Results tagged ‘ Joakim Soria ’

Roster Projections 3/25/14

Jurickson Profar: Out 10-12 Weeks

Putting the roster pieces together.

Putting the roster pieces together.

Geovany Soto: Out 10-12 Weeks

The Rangers’ injury woes have mounted, but at least we can hold on to this: If anyone was going to miss 10-12 weeks, from an offensive perspective, Profar and Soto were probably two of the LEAST important cogs in the line-up. Not to say the line-up won’t miss them, but compared to Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo, it’s a hit that’s tolerable to the Rangers..

Still, these events open roster spaces and, with only six days to go before the Rangers have a date with the Philadelphia Phillies and Cliff Lee on March 31st, the thought of what the Rangers’ roster will look like (come Monday (it’ll be all right) (Thanks Jimmy Buffett) becomes an interesting exercise.

Here’s what we know with certainty on offense because they aren’t injured in any way, shape or form as I write this:

Prince Fielder

Adrian Beltre

JP Arencibia

Leonys Martin

Alex Rios

Michael Choice

Here’s what is highly probable, as in they have reported injuries but it isn’t expected to put them on the DL to start the season:

Elvis Andrus

Mitch Moreland

Shin-Soo Choo

That’s only nine players. The Rangers still need a back-up catcher, another outfielder, a starting second baseman and a utility infielder. I suspect Robinson Chirinos will be the second catcher. He’s been excellent in camp and deserves a roster spot. Since Moreland has gotten some reps in left field, I think the Rangers are leaning towards him as the fifth outfielder at this point, meaning Texas really needs a starting second baseman and TWO utility infielders. Kevin Kouzmanoff has had a good spring as well and likely will get one of those spots to provide a third base back-up for Beltre. Now the question is, will Texas go for a platoon at second base while Profar is out? The candidates thus far are Brent Lillibridge, Josh Wilson, Adam Rosales and Kesuke Tanaka. Of these, I think one stays, either Wilson or Rosales. As for the last offensive roster slot? I’m betting on someone who is among the last cuts in someone else’s training camp or gets obtained in a minor trade before Opening Day. That’s how the Rangers got Matt Treanor in 2010 and Andres Blanco in 2011.

Thus, the Opening Day offense is:

1B: Fielder

2B: Wilson or Rosales

SS: Andrus

3B: Beltre

C: Arencibia

LF: Choo

CF: Martin

RF: Rios

DH: Moreland

Bench: Chirinos, Kouzmanoff, Choice, Mystery Infielder

BaseballFor the pitching staff, Texas has a starting rotation in flux. Matt Harrison isn’t ready to help at season’s start. The back-end of the rotation is still unsettled. Let’s start by looking at health again. Here are the definite roster members who have no reported health issues:

Martin Perez

Tanner Scheppers

Robbie Ross

Alexi Ogando

Joakim Soria

Neal Cotts

Jason Frasor

The only one with a potential health issue that’s a lock is Yu Darvish, who’s officially ruled out to pitch Opening Day. That’s seven pitchers, leaving another five slots open. The following are in the mix for roster spots: Colby Lewis, Tommy Hanson, Joe Saunders, Neftali Feliz, Michael Kirkman, Pedro Figueroa, Rafael Perez and Shawn Tolleson. For this exercise, I’m going to assume Robbie Ross will be in the rotation, leaving one open starter position and four bullpen slots.

I want Colby Lewis in the Rangers rotation. I just don’t know if he’s ready yet, having gone through hip replacement surgery. Lewis is the talk of the camp and I think he’ll help Texas in 2014, but I think it best if he starts the season at AAA Round Rock. By default, that would hand the fifth starter spot to Hanson or Saunders. Neither one excites me. I’ll go with Saunders only because the DFW media seem to feel Hanson would work better than Saunders in the long reliever/spot starter role.

