Results tagged ‘ Rangers ’

A Father’s Day Story 2001

Author’s Note: This will be a multiple-post day. Since it’s Father’s Day, I thought I’d re-share, for those who missed it, my Father’s Day post from 2010. Happy  Father’s Day, one and all!

June 15th, 2001. It was a Friday. Mrs. 40 Year Ranger Fan (although she hyphenates the name Mrs.Mariner Fan-40 Year Ranger Fan) approached me as we were preparing to sleep for the night.

“Honey, you know my friend (name withheld to protect the guilty)? She had a special piece of furniture made for her father for Father’s Day. It’s a guy who lives north of town and it’s a pretty heavy piece. She wants to bring it home and get it in the house before her father wakes up so it’ll be there for Father’s Day.” She then stumbled through the next sentence. “I… I kind of… Well, I kind of promised her we’d help her pick it up.”

“OK,” I said, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It did.

“We’re going to have to go over to her house at 5 AM. Don’t be upset, baby. She’s done a lot for us and I want to help her!”

“OK,” I said, already thinking about setting the alarm for 4 AM on Father’s Day.

Sunday arrives. The alarm rings at 4 AM. Groggily I take a shower and get dressed. The hot water doesn’t even begin to wake me up. We drive over to the friend’s house. When we arrive, all the lights are out at her house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The wife gets out the cell phone and calls. No answer on her friend’s cell phone. “I hate the idea of waking her father up, but I need to call her home number,” she says. Apparantly somebody answers because see tells me, “She overslept. She’ll be right out.”

I’m falling asleep in the car.

Eventually the friend comes out, carrying her 4-year old son and some other stuff. I’m not paying much attention. I’m just sleepy.

The missus tells me to get into her friend’s car. I comply. The friend puts the 4-year old in the back seat with me. He’s as sleepy as I am. While I note it, I don’t think anything of the fact that the friend’s mother and father are standing right there on the front step. I may have thought that the surprise for her dad must be ruined since he’s seeing her leave, but that was about it. I pay no attention to what the wife is doing as she’s putting things in the trunk.

We depart in the friend’s vehicle and head north. We reach the next town and continue heading north. After 15 minutes or so we have cleared the northern border of said next town. Wearily, I ask, “Where is this piece of furniture, in Falfurrias (about an hour away)? My wife turns around in the front seat.

“Actually, we’re not going to get a piece of furniture.”

“What are we doing then?”

“We’re going to Houston to see the Astros-Rangers game.”

“Yeah, right. Houston is six hours away.”

“I’m serious, baby. We’re going to Houston to see the Astros-Rangers game!”

“I can’t go to a game. I don’t have the right clothes to go to a ball game! I need a jersey and a cap”

“I already packed it. I can’t believe I pulled this off. You didn’t have a clue!”

She was right. I didn’t have a clue.

We drove six hours to Houston to what was still Enron Field at the time. On the way, I opened Father’s Day cards from my wife and our one remaining son at home. My son gave me a book on major league ballparks. When the 4-year old woke up we got acquainted. I was glad to talk to someone who was as clueless as I was.

We met up with a friend of the friend in front of the ballpark and took our seats, upper deck on the third base side. The Rangers started Darren Oliver against the Astros Scott Elarton. We scored a run in the top of the first on a Ruben Sierra sac fly, but the ‘stros came back in the bottom of the first with a solo shot by Craig Biggio.

Biggio struck again with his second homer of the game in the third inning. It stayed 2-1 Astros until the top of the 5th when Pudge Rodriguez knocked in a run with a single and Alex Rodriguez followed with a three-run shot to make it 5-2. A 9th inning sac fly by Bo Porter (who I don’t even remember) closed out the scoring and the Rangers won for me on Father’s Day 6-2.

After the game, we started filing out of the park. We were close to the wall looking out over the street and the 4-year-old accidentally drops his souvenier 12-inch bat over the side. Thank goodness it didn’t hit anyone! We drove home and I was back at work the next day following a one day 12-hour road trip with a three hour game in between.

While it was the first time I discovered that I don’t recover as quickly from one day road trips as I used to, it was an unforgettable Father’s Day surprise. Thanks, honey!

