Tagged: Craig Gentry

Non-Fan Fest stuff

First and foremost, I have to acknowledge that Manny Ramirez is NOT going to be playing for the Rangers for the 2011 season! YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

The morning after I posted my anti-Manny blog, I got in the car to head out to Fan Fest. On my way out to Arlington, I heard that Manny had signed a one year deal with the Rays. It was a great way to start off the day!!

The blog I wrote yesterday about Fan Fest was already so long that I didn’t get to address this other stuff. So here are some other things I’ve been thinking about.

It was announced on Sunday that the Rangers reached a deal with Darren O’Day, so that’s one less arbitration candidate that the Rangers have to worry about. Now the only 2 arbitration-eligible players who have yet to sign are Josh Hamilton and Frank Francisco.

I hope they don’t pay Frankie Frank a lot of money. After his monumental crash early last season and the subsequently unimpressive remainder of 2010, I kinda wish Frankie would go away. Instead of spending money on him, we could put money towards a better use.

I’m not sure why they can’t reach a deal with Josh Hamilton, because he was the AL MVP last year. He only wants $12 million, just pay it!

From what I understand, the arbitration process comes up with a salary placed on what similar players are getting around the league. But there’s no one to compare Josh Hamilton to; he’s the best.

Major League Baseball recognized him as the Most Valuable Player in the entire American League in 2010. So I don’t think it would be out of the question to find the guy with the highest salary in the AL, then pay Josh more than that. Seriously.

Alex Rodriguez made $33 million dollars last year, but he wasn’t the MVP. Josh Hamilton was. Josh Hamilton is only asking for $12 million in 2011. Just pay it! It’s better than $34 million!

They were fine with offering Adrian Beltre a 6-year/$96 million deal, so why not Hamilton? Well they probably shouldn’t offer Hamilton a 6-year contract, because he’s pretty injury-prone.

But how about a 3-year deal where they pay him $12 mil for 2011, $13 mil for 2012, and $14 mil for 2013? And add in lots of incentives based on the number of games he plays, homer he hits, his batting average, etc.

Now it’s easy for me to give Hamilton someone else’s money. But I thought the Rangers weren’t supposed to be cash-strapped any more. I think the Rangers need to realize that they’re looking a gift horse in the mouth, put on their big boy pants and pay the man.

So, was I the only one who was sad to hear that Vernon Wells will be with the Angels next year? I mean, how did the Rangers miss out on that one?

Vernon Wells is a beast, and I would absolutely LOVE to have him in a Ranger uniform. I mean, he’s FROM here!!

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, Vernon Wells was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the LA Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.

But maybe he wants a more active role that we would have available here in Texas. Wells is an outfielder, and the Rangers are pretty set in the outfield.

Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, and Julio Borbon are our 4 outfielders, not to mention Mitch Moreland (if he’s not at 1B) and Craig Gentry waiting at AAA.

For at least the next 3 years, Adrian Beltre will be our 3rd baseman and Michael Young will be the DH. So we can’t put Wells at DH.

Wells also has 4 years left on his contract for a hefty $86 million dollars. I think any team would be leery about taking on a paycheck that big.

I get all the reasons why, but it’s still upsetting. I like Vernon Wells.

It makes me feel better to know that Wells didn’t chose to go to the Angels, though. It wasn’t like he was a free agent; he was traded. He was happy with the Blue Jays. Yes, he waived his no-trade clause to accept the trade, but he didn’t go seek them out.

Ooh, hey! I just got an email from Jamey Newberg saying that the Blue Jays have traded Mike Napoli to us for Frank Francisco! Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

But wait, isn’t Mike Napoli a catcher? We already have Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor. I guess the Rangers’ recent lack of good catching taught them a lesson, and they don’t want that to happen again.

After having Salty spend so much time injured and Taylor Teagarden unable to step up, the Rangers were lucky that they were able to get Matt Treanor during Spring Training of 2010.

And then we had to go after Bengie Molina mid-season, and we traded Salty away. So I guess they want to make sure they don’t get caught in a lurch again.

Maybe Napoli can work as the other right-handed big bat the Rangers were hoping to add. So maybe he’ll DH on the days when Young is at 1B. Or something.

I don’t know how it’s all gonna work out, but I know that I like it. Way to go, JD!!!

Seriously, guys, how amazing is our GM?!? It’s all coming together, and I’m starting to really get pumped for the 2011 season!!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 22 days

How did I get so lucky? AKA Rangers’ Awards Banquet 1-29-10: Part 1

Oh, wow. Just… wow. I’m gonna have to split this one up because there’s so much to talk about!