In the bullpen, it has already been established Soria is the closer and Ogando will set him up in the 8th. Frasor and Cotts are there for the seventh inning. Assuming Hanson is the long man, that leaves two slots open. Neftali Feliz has disappointed Rangers brass with his lack of velocity as he comes back from Tommy John surgery. I think he starts the season in AAA. Michael Kirkman is out of options but I don’t think the Rangers see any future for him with the club, either. He might be a trade piece for the extra infielder the Rangers need. I think Tolleson and Figueroa will be the last two pieces added to the pen. Thus we have a pitching staff that looks like this:

Starters

Darvish

Perez

Scheppers

Ross

Saunders

Bullpen

Hanson

Soria

Ogando

Frasor

Cotts

Tolleson

Figueroa

More moves still could be on the horizon between now and Monday that throw these predictions all out of whack. For the short-term, I hope this roster will be okay because for a pennant run, there’s still a lot of help needed.

QUICK NOTE: Every year, the C70 At The Bat blog, part of Cardsconclave.com, does a “Playing Pepper” feature looking at the other MLB teams. Today is Texas Rangers Day and some of my comments, along with a half dozen other Rangers bloggers are there. Make sure you give it a read!

The Walking Wounded

Spring Training records mean nothing. Spring Training statistics mean nothin. I get that.

Still, I can’t help but feel a little disconcerted by the walking wounded and reclamation projects floating around Texas Rangers camp in Surprise this spring. Today brought two more entries to the list: Elvis Andrus will be out for at least a couple of days due to right arm soreness which he’s had throughout camp. Meanwhile, Mitch Moreland could find himself on the disabled list to start the regular season after suffering an oblique injury and getting pulled from a game after just one inning yesterday.

image_20121221102423If these two were the only problems it would be OK with me, but this is the latest in a long line making its way through Rangers camp. Adrian Beltre is having problems with one of his quads and has been held out of the line-up for five days now. Jurickson Profar is just now starting in the field after having shoulder tendonitis at the start of camp. Geovany Soto is only three games into his spring after ankle surgery. Leonys Martin has had some nagging injuries that have him in and out of the line-up. Same with Alex Rios. And that’s just the offense.

Over in the pitching staff Matt Harrison had his injury comeback delayed by sleeping on a bad mattress and missing two and a half weeks with a bad back. It feels like half the pitching staff is trying to come back from injuries: Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria from Tommy John surgery, Colby Lewis from elbow problems and a hip replacement, Harrison from the back issues. At this point, there are only three starters established: Yu Darvish, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando. Only Darvish has had what would be considered a good spring. Perez has been inconsistent and Ogando more bad than good thus far (8.43 ERA). Battling for the final two spots, Lewis has yo-yo’d back and forth: one good outing, one putrid. Harrison won’t be ready for the start. Nick Tepesch (11.25 ERA) was so bad he’s been optioned already. Veterans Tommy Hanson (3.24 ERA) and Joe Saunders (6.43 ERA) haven’t outperformed anyone. The two best prospects for the back-end right now are Robbie Ross (2.08 ERA) and Tanner Scheppers (3.12 ERA), but if both earn rotation spots, that leaves two big holes in the bullpen, where Ross served in a set-up capacity and Scheppers was the 8th inning guy.

Back to the offense: the Rangers have hit 15 home runs this spring. Three have been hit by players who were playing Low-A ball in 2013 and have no hope of making the club this year. The power hitting part of the line-up: Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder, Alex Rios and Shin-Soo Choo have combined for only three of them. The biggest bright spot has been Michael Choice, obtained from the A’s in a trade for Craig Gentry. Choice is hitting .378 with three doubles, a triple and two home runs. With Moreland a likely DL candidate, Choice will likely be the starting DH for this year’s Rangers.

J.P. Arencibia has been so bad at the plate (.156 BA, the Rangers have put him in several minor league games to face easier pitching. He, along with two starters and the projected utility infielder are all hitting under .200.