The Final Countdown (REM Edition): Rangers 3, A’s 2

On the day REM announced “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, And I Feel  Fine” once again, becuase a number was shaved off the magic number with the Rangers’ come from behind 3-2 win over the A’s. Rangers fans are “Shiny Happy People” while in Anaheim, “Everybody Hurts”. Since the countdown began at ten, the Rangers have successfully gotten at least one step closer for seven consecutive days. No doubt about it, this diehard Texas Rangers fan is not “Losing My Religion”. In fact, I see the team as “Superman.” I will gladly “Stand” to cheer them on any day, since, as far as sports teams go they are “The One I Love.”

 

Three

 

The Final Countdown: Rangers 7, A’s 2

Angels win, but the Rangers drive another nail in the coffin. Rich Harden FINALLY does his part to bring the Rangers an AL West title. Texas just had to get rid of him to do it…

Four

 

The Magic Number Countdown Begins: Rangers 7, Indians 4

In the Rangers’ 7-4 win over the Indians:

Alexi Ogando needed 39 pitches to get out of the second inning, yet not one Indian crossed the plate to score.

Ogando only needed 30 pitches to get through the 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Michael Young hit a bases loaded double, giving him over 100 RBI for the second time in his career.

Josh Hamilton hit his third home run in as many days.

Texas finished the season 9-1 vs. the Tribe.

The magic number countdown has begin:

Ten

 

Hello Mr. Wilson!

Who knew it would take over 40 years to make me want to act like Dennis The Menace and just drop by CJ Wilson‘s house to bug him. But I do. I want to march over to his house right now and repeat “Please re-sign with the Rangers” over and over and over and over and over and over until he has no recourse but to re-sign, if only to get me off his back and off of his property.

Mr. Wilson took the mound Sunday after the Rangers had seen their AL West lead shrink to a mere game and a half over the second place Angels and proceeded to pitch eight innings of shutout baseball in leading Texas to an 8-1 win and a 2-1 series win over the Oakland A’s. A money performance from a money pitcher, and one who is now working on a 17 inning scoreless streak. Meanwhile, the Angels blew a chance to sweep the Yankees, with a dropped fly ball leading to two Yankees runs which put the lead back to 2 1/2 games, now with only 15 games to go.

To take a little bit of the luster off the Rangers win yesterday and the 11 strikeout performance, the A’s did rest a lot of their regulars in the game, so CJ wasn’t exactly facing an optimal line-up. On the other hand, how many times have you seen your own team rest certain regulars when facing another team’s bona fide ace? For much of the season, the Rangers have been known as having a good starting pitching staff but one without a true ace. It’s becoming more and more apparent that Wilson is turning into an ace right before our eyes, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

Even more heartening than Wilson’s Sunday performance was the one turned in by Adrian Beltre. The third baseman has hit for average since returning from the disabled list, but the power hasn’t been there. Ron Washington has been batting Beltre 5th in the order, saying he’s looking for signs he’s ready to return to the clean-up spot.  One big humongous sign was shown yesterday. Beltre had a double with authority in his first at bat. His third at bat cleared the left field fence, but not by much, for his first post-DL home run. His 4th at bat was a no doubter, easily clearing the fence onto the green in center field for his second dinger of the day. I’d say there’s a pretty good chance Beltre is back in the 4-hole come Tuesday night.

Beltre’s bat is sorely needed because, quite frankly, Josh Hamilton has only been an average hitter over the past month plus. It certainly wasn’t expected for Hambone to match last year’s MVP performance numbers in 2011, but something just doesn’t look quite right with Josh. While much has been made about how poorly Hamilton has done in day games, overall he just hasn’t hit the ball with much authority. Since the beginning of August, he’s been respectable, with 7 doubles, a triple, 6 Homers and 24 RBI, but his batting average has been a pedestrian .274. To add a little perspective, in the same span, Michael Young, Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler all have more RBI’s than Hamilton, David Murphy has only one less. Napoli and Kinsler have both hit more home runs and Kinsler has more doubles as well. And all the aforementioned except for Kinsler have hit for a higher average as well.

Certainly it’s a good problem to have, as it shows what a consistent threat the Rangers offensive line-up is, even without Nelson Cruz. Still, a nice Hamilton hot streak would be more than welcome right around now. I’m beginning to wonder if the broken bone in his upper arm that he suffered in April has caused a slight adjustment to his swing that’s affected his average and power. Anything’s possible.

