Tagged: Andres Blanco

Cautious excitement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pitchers and catchers report in: 2 days
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Trade deadline stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elvis Weekend was great!

Elvis Andrus
Yes, I know I haven’t posted anything since Friday afternoon. I realize that there have been 3 Rangers’ games in that time period. But I attended the games on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday was dedicated to watching the game on tv and trying to get everything else done that I needed to do this weekend. So I’ve been kinda busy.

This was a great weekend for baseball. The weather was absolutely perfect, and Elvis Weekend was a can’t-miss gimmick at RBIA.

Friday
I went to the game with my friend Mary, and we met Wes Wilson and his son Brady at the stadium. Brady is an absolutely precious 5-year-old with a passion for baseball. He was really interested in the game, and he kept asking Wes questions about the game. So cute!!

The Rangers jumped out to a lead early in the game, scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. They tacked on another run in the bottom of the 4th before the Tigers were able to answer with 2 runs of their own in the top of the 5th. 3-2 Rangers.

But then the Rangers scored another run in the bottom of the 5th, taking the score to 4-2 Rangers. And that’s where the score stayed until the top of the 9th inning.

Neftali Feliz
The seemingly invincible Neftali Feliz took the mound, striking out the first batter. The second batter lined out to the 2nd baseman, so the Rangers just needed one more out to win the game.

Austin Jackson singled. Then Johnny Damon doubled. Uh-oh. Next Magglio OrdoƱez singled in both runners to tie the game at 4-4. Nooooooo!!!!!!!! Then Miguel Cabrera flied out, ending the inning. And the bottom part of our order was coming up.

As Justin Smoak approached the plate, I was nervous. He’d just been called up from AAA and hadn’t gotten a hit yet in the Bigs. But he has been very patient at the plate, and he worked a walk. Nice! Then Matt Treanor laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Smoak to 2nd base.

Joaquin Arias went in to run for Smoak, and Ryan Garko pinch-hit for Andres Blanco. They decided to intentionally walk Garko, giving us runners on 1st and 2nd with one out.

Then came the big guns. Nelson Cruz came in to pinch-hit for Julio Borbon. And he took another walk, loading up the bases for the player of honor, Elvis Andrus.

And Elvis singled on a line drive to center field!! Joaquin Arias scored, bringing the final score to 5-4 Rangers! Wow, that was awesome! Then we got to see a great fireworks show set to Elvis (Presley) music! Also of note: Frank Francisco pitched a perfect inning of relief in the 7th.

Saturday
Elvis bobblehead

This game wasn’t anywhere near as entertaining, although I was looking forward to getting the Elvis Andrus bobblehead and seeing Scott Feldman dominate the Tigers. Too bad the bobblehead was the only good part of the day.
The Rangers got out to an early lead of 4-0 in the first two innings.

And then the game went in the crapper.

Feldman gave up 3 runs in the top of the 3rd, and two of those were scored before Feldman was able to record the first out of the inning. Things were starting to look ominous. But the Rangers still had the lead, 4-3, so there was promise.
Scott Feldman
Until the top of the 4th, when the Tigers scored 5 more runs. Yikes. It all started off with Feldy giving up a lead-off walk to start the inning. Don’t you know that usually comes back to bite you???
Then, with runners on 2nd and 3rd, Scott Feldman threw a wild pitch, allowing the runner on 3rd to score. Michael Young came in from 3rd to grab the ball and tossed it to Taylor Teagarden, who missed it as the other runner came in to score from 2nd base. Doh!!!
And it just kept getting worse. We finally got out of the inning, but there were 5 more runs on the board by the Tigers. Feldman only lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving up 4 earned runs. It’s not so bad, I thought. We still have 5 1/2 more innings of baseball to play. We could come back.
But nothing else happened for the rest of the game on either side, and the Rangers lost 4-8. Oh well. At least I got an Elvis bobblehead, and I got to hang out at the ballpark on a beautiful day!

Sunday
It was an afternoon game, and they said the weather was perfect once again. Sunday’s giveaway was a red Elvis Andrus jersey to kids 13 and under, and you could see them dotted throughout the crowd in the stands. I was feeling optimistic, and I couldn’t wait to get the bad taste of Saturday night’s game out of my mouth.

Colby Lewis

But it didn’t start off too well for the Rangers. Colby Lewis allowed 8 of the first 11 batters he faced to reach base. The Rangers came up to bat in the bottom of the 1st inning already down 3-0.

Michael Young, who is always reliable, got on base with a single. Then David Murphy went yard, bringing the score to 3-2 Tigers.

In the top of the 2nd inning, the Tigers added another run, making it 4-2. But Mike Maddux must have said something to Colby that really made a difference after that run was scored, because Colby didn’t allow any more runs in his 6 1/3 innings pitched.

In the bottom of the 2nd, the Rangers were able to add 4 runs to overtake the Tigers 6-4. Then they added 2 more runs in the bottom of the 5th inning, bringing the score to 8-4 for the second day in a row, but with a different winner this time.

Michael Young
I don’t know what Colby’s problem was, but the important thing is that he overcame it and gave the Rangers several quality innings. Colby retired 15 straight batters after his initial hiccup, and he earned his 3rd win. Michael Young drove in 5 of the Rangers’ 8 runs.

Tonight’s game will mark the 4th game in this series against the Tigers, and Matt Harrison will take the mound against Jeremy Bonderman. Harrison only lasted 4 innings in his last outing, but his first two starts were good, even though he didn’t get a win in either one of them. He’s still 0-1 for 2010.