Yeah, it’s only Spring Training. The stats and the records don’t mean anything. It does breed concern for the regular season.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 26

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 7-0

Overall: 91-71  (2nd Place AL West) (-5)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Craig Gentry  .391/.462/.435, 1 Double, 3 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases

Alex Rios .346/.357/.654  3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 Home Run, 8 RBI, 3 Stolen Bases

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Mitch Moreland  .200/.333/.200

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

Texas Bullpen (Neal Cotts/Joe Nathan/Robbie Ross/Tanner Scheppers/Joakim Soria/Jason Frasor):  22 Games, 5-0 with 3 Saves, 20.2 Innings Pitched, 10 Hits, 1 Run, 7 Walks, 27 Strikeouts

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Alexi Ogando  3 Runs, 8 Hits Allowed in 5.1 Innings Pitched

The Texas Rangers have not qualified for the post-season, but thanks to an incredible last week of the season, they are guaranteed a 163rd game.

Say what you will about Texas getting to stay home the entire last week of the season to face the only two teams they dominated all season, they still needed every one of the seven straight wins they put together on the week to qualify for even this 163rd game. The Monday night match-up with the Tampa Bay Rays is not officially a play-off game, it’s actually a regular season game, with all stats counting towards the regular season total. Win tonight and THEN the Rangers can say they’ve made the post-season for the 4th year in a row.

Even with a 7-0 week, the Rangers weren’t the hottest team in the American League. That honor went to the Wild Card bound Cleveland Indians, who will take on the winner of tonight’s Texas-Tampa Bay game on Wednesday while riding a 9 game winning streak. The Indians dominated their week against the two lowest-ranked teams in the AL Central and Minnesota in particular seemed to just roll over against the hot Tribe. By the way, I want to meet the guy who could have said with certainty four months ago that the Indians would make the playoffs sporting a rotation that included Ubaldo Jiminez and Scott Kazmir.

Thanks to the Rays dropping two of their three games with the Blue Jays, the Rangers get to play the Rays tonight with rookie Martin Perez getting the start against David Price. The game will see the return of Nelson Cruz, who has now finished serving his 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension. Cruz will likely be the DH against the Rays. If Texas loses tonight, Cruz will be back for one game and then possibly no longer be a Ranger, as he heads into free agency after the season.

Seven days ago, I didn’t think I’d have anything more to write about in terms of play on the field after today’s wrap-up of the week. I am happy to say I will have more to write, at least for another day.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 25

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 0-6

Overall: 84-71  (2nd Place AL West) (-8.5)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Craig Gentry  .571/.600/.786  1 Double, 1 Triple, 4 Stolen Bases

Ian Kinsler  .300/.364/.533  2 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 Home Run, 4 RBI

Raspa Frio (Offense):

A.J. Pierzynski  .125/.120/.167

Alex Rios  .167/.194/.267

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

Alexi Ogando  1-0, 0.75 ERA  1 Run on 4 Hits in 12 IP with 9 Strikeouts over two starts

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Joakim Soria  3 Earned Runs on 4 Hits in 2.2 IP

If there were any hopes among Texas Rangers fans of reaching the playoffs for the 4th consecutive year, they were pretty much dashed with a walk-off grand slam home run in the bottom of the tenth inning at Kansas City on Sunday. The Rangers were already no longer controlling their own destiny, entering play a game behind Tampa Bay and a half game back of Cleveland for the two Wild Card slots. With the Rays and Indians already showing wins in the books Sunday, the Rangers needed a win to keep pace. Instead, they failed to score a run for the third time in September and watched the Royals climb back into the Wild Card Race, albeit by an even slimmer thread than Texas.

There are only seven games to go. The teams ahead of the Rangers both swept their weekend series: the Rays took three in a row from the Orioles, while the Indians swept the lowly Astros. Entering the last week of play, any combination of six Rays/Indians wins and Rangers defeats means Texas sitting out the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

The good news? Texas is at home for the entire last week, playing host to the lowly Houston Astros and the third place Los Angeles Angels. Texas is a combined 25-6 against the two teams. The bad news? First, Texas has sunk to a paltry 39-35 at home. Second, Texas lost two of three to the resurgent Angels in their last series and the folks from LA are extra motivated with slim hopes of at least finishing .500 on the season. Third, the Indians close their season with six games against the White Sox and Twins, the 4th and 5th place teams in the AL Central.