Awards day:
I took the day off work, so I would have time to get ready. I woke up at 10:00 and had an appointment for a mani/pedi at 11:00. (For all of you guys out there, that’s a manicure and pedicure.)

Then I went over to my friend Rachel’s so she could help me with my hair and make-up (she sells Mary Kay). She also helped me choose my jewelry and which shoes to wear.

After that, I called my brother, cause he agreed to come to Fort Worth with me so I wouldn’t have to stay by myself overnight. Such a good brother!

We headed out to Fort Worth at got there about 4:30. I started getting ready around 5:00 and left my hotel at 5:45.

Now, I’ve never been very girly, and I never think I look very good. I mean, I love baseball, for Pete’s sake! I obviously don’t get dolled up very often. But let me just come out and say it: I looked amazing. I never look that good. But I was smokin’ hot, even if I do say so myself. 🙂 Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I can tell you about my evening.

TR Sullivan was already waiting in the lobby of the Omni Hotel in when I got there, and he gave me my ticket. Then he told me we were waiting for Annette and Craig Leslie, because Annette was a surprise guest to present Michael Young with this Player of the Year Award.

Annette and Craig arrived about 10 minutes later, and TR handed them their tickets and explained the process. We said “see you later” to them and started upstairs to the banquet room.

As we were walking through the lobby towards the escalators, I saw Rusty Greer talking to someone just inside the front doors. I elbowed TR and said “That’s Rusty Greer!” We walked over to him and waited while he quickly finished his conversation.

Then I stuck my hand out and blubbered something like, “Hi Rusty, I’m a huge fan! You probably don’t remember me, but I’ve met you a couple of times before, and I just love you!” Or something to that extent.

Just FYI, I did a lot of ‘gushing’ and ‘blurting’ and ‘blubbering’ throughout the night. I felt like my mouth wasn’t quite connected to my brain.

But Rusty surprised me by saying, “Yes, I remember you.” I don’t know if he really did remember or if he was just being nice, but it made me feel good!

I followed TR upstairs, where we met a nice lady who offered to take us where we were going. “It’s kind of confusing, so just follow me.” I still didn’t know what was going on, so I just followed.

Pre-Awards Meet-and-Greet:
She led us through a curtain into a long hallway that was filled with people. As I looked around, I started noticing baseball players everywhere!! It dawned on me that we were in an exclusive area where we would get to hobnob with all of the Rangers until the event started!

As I was walking through the all people towards the back, I saw Kasey Kiker, my favorite minor league prospect. I grabbed his arm. “Kasey Kiker!! I love you!” I blurted out.

He responded, “Well I love you too. Who are you?” Ha ha ha! “My name is Katie, and I’m just a huge fan. You’re my favorite RoughRider,” I said. “Well thank you so much, I really appreciate that,” he said.

I continued towards the back to hang up my coat. TR stopped to talk to Jeff Wilson from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and he introduced us. “Oh yeah, I recognize you from your picture next to your posts on the blog,” I said.

Jeff said he was just about to interview Kasey Kiker, and I started gushing all over again. “I just love him!” I said. “Do you have a pen?” Jeff asked. “Yeah, sure,” I said, thinking he wanted to use it to take notes during the interview.

Then Kasey came over, said hi to me again, and shook my hand. Jeff looked at me and said, “Well, get his autograph!” I stammered, “Oh, I thought you needed it,” and I reached in my purse again to get my notepad.

Kasey seemed a little nervous too, maybe because he’s not used to people recognizing him, [or maybe because of how gorgeous I looked :)], but he finally signed the autograph. Yay!!

I spotted Jamey Newberg as I headed toward the coat rack, and he glanced at me. “Hi Jamey,” I said. I’ve been reading his blog for a while, so of course I know who he is. But then he surprised me.

“Hi Katie,” he answered. What? Jamey Newberg knows who I am?? Are you freaking kidding me???

After hanging up my coat in the back of the hallway, TR started introducing me to everybody. He was so great all night!! We would run into somebody, and TR would say, “Hey Katie, have you ever met [fill in the blank]?”

First was, “Hey, have you ever met Eric Nadel?” I shook Eric’s hand, and then we started talking about some doctors he had recently seen in the department where I work. He was very nice, and we even talked about another secretary that I work with that just had knee replacement surgery.

TR introduced me to Jon Daniels next, and JD said, “Yeah, we met a few weeks ago!” He actually remembered me!! “Yeah,” I said. “I told you that I’m going to be working for you someday.” “That’s right,” he said, and he smiled at me.

Michael Young was next. I don’t think I’ve ever met him before, but my mind was reeling, so I don’t think I said much to him.

