Tagged: Esteban German

Lots o stuff

Wow. Just yesterday I posted my prediction for the Opening Day rotation, but last night I checked TR Sullivan’s blog and found out that I was apparently completely off. The lefties and righties are still interspersed, like I predicted they would be, but their placement does not appear to reflect skill level. Just to recap, this is what I predicted:

Rich Harden (R)
Scott Feldman (R)
Matt Harrison (L)
Colby Lewis (R)
C.J. Wilson (L)

Here’s what Mike Maddux envisions for the 2010 rotation:

Rich Harden (R)
C.J. Wilson (L)
Scott Feldman (R)
Matt Harrison (L)
Colby Lewis (R)

Rich Harden
Both rotations list Rich Harden as the ace. Duh. But everything else is different.
Usually, the starting rotation reflects a pitcher’s skill level. You’ll often hear the terms “top-of-the-rotation pitcher” and “back-of-the-rotation pitcher” when speaking of starters, and it is generally understood that pitchers at the top of the rotation are more skilled than the pitchers at the back of the rotation.

CJ Wilson

C.J. has done an amazing job in Spring Training, and he has a lot of years of experience in professional baseball either as a starter or reliever. But he does not qualify as a No. 2 starter. For Pete’s sake, he’s been competing for a job all Spring Training! Yeah, he’s worked as a starter in the past, but those experiments all failed. Until he proves himself as a starter, he shouldn’t be our No. 2 man. He should be our No. 5 man.
Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman was guaranteed a starting job at the end of the 2009 season. He should be the Rangers’ No. 2 starter. Given, Feldman didn’t begin the 2009 season in the starting rotation, but he was our best pitcher last year. He had a 17-win season! Come on, people!
Colby Lewis
Colby Lewis is the Rangers’ only pitcher with a multi-year contract. He has been tearin’ it up in Japan for the last 2 years. He was guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation in 2010. And Maddux puts him as the No 5 starter??? I had him as the No. 4 starter, but only because I wanted to diversify the rotation with a lefty. As far as talent goes, he should be the No. 3 starter of this Rangers’ rotation.
Matt Harrison
Sure, Matt Harrison spent most of the 2009 season on the DL. But he was one of the Rangers’ starting pitchers on Opening Day in 2009, and he amazed in the Arizona Fall League immediately after the end of the 2009 regular season. Plus, he comes into 2010 a full 30 pounds lighter than he was in 2009. That shows dedication. But we knew Harrison was competing for a spot as a back-of-the-rotation starter, so it doesn’t really hurt my feelings that Maddux lists Harrison as his No. 4 man. I only had him at No. 3 because he’s a lefty.

So, to summarize, I think my rotation is better. But then again, Mike Maddux has a pretty stellar reputation. I mean, look at what he did for the Rangers’ pitching staff in his very first year as pitching coach: he brought the team ERA down a whole run. That’s pretty impressive! I trust his judgement, but there was so way I could let this slide without getting my 2 cents in first.

I would also like to interject here at Evan Grant’s projected starting rotation is identical to mine. Grant came up with his prediction on Monday, March 22, but I looked at it just now, and it looks exactly like mine! I guess great minds think alike! It also goes to prove that my assumptions weren’t completely baseless.

Tommy Hunter

On a related note, Tommy Hunter finally admitted today that he won’t be able to open the season as one of the Rangers’ starters. TR Sullivan predicted this first late last week, almost immediately after his injury last Thursday evening.

Anyway, today Tommy grudgingly admitted that he wouldn’t be ready by Opening Day. But he does think he’ll be ready by April 8, just 3 days later. Wishful thinking?? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

With the starting rotation pretty much figured out, Evan Grant has predicted the following 7 players for the Rangers’ bullpen: RHP Frank Francisco (closer), RHP Neftali Feliz, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Darren O’Day, RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Dustin Nippert, and RHP Doug Mathis.

Jamey Newberg thinks it will be RHP Frank Francisco (closer), RHP Neftali Feliz, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Darren O’Day, RHP Dustin Nippert, RHP Doug Mathis, and RHP Chris Ray.

As much as I admire Evan and Jamey, I think the Rangers will need more than one lefty in the bullpen. Darren Oliver is a fabulous pitcher, but I’m not sure he will be able to fill all of the club’s needs for a lefty reliever by himself.

Derek Holland

Derek Holland will almost certainly find himself starting in AAA. The Rangers will want to keep him stretched out as a starter in case he’s needed in the Bigs in 2010. Ben Snyder seems to be the only other viable lefty option, but he has been unimpressive so far in Spring Training. Maybe Jon Daniels will sort through other teams’ “trash piles” and grab another lefty reliever off waivers or the Rule 5 Draft. JD’s always got something up his sleeves. 🙂

Brandon McCarthy
While I agree that Brandon McCarthy is worthy of the big league club, he may prefer to stay a stretched out as a starter down in AAA rather than join the big league ballclub. Doug Mathis can fill the Rangers’ needs for a long reliever/spot starter. And I don’t know anything about Chris Ray, since he was only acquired by the Rangers this off-season (received in the trade for Kevin Millwood).

In other news, the Rangers have made what appears to be a bit of progress in finding a utility infielder. Hernan Iribarren, who was nabbed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers, cleared waivers with the Rangers today and was outrighted to AAA. So apparently they don’t see Iribarren making the big league club.

Also today, the Rangers announced that they had traded pitcher Edwar Ramirez (recently acquired from the Yankees and rumored to be trade bait) to the Oakland Athletics for infielder Gregorio Petit. Petit’s experience has been primarily at shortstop, which is what the Rangers have been looking for.

This search for a utility infielder has been exhausting. The Rangers will need 2 guys to do what Omar Vizquel (SS/2B/3B) and Hank Blalock (1B) did last year. First there was an almost-trade for Mike Lowell (1st/3rd baseman) in the early off-season, but he failed the physical, so that put the kibosh on those dealings. Then we got Khalil Greene, and it looked like everything was going to be just fine.

Wrong.

The Rangers had an influx of new infielders vying to win the SS/2B job, but they all seemed to be lacking. Joe Inglett, Mitch Hilligoss, Hernan Iribarren, and Erik Morrison joined Esteban German, Joaquin Arias, and Ray Olmedo in the pursuit of a utility infielder for the Rangers. But none of them were a very good fit.

Now that a month of Spring Training has passed, Matt Brown is looking like the frontrunner for the backup 1st/3rd baseman, and he has shown quite a bit of pop in his bat this Spring Training. Could Gregorio Petit be the SS/2B the Rangers have been searching for?

TR Sullivan doesn’t think so. He predicts that Petit will play SS in AAA, now that Ray Olmedo has been traded away. And apparently, the Rangers are still looking at veteran infielders Augie Ojeda (Diamondbacks), Ramon Vazquez (Pirates), Kevin Frandsen (Giants), and Willie Bloomquist (Royals).

Ian Kinsler

Ian Kinsler is planning to get into a Spring Training game next Monday, March 29. This will give him one week to practice in game situations before Opening Day. This sounds great. I just hope Kinsler’s ankle really is okay by Monday, and he doesn’t cause more health problems for himself that end up keeping him out of regular season games. If he does have to miss, I guess we’ll be seeing our newly minted utility infielder sooner than we thought!

 
The only other question remaining for the starting lineup? Catcher. It will be the best/healthiest two out of Salty, Taylor Teagarden, and Matt Treanor. Who knows?

I just know I’m excited for the season to start. Vlad Guerrero in a Rangers jersey!!! SqueeeeEEEEE!!!

12 days ’til Opening Day!!
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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.

Before Sunday’s game

What happened yesterday and it still makes me sick to my stomach. I had trouble sleeping last night because I kept going over and over it in my mind. And I was there to witness it. Ugh. During the last home game of the season. Fan Appreciation Day my @$$. As a fan, I did NOT appreciate that epic collapse.
Let me start from the beginning, because it’s much happier. And I’m not talking about the beginning of the game, because yesterday’s festivities started an hour and a half before the first pitch.
Elizabeth was supposed to go to the game with me, but some things came up and she wasn’t able to go. So I called all around and couldn’t find someone to go with me. I finally decided to call my friend Rachel, even though I knew she had season tickets, just to get some ideas of who else I could call. But as it turns out, Rachel didn’t have a full season ticket plan… she just had a mini-plan! I misunderstood! So Rachel was able to go, which made me very excited, because Rachel has been one of my best friends since we were 8 years old, and she loves baseball as much as I do! Yay!
It was Fan Appreciation Day at the Ballpark, which meant that from 12:30 until 12:50, the Rangers players were at the gates greeting fans and thanking them. And… JOSH HAMILTON WAS AT OUR GATE!!!

{sigh} Josh Hamilton
So was C.J. Wilson, although he ended up making me very mad in the 8th inning. I couldn’t get Josh Hamilton’s autograph, because he had like 3 guards around him shoo-ing people away, but I got the autographs of C.J. Wilson, Doug Mathis (pitcher), Pedro Strop (pitcher), and Jackie Moore (bench coach). I really wanted to see either Chris Davis or Pudge, because I’ve never met them before (and I have met C.J. and Josh), but hey, I’ll take what I can get! Mike Maddux (pitching coach) and Guillermo Moscoso (pitcher) were also there, but I already have their autographs.

C.J. Wilson
Then we walked around to another gate, and I saw some more players. I couldn’t get their autographs, unfortunately, but I got to see Neftali Feliz, Esteban German, David Murphy, and Omar Vizquel. And I got a great picture of Omar!

Neftali Feliz (center) and Esteban German (behind guard)

David Murphy (it’s dark, but that’s him, I swear!

Omar Vizquel

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.

Rainy weekend

Okay, I was busy this weekend and didn’t blog… so now I’m way behind. I have THREE game summaries to write up, as well as other news & updates & speculation. I need some good rants! Here we go!
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Friday night’s game was rained out, and they decided to play a doubleheader on Sunday instead. Just in case you’re counting, that’s 3 doubleheaders that they’ve played in the last week and a half; September 1, September 8, and September 13. Yikes.
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Josh Hamilton injury update

Okay, here’s the deal. Josh Hamilton has a pinched nerve in his back, which is caused in his case by a bulging disc. But he was in a car wreck 8 years ago (the one which lead to him being sidelined in baseball and hanging out in tattoo parlors and getting addicted to crack), and that accident resulted in a stress fracture in his back. Dr. Robert Watkins treated him back then. That’s the doctor that he flew to California to see on Friday. The doctor confirmed the diagnosis of Dr. Drew Dossett here of a pinched nerve due to a bulging disc, but he also found inflammation around that old stress fracture. Dr. Watkins gave him not one but 2 injections, and Josh said that he felt better almost immediately. He has been able to walk without a limp and dress himself without pain. Hopefully he will be back in the lineup against the Angels this weekend.

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Michael Young injury update
 
Michael has been in the batting cages for the past few days and doing sprints on the field in preparation for a return. He is also hoping to be in the lineup against the Angels this weekend. And on a side note, I’ll be really happy to get Josh and Mikey back to playing every day! It just seems weird for both of them not to be playing. Weird and wrong.

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Julio Borbon situation

Is Julio Borbon really so bad against left-handed pitching that he should be left out of the lineup every single time the opposing team lists a left-handed starting pitcher? I mean, come on, what’s next? If the opposing team bring in a left-handed reliever, Wash has a pinch-hitter come to the plate? I think it’s ridiculous. The kid is in the big leagues; you can’t just have him ride the bench whenever there’s a lefty on the mound. I’m sure Wash is only doing this until the end of this season, and that Julio will work on it in the off-season and be ready to face lefties next year.

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Omar Vizquel rumor

There might actually be some validity to the rumor about Omar Vizquel only wanting to bat left-handed, even though he’s doing better from the other side of the plate. But the strange thing is that no one is talking about it. I heard Dave Barnett make one mention of it the other day during the radio broadcast of the Rangers’ game, and I originally found out about it from the Dallas Morning News Rangers’ Blog, as an off-handed comment on September 7 from a Jeff Wilson post. But that’s it. Omar Vizquel is a respected veteran player, and he plays some phenomenally beautiful defense. So why is no one talking about this? He played in Game 2 of the doubleheader yesterday, but we’ve been seeing a lot of Esteban German at third base in Michael Young’s absence. This could be explained away by citing German’s 5-for-5 game a few days ago.
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After the games this weekend, the Rangers are now 6 games behind the Angels in the AL West, and they’re 4 games behind the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card race. No bueno, guys. We need to be closer. Can they make it to the post-season? Yes, they can. Is that reasonable? I don’t know. They’re going to have to play their hearts out and show that they really want it.
 

Series sweep!

Yesterday’s game started at 11:05 Central Time, so I could have done the summary yesterday afternoon or evening, but then I would have been bored today. See, today is an off day. Ugh. I hate off days. But I love when the Rangers sweep a series!! Especially when the Rangers cap off the final game of the series with a shut-out!!

Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman was the Rangers’ starter yesterday, and with his most recent win, he set a record. He now has more wins on the road than any other Rangers’ pitcher ever in a single season, with 12. His overall record is 16-4 for the season.

He says he doesn’t do anything differently when he pitches on the road, and I believe him. I think it’s just one of those weird things that just happened to fall that way. I also think it has something to do with the position players behind him. In order for him to get a win, our offense has to produce more runs than the other team’s offense, and they have to perform well defensively by making the plays on the field. And I think they’re more comfortable and confident with Feldman on the mound for some reason, and they step up their performance. The Rangers only win about half of their games on the road, because their not as comfortable in other ballparks, but when they know Scooter’s on the mound they act like they’re at home. Okay, anyway, back to the game.

All of the action in yesterday’s game happened in the top of the 1st and the top of the 9th innings. The Indians sent Fausto Carmona to the mound to start yesterday, and he lasted for a grand total of 2/3 of an inning. He threw 41 pitches in that time frame. Man. We beat on him like a red-headed step-child.

Julio Borbon
Julio Borbon is always our lead-off man against right-handed pitchers, and Carmona promptly walked him on 4 straight pitches. Oh, Fausto, don’t you know that you’re not supposed to walk the lead-off batter? It usually leads to bad things!
Marlon Byrd
Elvis Andrus got on base next with a single, and when Marlon Byrd came to the plate one out later, he hit a 3-run home run to put the Rangers on the board first with a 3-0 lead. Yay Marlon!!
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez
Another out later, David Murphy singled to get on base. And here comes Pudge. BAM!! 2-run tater to left center field. 5-0 Rangers.
 
And that was when Fausto Carmona came out of the game. Jenson Lewis came on next, and he pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless ball. He was followed by Mike Gosling, who pitched 4 innings of scoreless ball. Then came the 9th inning.
Esteban German
Rafael Perez came in to pitch the top of the 9th inning, and he started off by giving up a double to Esteban German. But really, you couldn’t blame him for that. German was white hot yesterday. He went 5-for-5 during yesterday’s game, and I think he would have gotten a hit off of any pitcher they decided to put out there.
Julio Borbon reached next on a fielding error, and then Elvis Andrus singled, driving German home. 6-0 Rangers. What followed was a barrage of 4 more singles, by Ian Kinsler, Marlon Byrd, David Murphy, and Pudge (with an out by Nelson Cruz thrown in the middle). 9-0 Rangers. And then Rafael Perez was unceremoniously taken out of the game, and Tony Sipp came in to pitch. He struck out Chris Davis, then gave up a single to Esteban German (unstoppable, remember?) to drive in another run and bring the score to 10-0.
 
The inning finally ended for the Tribe when the highly-anticipated Sipp-Borbon matchup resulted in a strike-out.
CJ Wilson
Scott Feldman lasted a total of 7 innings, followed by one inning each from C.J. Wilson and Willie Eyre. And C.J. couldn’t exactly blow the game when we had that many runs. He did a good job of maintaining the shut-out by only allowing one hit and getting 2 strike-outs. Nice job, C.J.!
 

Game Notes:

*The Rangers are now 4 1/2 games back in the AL West, and 2 games behind Boston for the Wild Card. 

Kevin Millwood
Tomorrow’s pitching matchup: Our “ace” Kevin Millwood (10-9) against the Mariners’ Brandon Morrow (0-4). Morrow spent a lot of this season in AAA “rebuilding his arm strength,” but is now back in the Bigs. 3 of his 4 losses came against the Texas Rangers, but to be fair, 2 of those came in save situations. Millie has had a tough go of it lately, going 2-4 in his last 11 starts with 5 no-decisions. That means that Millie didn’t even last 6 innings in 5 of his last 11 starts, or maybe the Rangers were losing when he came out of the game but came back to win later or something. He’s been on a steady downhill slide since the All-Star Break, and I don’t think Wash can afford to keep sending him to the mound if we’re gonna make a push for the playoffs. He seems to do pretty well when pitching at Ragers’ Ballpark, with a record of 7-2 at home this year, so maybe this will help to pull him out of his funk.