The biggest glimmer of hope for the Rangers is for the Rays to stumble in the last week. Tampa Bay is on the road the entire week against the Yankees and the Blue Jays. The Rays are 36-39 on the road for the year. BUT Tampa also has a winning record on the season against both the Yanks and the Jays AND they have a winning record on the season at both Yankees Stadium and the Rogers Centre. Trailing the Rays by two games, Texas needs the Yanks and Jays to do them a huge solid to get to the Wild Card.

Elvis Andrus put it best after Sunday’s loss: The Rangers have to win out this week. 7-0 is the mantra for the week, and there’s no guarantee that’ll be enough.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 23

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 2-4

Overall: 81-61  (2nd Place AL West) (-1.5)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Elvis Andrus   .462/.429/.769  1 Double, 1 Home Run, 4 RBI and 2 Stolen Bases

Alex Rios  .429/.500/.952  2 Doubles, 3 Home Runs, 5 RBI

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Adrian Beltre  .130/.231/.130

Ian Kinsler  .214/.214/.286  0 Walks, 6 Strikeouts in 28 At Bats

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

7/10 of the Rangers Bullpen (Neal Cotts/Alexi Ogando/Joakim Soria/Joe Nathan/Jason Frasor/Tanner Scheppers/Neftali Feliz): 13 Games, 11.1 IP, 9 Hits, 0 Runs, 2 Walks, 8 Strikeouts  1-0 with 1 Save

Martin Perez  1-0, 1.29 ERA 1.14 WHIP, 5 Strikeouts in 7 Innings Pitched

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

3/5 of the Starting Rotation (Yu Darvish/Derek Holland/Matt Garza) 4 Games, 0-4 Record, 22.1 IP, 27 Hits, 17 Earned Runs (23 Total Runs), 12 Walks, 13 Strikeouts, 6 Home Runs Allowed


If there’s one thing we know about the Texas Rangers, they are a streaky team. 
After a torrid August, September is not going well. The offense is once again sputtering and this past week, the starting pitching decided to head south after a long streak of success. While it was not optimal for Texas to lose two of three to the front-running Oakland A’s to start the week, it wasn’t embarrassing either, as they were playing on the road in Oakland, where Texas has not played well the past few years. No, what was embarrassing was practically getting swept in Anaheim by the Angels, against whom Texas was 10-2 on the season entering the series. Only a late rally on Sunday kept the Angels from sending Texas 2 1/2 back of Oakland with only 20 games to go. Instead it stands at 1 1/2.

If there’s good news, it’s that the Rangers aren’t the only streaky team in the AL West. The A’s showed just last month they can go into funks of their own,as evidenced by the 10-game swing in the standings over a 3-week period in August. Still, three games ago Texas had their destiny in their hands with a 1/2 game lead. A week later and it’s Oakland that has the momentum in their favor. It doesn’t help that Oakland faces off with the lowly Minnesota Twins the first three days of the week while the Rangers square off at home against likely playoff-bound Pittsburgh. This series has me a little torn. I know the Rangers need to sweep this series to keep the heat on Oakland. On the other hand, I am so stoked for the Pirates and their fans that they are one win away from clinching their first over-.500 campaign in 21 years. I’m also a fan of Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who served as the Rangers’ hitting coach for the 2010 World Series team.