Then came the Big Kahuna. TR said, “Katie, have you ever met Nolan Ryan?” I couldn’t even speak; I just shook my head. Then TR said, “Nolan, this is my friend Katie Brownfield. Katie, this is Nolan Ryan.” Wow.

Then Nolan Ryan shook my hand!!! I honestly don’t even remember what I said to him. It’s all kind of blank after that.

Until I spotted Katie Hamilton. She’s a little bitty thing, and so pretty! I rushed over to her and started gushing about how I was reading Josh’s book and how I had so much respect for what she went through with him. I quickly explained who I was and about the story that TR wrote about me.

Then Josh came over, and Katie said, “Have you met my husband Josh?” As if he was just some Joe Blow off the street.

And Josh looked fabulous, of course. He peered down at me from atop his 6’4″ frame with a lopsided grin. He was wearing a sport coat,but he had no tie on. He wore his white long-sleeved button-up shirt with the top button undone at his throat.

I explained that I had met Josh at a Winter Caravan autograph signing a couple of weeks ago, and how I had mentioned to him then that my name was Katie too, just like his wife. “Oh yeah, now I remember!” he said.

Then Katie started explaining to him about my accident. Josh’s eyes got big and his eyebrows arched up. “Whoa, ” he said, clearly taken aback. “Well, it was 5 years ago, ” I said. “I’ve obviously gotten a lot better since then!”

Josh Lewin came up to say hi to Josh and Katie Hamilton, and they introduced me. Josh Hamilton asked his wife, and then me, if we had any gum or mints or anything. “I feel like I need something. My mouth is dry. I need some water or something.”

And I had to tell the great Josh Hamilton that I didn’t have anything. “I have some Burt’s Bees lip balm; that’s about it, ” I said. Bummer.

Josh Lewin left to get him some water, and I told Josh and Katie Hamilton, “I can’t believe I get to do this. I’m standing like 2 feet away from all these baseball players! It’s surreal.” And Josh just looked at me and shrugged and said, “We’re just people.”

“My brain gets that, but it’s a little harder to deal with when I’m standing here with all of you,” I said. Craig Gentry walked by next, and I said blurted out, “Oh my gosh, Craig Gentry, I love
you!”

He heard his name and looked at me. “Hey, how’s it going?” He said, smiling sweetly and bobbing his head at me. Then Craig saw Josh Hamilton, and he said hi to him before heading off through the crowd.

Then I spotted Elvis Andrus. He opted to wear a tan suit, instead of the traditional blue or black, and it looked great on him. “Oh my gosh,” I exclaimed to Katie, “that’s Elvis!”

So Josh just called him over. Elvis hugged Josh first, then me. Elvis’ cologne was kinda strong, so I kept catching whiffs of it for the next 5 minutes or so!! Wow! I couldn’t think of anything else to say to him, so I blurted out, “Why won’t you be my friend on Facebook? I keep asking but you keep ignoring me.”

But Elvis didn’t answer. There was a lot of stuff going on, and Josh started telling Elvis that he looked good, and that his muscles looked bigger. “You too,” Elvis said to Josh. “I couldn’t even button the top button on this shirt tonight,” Josh said, “so I couldn’t wear a tie.” Oh, so that explains it!

Then they started rounding up the players to make their entrance, as well as the wives to be seated together at one of the tables. Josh and Katie were so cute; they kissed before they went their separate ways! Awww!

Then Katie Hamilton looked at me and said, “It was so nice to meet you!” And she hugged me! She asked, “If I Google your name, will I be able to find your blog?” I told her yes, that if she Googled me, the article that TR wrote would come up, and that my blog was linked in the article. She was so sweet!!

Now whether she’ll actually remember to look me up in another question, but she was really nice!

Then I made my way inside with TR to find our table.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Questions

I have billions of questions buzzing around in my baseball-obsessed mind, all of which will be resolved at some point during the off-season, but I feel the need to get them out. Then I can cross them off when they’ve been resolved and explain the answers. So here we go!
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Ownership: Who will be the new owner of the Rangers? Will Nolan Ryan still be the team president? Will Nolan Ryan be a minority owner? Will Tom Hick stay on as a minority owner? Will new ownership affect (i.e. increase) our budget for the 2010 season?

