that has cropped up with the Rangers this season. This has actually been a long-term problem over the past three or four years, particularly if the lefthanded starter is either A) a finesse pitcher; B) a rookie they’ve never faced before; or C) both.
In losing their first series of the season to the Chicago White Sox, after opening the year with five series wins and three series ties, Texas has now dropped four out of their last five contests. They’ve also faced left-handed starters in four of their last six games and will face two lefties in three games when they face the Red Sox this weekend.
Out of those four left-handed starters, Texas had some success against the Twins Scott Diamond, going 12-27 with five doubles and a home run, but still managed to score only three runs off him. Since then (and including relief pitchers), the Rangers are a meager .224 against southpaws in their last 98 at bats against them with 8 walks and 23 strikeouts over 27 innings. In last night’s series finale against the Chisox, Adrian Beltre had a 2nd inning home run against emergency southpaw starter Hector Santiago, but managed only one other hit in 5.1 innings against him.
If there’s any silver lining, it could come tonight against the Red Sox. Boston is sending Felix Doubront to the mound. Yeah, he’s another southpaw, but Texas has scorched him to a career .388 batting average and 1.040 OPS, explaining Doubront’s career 10.32 ERA against the Rangers. If I were managing against the Rangers and they struggle again tonight against Doubront, I’d just continue to throw lefthanders against them until they can show any kind of success against them.
Let’s see. Let Josh Hamilton go. Reluctantly let Mike Napoli go. Gladly let Michael Young go. And while we’re at it, let your best bullpen set-up guys, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara go. Then, once the season starts, have your Opening Day starter go on the DL after three ineffective starts, make sure your previously platooned left-handed hitting left fielder and first baseman get off to miserable offensive starts, especially against southpaws, and have two rookies fill up 40% of your rotation. Mix it all together and VOILA! you have a team tied for the AL’s best record as we near the end of the season’s first month.
The question is, how the heck are they doing it?
This year’s Texas Rangers are certainly not resembling what we’ve expected from Rangers teams in the past. No longer is the offense a home-run hitting machine. You would think the pitching staff is nothing to write home about. Not a lot of household names there. It certainly doesn’t get the press of the starting staffs of Oakland, Detroit or even Tampa Bay. Here the Rangers are, though, winners of five of their first seven series. The two series they didn’t win, they split. The longest losing streak Texas has had in the first 22 games? One. That’s right, they have yet to lose consecutive games in 2013.
The question gets asked again, how the heck are they doing it?
Pitching is certainly the biggest answer. Through 22 games, the Rangers are first in the American League in Earned Run Average and it isn’t even close. At 2.76, the Rangers’ ERA is almost a half run better than the 2nd place Chicago White Sox. Yu Darvish (as chronicled in yesterday’s post) is approaching Ace status as a starter, Derek Holland has been much more consistent in the early going and rookie Nick Tepesch, winner of last night’s 2-1 victory over the Twins, has been nothing short of phenomenal. Tepesch has walked three batters in four starts. All three walks came in ONE INNING of his first start. None in the 19+ innings since. The bullpen features a 5’7″ rookie in Joe Ortiz whose first year is resembling the successful debut a year earlier by his teammate Robbie Ross. Tanner Scheppers has gone through 10 games and 11.2 innings without giving up a run, earned or otherwise. Texas is the only bullpen in the AL not to have blown a save yet on the season.
The pitching is paving the way. The offense, despite some good pieces, hasn’t come close to gelling as yet. They spend the early part of games making the opposing starter look good. To date, Texas has only scored 5 runs in the first inning and have scored in the 1st in only 3 of their first 22 games. In the first three innings of games, essentially the first time through the line-up, Texas has scored only 18 of their 102 total runs scored. The second time through? A different story. 52 runs scored in innings 4, 5 and 6.
While the offense has been inconsistent, there are good signs of things to come. Texas is showing a more discerning eye so far in 2013. Last year, they struck out 17.7% of the time. So far in 2013, that’s down to 15%. Meanwhile the walk rate is up from a year ago, from 7.7% to 8.6%. Part of it is due to the arrival of Lance Berkman, but the approach preached by new hitting coach Dave Magadan plays a large part as well. Taking more pitches is one thing. It’s staying patient while still being able to swing with authority that will come in time.
