Tagged: Justin Morneau

C.J.’s blown save

Oh, C.J., what are we going to do with you? He blew a save on Sunday and the Rangers lost 5-3.

Kevin Millwood
Going into the 8th inning, we were leading the Twins 3-2. This is a very close margin, but with our steady bullpen, I was confident that they could close down the opposition long enough so that we could take the series. Kevin Millwood had a decent start, going 6 innings and throwing 114 pitches. He allowed 6 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs (both on a home run to Jason Kubel). Not too bad.
Jason Grilli
After Millie came out of the game, Jason Grilli pitched a scoreless 7th inning, followed by C.J. Wilson in the 8th. Until yesterday, C.J. had been doing really well since the All-Star Break. I’m sorry that I can’t find any stats to back this up, but during one of the games last week, they showed some ridiculously obscure baseball stats showing how great C.J. had been. You’re just going to have to take my word for it.
C.J. Wilson
Anyway, Wilson walked the first batter he faced, Justin Morneau. Jason Kubel then came up and lined a single to center field. C.J. then struck out Michael Cuddyer, but he gave up a single to Brendan Harris, and that drove in Justin Morneau to tie the score 3-3.
Mike Redmond hit a high chopper to Blalock at first, but Blalock’s throw home was high and wide, allowing another run to score, and allowing the Twins to take the lead 4-3. There was still only 1 out. Then a suicide squeeze by Nick Punto brought in another run, bringing the score to 5-3 Twins.
Elvis Andrus
The Rangers tried to rally in the top of the 9th, and they had the bases loaded with no outs against the Twins’ closer Joe Nathan. But then Nathan buckled down, getting Elvis to strike out, Borbon to pop out, and Young to ground out to end the game.
Game Notes:

Hank Blalock

*Hank Blalock and Josh Hamilton were the only 2 Rangers without hits in the game. Could someone please explain to me why Ron Washington thought it would be a good idea to put Hank Blalock in the lineup instead of Chris Davis? Anyone, anyone? Bueller? {sigh} Chris Davis has proved himself to be the better defensive first baseman time and time again, and since he’s come back up from AAA, Davis’ bat has been infinitely hotter than Blalock’s. EPIC FAIL, WASH!
Michael Young
*Michael Young now has a 17-game hitting streak. Wow. Let me just say that Michael Young is the main reason why this team is doing so well right now. Sure, there are lots of other people on the team, and our improved pitching and young players sure don’t hurt. But Michael is the instigator. Everyone on the team knows that they have him to look up to, and that he will work as hard as he has to in order to take care of business. He’s not just somebody who can sit on the sidelines and encourage; he can produce when no one else can. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now. 🙂
Derek Holland
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Derek Holland (7-8) against the Blue Jays’ Brett Cecil (5-3). Like I’ve said before, Dutch can be hit or miss. So it really depends on what kind of stuff he brings to the ballpark tonight, and what he does with the stuff he has. Cecil is a rookie pitcher as well, and he’s never pitched against the Rangers before. He’s coming off consecutive losses, and he only lasted 3 1/3 innings in his last start while giving up 6 runs (5 earned). I think that the Rangers are so glad to be home again that they’ll really pull out all the stops for tonight’s game. Well, maybe not all the stops, because they’ll have to save some for the doubleheader on Tuesday, but they really want to get the taste of that last loss in Minnesota out of their mouths. So I’m predicting a win tonight, a win in one of the games in the doubleheader (the first game), and a win on Wednesday for 3 out of 4. Don’t fail me now!

Pudge’s Triumphant Return… And Our Subsequent Loss

Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez

Ivan Rodriguez had a fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-4 with an RBI double, 2 singles, and a run scored. And, of course, the crowd went wild after each of these feats. When he first stepped up to the plate to bat, in the 3rd inning, he got a standing ovation. And he was sweet and humble, like always, before knocking a ground ball up the middle. I guess he really does feel at home in Arlington!