Here’s what we know: There are 3 main groups, which are fronted by Chuck Greenberg, Dennis Gilbert, and Jim Crane. Greenberg’s group has included Nolan Ryan as a minority owner, so if he wins out, obviously Nolan will have a stake in the ownership and will stay on as president. But then again, it’s possible that if one of the other groups wins out, they’ll let him in as a partial owner. It is possible that the new ownership could fire Nolan as president, but I think that’s unlikely at this point. The fans love Nolan, and it wouldn’t make a good impression on the fans if their first move was to fire him. Tom Hicks has expressed interest in retaining a portion of his ownership as well, so we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out. At this point, the budget for 2010 will be approximately the same as it was for 2009, so the new owners will have to meet that budget or increase it. It would be nice if we could have a little more leeway to get some big names to Texas for our playoff push next year.
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Marlon Byrd: Will the Rangers re-sign him for 2010 and beyond?

Here’s what we know: Marlon says that he wants to stay with the Rangers. The Rangers want him to stay. He made a little over $3 mil in 2009, so he’ll want at least that much per year in his next contract. How much more is anybody’s guess. This is probably his only chance to negotiate a multi-year contract, and he’s probably wanting at least 3 years. But Marlon is already 32, so I’m sure the Rangers are anxious that health issues may mar his future playing time. And the Rangers don’t have a whole lot of money to throw around, so I’m sure that will affect how much progress is made towards contract negotion. But Marlon is a strong influence in the clubhouse, and Michael Young (team leader) is strongly campaigning for the Rangers to keep him. I think the Rangers will offer him something in the neighborhood of 4, 5, or 6 million dollars for the next 3 years, plus lots of incentives (i.e. bonuses if he plays at least x number of games, if he hits at least y home runs, or if he steals at least z bases, etc.). But if he wants something like $10 mil a year for 5 years, I think the Rangers will let him walk.
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Ivan Rodriguez: Will Pudge be back?

Here’s what we know: The fans adore Pudge, and he said that he wants to finish out his career here. And even though he’s pushing 40, he’s still pretty darn good. He’s played on 2 World Series teams, and he has a lost of post-season experience (which the Rangers are seriously lacking). He has 13 Gold Gloves. But because of his age, the Rangers might be hesitant to offer him a multi-year contract, or to pay him a particularly hefty sum for 2010. Jarrod Saltalamacchia recently had surgery for Thorasic Outlet Syndrome, and while his prognosis looks good, there’s no telling how he’ll progress. Taylor Teagarden was unimpressive in 2009. Max Ramirez spent a lot of time on the DL in AAA. And the Rangers just outrighted Kevin Richardson to the minors. So it might be good to have him around. We acquired him as “strictly a back-up catcher” in August of 2009, but he ended up being our everyday catcher to close out the season. He made 1.5 mil in 2009. Will he accept $1 mil and a one-year contract? $5 million and a 2-year contract? We’ll see.
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Omar Vizquel: Will he be back for 2010?

Here’s what we know: Omar has said that he wants to play next year, even though he’s the oldest active position player at 42 years old. He was a great mentor for Elvis Andrus in his rookie year (2009), but does Elvis still need him in 2010? He has 11 Gold Gloves, and his defensive work is truly beautiful. I swear, he looks like a ballet dancer out there sometimes! He played 63 games for the Rangers this year: 16 games at 2B, 27 games at SS, and 20 games at 3B, and he made NO errors. None, zippo, nada. That’s pretty amazing. He’s said he would be interested in returning, but he wants to shop around first.
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Starting rotation: Which 5 pitchers will we go with in our starting rotation for 2010?

Here’s what we know: Ron Washington has already said that Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman have guaranteed slots next year. But the other 3 are up for grabs. The possible candidates are: Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Brandon McCarthy, Dustin Nippert, Matt Harrison, Eric Hurley, and Guillermo Moscoso. I discussed the pros and cons about all these pitchers in a previous blog. But Wash has also said he would like to obtain another veteran starter this winter. So if he does that, then there will only be two spots up for grabs, making the competition even tougher. But can we get anybody good for relatively little money? And of course, as we all know, our starting rotation can change a lot during the year due to injuries, etc. I mean, look at our poor rotation in 2009! On Opening Day, it was Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Kris Benson, Matt Harrison, and Brandon McCarthy. Matt Harrison and Brandon McCarthy both went on the 60-day DL, Kris Benson was a disaster, and we released Padilla because of all his foolishness. So you never know what can change throughout the season!
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Acquisitions: Right-handed bat to play 1B and DH, left-handed relief pitcher

Here’s what we know: In addition to a veteran starter, Wash also said he’d like to pick up a right-handed bat who can play 1B or DH, as well as another lefty reliever. I’ve heard Jermaine Dye’s name brought up to fill that first role, and while he is right-handed, he has played mainly in the outfield. In 2005, he played 1B once and SS once for the Chicago White Sox. That’s it. But if we keep Marlon Byrd, we may not need another right-handed bat. CJ and Eddie are our only lefty relievers at this point, and Eddie’s probably not coming back (I’ll address that later), so it would be nice to have another one.
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Batting coach: Who will replace Rudy Jaramillo?

