Tagged: Eddie Guardado

World Series disappointment, hockey excitement, and Rangers News

Blech. The Yankees won Game 6 of the World Series last night, thus sealing themselves as the 2009 champs. Excuse me, I have to go throw up now.

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Okay, I’m back. The good news is that I didn’t have to watch the Phillies lose last night, because I went to the Dallas Stars’ game last night! The Stars ended up losing, but that kind of ended up being a footnote of the evening. I had a great time! After Lindy and I had been there for about 3 minutes, I turned to her and said “Okay, we have to come back to another one of these!” Which was exciting for her, because she has a hard time finding people to go to games with her in the middle of the week. So yay!
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The Rangers have officially hired Clint Hurdle as their new hitting coach. He is a former baseball player, and he has spent many years as a hitting coach and as a manager for the Colorado Rockies. I’m sure Jon Daniels knows what he’s doing, so I’ll just hope it was the best choice. The only thing that bothers me is that Clint Hurdle was fired as the Rockies manager in May of this year (mid-season), and I don’t know why he was fired. I may have to do some more research to find out. But he led the Rockies to the World Series in 2007, and even though they lost the Series to the BoSox, getting there is good enough for me.
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In other news, the Free Agency market opens today. Each individual team has 2 weeks to negotiate exclusively with their players before open negotiations begin. The Rangers have 7 players who will be free agents: Joaquin Beniot, Eddie Guardado, Omar Vizquel, Hank Blalock, Andruw Jones, Pudge Rodriguez, and Marlon Byrd.
Hank Blalock
The Rangers have already said that they will not re-sign Blalock and Jones, and Eddie Guardado is considering retirement. Joaquin Beniot is a question mark, because he spent all of the 2009 season on the DL with a shoulder injury.

The Rangers have expressed interest in re-signing Pudge, and he has also shown interest in staying to retire with the Rangers, but a lot of it will supposedly hinge on Salty’s recovery. I have also heard that Pudge might not want to be with the Rangers now that they no longer have Rudy Jaramillo, because apparently he was looking forward to working with Rudy during the off-season.

Omar Vizquel
Talks have reportedly been going really well between the Rangers and Vizquel, and Jon Daniels said that he might be the only free agent that the Rangers sign before the end of the exclusive 2-week period, which ends November 19.
Marlon Byrd
Marlon Byrd is obviously the biggest free agent in contention, but he apparently wants to explore offers from other teams, so he isn’t expected to re-sign within the 2-week window.
If the Rangers can’t re-sign Marlon Byrd, they’re going to look at Jermaine Dye (among others on the free agent market) for a right-handed power bat. I’ve also heard word that the Rangers might be interested in Milton Bradley again, although the Cubs would have to take a huge chunk of his salary in order to make that possible.
Other right-handed bats on the free agent market that the Rangers are rumored to be looking at are Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Sheffield, Troy Glaus and Fernando Tatis. Although I don’t think we could afford Vlad. And I don’t know enough about the other guys to comment on them.
CJ Wilson
The Rangers are also talking about moving Neftali Feliz and/or C.J. Wilson into the starting rotation, which would mean they would need more middle relievers. They will almost certainly at least one more lefty reliever, to replace Eddie Guardado and/or C.J. Wilson (if he moves to the rotation).
They could be looking at Ben Sheets as a starter again, considering that he already had a contract drawn up with the Rangers in 2009 before it was voided due to medical issues. 
 
Sigh. There’s a lot of ifs and maybes and rumors circulating.
 
Originally published November 5, 2009

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.

A quick sprinkling of information

*The Phillies won the NLCS last night, and they are going to the World Series

*Tonight is Game 5 of the ALCS, and the Yankees are up 3 games to 1 over the Angels. If the Yankees win any 1 of the remaining 3 games in the series, they will be going to the World Series. The Angels would have to win tonight’s game as well as the remaining 2 games in New York to advance. It’s not looking too good for the Halos. 😦

*Derek Holland went to Japan earlier this week to talk to Yusei Kikuchi, an 18-year-old pitching phenom. Kikuchi has to decide by October 29 if he wants to go into the Japanese draft (to play for a professional Japanese baseball team) or into the American draft.