No matter how you slice it, Texas needs to follow up two consecutive 2-4 weeks with a 4-2 or 5-1 showing against Pittsburgh and Oakland. The weekend series with the A’s is the last regular season meeting between the two clubs. Anything worse than 2-1 against the A’s means a likely second place finish in the AL West.  Texas, it’s time to pull on your big boy pants.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 22

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 4-2

Overall: 79-57  (1st Place AL West) (+1)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Elvis Andrus   .421/.450/.474  1 Double, 4 RBI

Ian Kinsler .360/.385/.400  1 Double, 3 Stolen Bases

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Jurickson Profar  .174/.240/.348  (But he did have a home run)

Leonys Martin  .174/.208/.304  (But he did have a home run and 5 RBI)

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

7/9 of the Rangers Bullpen (Neal Cotts/Robbie Ross/Joakim Soria/Joe Nathan/Jason Frasor/Tanner Scheppers/Neftali Feliz): 16 Games, 16 IP, 11 Hits, 0 Runs, 3 Walks, 19 Strikeouts  2-0 with 1 Save

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Travis Blackley  5.23 ERA  6 Earned Runs in 10.1 Innings Pitched


It was a wasted week. Again.
Once again the Rangers had a winning week at 4-2, but this time they lost a game and a half in the standings. Texas followed up a great road sweep of the Mariners only to come home and lay an egg in front of the home crowd against the lowly Minnesota Twins. Meanwhile, the second place A’s proved they’re up to the task of repeating as AL West champions by taking three out of four from the Detroit Tigers ON THE ROAD, then came home and swept the Wild Card-contending Tampa Bay Rays. Ron Washington is always quick to say his team can’t worry about what other teams are doing. If they take care of their own business, everything will be OK. Against the Twins, Texas didn’t take care of their own business.

Rangers Hall of Famer Jim Sundberg tweeted over the weekend that, with big series coming up, it’s natural for contending teams to look ahead a bit. I hope that’s the case because the Rangers and A’s are head to head the next three days and Texas needs to bring its A game (or A’s game, as it were). I stated last week it was important for Texas to go into September with a 4 game or more lead because the schedule this month favors the A’s. With a one game lead today instead of four you can officially label me as skeptical about my team winning the West in 2013. This week, it’s six games on the West Coast: three at Oakland followed by three games at Los Angeles. Oakland is at home all week against the Rangers and the Astros. Texas needs to take two of three against Oakland and, dare I say it, sweep the Angels. Anything less and this time next week I’ll probably be talking about the second place Rangers. I hate to talk about the second place Rangers.

On the positive side, welcome back Neftali Feliz! The man whose image is indelibly frozen in my brain when he struck A-Rod out looking to end the 2010 ALCS and send the Rangers to their first World Series returned to Texas Sunday after the long recovery from Tommy John surgery. Feliz threw two scoreless innings against the Twins. His velocity isn’t where it was a couple of years ago but he mixed his pitches well. I’ll pit the Rangers bullpen against just about any team in baseball. The offense is another question altogether,

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 18

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 6-1

Overall: 62-51  (2nd Place AL West) (-2.5)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Adrian Beltre   .429/.467/.536   1 HR, 6 RBI

A.J. Pierzynski  .308/.308/.538  2 HR, 7 RBI

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Ian Kinsler .214/.258/.393  It’s a good cold, though. Ian had a triple a home run and 4 RBI with the meager six hits he managed for the week.

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

Yu Darvish  1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 14 K’s in 7 IP

Martin Perez   1 ER in 7.1 IP

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Joakim Soria  3 Games, 4 Earned Runs in 2.2 IP,  .364 BAA

Well, we learned a lot about the Texas Rangers this week. We learned Matt Garza may be a bulldog on the mound, but he’s a bit of a loudmouth off it. Garza, who lost Saturday’s start against the Oakland A’s, took exception to a safety squeeze play that netted Oakland an insurance run, thinking it wasn’t the manly way to play baseball. Garza was wrong in that assessment and he made matters worse later when he got into a Twitter war with A’s second baseman Eric Sogard and his wife, one that he had to publicly apologize for the next day. Garza may have been the prime piece available at this year’s trade deadline but he just made it a little harder for Rangers fans to wholeheartedly embrace him.