Here’s what we know: Jon Daniels and Ron Washington are supposedly “constructing a list” of candidates to replace Rudy, and they plan on interviewing about 4 or 5 guys for the position. Some names that have been thrown around are Scott Coolbaugh (Rangers AAA batting coach), Rusty Greer (former Ranger), Will Clark (former Ranger), Julio Franco (managing in Mets farm league), Gary Pettis (currently our 1st base coach), Carney Lansford (fired by San Francisco last week), Clint Hurdle (former Colorado manager), Tim Wallach (Dodgers hitting coach in 2004), Thad Bosley (hitting coach in Oakland with Wash), Gerald Perry (hitting coach for Cubs, fired in June), Greg Colbrunn (minor league hitting coach for Yank
ees), Dave Hudgens (former A’s hitting coach), Mike Boulanger (Minor League hitting coach), and Toby Harrah (former Ranger, current hitting coach for Tigers). I’m sure there are a bunch of other names too that I haven’t heard yet. So obviously, there are a lot of choices. It’s just about finding a good fit.

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Eddie Guardado: Is he really retiring?

Here’s what we know: He’s definitely thinking about it. But that’s about all we know. He didn’t pitch too well towards the end of the season, so as terrible as it sounds, I’m kind of hoping he retires. He’s a free agent, and I just don’t think it’s useful to pay him a significant amount of money for just one more year when he’s at the end of his career and losing his stamina.

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Outfield: What will our outfield look like next year?

Here’s what we know: Marlon Byrd (righty) is a question mark. We have Josh Hamilton (lefty), Julio Borbon (lefty), David Murphy (lefty), and Nelson Cruz (righty). We also have Chris Davis (another lefty in the lineup) as our starting 1st baseman, and Salty is a switch hitter. So we could possibly have 5 left-handed bats in a 9-man line-up. That’s not so good. Borbon is rumored to be “the center fielder of the future,” but he has a weak arm. He’s supposed to be working on that this winter, but who knows? Josh Hamilton had a spectacular 2008, but he had trouble staying healthy this year. I don’t want to lose anybody, but I have this sneaking suspicion that we’re going to trade David Murphy. That hurts me, because he’s a good Texas boy, but I just can’t shake that feeling. And I have a feeling that Nelson Cruz could be great. I’m mean he could be Josh-Hamilton-in-2008-great. But what about Craig Gentry? He was the surprise September call-up from AA. It makes the most sense that he would at least begin next year in AAA, but it’s certainly an intriguing idea. He’s a righty, with an incredibly strong and accurate arm, and he’s supposedly speedy on the bases, but he needs to learn how to bat against big league pitching.

report card

I checked T.R. Sullivan’s blog today, and he had a kind of report card for this year’s players. I agree with most of what he says, but we differ on a few things. This is his report card:

Starters
Kevin Millwood – Manager has already said he is the Opening Day pitcher in 2010
Scott Feldman – What an amazing season.
Derek Holland – This kid is going to be fine. Can’t wait for his next start.
Tommy Hunter – Tommy, meet Nolan Ryan, the resident conditioning fanatic.
Brandon McCarthy – The Big Tease. He has talent but at what point do the Rangers say uncle?
Matt Harrison – He was pretty good before he got hurt
Neftali Feliz – The Rangers will try him in the rotation. Bet he makes it
Dustin Nippert – His numbers will work every year
Guillermo Moscoso – Should be Opening Day pitcher at Oklahoma City

Relievers
Frank Francisco – Needs warning label: handle with care.
C.J. Wilson – Most Valuable Reliever
Darren O’Day – Transaction of the Year
Jason Grilli – Wasn’t the same after he got hurt
Doug Mathis – Can he fill middle relief role?
Eddie Guardado – No finer person in baseball
Pedro Strop – Needs more time. Just not ready
Willie Eyre – Taking long road back from injuries

Catchers
Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Should still be No. 1 on depth chart
Ivan Rodriguez – Would you give him $4 million for two years?
Taylor Teagarden – Should have been in Triple A
Kevin Richardson – He is from Seattle area. He should have started one game this weekend.

Infielders
Chris Davis – Only one other player is a bigger key for Rangers in 2010.
Ian Kinsler – Absolutely nothing wrong with 101 runs and 86 RBI.
Elvis Andrus – He lived up to it all
Michael Young – Turns out he can still hit…and play third.
Omar Vizquel – He has one definite vote for the Hall of Fame.
Esteban German – A nice fifth player if the Rangers had the room
Hank Blalock – Hank’s Homies bid you adieu. It was fun while it lasted.