*New ownership: Originally the consensus was that a deal wouldn’t be brokered until at least January 2010. But now the timetable has apparently been pushed up, because it’s looking like a deal could be finalized by the end of 2009. Jim Crane and Chuck Greenberg (2 of the 3 frontrunners to buy the Rangers) have both individually visited the ballpark and had a meeting with Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, and Tom Hicks this week, so Dennis Gilbert is sure to follow.

*Jason Grilli and Kevin Richardson have been outrighted to AAA Oklahoma City. They both have already cleared waivers. The Rangers expect Jason Grilli to decline the assignment and become a free agent and go somewhere else, while Kevin Richardson could possibly re-sign a minor league contract with the Rangers. This adds 2 more open spots of the 40-man roster, along with the assumed vacancies left by Andruw Jones and Hank Blalock, who are not expected to re-sign with the Rangers, and Eddie Guardado, who might retire.

*Jarrod Saltalamacchia might play in the Dominican Winter League, in order to rehab after his surgery.

*The Surprise Rafters are tied for the lead in the AFL West (which consists of a grand total of 3 teams), with a win-loss record of 5-3.

Originally published October 22, 2009

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 Oakland

I was worried about last night’s game for several reasons: 1) the last time we played 4 games in Oakland (about a month ago), we lost the first 3 of the 4 games, 2) Oakland just swept us in Arlington last week, 3) the Rangers have been playing horribly of late (lost 7 of the last 9 games), 4) the Rangers’ winning percentage on the road is only about .500, 5) the A’s had won their last 7 games, and 6) Kevin Millwood was getting the start. But they surprised me, not just by winning the game, but by completely dominating! The final score was 10-3.
Kevin Millwood
Kevin Millwood actually lasted 7 innings, which he hasn’t done since June 21st. And he did a really good job! He had a shutout going until the bottom of the 6th, and he only have up 3 hits and 1 walk in the outing. He did hit 2 batters, but that was just because hit ‘cutter’ cut too much. Those 9 days of rest and extra work with Mike Maddux must have really helped, because I was really impressed! He didn’t look tired, and he didn’t have to battle. I was nervous because I knew that Kevin Millwood’s $12 million option for next year would vest after 4 1/3 more innings, and I was afraid we would be stuck with a pitcher who couldn’t pitch any more. But he proved us all wrong! Great Job, Millie!
The Rangers jumped out to a lead early, leading 1-0 after the first inning, 4-0 after the second inning, and 6-0 after the 4th inning! And they did it by playing small ball, as opposed to via the home run. The Rangers didn’t hit a single home run last night, yet they scored 10 runs! Instead of talking about all the hits, it’s probably easier to talk about the guys who DIDN’T get hits.
Ian Kinsler
Ian Kinsler and Taylor Teagarden were the only 2 guys with significant playing time who didn’t get hits. Kinsler had 5 total at-bats, at he either flied out or popped out 4 of those times. I’m getting to where every time he comes up to the plate, I expect him to pop it up and get an out. For the past few weeks, I’ve actually really been surprised when he managed to get on base. Seriously, Rudy, we’ve got to do something about his swing. Now if we can just convince Kinsler that he needs help…
Taylor Teagarden
Taylor is having a bit of trouble offensively, but I’m okay with that because 1) he apparently works really well with Millwood, 2) he caught Adam Kennedy trying to steal 2nd base in the bottom of the 2nd inning, and 3) he laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt in the top of the 2nd inning to get 2 men in scoring position. They both scored on the following play.
Craig Gentry
Craig Gentry got one at-bat in the 9th inning last night, after Wash put him in to replace Marlon Byrd in the 8th. Last night was only Craig’s 2nd big league at-bat; he hit into a force-out the first time. So he has yet to get his first big league hit. And last night, with 2 outs in the top of the 9th inning, bases loaded, he stepped up to the plate. And struck out swinging. Poor guy! Don’t worry, you’ll get your first big league hit soon enough!
Darren O’Day
When Millwood came out of the game after 7 innings, Darren O’Day came in to pitch the 8th inning. And he did a fabulous job, like usual. Seriously, we really need to keep him next year. Do you hear me, JD? He is by far the most dependable of our relievers. He’s not flashy or anything, he just goes out there and quietly takes care of business. And the side-arm thing is cool.

