Update on the Sale of the Rangers

I noticed an article that came out last night which had an update on the sale of the Rangers situation. The full article talks about a few things, not just the Rangers – the relevant part of the article is about halfway down the page under the subtitle of “UPDATE ON POTENTIAL SALE OF THE TEXAS RANGERS”. A few of the bullet points.

  • Hicks is looking for about $600 million for sale of the team.
  • The Rangers value appears to be currently lower than the San Diego Padres. (eek)
  • The only names that have come out are David McDavid & Nolan Ryan, so no new names in the article.

The article also goes on to say there could be ownership issues for the Stars, too. While it doesn’t explicitly state that, the words used in the article imply (or maybe I’m inferring, not sure) that there could be an attempt by creditors to force control of the team from Tim Hicks, despite there not being any move to sell the Stars at the moment.
I suggest reading the article. It isn’t all new news, but it is a good summary of the current situation, as it is known to me.

Monday night’s game was rained out

Not much to say about a rainout. I had the game recording on the TiVo, and when I saw it was rain delayed, I padded my recording by three extra hours at the end. It appears to have been called somewhere around a two hour and 20 minute delay from the outset tonight, although I’m not 100% sure about that.
Anyway, it will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday night – the first game is now scheduled to start at 4:05.
That makes two doubleheaders in a week for the Rangers. Haven’t seen that in awhile.
Tommy Hunter was supposed to start Monday night, and will start Game 1 of the doubleheader. Brandon McCarthy will start Game 2.

G135: Rangers drop close game to Baltimore, 5-4

I missed most of this game, as I was driving around in the afternoon, and only heard bits of it on the radio. When I started listening, the Rangers were up 3-0 going into the bottom of the first. Then they gave up a run to the O’s in the first. Then they gave up another run to the O’s in the bottom of the second. They picked up one in the top of the third, but then gave two more back to the O’s in the bottom of the third. That was the end of the scoring for the Rangers. The O’s however, tacked on a single run in the bottom of the fifth, which turned out to be game winning run, as no more runs were scored after that for either team.
Sigh. At least the Red Sox lost.

G134: Rangers go to five in a row with 5-1 win in Baltimore

The Rangers closed the gap in the wild card race to just two games with a win in Baltimore, as Boston got shellacked in Chicago on Friday night. They did it with a familiar story, really awesome starting (and relieving) pitching.
Wait.. WHAT?!?
It’s amazing that the 2009 edition of the Texas Rangers is seemingly more known for its pitching than its offense. Scott Feldman, who took the mound in Baltimore on Friday night is one of the best examples. He’s 15-4 on September 4th, and that’s really amazing considering he started the season in the bullpen. While his record wouldn’t be that radically different, perhaps maybe 17-4 if he won both of the starts he might have gotten in early April, it’s even more amazing if you look at the numbers of those three appearances.
Apr 9 – Cleveland – 2.1 IP, 5H, 4ER, 2HR, 2K, 0BB
Apr 13 – Baltimore – 2.2IP, 4H, 3ER, 1HR, 3K, 2BB
Apr 22 – Toronto – 1.2IP, 2H, 2ER, 0HR, 1K, 2BB
After those three relief appearances, his ERA was sitting at 12.15. Which was actually a drop, because after April 9th, his ERA was 15.43! A guy with an ERA over 12 isn’t a likely candidate to be added to the rotation, but he was. His first start was April 25th in Baltimore, actually. He went five, threw 78 pitches that game, and was not terribly stretched out, in a spot start for Mr. Anna Benson. Scott never left the rotation after that. While I do not believe it’s a realistic option, just seeing his name mentioned with the words “Cy Young” in the same sentence is nothing short of totally amazing. I know great players can come from any round (as evidenced of what the 62nd round once produced in Mike Piazza), but the fact that we’re talking about a potential Cy Young performance from a 30th round Texas Rangers self drafted starter is just stunning. I know Kevin Millwood is technically the staff ace, but wow, is Feldman pitching like it. If we make it to the playoffs, I know who I want in there easily multiple times in a five game series. :)
Scott last night went 6.2 innings, allowed just four scattered singles, no runs, and a couple of walks. Left with 102 pitches thrown, and two guys on base, so he was pulled before it got out of hand. His performance Friday night lowered his ERA from 3.72 to 3.62.
Scott wasn’t the only pitching story – Neftali Feliz took over for Scott and threw the final 2.1 innings of the game. As good as Feldman is, you look at Feliz and go – “Oh wow” – if his numbers hold up like they do now, it would be stunning. I don’t think it will, there will be a crash, or an adjustment, a comedown, or whatever you want to call it at some point, but Feliz is fantastic, too. Last night he went 2.1 innings for the save, allowed NO hits, NO walks, and struck out two. He lowered his ERA to 0.41. ZERO POINT FOURTY STINKIN’ ONE! Wow. Can he be a weapon in the playoffs.
I mean who would have thunk it? The Rangers have been out of the playoffs for a decade now, and when we got back? We were led there by our pitching. Just amazing.
On the other side of the ball, we didn’t exactly destroy Baltimore, but had a decent amount of offense. Double by Davis, home run by Cruz, and six singles accounted for our runs. Andrus & Byrd had two hits each, the rest were all 1fors. The RBI’s came from Byrd, Cruz, Pudge, and two by Chris Davis on his double.
It’s a lot of fun to be in this race, isn’t it?