Meanwhile, backing up the great pitching has been pretty stellar defense. Thus far, Texas has only 8 errors in the first 22 games. How much has the defense improved? Well, when your Gold Glove-winning third baseman is the player with the most errors on your team, that has to tell you something. Yep, Adrian Beltre has three E’s for the Rangers. Who doesn’t have errors? Shortstop Elvis Andrus, for one. Not a single E-6 on his ledger. On the entire 25-man roster, only four different Rangers have been charged with errors. Not one of them is a pitcher or a catcher. The catching tandem of newcomer A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto hasn’t allowed a passed ball as yet. Rangers pitchers have only 5 wild pitches.
In the most telling defensive statistic of all, Rangers opponents have only stolen four bases in the first 22 games and been caught three times. A year ago, 80% of the steals against Texas were successful and opponents stole 108 bases in all. At the current rate (which of course won’t remain this low), that figure will be more like 30 by season’s end. I’m not going to say this is all Pierzynski, as he’s not known as one of the greats in cutting down would be thieves. Part of it is due to Rangers pitchers not allowing as many runners to reach base in the first place. Currently, Rangers pitching is giving up fully one less hit per 9 innings than they did a year ago. Fewer base runners fewer steal opportunities. Still, it is a dramatic improvement thus far over a year ago and one that bears remembering as the season progresses.
Pitching and defense winning games for the Texas Rangers. Whoever would’ve thought it possible?
- Nick Tepesch impressive in big league debut, leading Rangers to 6-1 victory over Rays (sportsblogs.star-telegram.com)
- Rookie Tepesch stymies Twins in Rangers’ 2-1 (sacbee.com)
This year’s promotional campaign for Texas is “Hello Win Column!”, the tag line that used to accompany every Rangers win when the late Mark Holtz was the radio voice of the Rangers. In conjunction with the theme, the Rangers this year are running a series of promos that ask, “What did YOU do to help the Rangers win?” The first promo includes two guys saying they dropped Matt Harrison and Adrian Beltre from their respective fantasy teams. That explains the Harrison complete game and Beltre game-winning home run.
I would like to nominate myself for the next “What did YOU do…” promo for the role I played in Monday night’s Rangers win over the Los Angeles Angels. What did I do? I stayed true to this year’s promise of being an old man and not staying up for the whole game when Texas plays on the West Coast. I turned in for the night right after the Angels blew it open with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 6-3 lead on Texas. What happened after I retired? Texas just went and scored three runs in the top of the seventh. Capping off the comeback, Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski did this to Ernesto Frieri in the top of the 9th:
Joe Nathan took care of business in the bottom of the 9th and “HELLO WIN COLUMN!”
Rangers officials, you can reach me here or on Twitter (@RangersBlogger) and we can set up a date for me to shoot the next promo. You’re welcome.
Here’s a wrap-up of the week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.
Rangers Record: 4-3
Overall: 8-5 (2nd Place AL West) (-1)
Jalapeno Caliente (Offense): Lance Berkman .313/.450/.438 3 RBI 4 Walks
Raspa Frio (Offense): David Murphy .143/.143/.179
Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching): Joe Ortiz 2-0 0.00 ERA 5.2 IP 1 H .056 BAA
Raspa Frio (Pitching): Michael Kirkman 5.40 ERA in 3.1 IP
Texas ended their homestand by taking two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays, then travelled to Seattle where they split a 4-game set with the Mariners. Ask most Rangers fans and they’ll probably say they were a little disappointed the Rangers didn’t go 5-2 or even 6-1, as all four games with the Mariners were winnable. Instead, the offense has gone decidedly cold. Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz really haven’t provided the power punch in the early going, which in turn magnifies David Murphy’s typical slow start even more, not to mention the overall low results of Mitch Moreland and the center field combo of Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry. The offense is scraping, which is too bad, considering the pitching has been excellent overall. Only Michael Kirkman had an ERA above 4.50 for the week. Yu Darvish gave up 3 first inning runs then nothing else the rest of the way, but Texas could only manage one run of their own in the game.