Hamilton’s problem isn’t nearly as worrisome as former high school teammates and now Rangers teammates Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama. Uehara hasn’t been very good since coming over from the Orioles and Tateyama has been even worse over the past two weeks.

When Uehara was traded to the Rangers, he sported a 1.72 ERA, a .152 opponents batting average and he had given up 4 home runs in 47 innings of work. Since arriving in the Lone Star State, Koji’s given up 5 home runs in just 13 innings of work, with a .226 opponents BA and a 5.27 ERA.

But that’s nothing compared to Tateyama. On August 23rd Yoshi’s ERA had reached its lowest point of the season at 2.37. Since that time, he’s pitched 4 innings, given up 11 hits and twelve runs, all earned, for a 27.00 ERA. Adding insult to injury, the last two batters he’s faced have both hit grand slams off him. Saturday’s grand slam broke open a 3-3 game and helped the A’s break a 10-game losing streak against Texas.

With only 2 1/2 weeks remaining in the regular season, Wash doesn’t have a lot of time left to figure out who will fill what bullpen roles come playoff time (assuming the Rangers get there). The recent performances of the two Japanese imports, as well as Mark Lowe and Mike Gonzalez, aren’t making the skipper’s decision any easier.

Off day today so the R’s can root for the A’s against the Angels tonight, then Cleveland comes to town Tuesday.

In closing, I’d just like Mr. Wilson to know this: Please resign with the Rangers, please re-sign with the Rangers, please re-sign with the Rangers, please re-sign with the Rangers…..

Thank You Seattle Mariners: Rays 4, Rangers 1

With a mere 27 games remaining on the 2011 schedule, anything that gets the Texas Rangers one step closer to clinching a playoff berth is welcome. Certainly, fans would prefer the Rangers take the drama out of it and just clinch a return trip to the playoffs by winning, winning again and winning some more.

Nice as it would be, it is not realistic. So on those days when the Rangers don’t win, a well-placed assist is always welcome. Such was what occurred Wednesday night, when the Mariners helped the Rangers out with a 2-1 come from behind victory over the Angels. It helped take the sting out of the Rangers 4-1 defeat by Tampa Bay and maintained the Rangers’ 3 1/2 game lead in the AL West.

Outside of the first inning, when they loaded the bases with one out, Texas never had much of a chance against James Shields. Some games you just lose because an outstanding pitcher throws an outstanding game and this was one of them. Shields was magnificent, throwing eight shutout innings and getting out of the aforementioned first inning by inducing an inning ending double play grounder from Mike Napoli.

Of more concern was the horrific performance of Alexi Ogando and the continued struggles of newly acquired Koji Uehara. Ogando lasted less than three innings, giving up only three runs but looking just awful out on the mound. Last night only confirmed my suspicion that Scott Feldman will replace Ogando in his next scheduled start Monday at the Trop. Uehara, meanwhile, came on to pitch the 8th and again gave up a home run, his 4th since joining the Rangers and in only 10 2/3 innings.

On the positive side of the ledger, rookie Mark Hamburger came on in the 9th, making his major league debut and tossing a scoreless inning. By the way, I will not make any Hamburger puns, as I’ve seen enough of them over the past two days to realize it’s already become trite. Matt Harrison, who took a rotation turn off, tossed two hitless innings and appears ready for his next start Sunday against the Red Sox.

 Series finale tonight with Adrian Beltre back in the Rangers line-up. Also activated is utility infielder Andres Blanco. The Rangers have also called up two players, now that rosters have expanded: infielder Esteban German and pitcher Merkin Valdez.  Mike Gonzalez and Matt Treanor also join the team tonight, while the Rangers have sent AAA reliever Pedro Strop to the Orioles to complete the trade for Gonzalez. More players will join the Rangers later, but will wait until Round Rock and Frisco complete their respective playoff series.

 

Welcome Back!

Yesterday the rumor mills were ablaze with possibilities of Lance Berkman joining the Rangers.

Didn’t happen.

24 hours later, two deals DID happen, all to provide the Texas Rangers with insurance as we head closer and closer to the post-season.