G133: Rangers take series finale against Toronto 6-4

Well, day one of this series had a major thrashing of Texas by Toronto. Day two was a doubleheader that we swept, but lost Michael Young. So what would happen for an encore on the third day? Well, some good, and some bad.
The good was that we won the game. That gave us the series 3-1, and on top of that, we gained ground on both Boston & Anaheim, as both of them lost their games, too. As of the end of the day, we were now just 3.5 games behind Anaheim, and 2.5 games behind Boston for the Wild Card. That’s a pretty good feeling.
The bad was that Josh Hamilton came out of the game, with what was described later as lower back soreness. I spotted that when he ran out the double, he wasn’t running terribly hard, and after he did get to second, it took him awhile to stand back up, he was in obvious discomfort. So I wasn’t surprised he came out at all – although the TV announcers seemed to be.
Tommy Hunter took the mound for Texas, and while he wasn’t lights out like he’s been in a few starts lately, he did decently. Certainly enough to get the win, which he got – his seventh of the season. Tommy went 7 innings, giving up five hits (two of which were solo home runs), four runs on a couple of walks. Not exactly dominating, but a decent outing. He did come out with just 86 pitches, which was a low number for seven innings. Not entirely sure why he came out when he did, really.
Chris Davis handled third for this game, but he’s not expected to be the regular third basemen while Michael Young is out. That’s expected to be a mix of Omar Vizquel & Esteban German; mostly Vizquel.
Offensively, Nelson Cruz had the best night, going 3-4 with two RBI and two runs scored – one of which was on his six inning home run. Hank Blalock also had a couple of hits, and the remainder were scattered amongst the Ranger bats; nobody else had more than one. There was another home run – a solo shot by Elvis Andrus, and a double from Josh Hamilton. But not a lot of sustained power inside innings, as evidenced by the 1-1-2-2 score breakdown for us.
Jarrod Saltamacchia was activated off the DL – he still needs his surgery, but he’s being carried as the emergency catcher, and as a pinch hitter – he’s not expected to catch again in 2009 unless something goes very wrong ahead of him with Taylor & Pudge.
We’re 75-58 with just 29 games to go. If we do well in Baltimore and Cleveland (like sweep both, which is possible), we’d come back home 81-58, and that would guarantee us at least not to have a losing season. But realistically, at the rate we’re playing, I’d like to see them do way better than just that. WAY better.

G132: Rangers beat Jays 5-2 in second game of DH

I didn’t take as many pictures during the second game as I did the first, but I did get some. Let’s start with this one.