Outfielders
Josh Hamilton – Obviously the biggest key for the Rangers in 2010
David Murphy – Forget Rusty Greer all right? Anybody think he can be Paul O’Neill?
Julio Borbon – Definitely the kind of player the Rangers desperately need
Nelson Cruz – He is a good player. Can he be a great one or is this enough?
Marlon Byrd – Loved watching him tell the rookies to turn off the football game on Sunday and turn on baseball.
Andruw Jones – Next.
Craig Gentry – Off to Triple A to bide his time.

My take:
Derek Holland: I wouldn’t say I “can’t wait” for his next start. I think if he works hard during the off-season, he can have a stellar year. He has a lot of untapped potential.
C.J. Wilson: I would not call him the most valuable reliever. I think with C.J., you never know what you’re gonna get.
Pudge: I don’t think it will take that much money. I think $3 million for 2 years, or if the Rangers aren’t sure how long he’ll last, then around $1.5 mil for 1 year.
Ian Kinsler: His runs scored and RBIs are good, but he needs to be more reliable. And, most importantly, he needs to work on his swing in the off-season and find out whyhe’s popping everything up!!!
Esteban German: I don’t think it’s an “if the Rangers have room” situation. I think they’ll definitely need a bench player who can step up if anyone gets injured, and who can spell all 4 infielders at regular intervals. He has played mainly 2B and 3B, but he has big league experience at SS and 1B as well. He’s a true utility infielder.
Josh Hamilton: I don’t agree that he’s “obviously the biggest key for the Rangers in 2010.” If he can perform, it will be great, but I don’t think we can depend on him to perform. You can never predict injuries. I don’t want to trade him, because I think he’s a great addition to a team, whether he can play or not. And when he’s good, he’s really good. But look what this Rangers team did this year without Josh Hamilton!
Julio Borbon: I wouldn’t say that the Rangers “desperately need” someone like Borbon. Borbon has a great OBP, and he’s excellent at stealing bases and manufacturing runs. But he’s got a weak arm for an outfielder, and he’s not good against LHP. Borbon is a lefty outfielder, and we already have Josh Hamilton and David Murphy that are left handed outfielders.
Craig Gentry: Gentry can be the perfect center fielder that the Rangers “desperately need” in 2011, but he needs more experience. If the Rangers decide to take a chance on Gentry like they did on Elvis, it could pay some amazing dividends. But I’m betting that the Rangers put Gentry in AAA all next year.
Marlon Byrd: I don’t know anything about the rookies watching football, but I think Marlon is the “biggest key for the Rangers in 2010.” We need him next year. Not only is he an amazing player, he’s a revitalizing force in the clubhouse.

Game 1 win in Seattle

Last night was the start of the last (regular season) series of the year, and it was a great game! Well, it was a .great game for Rangers’ fans, because of the ending. But it was a close game for most of the night.

Brandon McCarthy
Brandon McCarthy got the start for Texas last night, but unfortunately he didn’t stay in the game long enough to get the win. He deserved a win (which he didn’t get) in his last outing, when he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings, but the bullpen gave away the game. In last night’s outing, he pitched 4 2/3 innings, but he gave up all 4 of the Mariners runs for the night during his stint.

The Rangers were leading 3-0 early in the game. But the Mariners came back to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning to tie up the score, and another run in the bottom of the 5th to lead the Rangers 4-3. And that was when McCarthy came out of the game.

Dustin Nippert

Dustin Nippert came in to pitch 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, and he did a fantastic job. He came in with a runner at first base and 2 outs in the 5th inning, and he got the Rangers out of the inning to keep the game close.

Andruw Jones
In the top of the 8th inning, Andruw Jones stepped up to the plate to lead off the inning. And, amazingly enough, he got a double on a line drive! Luckily, Ron Washington realized that Andruw Jones is not a guy that you want running the bases in a clutch situation, and he replaced him with pinch runner Esteban German.
Elvis Andrus
Taylor Teagarden came up next and struck out for the first out of the inning. Then Elvis Andrus worked a walk to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Julio Borbon lined out for the 2nd out of the inning. And then Michael Young stepped up to the plate.

Michael Young
Michael Young singled to right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Esteban German really turned on the burners coming down the third base line, and I got a sinking feeling in my stomach as I watched Ichiro fire the ball to home plate. Ichiro has a cannon attached to his shoulder. The play at the plate was close, but not nearly as close as I had feared, and Esteban slid behind the tag to tie the game 4-4!
Chris Davis
The 2 teams were still tied going into the top of the 9th inning. And it didn’t look good as the Rangers got 2 outs before they got their first baserunner. Then Chris Davis hit a single to left field to start a Rangers’ rally. Nice!