Unfortunately last night’s game mirrored the game from the night before, when we were leading 5-0, but the Twins came back to win it by rallying in the 6th inning. Except last night, we were winning 4-0 at one point, and then the Twins came back to win it by rallying in the 6th inning. The final score was 5-4 Twins.
Kevin Millwood
Kevin Millwood was pitching for us last night, with battery mate Pudge Rodriguez. And he seemed to have pretty good stuff for the first 4 or 5 innings. When we went into the 6th inning, we were leading 4-1. Then the Twins hit 2 doubles back-to-back, bringing the score to 4-2. Millie was able to get 2 outs after that run scored, but the Twins promptly responded with 2 more runs on 2 more hits, tying the score up at 4-4. Great.
Darren O’Day
Wash pulled Millwood and brought in Darren O’Day. O’Day gave up a single to center field, which Marlon Byrd came up with cleanly and fired to Pudge at home plate. But Pudge couldn’t catch the ball, and the go-ahead run slid across the plate, bringing the score to 5-4 Twins. Now, if this were any other catcher, Pudge would be catching flak from the announcers, the fans, the reporters, and everybody else for “losing the game.” But this is Pudge we’re talking about. He doesn’t mess up very often. (Well, at least we know he used to not mess up very often.) And all of his hits were a big part of why we were winning in the first place. Everybody here just loves him too much to turn on him.
Marlon Byrd
Besides, the Rangers could have rallied to get more runs in the bottom of the 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th innings, after the Twins took the lead, but they just couldn’t get anything done. They also had opportunities early in the game to get some more runs, but they let those slip by. Marlon Byrd led off the 2nd inning with a double, but was stuck at 2nd base all inning. Then later Marlon hit a triple with one out in the 5th, but they couldn’t bring him home. Poor Marlon had a pretty good game, the Rangers just weren’t able to make anything of it! There were 6 total Rangers left on base during this game, and the bottom line is that the Rangers couldn’t produce.

Joe Mauer

The Rangers won the first game in this series and lost the next two. So now, they have to win the game tonight if they want to split the series. And they shouldn’t have split this series. They should have won this series. There’s no way that we will be able to catch up with the Angels if we don’t start beating the teams that we know we can beat. I mean, Justin Morneau hasn’t even been playing during this series, and they’re still beating us! The one-two punch of Mauer and Morneau can be pretty devastating, but without half of the “M & M boys,” they shouldn’t be doing this much damage.
Hank Blalock
Things of note:
*Hank Blalock worked his second walk since the All-Star Break last night! I’m very proud of you Hank!
*Last night, Wash pulled Julio Borbon from the game (who was DHing) after 3 at-bats and replaced him with… Andruw Jones?? Seriously?? And, of course, Andruw was 0-2 in last night’s game. Borbon has been doing a fabulous job of getting on base, and then stretching that into extra bases by stealing at least once. Let the kid play!
Julio Borbon
*Nelson Cruz comes off the DL today, and Julio Borbon is the most likely candidate to be sent down to AAA. It would only be for a couple of weeks, since we can bring him back on September 1 (when the MLB goes from the normal 25-man roster to the expanded 40-man roster). But the Rangers still have some baseball to play before September, and I don’t know if we can afford to lose Julio right now. He’s the only player in the past 56 years to have multiple three-steal games over the first eight games of his career. The kid is a firecracker! I personally think they should send down Andruw Jones. He doesn’t seem to be doing much for us up here anyway. Just my opinion.
Derek Holland
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Our Derek Holland (6-7) against Anthony Swarzak (3-6). Even though Derek has a losing record, I feel pretty confident with him on the mound. He’s won 3 out of his last 4 starts, including a complete game shutout in Anaheim. He was pretty shaky earlier in the season, and I was the first one to jump on the “let’s get rid of Derek Holland” bandwagon, zealously weilding my torch and pitchfork. But since his spectacular start against the Seattle Mariners on July 30th, he’s been a force to be reckoned with, and he’s really shown a lot of maturity. Swarzak is coming off his 3rd straight loss. I’d like to think that this Rangers team won’t let a team like the Twins come in and win a series against us in our own ballpark, but I don’t know what their deal has been these last 2 days.
My daily Chris Davis fix:
Chris Davis
Days since CD has been in the majors: 46

Game 1 against Minnesota Twins

Joe Mauer

As I said I would, I went to the Rangers game last night. And we won, 8-5! YAY! It was the first time the Rangers had scored 8 runs in a game withiout a home run since June of 2006. Joe Mauer did some great things for the Twins, getting a solo home run of his own, along with a single, a double, and a stolen base. Plus, he’s pretty easy on the eyes. 🙂 But their one good player couldn’t compete with our team full of good players.