 

Matt Treanor at Rangers Fan Fest January 2011

Texas re-acquired Matt Treanor from the Kansas City Royals, apparently in a straight cash transaction. Treanor was a key member of the 2010 AL Champions who filled in valiantly when Jarrod Saltalamacchia fell out of favor with the organization and Taylor Teagarden struck out more than he put wood on the ball. Treanor was the Rangers’ regular catcher until the acquisition of Bengie Molina. Treanor’s a grinder who gets the utmost from his talent, which is major league minimal, but he’s a great influence in the clubhouse, he’ll work a pitcher for long at-bats and is familiar with the pitching staff. Treanor probably will sniff a Rangers post-season roster only if Mike Napoli or Yorvit Torrealba suffer a late-season injury. Meanwhile, he’ll be able to provide them with the occasional rest day down the stretch.

Acquisition #2 is Orioles southpaw relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez. Again, this is just an insurance policy for the most part. Gonzalez will serve as a left-handed specialist for the next month. He will only make the post-season roster if A) Darren Oliver gets hurt; or B) if the team they’re facing in the playoffs is particularly vulnerable against lefthanders. Otherwise, maybe he’ll make Koji Uehara feel more comfortable being a Ranger, since they were teammates just a month ago. Gonzalez was acquired for the very popular Player To Be Named Later.

Two deals giving the Rangers for post-season options. Now all they have to do is make it to the post-season.

Speculation Running Rampant

Boy is the Twitterverse ever burning up this morning.

Not even lunchtime and already speculation that 1) Mark Hamburger is being called up from AAA Round Rock; 2) CF Leonys Martin is being recalled from AAA Round Rock; and 3) Lance Berkman might be traded to the Rangers, maybe in exchange for the aforementioned 1) Mark Hamburger.

Of course none of this is confirmed. Zip, zilch, nada. All of it could be true or none of it could be true.
Here’s what’s definitely true: There will be no Rangers game tonight.

Halo Goodbye: Rangers Take 2 of 3 From Angels

The most beautiful hit of the weekend to me wasn’t any of the hits that led to Nelson Cruz‘ 6 RBI night Friday. It wasn’t the David Murphy grand salami Friday. Or the home runs by Yorvit Torrealba or Josh Hamilton on Sunday. No, much like I’ve always loved the runt of the litter, the most beautiful hit of the weekend was a bad bunt.

In the 7th inning of a 5-5 game, Elvis Andrus decided to sacrifice Ian Kinsler to second to put the go-ahead run into scoring position. Andrus got underneath the ball, popping the bunt in the air. Miraculously, the bunt went just far enough to elude three Angels hoping to catch it for the first out, landed on the infield and, with a nice little piece of backspin, died hugging the first base line. Fair ball. Base hit. End of the night for Jered Weaver. Three more runs would come around to score before the 7th ended and the Rangers won the rubber game of the three game set 8-5, extending their AL West lead to three games with 37 to go.

It was a badly needed win and an improbable one, considering the Halos had staked their ace to a 4-1 lead with runs in each of the first three innings against Colby Lewis. A 3-run lead for Weaver usually means a W in the book for Anaheim. This time, pitching on only three days rest for the first time in his career, Weaver couldn’t hold it, giving up three runs in the 3rd to tie the game at four.

The Angels came back to make it 5-4 in their favor, where it remained until the fateful 7th inning. What was weird was how everything changed in the span of four pitches. The first pitch of the inning was a David Murphy double down the first base line. The second pitch a line single up the middle by Ian Kinsler. The inning’s third pitch was the aforementioned Andrus bunt single, ending Weaver’s night. And Scott Downs’ first pitch to Josh Hamilton made it to the outfield for a single, plating Kinsler with the go-ahead and, as it turned out, winning run.

The game was not without its setbacks. Nelson Cruz, Friday’s star, aggravated a hamstring in the 7th inning rally legging out a double and could be lost to the DL for awhile. Cruz had three DL trips in 2010 and one already in 2011 due to hamstring problems. Fortunately, Adrian Beltre starts a rehab assignment today and could return to the Texas line-up on Thursday.

The middle game of the set was easily CJ Wilson‘s worst pitching performance of the year and perhaps his career. Wilson gave up a career high five home runs as the Angels took the 8-4 decision. Only three days rest didn’t bother Angels starter Ervin Santana, four allowed just four hits, albeit in giving up four runs.