We learned that, despite his puzzling strategic moves at times, Ron Washington is one helluva manager. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be #1 on the list of wins by a Texas Rangers manager. With Sunday’s 4-0 whitewashing of the A’s, Wash passed Bobby Valentine for most wins in franchise history. The Rangers have totally bought into Wash’s formula to win, they enjoy playing for him and the results show. Considering the injuries to the starting pitching staff and the lack of punch in the offensive line-up, the Rangers are still in contention for the playoffs in 2013. GM Jon Daniels mentioned it a couple of weeks ago and I agree: 2013 could be Ron Washington’s best as a manager. The honor of being a franchise best is fully deserved.

We learned the Rangers are incredibly streaky and you can never count them out. Just one week ago today, Texas was 2-8 coming out of the All-Star Break and were playing like they were on fumes, falling 6 games behind the A’s in the AL West. One week later, they’re coming off a 6-1 week that included three consecutive walk-off home run games and taking two of three from the A’s at Oakland, shaving 3 and a half games off the A’s lead in one week’s time to pull to within 2.5 of Oakland.

What will we learn this week? We’ll learn right off the bat if A) Nelson Cruz is suspended by MLB in the Biogenesis scandal and B) if Cruz plans to appeal that suspension. The odds are pretty good Cruz will be suspended, it’s the appeal that is the unknown. Cruz is between a rock and a hard place on this. If he appeals, he may get to play out the season. However, as a free agent, teams might be reluctant to give him a wad of cash when he’s apt to miss the first third of the 2014 regular season. Or he can appeal, lose the appeal before the end of the regular season and be unavailable for the playoffs. Take the suspension and not only will he miss the rest of the regular season, if the Rangers don’t make the playoffs, he may have played his last game in a Rangers uniform. The Texas front office has been reluctant to sign Nelly to a new deal, but Cruz has often expressed his desire to remain with the Rangers.

The next three plus weeks are favorable to Texas, as their next 24 games are all against teams with sub-.500 records on the year. Even so, Cruz is the Rangers’ main power hitter. The road becomes a lot tougher, even against losing ballclubs, without the Boomstick in the line-up. This week begins with three games in LA against the Angels. After an off day, a 4-game set begins Friday in Houston against the Astros. If Cruz is indeed gone from the Rangers line-up for the rest of the regular season, Ron Washington is going to really earn every additional win on his Rangers record from now through the end of the season.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Weeks 16/17

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past two weeks that were in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous two weeks of play.

Rangers Record: 2-8

Overall: 56-49  (2nd Place AL West) (-6)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Elvis Andrus   .333/.415/.389   2 Doubles, 4 Walks, 3 Stolen Bases

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Mitch Moreland  .056/.128/.139   2 hits in 36 at bats with 11 strikeouts

Nelson Cruz  .171/.256/.343

Dishonorable Mentions: Adrian Beltre .225, A.J. Pierzynski .220, Leonys Martin .231 and Ian Kinsler .237

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

Matt Garza  1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.68 WHIP

Neal Cotts  5 IP with 0 Hits Allowed

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Martin Perez  0-1, 10 Earned Runs in 9.1 Innings Pitched

Ross Wolf  0-1, 10 Earned Runs in 7 Innings Pitched

The wheels on the bus fall off and off. Just when the pitching staff returns to some semblance of order, the offense just totally falls off the map. While it was known the Texas offense would fall off with the departures of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young, I don’t think anyone could have foretold the current state of the Rangers offense. Texas opened up the second half with a 7-game home stand and only managed to win two games, getting swept by the Orioles and splitting four against the equally offensively challenged New York Yankees. Hitting the road, the Rangers were swept in Cleveland for the first time in 33 years. It was no sin to get shut out by Justin Masterson on Saturday, but the Rangers followed that up by getting blanked by Ubaldo Jimenez Sunday, causing a post-game closed-door meeting in which Rangers manager Ron Washington reportedly held the floor for 40 minutes. The tongue-lashing was probably necessary, but it doesn’t bode well for a team when there are two of these closed-door meetings in a span of just six weeks. Something has happened to this team and it’s anyone’s guess what it is. Too many youngsters? A lack of leadership among the players? Players not holding each other accountable?