Tommy Hunter
The Rangers scored 7 runs against Twins’ pitcher Francisco Liriano in the 1st and 2nd innings combined (3 in the 1st inning and 4 in the 2nd inning). Tommy Hunter wasn’t too great, but he did a decent job. Thank goodness the Rangers bats were alive and kicking! Tommy had some trouble settling down during the first 2 innings, and he gave up one run in each of those innings, making the score 7-2. But then Tommy was able to get things under control, and when he left the game, the score was still 7-2 Rangers.
Francisco Liriano
I can’t believe the Rangers chased Liriano from the game after only 2 innings of work. He has since gone on the disabled list with a “tired arm.” HA! Sorry, thay’s not nice. I really don’t wish him any ill will, it just struck me as a little bit funny. Justin Morneau had to come out after the 4th inning with dizziness. Yeesh, I hope he’s okay too! That kind of sucks for the Twins!
Darren O’Day
Tommy came out of the game after 5 2/3 innings with 2 men on base, and Darren O’Day took the mound. And I don’t know what the problem was, but the poor boy had trouble getting the ball over the plate! He walked another batter to load the bases, then he walked in a run!! After that, he gave up a 2-run single, bringing the score to 7-5.
Neftali Feliz
So Wash had to pull O’Day and bring in Neftali Feliz, who was able to get a ground-out to end the inning. Feliz stayed in to pitch the 7th inning too, and he had another perfect inning, although his velociy was a bit slower than usual. It was pretty funny at the game; everyone would watch Feliz throw to the plate, then turn their heads to the ribbon scoreboard to see how fast the pitch was! Hysterical! The highest speed I saw after a pitch was 95 mph, but the Rangers website says Feliz hit 97 mph. I just must have missed it.
Jason Jennings and C.J. Wilson combined to pitch the 8th inning, and Frank Francisco came on to close out the game in the 9th.
Random notes:
Ian Kinsler
*Ian Kinsler was hit by another pitch last night. What the hell??
Hank Blalock.jpg*When I referenced our “team full of good players” above, the 2 guys that I wasn’t talking about were Hank Blalock and Andruw Jones. Hank was the only Ranger last night that didn’t get a hit. Hank has had 120 at-bats since the All-Star Break (or somewhere around there), and you know how many times he’s walked? Zero. Big fat goose egg. He needs to be more patient at the plate, and quit swinging for the fences all the time! He’s batting .239, which seems pretty decent, but when you consider that he hasn’t had a batting average that low since 2002, the situation starts to look a little more dire. Seriously, when do they finally realize that Hank is doing diddly-squat and that they need to bring Chris Davis back up?? I love you, Chris!! I miss your awesome-ness!
Andruw Jones
And Andruw Jones seems like a really great guy, but he’s having a pretty craptastic year. True, he did have that one 3-home-run game this year. But overall, he’s batting .222. When a guy comes to the plate and I have next to no faith that he’ll get a hit, that’s sad. And batting Blalock and Jones next to each other in the lineup is really bad, Wash. Seriously.
Kevin Richardson
*Kevin Richardson made his major league debut last night, and he went 2-for-4 with a run scored! Nice!
*The Rangers are now 17 games over .500
Scott Feldman
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Scott Feldman (12-4) against the Twins’ Carl Pavano (10-9). Pavano was traded to the Twins from the Cleveland Indians on August 8, and he is currently 1-1 as a Twin. He is 0-1 against the Rangers this year. He lasted just one inning in that game, facing 12 batters and giving up 9 (!) earned runs during the outing. What can I say? Scooter’s got more wins. After watching the Rangers win last night, I think we’ve got it. Although, in this 4 game series, I predict that the Rangers will lose 1 and win 3. And we already got one win last night. So we’ll have to see.
My daily Chris Davis fix:
my husband, Chris Davis
Days since CD has been in the majors: 44

We won the series against the BoSox!!