Game 1 was all Rangers, as Derek Holland pitched well and Dan Haren didn’t. Cruz, demoted to the 7 hole in the line-up, came through with 6 RBI and Murphy’s grand slam chased Haren as Texas bashed their way to an 11-1 lead before LA made it look more interesting with 6 runs in the last two innings.

Despite putting one more game of space between themselves and the 2nd place Angels, the next ten games are still a key to securing a playoff spot: three at home against the resurgent Rays, followed by three in Fenway Park against the Red Sox and another three at the Trop in Tampa. Off day today to get some much-needed rest before the Tampa series.

Still not optimistic about a return to the World Series, but feeling a little better about the chances of being in the playoffs again.

Missions 2 and 3 Accomplished: Rangers 4, Angels 3

Winning road trip: Check.

Winning the series with the Angels: Check.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over. Yet somehow one can’t help but realize the Texas Rangers now have firm control over their playoff destiny. On a night where CJ Wilson found himself in a quick 2-0 first inning hole and squaring off against one of the league’s hottest 2nd half pitchers in Ervin Santana, once again the guys in the cowboy hats (apologies to former Angels owner Gene Autry) pulled out the victory and ensured they’ll leave Anaheim with no less than a six game lead with only 37 to go. If the Rangers play just .500 ball the rest of the way, the Angels are going to have to play at something like a .650 clip just to force a one game playoff. The way their offense has been playing these first three games makes it highly unlikely they can pull off such a feat.

Wilson recovered from the first inning glitch to toss six shutout innings the rest of the way, retiring 9 Angels in a row at one point. Santana didn’t have his good stuff, but kept working out of danger and entered the 5th with a 2-0 lead. The Rangers managed to score one in the fifth to cut the lead to 2-1. Mitch Moreland opened the 6th with a monster shot over the right center field wall to tie it up. As soon as the tie was secure, it felt like this was going to be another Rangers victory. The bullpen acquisitions at the trade deadline had me feeling that confident.

The Angels were also in a fix. After burning through their bullpen each of the previous two nights, it was important for Santana to give them a lot of innings. That he did, but Mike Scioscia kept Santana in for one batter too many. In the 7th, the Rangers loaded the bases with nobody out, yet Santana still remained in the game. Scioscia’s confidence looked like it was going to pay off when Santana proceeded to strike out Yorvit Torrealba and Endy Chyavez in consecutive at bats. He then got Ian Kinsler, who had gone 0-9 since Monday’s 4-5 performance, into a 1-2 hole. The decisive pitch was actually a pretty good one. Santana certainly didn’t groove one. Kinsler, though, managed to punch the offering perfectly in between the shortstop and left fielder for a bloop single, plating two runs and staking the Rangers to a 4-2 lead.

With only 6 outs to play with and the new Texas bullpen triumvirate ready and available, suddenly winning the game became a tall order for the Halos. Koji Uehara came on in the 8th and, unfortunately, gave up his third home run since joining the team from Baltimore, cutting the lead to 4-3. Things were feeling a little dicier for rangers fans when Neftali Feliz came on in the 9th and gave up a lead-off single to Mark Trumbo, the first time the Angels had ever gotten a hit off Feliz in their home park. Trumbo would go to second on a grounder to first, then advance to third on the second out. With the tying run just 90 feet away, Feliz coaxed one more grounder to first to end the game.

Refreshing sight: When Uehara came on in the 8th, I perked up and took notice quickly. Uehara is one of the fastest workers on the mound I’ve seen in quite some time. Just about every time he got the ball back from the catcher, it took only ten seconds before he was throwing the next pitch to the plate. I think 15 seconds is the longest I timed him at between pitches with a low of 8 seconds. Imagine how quickly a ball game would be played if every pitcher took after Koji.

International Writer: I can’t believe how quickly and easily this writer got into the habit of writing the names Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama without thinking of how to spell them.

A 10-game road trip and the Rangers have already secured a winning record with four games to go. For the non-mathematically inclined, that means this road swing has started out at 6-0. Never thought I’d say this, but the Rangers go for the four-game sweep at Anaheim tonight. It’ll be a tall order- Colby Lewis vs. Jered Weaver. Colby bested Trevor Cahill in Oakland his last time out. Promises to be a second consecutive pitchers’ duel.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 218 other followers

%d bloggers like this: