Tagged: Jason Grilli

Finally… some news!

Wow, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to blog again after such a long break. Okay, so it’s only been 3 weeks, but when I spent 4 1/2 months blogging nearly every day (and sometimes multiple times in a day), it’s hard to jump back on the horse. I’m rusty. But that doesn’t matter, because I finally have some news to pass on!

The Rangers have claimed Joe Inglett off waivers. For those of you who don’t know what that means, I’ll explain: The Toronto Blue Jays decided to take Inglett off their 40-man roster to make room for other players, and the Rangers were able to snatch him up. Inglett will be used as a utility infielder for the 2010 season, a position that was recently vacated by Omar Vizquel.

Omar decided to sign on with the White Sox for next year, so the Rangers have been looking to acquire someone to fill that backup role. (FYI, Andruw Jones also signed with the White Sox for next year. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya, Andruw!) The best news in this acquisition is that Inglett isn’t eligible for arbitration yet, and we’ll be getting him for about half a mil. That’s a steal. Now, I don’t know anything about Inglett, so I’m trying to reserve my excitement. Apparently he’s played mostly 2nd base since his major league debut it 2006, and he only played a meager 36 games with Toronto last year. BUT… he can play shortstop, which is important for the Rangers.

There have been some new developments with the ownership situation as well, but it’s all very confusing. Previously, we learned that the frontrunners were Jim Crane, Chuck Greenberg, and Dennis Gilbert. Then, last week or so, it came out that Tom Hicks was trying to get together a group of local investors to retain control of the Rangers. Well, Jim Crane has kind of faded out, and Commissioner Bud Selig shut down Tom Hicks because he was wanting to mortgage away the Rangers’ future for more money today, so it’s neck and neck between Gilbert and Greenberg.

Tom Hicks then apparently threw in with Dennis Gilbert, and Nolan Ryan was preparing to resign as team president if Gilbert bought the Rangers. Gilbert is reportedly Jerry Jones-esque in his need to be involved in every aspect of the team, and Nolan didn’t want to have to deal with it. But now there’s a feud between Gilbert and Hicks, so Nolan’s not resigning. Or something. I told you it was confusing.

Other random tidbits:

-Josh Rupe and Jason Grilli signed minor league contracts with other teams.

-The Rangers offered arbitration to both Marlon Byrd and Pudge, but neither are expected to accept. The deadline is Monday for that, but even if they refuse arbitration, they can still hammer out a deal with the Rangers later.

-Salty tried to play Winter Ball somewhere in South America, but he had to come out in the middle of his second game because of shoulder problems. They’re going to shut him down for a month and then see how things are progressing.

-The Jermaine Dye to Texas rumor still abounds, but the Milton Bradley to Texas rumor has been effectively squashed.

-A lot of teams are interested in Kevin Millwood, but Texas doesn’t want to trade him unless the “right deal comes along.” I know Millwood has problems, but he’s our only veteran starting pitcher, so I’m hesitant to send him packing.

-Everybody’s interested in Nelson Cruz (big surprise there), but the Rangers are reluctant to lose him. And I personally think that if they trade him, someone should be shot. Come on, he’s got great potential, he’s a team player, and he’s cheap! Seriously, folks!

-There are several pitchers in the Yankees’ organization that will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft soon. But the Rangers already have way too many starting pitchers, so unless he’s a lefty that can work in a short relief role, we can’t use any more.

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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 2 loss in Seattle

Tommy Hunter took the mound for the Rangers yesterday, and even though he did much better in this outing than in his last outing, he got the loss. Poor guy.

Tommy Hunter
Tommy Hunter kept the Mariners scoreless through his first 3 innings, but he gave up 1 run each in the 4th and 5th innings, which was all the Mariners needed to get the win. Tommy gave up 2 runs on 9 hits in his 4 1/3 innings of work against the Mariners yesterday, but he unfortunately didn’t get very much run support from the Rangers’ offense, with just one run in 9 innings by the Rangers.

The Mariners took the lead in the bottom of the 4th inning with a solo homer by Ken Griffey, Jr. It was Griffey’s 19th home run of the year (his second off Tommy Hunter this year), for a major league total of 630.

Ichiro Suzuki
Then, in the bottom of the 5th inning, Tommy got into a bit of a pickle by giving up a lead-off double to Josh Wilson. Then Ichiro hit a single to put runners at the corners wit no outs.Then Franklin Gutierrez got an RBI single to left field, scoring Wilson and putting the Mariners up 2-0.
Jason Grilli
Jason Grilli came in next with the difficult job of getting 2 outs with the bases loaded, and he pulled it off without letting any more runs score! He struck out Adrian Beltre swinging and got the next batter to fly out to center field, ending the inning. Way to go, Grilli!
Neftali Feliz
Neftali Feliz came in to pitch an inning of scoreless relief in the 6th inning, and he did a good job in what was most likely his last outing of this year. He gave up one walk and he hit a batter, but he was able to get out of the innng without any damage.

Elvis Andrus
In the top of the 7th inning, Elvis Andrus got an RBI double for the 2nd night in a row to put the Rangers on the board. Chris Davis started off the inning by getting a double, and then Andruw Jones came up behind him and worked a walk. Elvis Andrus hit a fly ball to right field that should have tied the game at 2, but it bounced out, making it a ground-rule double and forcing Andruw Jones to stop at 3rd base with no outs. The Rangers had 2 runners in scoring position with no outs, but they weren’t able to get anyone else home.
Darren O’Day
Darren O’Day and C.J. Wilson each pitched an inning of scoreless relief, but the Rangers weren’t able to do anything else offensively, and the Rangers ended up losing the game 2-1. Darren O’Day is ending this season with an ERA of 1.99, doing a fabulous job for much of 2009. I really hope we can bring him back next year!

Scott Feldman
Today’s pitching matchup: Scott Feldman (17-7) against “King” Felix Hernandez (18-5). This game will be the Battle of the Aces. King Felix is really scary, so it will be interesting to see how Scooter and the Rangers do against him. Feldman’s name was mentioned in Cy Young contention a few times this year, but with his performances of late, he is no longer in serious contention. King Felix is still a front-runner for the Cy Young, though, so hopefully the Rangers can do something against him. Scott is 2-0 against the Mariners this year, and if he Rangers can win this game, they will end the season with 88 wins. That just sounds better than 87 (probably because it IS better).

Pathetic loss in Anaheim

Wow. What can you say to that? The game started at 2:35 Central Time, and I was at work, so I listened to the game through my computer. And I’m glad that I didn’t have to watch it on t.v., because it sounded like it was just pitiful. We ended up losing 12-3.
Scott Feldman
Scott Feldman took the ball for the Rangers yesterday, and this is usually a very good thing. He went into yesterday’s game with a record of 17-5. He won 12 games on the road for the Rangers this year, becoming a so-called “road warrior.” His last start (against the Angels at home on Saturday, September 19) broke the Rangers’ 5-game losing streak. But the start before that (against the A’s in Arlington on September 14), he showed that he could self-destruct on the mound when he allowed 6 runs over the 6th and 7th innings.

But yesterday, Scooter was having trouble from the start. The first inkling of trouble showed up in the 2nd inning, when he walked two batters with 2 outs, but he got away with it. He wasn’t as lucky in the 3rd inning.

The Rangers were leading 2-0 going into the bottom of the 3rd inning. But by the time Scooter got out of the inning, the A’s were leading 4-2, thanks to a combination of 3 walks and 3 singles given up by Feldman. He gave up 3 more runs in the 4th inning before Ron finally took him out. {Sigh}

Jason Grilli
The Rangers put in 6 relief pitchers yesterday, but I guess that can happen when your starter only goes 3 1/3 innings. Dustin Nippert, Pedro Strop, Willie Eyre, and Guillermo Moscoso all pitched scoreless in their relief outings, but Jason Grilli and Warner Madrigal combined to give up 5 additional runs to the A’s (3 by Grilli, 2 by Madrigal). I don’t know what Grilli’s deal has been since he got back from the DL. And Madrigal is a bit of a question mark as well, because he is fantastic in AAA, but not so good in the Bigs.
Game notes:
Ian Kinsler
*Ian Kinsler stole his 30th base of the season in this game, and if he hits one more home run, he’ll hit the “30-30” mark for the season.
Craig Gentry
*Craig Gentry got his first big league start in this game, but he only got 2 at-bats. Wash pulled him in favor of Nelson Cruz in the 6th inning. Nelly also got 2 at-bats, but neither one got a hit. So poor Craig Gentry still has a .000 batting average in the Bigs, and he has yet to get his 1st big league hit. I really hope he can get a hit before the end of the season! Maybe Wash will give him more playing time after we’re mathematically eliminated.
Taylor Teagarden
*Taylor Teagarden was the starting catcher in this game, and a lot of fans are blaming him for Feldman’s meltdown. I think that’s a bit extreme, but Scooter appears to throw well to Pudge, so it is a bit of a mystery as to why Wash decided to start Taylor yesterday instead of the veteran. But Pudge is starting to get old now, so I guess he needs more rest. Just not when Feldman’s on the mound any more, m’kay?
Josh Hamilton
*Josh Hamilton is expected to rejoin the Rangers’ lineup against Tampa Bay this weekend, either tonight or tomorrow night. Yay, Josh! Michael Young isn’t quite ready to come back yet, although he does hope to get into a game before the end of the season. It just won’t be against the Rays this weekend.
Derek Holland
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Derek Holland (7-12) against the Rays’ James Shields (10-11). Dutch will be trying to break a 5-game losing streak, and he’s been having a real problem with giving up home runs this season. He gave up 3 more home runs in his last start, and he has now given up 25 homers total on the season, higher than any other rookie in Rangers’ history. Shields is apparently a really good pitcher, even though his win-loss record doesn’t really reflect it. He just hasn’t been getting the run support he needs from the Rays this season.

I hate to say it, because I’m always supposed to expect a win from my team, but this pitching matchup definitely favors Shields. I still think the Rangers have a good shot at winning, especially since we swept the Rays the last time they came to Arlington, but if they do win, it most likely won’t be because of Derek Holland. It will be because they had hot bats, or were aggressive running the bases, or because of Josh Hamilton, or something else.

Series loss to the Angels

Friday, September 18: 5-game losing streak
I went to Friday’s game (my third game in a week) with my friend Lindy, who hadn’t been to a Rangers’ game since the last time Pudge played for us. She’s a hockey fan, so she said she would go to a baseall game with me if I would go to a Stars’ game with her during hockey season. Good deal. Tommy Hunter was on the mound, and he’s a hoss, so he could pull out a win for us. After all, he was the last Rangers’ pitcher to get a win, in the first game of the doubleheader against Toronto the previous Sunday. Except he didn’t win.
Andruw Jones
Andruw Jones.jpgRon Washington was doing everything he could think of to stop his team’s downward spiral, including adding a face to the lineup that we hadn’t seen for quite a while: Andruw Jones. But that was a bust, with Jones going 0-for-4. The Rangers were shut out for the 4th time in 5 games, and lost for the 6th time in 7 games. It was their 5th consecutive loss. That’s the biggest losing streak the Rangers have had all season. {Sigh}

Saturday, September 19: Finally, a win!

Hank Blalock
Hank Blalock.jpgThey somehow managed to pull out a win on Saturday against the Angels, with Scooter Feldman back on the mound. The most amazing thing was the Rangers’ ability to score runs again. Wash continued trying to add long-lost faces to the lineup, adding in Hank Blalock at 1st base and moving Chris Davis to 3rd. And Hank came through, hitting a solo home run to break the 2-2 tie and put the Rangers on top for the 3-2 final score.
Frank Francisco 
Frank Francisco.jpgFrankie Frank almost ruined that for us in the top of the 9th inning, with a little help from a bobble at 1st base by Blalock, but Elvis was able to pull off a double play to get everybody out of it and end the game. All the players on the field (and the coaches and everybody else in a Rangers’ uniform) looked so excited to have finally broken the streak!
Sunday, September 20: Nope, just kidding, another loss
Wash decided to test his luck with Blalock back in the lineup on Sunday (yesterday), but it didn’t quite work out. I was apprehensive with Derek Holland heading back out to the mound, but I hoped that the newly awakened Rangers’ bats would make that a moot point. And it was a good game through 5 or 6 innings.

Elvis Andrus

Elvis Andrus2.jpgThe Rangers went up 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning, but the Angels scored 2 runs in the top of the 2nd inning, cutting the lead to one. David Murphy came home on a sacrifice fly in the 3rd inning, bringing the score to 4-2. But the Angels didn’t rest on their laurels. They came right back in the top of the 4th with a solo home run by Juan Rivera to cut the lead back down to one. Then in the 5th, Elvis came home on a single by Marlon Byrd. And we were riding high! 5 runs in one game! Amazing!

But the Angels weren’t through yet. They hit 2 more home runs off of Derek Holland in the top of the 6th inning, (a 2-run shot to tie the score and a solo homer for the go-ahead run), and they lead for the first time that day by a score of 6-5. But it still wasn’t too bad.

Neftali Feliz
Wash pulled Holland and brought in Neftali Feliz. I used to think Feliz could do no wrong. But then, on September 8, Feliz gave up 3 hits (including a home run) and a walk. His next outing, on September 15, he gave up 2 hits, 2 earned runs, and 2 walks. Then on September 18, he gave up another hit and another walk. I know this doesn’t seem like much, but after Neftali’s unbelievable start to major league baseball, it’s a bit disappointing.
Jason Grilli
He got the final out in the 6th inning, then came out to pitch the 7th inning. After getting 2 outs in the top of the 7th, Feliz walked Torii Hunter, then gave up a single to Vladimir Guerrero. Wash pulled him and went with Jason Grilli instead. Great. I’ve had my doubts about Jason Grilli since he came back from the DL and failed to retire the first 5 batters he faced. So now, Grilli was coming into the game with runners on 1st and 2nd, and the Angels were leading 6-5.
Grilli promptly walked the first guy he faced to load the bases. Then he gave up a bases-clearing triple to Howie Kendrick to put the Angels ahead 9-5. That’s a pretty big run defecit to overcome.

The Angels scored once more, on a solo home run by Chone Figgins in the 8th inning. (Supposedly, that’s pronounced like “Shawn.” Yeah, right. Your name’s Chone, dude.) Anyway, that brought the final score to 10-5.

And that brings us up to where we are now. 7 1/2 games out of first place with only 4 games left to play against the Angels. In their ballpark. {Sigh}  

Doubleheader sweep in Cleveland!

The Rangers got their second doubleheader sweep in a week yesterday, after they won the second game in Cleveland by a score of 10-5. Last week they played a doubleheader at home against the Toronto Blue Jays, and they won both of those games by a score of 5-2 for their first doubleheader sweep. Yesterday they won the first game by a score of 11-9, followed by the second game win to complete the sweep.
Brandon McCarthy
Brandon McCarthy took the mound for the Rangers in Game 2 yesterday, and it was his second game back since coming off the DL. He spent 3 months on the Disabled List with a fractured scapula, and he used his down time to work on his mechanics and clean up his pitching. And it obviously worked! His first start since his return from the DL was during Game 2 of last week’s doubleheader, followed by a start in Game 2 of last night’s doubleheader. He went 6 1/3 innings in both starts, and he is 2-0 since returning from the Disabled List.
Chris Davis
The Rangers were leading 7-0 after 4 innings, but the Indians refused to give up, and they clawed back to within 7-5 before Chris Davis hit a 3-run home run in the top of the 9th inning to secure the Rangers’ win.
Eddie Guardado
McCarthy left the mound with one out in the 7th inning, with 2 men on base and the score at a comfortable 7-3 Texas. Wash brought in Eddie Guardado to close out the rest of the inning. And Eddie threw a grand total of 2 pitches before getting pulled from the game. The first was a wild pitch that got by Taylor Teagarden to score a runner. The second pitch was a base hit that scored another run for the Tribe. So by the time that Wash took Eddie out of the game, the score was 7-5. A little too close for comfort.
 
Jason Grilli
Jason Grilli came in next, and he got 2 strike-outs to end the inning without any further drama. Thanks, Jason!
 
CJ Wilson
C.J. Wilson came in to start off the 8th inning, which scared me a little, especially since he almost cost us the first game of the day. And C.J. almost gave up the second game, as was expected. C.J. left after getting 2 outs and giving up a hit and a walk. Dammit C.J.!
Darren O’Day
Darren O’Day saved the game (once again) by getting the final out in the 8th inning, and then he literally got the save by closing out the bottom of the 9th inning. After Chris Davis’ home run, the Rangers were able to relax a little bit and enjoy the 5-run lead.
 
Game Notes:
Marlon Byrd
*Marlon Byrd was the Rangers’ MVP yesterday, with 7 hits in the doubleheader (7-for-9 overall). The most hits by a Ranger previously in a doubleheader was 6, and the last guy to do that was David Murphy in that 30-3 win over the Orioles in Game 1 of the doubleheader in 2007.
Elvis Andrus
*Elvis Andrus and Chris Davis combined defensively to get several amazing outs yesterday! It seemed to happen over and over again during both games: a grounder would be hit slowly to short, Elvis would gather it up and fire it to Chris at first, and CD would stretch and scoop it up for the out. So pretty!
Scott Feldman
Today’s pitching matchup: Scott Feldman (15-4) against Fausto Carmona (3-9). Carmona has not had a good year, but he has been a very formidable opponent in the past. His main problem this year has been with giving up too many walks. And of course, Scott Feldman has been mentioned in the same breath as names like CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander. So, after our 2 wins yesterday, this one seems like a pretty easy prediction, doesn’t it? Let’s just hope the Rangers can fight through their weariness to get the series sweep. Go Rangers!