Upcoming: Another week of both road and home games- Monday off, followed by three games in Chicago against the Cubs and three at home against the Mariners. Don’t expect to see much of Lance Berkman in Chicago. Texas will have to go by NL rules, which means no DH. Berkman could start one game at first base. Otherwise, he’ll be strictly a pinch hitter, especially with cold conditions expected in the Windy City.
After a totally sucky start to the 2013 season, the ray of sunshine shone brightly on Monday… only to be partially covered by a gray cloud.
Here’s the not so great news. Andrus is only guaranteed to stay in Texas for the next six years.
It’s still great news for Rangers fans. Elvis was already signed for the next two seasons. Now, he’s agreed to an 8-year, $120 million dollar extension that will kick in beginning with the 2015 season. Already an élite defensive shortstop, Elvis is just 24 years old and expected to develop a lot more extra base power over the next few years. Better yet, this keeps him out of the clutches of the Yankees at the time Derek Jeter finally decides to hang up his spikes.
The downside is he can opt out of the contract after the 2018 season, which means this is really a four-year extension with four more option years available. So, once Elvis is 30, he can still look for a better deal while having quite a few good seasons left in him.
This signing, of course, can only lead to more speculation. While the extension guarantees Andrus, Ian Kinsler and Adrian Beltre will be together at least through 2016, there’s still the matter of the shortstop at AAA Round Rock who happens to be baseball’s #1 prospect, 20-year-old Jurickson Profar.
The signing of Andrus could show a new willingness for the Rangers to deal Profar, something they have been very reluctant to do this past off-season. Including Profar could have netted the Rangers Justin Upton during the off-season. With Elvis locked up for a few more years, could Jon Daniels dangle Profar to the Marlins in a Giancarlo Stanton trade?
On the other hand, this could put Ian Kinsler on notice that he needs to step it up after an off 2012 or his team-friendly contract could be sent elsewhere to make room for Profar. Or this could be Ian’s last year at second base, with a return to the Rangers requiring a move to the outfield a year from now so Profar can play second. Regardless, it sure didn’t help to see Kins open the season with an oh-fer at the plate and dropping two throws and one ground ball. None of them went for errors, but come on Ian!
However the dominoes fall as a result of this signing, it points to one problem that it’s great the Rangers have. Texas has enough talent in the minor league system to give them lots of options as to the direction they’ll take towards the future. That’s something a lot of teams would love.
Here’s what it’s like being a baseball fan. I find myself sitting in the office, checking in on Twitter so I know what’s happening in the first intrasquad game of the year.
The funny thing is, I don’t think of it as sinking so low. While I have never made the spring visit to Surprise, it is definitely in my plans to do so in the next couple of years. Until that time occurs, I hang on the news that Yu Darvish didn’t give up a hit in his inning of work (but he did allow an unearned run); that Nelson Cruz blasted his first bomb of the spring off Jake Brigham; and, on the negative side, A.J. Pierzynski allowed three stolen bases and Elvis Andrus booted his first ground ball of the spring.
None of this means anything in the grand scheme of things, of course. For the faithful diehards, though, it’s like seeing the first robin, the sign that Spring is indeed on its way. It gives us a chance to stop worrying about whatever fool thing that former Rangers player said about true baseball towns and true baseball fans. Instead, it’s time to start zeroing in on how the young kids look, whether the injured have nursed themselves back to health and to start debating who among the bubble players will get those last roster spots up for grabs.
We know #1 prospect Jurickson Profar has decided he wants to make the team badly enough he is willing to forgo his guaranteed spot for the Netherlands in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, that Adrian Beltre will miss the first round of said WBC because of a mild calf problem that wouldn’t keep him out of the regular season line-up and that the iffy-ness of Nelson Cruz‘ status has the Rangers’ rookie Mike Olt shagging more fly balls in right field than were originally planned for him.