Pudge screwing up the chalk lines behind the plate before the first pitch is thrown. Something that was really nice to see in a doubleheader. Truth be told, I figured he’d catch one of the games, but it was great to actually SEE it. He DH’ed in the first game, caught the second.
Brandon McCarthy took the mound for Game 2. When this season started I was feeling good about Brandon. I think most Ranger fans were. I called him the key to 2009. We needed him to pitch well if we were going to have a chance. Through May, when he went on the DL again, he was doing pretty good. 5-2 with an ERA in the 4’s. I forget the exact number, but he was decent. Not lighting the world on fire, but doing well enough. Then he went back on the DL, and was there for about three months until yesterday. I don’t know about you, but those three months pretty much sapped out any good feeling I had about him early in the season. So when it was announced he was starting in Game 2, I didn’t feel good about it. Quite frankly, I figured both games would be big losses. Wrong. Brandon went 6.1 innings, giving up three hits, one run, while both striking out and walking two. In fact, when he walked off the mound in the seventh inning, he got a very nice standing ovation.

There wasn’t a ton of action through the first few innings. In fact, no runs scored in the first three and a half innings. Both Brandon McCarthy & Brian Tallet were pretty good about not allowing runs to score. The Rangers had runners in each of the first three innings (Kinsler walk in the 1st, Murphy single in the 2nd, & Kinsler single in the 3rd). None of them scored, although Kinsler did get to third base in the first inning. Likewise, the Jays had a runner in the first (Aaron Hill single) and the second (walk to Kevin Millar), but neither advanced. They were gone 1-2-3 in the third. Hill walked in the fourth, but was wiped out on a double play, which ended up as a 1-2-3 inning, too.
Then we got to the bottom of the fourth inning, and we got this with Josh Hamilton’s at bat..

Josh had deposited a ball over the Rangers bullpen for a solo home run to lead off the fourth. It was majestic to watch, one of those long ones that gives you a chance to admire it as it heads out. That wasn’t all the scoring in that inning. Chris Davis was up, and at that point, Murphy & Pudge were already on base due to a walk and a fielder’s choice. Davis busted ass down the line, and beat a throw on a routine grounder to second. Brian Tallet was late getting to first, which allowed Davis to reach. By this point David Murphy had been on the move, and Tallet at this point made a really wild throw to try and stop Murphy, and it was worse than his failure to cover his base, so it allowed Murphy to score. Was a great moment. The Blue Jays harnessed their inner Bad News Bears in that sequence. Loved it.
We actually ended up loading up the bases again here, but didn’t get anything done further, as Ian Kinsler popped out to second base to end the inning with the bases loaded.
The Rangers plated two more in the fifth. Elvis Andrus led off the inning with a double, and on a 2-2 pitch, Josh Hamilton bloody well rocketed a pitch into the right field stands to the left of the wedgie. It got out in a real big hurry. Was a no doubter. Two home runs for Josh is impressive this year. It’s the first time he’s done that. Coming into this game, he had just nine home runs for the entire season.
I interrupt this game commentary to bring you another picture of Ranger players watching the girls dancing on the dugout. This time it’s Derek Holland & Omar Vizquel.

The Rangers added one more run in the sixth when Chris Davis launched a ball onto Greene’s Hill in center (which looks REALLY far away when sitting in Section 26). Anyway, that gave Davis some nice numbers for the doubleheader.. Chris went 5-8 with one run scored and four RBI. A good night for a guy who looked really lost when he was sent down to AAA.
Darren O’Day came in, gave up the first run (although not totally by his own hand, it was an inherited runner CJ Wilson allowed to score). CJ Wilson himself seemed shaky again. While not nearly as bad as he was in the Metrodome, he went 0.2 innings, allowing the one runner of O’Day’s to score, but gave up no runs of his own.
Frankie came in and threw a perfect inning in the ninth to close it out for his second save of the day. He threw a total of eight pitches in the second game, for a total of 23 pitches and two saves for the day. Not bad work at all. Was really nice to see this twice tonight:

One thing that was NOT good was what happened to end the third inning. I watched Michael Young run down the line to beat out a throw. Nothing special there. Have seen that a ton of times. But when he hit the bag, he did this little hop, which while it didn’t seem overly concerning, did seem slightly out of the ordinary. I didn’t think anything of it because Michael wasn’t grabbing anything, or didn’t need help to get off the field. However, in the top of the fourth, Omar Vizquel moved from short to third, and Elvis Andrus was now playing short. Uh-oh. A couple of innings later, it was announced on the radio (I always listen when I’m in stadium) that he had pulled his left hamstring, and was going for an MRI today (Wed) to check it out. There was no concrete word last night as to what might happen, as folks were just reacting to it, but no matter how you shake it, he’s out for awhile. Will he return at all in 2009? Dunno, but this has to totally kill any chance of getting 200 hits. Obviously, more info is needed from the MRI today, but no matter how you shake it, he’s out. Just two weeks seems unlikely to return from a hamstring problem. Four weeks means he’d come back for the playoffs, assuming we get there. Anything more, forget it, it’s 2010 for him. Gotta feel bad for the dude – he’s stuck it out here for awhile with bad teams, and we finally get a good one, and he gets hurt right before the finish line. Let’s see if he can come back early – but not TOO early, don’t want to hurt himself long term just to play in the playoffs.
Let’s hope we can hold it together without him. Maybe Josh Hamilton getting it right now is what we need to cover this. Chris Davis at third? Omar Vizquel at third? Dunno.
If this weren’t September, he’d be on the DL. I mention that because that will hurt me on my fantasy teams he’s on, since I can’t DL him. There’s no need to DL him for the expanded rosters.
We definitely do not want to be without this picture for too long. I know I don’t.

G131: Rangers beat Jays 5-2 in first game of DH

I love doubleheaders. Always have since I was a kid. And I’m not talking about those fake “split” doubleheaders where they clear the place out between games. I mean real honest to goodness two for the price of one doubleheaders. I try and go to every one I possibly can. There was one earlier in the season, and it came the day after my son was born, so I think I would have been put into the hospital myself if I tried going. So I was looking forward to today for awhile. Got in the car and headed to Freebirds for a fillup before heading to the park. Given I’m still unemployed (sigh), I have to conserve money where I can. Then I drove to the game from there, which worked out, as I didn’t spend any money on food at the Ballpark. One tip they don’t publicize a lot. They have this “designated driver” program, where you sign up saying you won’t drink any beers or whatnot at the game. You are put into a drawing for a Rangers jacket each game, and they give you a coupon for a free soda. That’s the only thing I got from the concession stands the whole doubleheader. Filling up at Freebirds beforehand will do that. :)
Anyway, I got to the park, and my tickets were at Will Call, so I had no idea where they were going to be. Opened the envelope, and got a surprise. I had seriously awesome seats for the game. I mean, check this out – this is where I was sitting!

I have to confess I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the pitching matchups. Dustin Nippert and Brandon McCarthy starting for Texas. I’ll talk about McCarthy in game 2’s remarks, but I have to say I wasn’t thrilled at seeing Nippert. He’s done decently overall, but my gut feeling said he was going to be torched. Perhaps it was fallout from the 18 runs last night – who knows. I wasn’t thrilled.
The game got off quickly, however. Ian Kinsler popped a home run in the bottom of the first inning. It felt good, and it seemed like the ball clanged around in a sea of empty seats out there in left. I know the start of doubleheaders are always not terribly populated, but it seemed more empty than usual out there. That home run though was pretty much it for power. There was one Pudge double later in the game, but everything else was a single. Not much in the way of extra base hits in this game.
Speaking of Pudge, I was rather excited to see him in person as a Ranger again for the first time in ages. Pudge DH’ed in Game 1, and it was VERY cool to hear Chuck Morgan announce him again. As much as I feel this will be just for 2009, it would be very nice to see Pudge stay on past this season. It just “feels” good for a Rangers fan. Below are some pictures of Pudge in action during game 1. Just because it “feels” good. :)

Anyway, it wasn’t all about Pudge. Dustin Nippert had a decent line, but sitting there witnessing his pitching, he wasn’t dominating. His line was good, though. Six innings, five hits, two runs, one walk, four strikeouts. Dustin left the game with 99 pitches thrown, and at the time a 3-2 lead.
I have to confess, he did better than I thought he was going to. So good for him. Bad for me. I am confused about one thing. Several reports of the game online refer to the run scored in the fourth by the Jays as unearned, yet all the box scores list it as earned. Anyone reading this have a clarification?