Eddie Guardado
But instead of Wash leaving in O’Day to finish out the game in the 9th inning last night, he brought in Eddie Guardado. I mean, sure, Eddie needs to get some work in too, and we were leading by 9 runs, so we had a good cushion to work with. Which we ended up needing, because Eddie gave up a 2-run homer to the rookie Matt Carson. It was actually Carson’s first big league home run. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love Eddie Guardado. He is a respected veteran and he seems to have a great sense of humor. But I think he’s gotten past the days when he was reliable “Everyday Eddie,” and he just may have lost his stuff.
Game notes:
Josh Hamilton
*Michael Young and Josh Hamilton have still not made an appearance in the lineup in quite a while. I heard a rumor somewhere yesterday that Hamilton was hoping to be in the lineup tonight, but I’m not sure how credible that is. I honestly don’t remember where I heard it. But before I heard that tidbit about Hamilton, it had been my impression that Hamilton had pretty much given up on playing for the rest of the season.
Julio Borbon
*Julio Borbon went 3-for-5 with a walk, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. He also had another stolen base, making him 16-for-17. I can’t wait to see what he does in his first full season as a lead-off hitter!
*The Rangers scored more runs last night than they did in their last 7 games combined. Wow. I guess that’s what a string of shut-outs will do to you.

David Murphy
*David Murphy went 3-for-4 with 2 walks, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. When Josh & Tom interviewed Murph after the game, the first thing he did was give credit to Kevin Millwood for a great game pitched. Aww!

*The Rangers appear to be playing much better now that the playoff pressure is gone. Which is understandable, since we have such a young team without much playoff experience. But a team that doesn’t do well under pressure can’t make it to the playoffs. I don’t really care at this point; it’s just good to see the Rangers playing good baseball again. We can try for the playoffs next year.

Chris Davis
*Chris Davis went 2-for-4 with a walk, including a 2-RBI triple with 2 outs in the 7th! It was his first triple of the year, which makes sense, because triples rarely happen in baseball.
Hank Blalock
*Hank Blalock impressed me again, going 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Every time I think Hank has completely run out of gas, he steps it up and shows he can still play with the big boys. He still makes his share of errors/bobbles at first base, and he goes through hot and cold streaks at the plate, but he can still come through in a clutch situation. I can remember last year when it seemed like every time Hank came to the plate, he was swinging for the fences. But now, he seems content to get base hits just to keep us in the game. Which is exactly what we need.
Brandon McCarthy
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Brandon McCarthy (7-3) against the A’s Trevor Cahill (9-12). Just looking at the win-loss records, this looks like a lock. But in BMac’s last outing, he only lasted 3 innings, and he gave up 4 runs (3 earned). That was the 2nd game against the A’s in Arlington last week; the 6-1 debacle that I witnessed first hand. He had proved to be solid in his first 2 starts off the DL, but he unfortunately fell apart in that third start. Cahill’s last start was also last week against the Rangers, in which he gave up only one hit over 7 shut-out innings. This will be his 4th start against the Rangers, and he is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA and a .192 opponent’s batting average in those games. This one will be tricky.

Seriously? Looking back at this losing week

Sorry I didn’t post anything this weekend, but I was too upset. I’m still pretty upset. But blogging has become my way of working through my issues, so here goes nothing!

I went to 3 games in the past week: Saturday’s game against the Mariners (loss), Tuesday’s game against the Oakland A’s (loss), and Friday’s game against the LA Angels (loss). How incredibly frustrating. I just knew that the Rangers would be in a playoff push at this time of the season, so I wanted to make sure that I went to at least one game in every home series that the Rangers were playing in September. But unfortunately, the game I went to on Saturday was the start of a terrible skid in which the Rangers went spinning out of control. I think they’re back on track now, but it’s too late.

Before this losing streak started, the Rangers were coming off a triumphant sweep of the Cleveland Indians, having won all 3 games played in a 19-hour window. You see, the game scheduled for September 7 in Cleveland was rained out, forcing a doubleheader for Tuesday, September 8. The Rangers won both those games, the first game by a margin of 11-9 and the second game by a score of 10-5. The game the next day (Wednesday, September 8) was scheduled for a noon (Eastern) start time, and the Rangers won that one as well, shutting out the Tribe 10-0. We scored 10 runs or more in each of those 3 games! Everyone thought that the Rangers were on a tear that couldn’t be stopped, and that they would use Thursday to rest, then use the 10-day homestand to dominate the AL West.

Friday, September 11 (rain out)
But the first scheduled game of the homestand, Friday September 11 versus the Seattle Mariners, was rained out. Uh-oh. Another doubleheader. Looking at the weather forecast, the Rangers decided to try to squeeze 2 games in on Sunday afternoon. You see, the Rangers are playing the Mariners in Seattle to end the season, so they could have played a make-up game in Seattle, but that would take away our home-team advantage. The Rangers are barely .500 on the road, so they didn’t want to lose any advantage they could get. So they scheduled the second doubleheader in less than a week.

Saturday, September 12 (rainy day loss)
I’ve already talked about my experience of going to the game on Saturday and standing in the rain for an hour and a half but only getting two autographs. So I won’t rant about that again. And I understand that it must have been very frustrating for the players. They’re used to playing a game a day, but this must have thrown off their body clocks terribly. They had an unexpected off day Monday, 3 games in 19 hours, an expected off day Thursday, another unexpected off day Friday, a game Saturday (in the rain), and 2 games Sunday. Plus, no one likes to stand around in the rain. But I did it as a fan, and I even got there early, because I was just hoping to see a little baseball.

David Murphy

Marlon Byrd
Marlon Byrd

The rain was NOT fun, but I stayed through the whole game, and I even stayed through the hour-long rain delay before they finally called the game at around midnight.

Faith (my step-sister) and me
Larry (step-dad) and Faith
It was really cool to see all the Japanese media there hoping to catch Ichiro’s record-breaking 9th season with 900 hits or more. They didn’t get it on Saturday (they saw hits #896 and #897), but they got it during the doubleheader on Sunday.
Ichiro & his fans

Japanese media & fans
When the sky opened up in the bottom of the 9th inning, prompting the rain delay, the Rangers were down 8-3 with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. It was unlikely that they would be able to score 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th, but they were trying. {Sigh}
wet field

wet field
last guy running off the field

Sunday, September 13 (doubleheader split)
Tommy Hunter

During the doubleheader on Sunday, Tommy Hunter was the Rangers’ starting pitcher in the first game, and we won. Even though the 12:35 expected start was pushed back to a 5:05 start due to the rain. Yay!
Derek Holland
But the 2nd game starter was Derek Holland. Uh-oh. But even worse was the starting pitcher that Holland was going up against: King Felix. Crap. What was Wash thinking?? So not only did we lose Game 2 of the doubleheader; it was our first shut-out of the streak. We lost 5-0. {Sigh}
Monday, September 14: Feldman’s Folly (loss)
Scott Feldman
On Monday, the Oakland A’s came into town. The last time we played the Oakland A’s, we lost 3 ot of 4 games to them in Oakland. So losing the series to the Mariners was not how we wanted to see the A’s again. And on Monday, we continued not to score any runs, allowing them to shut us out 9-0. With Scott Feldman on the mound! How was that possible?? Scott came into that game having won his last 7 decisions. He was 16-4, with 12 road wins. But he self-destructed in the top of the 6th inning, and he couldn’t get any run support. {Sigh}
Tuesday, September 15: Michael Young psych-out (loss)
I went to Tuesday’s game, and I was able to watch them take batting practice on the field. I also got some autographs (finally!) from Derek Holland, Eddie Guardado, and Julio Borbon. I mean, that was a good omen, right?
batting practice
Derek Holland
And plus, Michael Young decided to come back to the lineup! The Rangers had to win that game! Except they didn’t.
Michael Young
Michael Young
Michael Young
They broke their scoreless streak when David Murphy hit a solo home run, but they still lost the game 6-1. Michael Young got one at-bat (he popped out) before pulling himself from the game. His hamstring wasn’t quite ready yet. {Sigh}
Wednesday, September 16: Swept. At home. By the A’s.
Wednesday, the series finale with the A’s, was the Rangers’ chance to nip the losing streak in the bud and show that they were ready to take on the Angels when they came to town. Except they didn’t. They got swept AND they got shut out again. {Sigh}
Thursday, September 17 (off day)
Thursday was another scheduled off day, and I figured that maybe the Rangers were just tired. We’re right at the end of the season, and they’ve played a lot of games this year. And played them well. They would take this off day to get their heads straight, then come back to sweep the Angels and show that all hope for the playoffs was not lost.

3rd straight loss

Ugh. I don’t even want to write up this summary right now. And what makes it worse is that I was actually at this game and witnessed it first-hand.

Brandon McCarthy
I was so excited for last night’s game because Brandon McCarthy was taking the mound, and Michael Young was back in the lineup, and the Rangers would surely bounce back (like they’ve done all year) after their last 2 shutouts. The rain was gone, and that would pull the Rangers out of their rainy-day blahs and they would have a victorious win, and we would be back in the playoff race. Brandon McCarthy has done a great job in his last 2 starts since coming off the DL, and the Rangers would pull it out. I mean, they had to, right?

Nope.
Doug Mathis
Brandon McCarthy only lasted 3 innings. He was finally taken out in the top of the 4th inning when he failed to get any outs. He threw 80 pitches. He gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks. And for the third game in a row, the Rangers found themselves facing a 4-0 score. Doug Mathis came in to pitch the 4th and 5th innings, an he gave up 3 hits but no runs.

David Murphy
David Murphy kept the Rangers from getting shut out again by hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the 4th inning. That energized the crowd quite a bit.
Neftali Feliz
When Chuck Morgan announced that Neftali Feliz was coming in to pitch in the 6th inning, the crowd went crazy. Since coming up from AAA earlier this year, Neftali has been simply dominant. To the people that were in the crowd last night (myself included), that meant that the A’s would be stuck at 4 runs while the Rangers were given a chance to come back and win the game. You can always rely on Neftali to shut down the opposition.

Except he didn’t shut down the opposition last night. He gave up 2 hits and 2 walks for 2 earned runs. Of course, he scattered 3 strikeouts in there as well.

Willie Eyre, C.J. Wilson, and Frank Francisco each pitched an inning of scoreless relief to close out the game. The final score was 6-1.

Game notes

Michael Young
*Michael Young only had one at-bat, in which he flied out to center field with one man on base. When it was Young’s next turn at bat, I glanced over to the on-deck circle and noticed that it wasn’t Young warming up. It was Nelson Cruz. It turns out that during the first at-bat, Young felt his strained hamstring “grab,” and he made the decision to wait a few more days. He will probably sit out the game tonight, enjoy the off day on Thursday, and join the lineup again on Friday, as was originally planned.

*The Rangers walked in a run twice last night. Yep, that’s right, on 2 different occasions, a pitcher walked the batter with the bases already loaded. First it was Brandon McCarthy in the 4th inning, then it was Neftali Feliz (!) in the 6th inning.
Elvis Andrus
*Elvis Andrus had a 16-game hitting streak going, but he broke it last night after going 0-for-2 with 2 walks.

*The Rangers had 3 errors last night. They only resulted in one unearned run, but still! 

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez
1) The first error was by Pudge in the 1st inning while he tried to throw out Rajai Davis as he stole 2nd base. The ball hit Davis and skipped off into the outfield, allowing Rajai to take 3rd base. He later came home.

Esteban German
2) Esteban German also made a fielding error in the 1st inning, allowing Kurt Suzuki to reach base, and

CJ Wilson
3) In the 8th inning, the Kurt Suzuki hit a line drive straight back to C.J. Wilson. C.J. thought fast and caught the ball cleanly, but then he threw to 2nd base to get the lead runner (Ryan Sweeney) and the throw sailed way over Elvis’ head into center field. Doh!
Craig Gentry
*Craig Gentry got to come into the game in the top of the 9th inning. He took Marlon Byrd’s spot in center field, but didn’t get an at-bat in the bottom of the 9th. He’s only had one big league at-bat, in which he grounded into a inning-ending fielder’s choice.

*In order to add a bit of happiness to this depressing game summary, I will add that before the game began, I got the autographs of Derek Holland, Eddie Guardado, and Julio Borbon. So the night wasn’t a total waste!

Dustin Nippert
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Dustin Nippert (5-2) against Trevor Cahill (8-12). The numbers obviously look favorable for the Rangers, but with the way they’ve been playing lately, they’ll make Cahill look like a Cy Young winner. It would be nice if the Rangers could put an end to this losing streak before it turns into a tailspin.