The biggest news to me, though, hasn’t even been discussed much in the media. People chuckled when Lance Berkman admitted he’d left his glove at home. Ron Washington said there was no problem, since Berkman’s primary job is as the club’s DH. Wash also said Olt’s main duties this spring were going to be in right field and his natural position of third base. Why is any of this significant? Because it has always been assumed there would be a first base platoon in 2012 consisting of Mitch Moreland against righties and either Olt or Berkman against southpaws. No Olt
and no Berkman working out at first base seems to point to Wash giving Moreland a shot at being the fulltime first baseman.
This is a good thing and a bad thing. This is a critical year for Moreland. Like Chris Davis before him, I’m pretty sure this is Moreland’s last chance to prove himself as an everyday player. Both have been offensively inconsistent in their time with Texas, showing flashes of greatness followed by bouts of great mediocrity. Davis was never able to get into an offensive groove with the Rangers despite lots of chances. For Moreland, injuries have led to offensive inconsistency. If he doesn’t produce this year, whether injured or not, he will probably be headed for other pastures like Davis before him.
This spring also will be critical for Julio Borbon. It wasn’t so long ago Borbon was part of the first Rangers team to make it to the World Series and considered a vital part of the team’s fortunes. This year he enters spring training as the forgotten man, out of options and supplanted on the depth chart by Leonys Martin. His only shot appears as the Rangers’ fifth outfielder. This goes to show the Rangers depth in the minor league system. Borbon didn’t see a day of time in the majors in 2012, yet I think he has the talent to be on any team in the majors. Borbon’s problem is his defense. It hasn’t been good enough to make up for his lack of power. If the D isn’t there this spring, Borbon will be looking for a new organization to play for come April.
Almost 700 word, just to say Spring has sprung, the grass has ris and where I’d like to be is not where I is. Just a few days to the first exhibition game. I have a hankering for a hot dog and some nachos.
There are players that have defined just about every era of Texas Rangers baseball, good and bad.
The first team I followed, as the Washington Senators in 1970, were known primarily for Ted Williams managing and Frank Howard hitting.
Following the move to Texas, the first Rangers teams saw the emergence of Toby Harrah, followed by Jim Sundberg and Jeff Burroughs. In ’74 Fergie Jenkins came over from the Cubs and became the Rangers’ first dominant pitcher.
Buddy Bell came along and was the dominant name along with Sundberg for Texas starting in ’79 and going through ’83.
During the early Bobby Valentine years, the names we knew were Charlie Hough, Steve Buechele and Pete Incaviglia. In 1989, Nolan Ryan became the face of the Rangers, where he remained a fixture through 1993.
Gonzalez was the first to leave in 2000. At the end of that year came the next in line, Michael Young.
Young was the second guy in the trade with the Blue Jays that sent Esteban Loaiza to Toronto. Pitcher Darwin Cubillan was supposed to be the main piece. He appeared in all of 13 games in a Rangers uniform, compiling a 10.70 ERA before being sent packing to Montreal.
The second guy in the trade would only go on to play in 1,823 games for the Rangers, the most in club history. He also leaves Texas as the Rangers’ all-time leader in at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples and total bases. He was selected to seven All-Star teams, second only to Ivan Rodriguez in club history. He was named the Rangers Player of the Year five times, tying him with Juan Gonzalez for the most in club history.
Here’s the funny thing about Michael Young. He has never been the most important player in the Rangers’ line-up. His first couple of years, he had Palmeiro and Pudge right there with him. After they departed, there was Alex Rodriguez taking up the mantle. When A-Rod left, there was still Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock. They would then be supplanted by Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz.
All those players who provided the real pop. Yet Michael Young was anointed as the face of the franchise. Part of that is certainly due to longevity and continuity. Through all the changes, Young was a constant. But it was more than that. Every manager he’s ever played for has admired his work ethic, his professionalism. Ron Washington admits the running of the Texas clubhouse was a job he ceded to Michael Young.
The past few years he had major detractors, mainly because he twice demanded a trade. He volunteered to move to shortstop. He didn’t volunteer to be the third baseman. Two years after that he didn’t volunteer to become the DH/super utility guy. His relationship with General Manager Jon Daniels was strained, virtually non-existent at the end. Once he put on the uniform, though, Michael Young was all business. In the clubhouse and on the field, he didn’t complain about his role. Once the season began, he did his job to the best of his ability. Could I do that if I was asked to take a role I didn’t want? I seriously doubt it.
Young had a farewell press conference yesterday. He said in retrospect, he should have been more accepting of his move to third base but doesn’t regret anything about his displeasure in moving to DH. He looks at the move to Philadelphia as a new challenge and that he loves new challenges.
My guess is he will have a rebound year as the Phillies third baseman. He won’t be great defensively, but he’ll get his average back towards the .300 mark and he’ll hit for more power than he did in 2012. I’m also willing to bet Charlie Manuel and every Phillies player to a man will, by the end of the season, say he has made a positive difference in their club’s fortunes, no matter what his WAR might indicate.
I also predict that after his playing career is over and Jon Daniels has moved on to his next opportunity, Michael Young will return to the Rangers, be it in the front office, as a coach or even Rangers manager. And when that day comes, even his detractors will welcome him back with open arms.
I’m looking forward to seeing the development of Jurickson Profar, Leonys Martin and Mike Olt over the next few years. Maybe they’ll be the ones who finally deliver that long sought after World Championship. If they do, I’ll be ecstatic. I’ll also think about Michael Young and wish he was there to see the dream come to fruition.
- Losing Face (40yearrangerfan.mlblogs.com)
The rebuilding of the Texas Rangers is about to begin. How much rebuilding will happen is anyone’s guess at this point.
The first salvo occurred Tuesday, when the Rangers decided not to pick up the options of Scott Feldman and Yoshinori Tateyama. Really no big surprises there. Tateyama, who pitched pretty effectively for Texas in 2011 (2-0, 4.50 ERA in 39 games) was a disaster in 2012 (1-0, 9.00 ERA in 14 games). Feldman, expected to fill the long relief/spot starter role, became a fulltime starting service after Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz were lost for the year with injuries and Roy Oswalt failed to do well as a starter. The biggest surprise of Feldman’s season is that his 6-11 record and 5.09 ERA was good enough to earn a 0.0 WAR. In other words, 6-11, 5.09 must be considered a replacement level starter. Wow.
The only potential minus here is if Feldman just needed longer to get over microfracture knee surgery in 2011 and posts a great 2013 for someone else. For all the good Jon Daniels has done as GM, this past season saw at least five Rangers cast-offs who performed credible jobs for their new teams: Tommy Hunter, Pedro Strop and Darren O’Day for Baltimore, Cody Eppely and Clay Rapada for the Yankees. Constructing a pitching staff is so often a crap shoot, with many relievers having an awesome year, following up with two terrible seasons, then suddenly finding lightning again. Many teams’ fortunes rise and fall on these variables. If those castaways had been able to put together those seasons for the Rangers, it might have been a post-season difference maker.
So we know Feldman and Tateyama won’t return, unless they re-up with Texas at a major discount. The next step is the free agent process.
Josh Hamilton will get the league standard $13.3 million dollar offer to stay in Texas for another year. He will turn it down and if he signs elsewhere, Texas gets a supplemental draft pick. More unknown is whether the Rangers will make the same offer to catcher Mike Napoli. Because he had a down year, Naps could accept a $13.3 million offer for another year, hoping to turn it around in 2013 and get even bigger bucks and a multi-year deal a year from now. If no offer is received, then we’ll know Texas has committed to totally overhauling the catching.
The Blue Jays are stockpiling catchers, having picked up Yorvit Torrealba after Texas let him go and, just last week, inking Bobby Wilson after his release by the Angels. Since they already had two well-regarded home-grown catchers, it’s a good bet the Blue Jays will deal some of their catching in the off-season. The Rangers have expressed interest in both J.P. Arencibia and Travis D’Arnaud.
Other Rangers getting ready to test the free agent waters include Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Mark Lowe, Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster. Of that group, Oswalt is most certainly gone. Since Adams’ year ended prematurely to injury, the hope is he’ll be willing to sign again with Texas, as he might not now command the dollars he could have. I’d love to see them resign Uehara as well. Down the stretch, he was one of Texas’ most effective pitchers. Texas will allow Lowe to leave and I doubt there’s much interest in getting Dempster to come back, though that could depend on other factors.
If Texas lets both Hamilton and Napoli walk, we could be seeing a pretty big revamping of the offense. There’s a lot of power that would need replacing. That’s why, with Hamilton likely to go elsewhere, I think Texas will do what they can to at least keep Napoli.
I expect Texas to go hard after Zack Greinke in the free agent market, while the Angels will go all out to try to keep his services. If Greinke doesn’t materialize, Texas could pursue a trade with Tampa Bay for David Price.
Another reason to re-sign Napoli: to keep him for a first base platoon with Mitch Moreland. Moreland can hit the ball a long way and is an adequate defender, but at best is a streaky hitter with hot spells that don’t last long enough to off-set the cold snaps. And that’s just against right handed pitchers. Against lefties, Moreland is cold and colder.
There are several directions the Rangers could go this off-season. What’s definite is they’ll make more moves between now and Spring Training than they did the past two years combined. I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out.
GOLD GLOVE AWARDS: For the second straight year, Adrian Beltre nabbed the AL Gold Glove Award for his defensive play at third base. The other two Rangers up for Gold Gloves, David Murphy and Elvis Andrus, didn’t receive the honor. Beltre was an easy choice. That’s easy to say, but judging by the actual award winners, it’s hard to back up. On the one hand, sometimes they give the award to people just because they committed so few errors, despite not having the range of other players at the position. Case in point: JJ Hardy of the Orioles. While I love Elvis, the winner probably should have been Brendan Ryan of the Mariners, who had range and only nine errors. On the other hand, some players win because of past reputation alone. Case in point: Adam Jones of the Orioles, who’s won the award before but had six errors in the field this year, a high number for an outfielder. In other words, there’s no set criteria for winning Gold Gloves. That’s why I’m happy Beltre won. With no set criteria, there was no guarantee he would.
Here’s a wrap-up of the week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.
Rangers Record: 3-4
Overall: 93-66 (1st Place AL West) (+2)
Jalapeno Hot (Offense): Adrian Beltre .444/.483/.741 2 HR 6 RBI
Nelson Cruz .333/.357/.708 2 HR 5 RBI
Raspa Cold (Offense): Geovany Soto 0 for 11 for the week.
Jalapeno Hot (Pitching): Koji Uehara 4.1 IP 0 Hits 0 Walks 10 Strikeouts
Raspa Cold (Pitching): Derek Holland 9.31 ERA in 9.1 IP 10 ER 2.07 WHIP
I thought everything would be attained by week’s end. Thanks to an underperforming offense, that did not prove to be true. Playing in front of the home crowd all week for the last time in the regular season, Texas struggled to a 3-4 mark on the week, splitting 4 games with the A’s while losing two of three to the Angels. The baseball gods conspired against the Rangers, who should have gone 5-2, but let two games get away from them.
Three games are all that remain on the schedule against the second place A’s. Those three will be played in Oakland, a park that hasn’t been kind to the Rangers over the years, even when the A’s had bad teams. The math is simple. Win one of three and clinch the AL West for the 3rd consecutive year while simultaneously knocking the Angels and Rays out of the playoffs. Win two of three and Texas likely has home field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs. Sweep the A’s and home field is assured. Get swept by Oakland and the Rangers are one of the two Wild Card teams.
Making matters worse, third baseman Adrian Beltre aggravated a shoulder injury in the nightcap of Sunday’s doubleheader and is questionable for tonight’s opener. Michael Young is also questionable after feeling tightness in his Achilles during the nightcap twin bill. He was pulled after the 6th inning, shortly before Beltre.
My preference is for Texas to win tonight. Get it over with. If they can do that, they could scratch Matt Harrison from his start Tuesday night to give him extra rest before the post-season begins. Oakland swept the Mariners over the weekend, coming back from two down in the 9th to win in extra innings on Saturday. The A’s won’t roll over. Texas cannot be complacent.
One win. That’s all that’s needed.