Esteban German came up next and singled on a line drive to center field. Runners at 1st and 2nd, 2 outs.

Craig Gentry
At this point, Wash realized that CD wasn’t looking too great on that sore hammy, and he replaced him with speedy runner Craig Gentry. So Taylor Teagarden was coming to the plate with 2 outs and 2 on. Uh oh. Taylor hasn’t gotten into very many games this year (only 58 out of 160), and his batting average is only .214. Probably not the guy you want in a clutch situation.
Taylor Teagarden
But Taylor came through with a single, and Craig Gentry hauled @$$ to score, putting the Rangers ahead 5-4. Thank you, Taylor!!! Runners at the corners, still 2 outs.

Elvis Andrus came up to bat next, and he got a double (which turned into a triple on the throw) to score Esteban German and Taylor Teagarden, making it 7-4 Rangers.

The Mariners weren’t able to do anything in the bottom of the 9th, and the Rangers walked away with their 2nd win in a row after 4 straight losses.

Game Notes:
Marlon Byrd
*Marlon Byrd started last night’s game after missing the previous two games with a strained hip capsule. Hank Blalock was also expected to start last night, but he missed his 2nd straight game due to a mild concussion.

 

*Chris Davis went 3-for-5 last night, and it was his second night in a row to do that. These 3-for-5 outings come after 2 days riding the bench, resting his sore hamstring. In his last 2 games, he has been DHing, so he won’t be tempted to stretch at 1st base and cause himself further injury. CD credits his 2 days of rest with his power at the plate, because he says that taking those days off took away some pressure. Davis said, “Even though I was rehabbing the hamstring, it was good to sit back and watch a few games and take a break. It’s probably helped me that I’m not trying to do anything like go up there and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Instead, I’m just doing what I can and taking nice, easy swings.” Keep it up!!

Julio Borbon

*Julio Borbon started in center field last night for the first time, and unfortunately he didn’t do such a great job. He doesn’t have a very strong or accurate arm, and he will certainly have to work on that in the off-season. In tonight’s game, he’s supposed to start against a left-handed pitcher for the first time in the Bigs, and I’m anxious to see how he handles it.
 

*With their win last night, the Rangers assured their #2 spot in the AL West division. I knew it would be a pride thing for the Rangers to be able to finish in 2nd place instead of 3rd, but I didn’t know that there was a monetary incentive. T.R. Sullivan said in an article on the Rangers’ website today, “Finishing second in any division means some extra pocket money for every player. Last year it was worth approximately $12,000 per player.” Huh. Interesting. This means that the Rangers have now finished 2nd in the AL West for the second straight year, after 8 straight years of placing no higher than 3rd place.

Tommy Hunter
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Tommy Hunter (9-5) against Ryan Rowland-Smith (4-4). Tommy is coming off his worst outing of the season, and Ryan is coming off his best outing of the season. In Tommy’s last start, he went less than 5 innings for the first time in 18 starts this year, and he gave up 7 earned runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Angels. It was just bad. That was the first game in the series against the Angels, and the Rangers knew they had to win out to make the post-season. I think Tommy just buckled under the pressure.

But this time, the Rangers are going into tonight’s game with some winning momentum. They know they’re out of the playoff race, but they still want to end strong. Tommy is playing to become the 9th Ranger rookie to get 10 wins in a season.

Win in Anaheim!

Yesssss!!!!!!!! We avoided the sweep in Anaheim! And we put a much-needed end to our 4-game losing streak! I was really worried that the Rangers weren’t going to be able to pull it together and would just lose out. But they didn’t!

I was worried that Ron Washington had completely given up on winning in Anaheim when most of his regular starting lineup was out yesterday, but apparently it was just the jolt that the guys needed. The Rangers were able to get their first win in 5 games without Michael Young, Pudge, Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, and Nelly Cruz.

Kevin Millwood
Kevin Millwood was on the mound for the Rangers yesterday, and he was able to pitch the complete game! He wasn’t looking so great early on, but he seemed to find his groove in the later innings and was able to strike out 10, with 8 of those strike-outs coming in the 5th inning and beyond.
Andruw Jones
First of all, the guys were much better about getting on base last night. They had 15 hits yesterday, compared with only one hit in the shut-out the night before. The only guy NOT to get a hit last night was Andruw Jones (surprise, surprise). But even Andruw got some RBI action last night with a sacrifice fly.