This last game was a nail-biter, but we pulled it off. The final score was 4-3, and especially after the game on Friday (when the Sox overtook us when we were leading by 4-2 and Frank Francisco blew the save), I was super nervous. But the Rangers eeked out a win, and they took the series!! This was a huge thing, to win the series against Boston, because they’re such a formidable team. AND… we’ve now leapfrogged Boston and we’re leading by 1/2 a game in the AL Wild Card race. Which really doesn’t mean much at this point, considering that there are still 7 weeks left of regular season play, but now maybe people will start taking us seriously. We’d still like to win the AL West, and it’s very possible, but all our boys can do is play their best and see what shakes out. The Rangers are now 16 games over .500, and that’s the first time we’ve been that far ahead all season.

Dustin Nippert
Sunday afternoon’s game was the 1st day game in Arlington in months, and all of us Texans know that August in Texas is miserable. The heat had to be a factor, but it didn’t seem to bother the Rangers. Dustin Nippert pitched 6 innings, and when Nippert left the mound after pitching the top of the 6th inning, the Rangers were leading 3-2. Then the Rangers scored another run in the bottom of the 6th, bringing the score to 4-2. Look familiar at all?
C.J. Wilson
Wash brought in Doug Mathis to pitch the 7th inning (where the heck has he been?), and Mathis gave up another run, bring the score to 4-3. Let the nail-biting commence. All of the Ranger fans were hoping for a rally by the Rangers by that point, so that we could add a few more insurance runs to the score. But the Rangers weren’t able to add any runs to the scoreboard in the bottom of the 7th. C.J. Wilson came in to pitch the 8th inning, and he actually didn’t self-destruct! Yay!! But we knew Franky Francisco would be coming out to pitch the 9th inning, so we were REALLY hoping for some more runs in the bottom of the 8th. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. All right, here we go!

Frank Francisco

And Frankie was stellar. He needed only 10 pitches to retire the 3 Red Sox batters in the top of the 9th. But, of course, Frankie likes to take a lot of time between pitches, so it added to the drama. He knew that he had to perform really well after his crash-and-burn on Friday night, and he certainly didn’t disappoint! To get the final out, he struck out Victor Martinez, the batter who hit the 2-run double off Frankie on Friday to give the Red Sox the lead.
Tommy Hunter
Tonight’s pitching matchup: Tommy Hunter (5-2) against the Twins’ Francisco Liriano (5-11). I’ve actually heard of Francisco Liriano, so that scares me a little bit. He’s supposed to be pretty good, right? But he’s lost 11 games this year. That can’t be too good. Maybe the Twins’ bats just aren’t backing him up. I don’t know. Anyway, Liriano just got his first victory since late June in his last start, and is said to feel “tranquilo.” Uh-oh. He has more experience than Hunter, because he’s been in the Bigs since 2005, and he’s obviously pitched a lot of games this year. Our battery tonight will consist of Hunter and new catcher Kevin Richardson, who caught Hunter while they were in the minors. This will be Hunter’s first outing against the Twins. But, as I said last time Tommy got a start, that boy is a hoss. He can get us the win.

I got a really cool Rangers ticket coupon deal for $40, and it came with 6 free tickets, 8 buy one get one free tickets, 3 50% off tickets, and some other cool stuff. There’s no way I’ll be able to use all the coupons, but I can try! 🙂 And the seats are in the Corner Box section, which is my favorite! The only problem is that I can only redeem the coupons in person or through the mail. So Daddy and I are going to go to the game tonight, and we’re just gonna show up at the Box Office and hope they have some good seats left. But they probably will, because it’s a Monday night, and we’re playing the Minnesots Twins, who aren’t really a team you’d expect a lot of fans to want to go to. I mean, if we were playing a team in our division, or the Red Sox or the Yankees, I’d be worried about getting seats. I’m excited to see Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer though! I’m going to redeem all of my coupons tonight, because I’ve already mapped out which games I want to go to and how many tickets I’ll need. And then I’ll have the tickets ahead of time, and I won’t have to keep going back to the Box Office.

My daily Chris Davis fix:
Chris Davis
Days since CD has been in the majors: 43
Originally published August 17, 2009