However, after Nippert came out of the game, in came Neftali Feliz. It was cool to see the fans take to him the way they have. He got a huge round of applause, and when he was on the mound? Holy crap! He struck out the side in the seventh inning. He also threw 12 pitches, only one was a ball. It was sensational. He came back in the eighth, and while he threw a few more balls than one (six), he was equally as sensational. In all, Feliz threw two perfect innings. 27 pitches, 20 for strikes. Struck out four of the six guys he faced. Wow. Thank you – thank you, THANK YOU John Schuerholz!

One other nice thing to see was Chris Davis go 3-4. All three were pulled singles to right, but the third one scored the two runs we plated in the bottom of the seventh. It probably should have been an error, put I’m sure Chris will take the third hit, and a couple of RBI’s.
Speaking of errors, Marco Scutaro made two of them this game. Which, if I remember right was rather odd, as the radio guys said he had only made four all season previously to that. There was another charged error in the game to Toronto (a fielding error by McDonald), but there should have been four.
Frank Francisco came in and threw just 15 pitches for the save. He allowed one hit, but that was it.
It was hard to get the name Rzepczynski into my iPod Touch when I scored the game. My pod kept trying to correct the spelling, and even then I had to check what I was typing a couple of times. That was one of the harder entries in scoring I’ve had to do ever. :)
One final remark. It appears that the Ranger players, and Pudge in particular like watching the Rangers six shooter girls dance on top of the dugout. Check out these two pics. :)

How many in 2009?

Usually towards the end of the year, we always hear about how many players the Texas Rangers have used overall in any particular season. The Rangers are usually towards the high end of that list. Injuries, callups, usually make for a long list, and you tend to forget the guys who are here so quick that they don’t even have time for the proverbial “cup of coffee”.

Last year I kept track of it, and it worked pretty well, so I’ll do it again for 2009. This post will get bumped whenever there is a player who is making his first appearance for the Texas Rangers in 2009. I am going to count guys who get called up, but don’t play immediately (or sometimes don’t play at all), as they will be part of the 25 man roster officially. So here goes. The most recent additions will be on the top of the list. The original opening day 25 man roster is not in any particular order. The Rangers have one guy in the 2009 original 25 that is making his major league debut (Elvis Andrus), which was the same as 2008 (Kaz Fukumori).

#45 – Craig Gentry (Sep 1 – Major League Debut)
#44 – Pedro Strop (Aug 27 – Major League Debut)
#43 – Ivan Rodriguez (Aug 18)
#42 – Kevin Richardson (Aug 15 – Major League Debut)
#41 – Esteban German (Aug 5)
#40 – Neftali Feliz (Aug 2)
#39 – Dustin Nippert (Jul 7)
#38 – Julio Borbon (Jun 29 – Major League Debut)
#37 – Jason Grilli (Jun 9)
#36 – Doug Mathis (Jun 3)
#35 – Brandon Boggs (Jun 2)
#34 – Guillermo Moscoso (May 29 – Major League Debut)
#33 – Tommy Hunter (May 29)
#32 – Joaquin Arias (May 9)
#31 – Greg Golson (May 4)
#30 – Max Ramirez (May 1)
#29 – Luis Mendoza (Apr 23)
#28 – Darren O’Day (Apr 22)
#27 – Derek Holland (Apr 18 – Major League Debut)
#26 – Willie Eyre (Apr 15)
#25 to #1: Kris Benson, Scott Feldman, Frank Francisco, Eddie Guardado, Matt Harrison, Jason Jennings, Warner Madrigal, Brandon McCarthy, Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Josh Rupe, CJ Wilson, Jarrod Saltamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, Elvis Andrus (Major League Debut), Hank Blalock, Chris Davis, Ian Kinsler, Omar Vizquel, Michael Young, Marlon Byrd, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Andruw Jones, David Murphy.

G130: What was THAT MESS? Rangers lose 18-10

What was that mess?
It’s pretty bad when you score 10 runs in three innings, with a 7 spot, and it doesn’t feel like you did it, or it even mattered.
You can try making yourself feel better by saying things like “It’s only one loss”, and we’re only 6 games behind Anaheim, and 4 in the Wild Card, but..