Chris Davis

It started in the top of the 2nd inning, when Chris Davis hit a homer with Ian Kinsler on base to give the Rangers an early 2-0 lead. The Angels’ starter, John Lackey, apparently didn’t know about CD’s sore hammy, and he wasn’t shy about encouraging Davis to maybe step up his pace while running around the bases. Classic John Lackey! That guy is such a tool! {rolls eyes and shakes head while smiling indulgently}

But the Rangers didn’t hold onto the lead for long. Millie let 3 runs cross the plate in the bottom of the 3rd inning, but then he got out of it and shut down the Angels for the rest of the game.

The Rangers came back in the top of the 5th inning to tie it up 3-3 on a pair of doubles by Julio Borbon and Ian Kinsler, but they were just getting warmed up.

Taylor Teagarden
In the top of the 6th inning, the Rangers scored 6 runs and batted around. Nice! Omar Vizquel led off the inning with a strike-out for the first out of the inning. Taylor Teagarden started the onslought of runs with a double, which was good for him, because his batting average could use a little boost! Then Craig Gentry got a single to put runners at the corners.

Craig Gentry
Julio Borbon followed that up with a single, plating Taylor Teagarden, and Craig Gentry turned on the burners and made it to 3rd base. Runners at the corners again, Rangers leading 4-3, still only one out.
Elvis Andrus
Then Elvis Andrus came up to bat, and he hit a doubled on a fly ball to left field. Craig Gentry scored, and Julio Borbon got to 3rd base. Runners at 2nd and 3rd, Rangers leading 5-3, still one out.

David Murphy
Next the Angels decided to intentionally walk David Murphy to load the bases, which brought up Andruw Jones. In the past, Andruw Jones was a serious threat. He’s hit 388 career home runs. But now, after 14 years in the big leagues, he’s hitting only .207. It was a good idea for the Angels to walk Murph, who has a hot bat, in favor of Andruw Jones, whose bat has cooled.
Julio Borbon
And that was when Andruw got his sac fly, allowing all the runners to tag and advance. Julio Borbon scored, Elvis Andrus to moved to 3rd, and David Murphy advanced to 2nd base. 6-3 Rangers, 2 guys in scoring position, 2 outs.

Ian Kinsler
Then the Rangers went from being “good” to being “lucky.” Ian Kinsler was the next batter, and he hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Wood. But instead of fielding it cleanly for an out, Wood bobbled it for an error, allowing Kins to reach 1st base. Elvis scored, and Murph moved to 3rd base. 7-3 Rangers, two outs.

Chris Davis singled next, which plated David Murphy and moved Ian to 2nd. 8-3 Rangers, still two outs.

Omar Vizquel
Then Omar Vizquel got his 2nd chance of the inning, and he got a hit this time. He singled on a line drive to left field, scoring Kinsler and moving Davis to 2nd. 9-3 Rangers, still 2 outs. Finally, Taylor Teagarden, who started the rally earlier in the inning, ended the rally by striking out to give the Angels a breather.

The Rangers added a couple more runs in the top of the 9th inning, including walking in a run, but the game was pretty much over after the 6th inning.

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy.jpgTonight’s pitching matchup:
Brandon McCarthy (7-4) against the Seattle Mariners’ Ian Snell (7-10). B-Mac really should have gotten a win in that last one, so I hope he gets one tonight. But Ian Snell has been doing really well of late, so we’ll have to fight for this one. Hopefully the Rangers can carry their momentum from last night’s win onto the field tonight.

Today’s lineup

Marlon Byrd, Hank Blalock, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, Pudge, and Michael Young are all out of their normal spots in the lineup tonight. I guess Wash doesn’t care about winning any more the rest of the year. Or maybe he thinks we need an entirely new team out there, since our main players have lost 4 straight games.

Most of these guys aren’t playing because of health problems. Hank has a mild concussion. CD has a sore hamstring, so he’s starting at DH instead. Byrdie is having hip problems. Nelly re-injured his ankle last night. Michael Young is resting his injured hammy, not wanting to cause any more problems for himself. And Pudge is just getting the day off. All these things make sense. But it sucks.

Andruw Jones is starting at 1st base. Murphy, Borbon, and Gentry will be in the outfield. Teagarden is the catcher tonight.

Here is the lineup for tonight:
Julio Borbon (LF)
Elvis Andrus (SS)
David Murphy (RF)
Andruw Jones (1B)
Ian Kinsler (2B
Chris Davis (DH)
Omar Vizquel (3B)
Taylor Teagarden (C)
Craig Gentry (CF)