Adding insult to injury, Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers was assaulted Thursday night (or early Friday morning depending on your definition) on the way back to the team hotel. Scheppers told police he was blindsided on the street for no reason. Witnesses say he lost a bar fight, one which he instigated himself. I don’t know the truth, but I DO know it’s NEVER a good thing when something happens to you at 2:30 in the morning. The odds are pretty good Scheppers (and reportedly Joe Nathan and A.J. Pierzynski) was at a bar and somebody didn’t take kindly to something.

Oh, yeah and now reports say the Rangers have shopped Joe Nathan around to see if it might bring something good in return. There’s no question the offense needs some help but would one bat be enough? It sure doesn’t look like it right now. The head honcho at one fan site went so far as to say maybe the Rangers should flip Garza after one start and start rebuilding for next year now. I can see a possible Nathan trade, since Joakim Soria could easily move into the closers role. Flipping Garza right after getting him would be equivalent to throwing in the towel on 2013 and I don’t think anyone in the Rangers organization is ready to do that yet.

If things are going to change for the Rangers, it has to start happening this week. The Rangers open with a three game home stand against the suddenly Albert Pujols-less Los Angeles Angels, followed by a single make-up game Thursday at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks, then three on the road at Oakland against the first place A’s. Texas not only needs to get back into pennant contention, they’re also at the rear of the Wild Card race. Starting tonight, we’ll see if Wash’s tirade in Cleveland makes any difference.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 15

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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: 54-41  (2nd Place AL West) (-2)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Adrian Beltre  ..407/.467/.778  1 2b, 3 HR and 8 RBI

A.J. Pierzynski  .375/.385/.625   3 2b,  1 HR  and 5 RBI

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Leonys Martin   .150/.292/.150

David Murphy  .174/.208/.217

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

Cory Burns/Neal Cotts/Wilmer Font/Joe Nathan/Joseph Ortiz/Robbie Ross/Tanner Scheppers/Joakim Soria  A combined 0.00 ERA in 16.2 IP. Only 6 Hits allowed with 1 Save

Derek Holland  2-0, 2.63 ERA  14 K in 13.2 IP

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Justin Grimm   0-1, 18.90 ERA

The All-Star Break couldn’t get here fast enough. The Rangers hobbled into the break with a starting rotation of Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Josh Lindblom, Justin Grimm and Ross Wolf. Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis are all on the DL and they were even joined by rookie Nick Tepesch. When you look at the rotation as it is comprised, it is amazing to even conceive of Texas being 13 games over .500 at the break. A mediocre 3-4 is not that great a week, but considering the Rangers were on the road the entire week against the Orioles and the Tigers, 3-4 wouldn’t be bad even with the starting pitchers we’d expect. One of the three wins was pinning Max Scherzer with his first loss after he started the season 13-0.

As for when the starters return, it might not be this week but next week. Yu Darvish may be back this weekend for the home series with the Orioles. Alexi Ogando is expected back next week, but whether that means he’ll start one of the games against the Yankees or be held back until the Indians series is unknown. How much can be expected of Ogando is also unknown. His first two rehab starts in the minors have not gone that well. Colby Lewis finally starts rehab appearances again next week and could be a month away.

While I was out on vacation, the bullpen got a jolt with the return of Joakim Soria, who’s thrown three shutout innings in his first 3 appearances. Meanwhile, the non-names of Cory Burns, Joseph Ortiz and Wilmer Font threw enough quality relief innings to give overworked Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers and Neal Cotts a break.

The Rangers’ offense continues its inconsistent ways. Were it not for the injury to Jeff Baker, David Murphy would probably be a platoon player. Elvis Andrus was dropped in the order and now Ron Washington is giving Leonys Martin a shot at the 2-slot in the line-up. Texas needs help in the rotation and in the offensive line-up. It will be interesting to see what moves Jon Daniels makes in the next two weeks leading up to the trade deadline. For now, the team gets three much-needed days off.

Interesting Moves

Plenty of moves made by the Texas Rangers today, most of them of the unexpected variety.

The first day of the International Signing Period was today and the Rangers were far busier than even the most aggressive fans would have thought. The rules have changed under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement as it applies to Latin American players. In the past, teams could spend as much as they liked on as many international players as they’d like (usually from Latin America), as long as they were eligible. Texas has been among the freest of spenders on Latin American talent. It has netted them Jurickson Profar, baseball’s #1 prospect and current utility player; Martin Perez, now in the starting rotation; Alexi Ogando, a starting pitcher now on the DL; and a whole slew of players working their way through the minor league system.

This year, the rules have changed. Teams are given a cap on how much they can spend on Latin American players and the cap varies depending on the parent club’s fortunes in the standings. The Houston Astros can spend the most, the Rangers are among the teams who can spend the least. It’s also complicated. Teams can acquire more money to spend via trades. At least one club already has done that this year. If clubs go over their cap, they not only have to play a luxury tax, they’re penalized the following year.

Count the Rangers as a team in the penalty box. Today they’ve already signed SS Yeyson Yrizarry (Baseball America’s #7 International prospect), RHP Marcos Diplan (BA’s #6), OF Jose Almonte (MLB.com’s #13) and SS Michael DeLeon (BA’s #26 prospect) for a combined total of over $5 million. Texas didn’t make any deals to acquire more cap money. Their cap budget was $1.94 million, so they’re already at least $3 million over the cap. Texas will have to pay an extra luxury tax of  100% (another $3 million) PLUS in next year’s signing period, the most they’ll be allowed to sign a prospect for will be $250,000. If an International Player Draft comes to pass, Texas would pay the luxury tax PLUS lose their first round pick in the 2014 and 2015 drafts. Texas has apparently decided to go all in this year and look elsewhere next year, probably to Japan or on a Cuban defector, neither of which is a part of the International pool of players.

As if this wasn’t interesting enough, the big league club made a move today that is very curious, designating RHP Kyle McClellan for assignment and recalling RHP Josh Lindblom from AAA Round Rock. McClellan was certainly a candidate to be DFA’d. After a decent start, allowing one run over 4 innings in his first three appearances, McClellan gave up runs in each of his next four outings, 7 in all in only 5.1 innings. Not a surprise there at all. What’s curious is the timing. Curiosity #1: Texas is playing Seattle and Houston this week, two teams on the lower end of the league. It’s pretty safe to assume Rangers starters will be able to go longer over the next six games, thus taxing the bullpen less. In other words, McClellan probably would only be needed once at best this week. Curiosity #2: Why was Lindblom brought up to replace him? He’s been a starter all year, including 4 starts for the Rangers. Why convert him to the bullpen now, especially when it’s doubtful he’ll be needed much this week? Curiosity #3: Rumor has it Joakim Soria is about ready to be activated by the

Joakim Soria

Joakim Soria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rangers, perhaps in time for the Astros series this weekend. The former Royals closer will go in back to back outings for Frisco Wednesday and Thursday. As long as those outings go well, and Soria has already tossed 5 scoreless innings in rehab thus far, he’ll be deemed ready to go. That would have been the time to DFA McClellan. Lastly is Curiosity #4: When Soria is activated, who will be the player to go? Lindblom? Why bring him up just for four days? Ross Wolf? He hasn’t done anything to deserve a demotion. Those are the only possibilities in the bullpen. Possibly Nick Tepesch or Justin Grimm could go down to Round Rock, with Lindblom moving into their starting role, but that’s pretty much a lateral move that doesn’t improve the ballclub much, if at all.

The only thing that makes much sense is we’re about to see an unexpected disabled list move on the pitching staff, maybe Tanner Scheppers, who insists he’s healthy yet had horrible command on Sunday. Or we’re about to see the first mid-season trade go down, one that changes the face of the pitching staff. Maybe Robbie Ross or Neal Cotts will find themselves part of a trade package.

Things will start shaking out the day Soria joins the Rangers. We’ll see how the dominos fall.

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