Tagged: KC Royals

Kansas City Split

The Rangers just finished up a 2-game series against the Kansas City Royals, and they split the series. The Rangers won the first game and Royals took the second one. Let’s just dive right in, shall we?

The Rangers’ started off this road trip with a win last night against the KC Royals. And even though the Rangers hit 4 home runs in the game (2 of them by Vlad Guerrero), it was actually a pretty close game. The final score was 8-7 Rangers.

Rich Harden took the mound for the Rangers against Gil Meche. These 2 pitchers last faced each other on May 8 in Arlington, and that was a close game as well that the Rangers won by one run.

Rich had another mediocre start, which is what we’ve all come to expect from him. He gave up 6 runs (5 earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks in 5 1/3 innings, throwing 104 pitches. The best thing about Harden was that 73 of those 104 pitches he threw were for strikes, so that’s impressive.

Rich didn’t get the Win because after he was taken out in the 5th inning, the Royals tied up the score 6-6. But he should be thanking the Rangers hitters that he ended up with a No Decision instead of a Loss.

Vlad hit his first home run of the night in the 1st inning, giving the Rangers an early 2-0 lead. But of course, Harden allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd to tie it up 2-2.

Josh Hamilton started off the 4th inning by hitting a solo shot really hard. The official measurement was 448 ft., but I think they may have shorted him. Seriously, that ball went really far. 3-2 Texas.

Nelson Cruz stepped up to the plate next and hit his 10th home run of the year (also a solo shot). 4-2 Texas.

Vlad hit his second home run in the 5th inning, and it was also a 2-run shot (like the first one). 6-2 Texas.

The Royals came back with 1 run in the bottom of the 5th to make it 6-3 and 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th to tie it up 6-6.

The Rangers got another 2 runs in the top of the 7th inning to make it 8-6, but the Royals got 1 run in the bottom of the frame to make it a too-close-for-comfort 8-7. The Rangers were able to hold on though, and it was another 1-run game.

Before I move on to today’s game, I would just like to point out that Vlad was responsible for half of the Rangers’ runs in last night’s game. Nice.

The game today was a day game, and the Rangers ended up losing 5-2. Feldman was the starting pitcher in this match-up, and he gave up 4 earned runs on 7 hits, 1 walk, and 2 hit batsmen in 6 2/3 innings, throwing 105 pitches.

It really wasn’t a bad start, and he’s definitely getting better, but he’s still not the Scott Feldman that Rangers’ fans came to love last year. He’s now 2-5 with a 5.84 ERA.

But he pitched 6 2/3 innings. That helped out the bullpen, as did a 1-inning relief stint by Derek Holland.

Derek normally wouldn’t appear out of the bullpen, but in his next start he’ll be pitching on 7 days rest, so Mike Maddux wanted him to get in a little bit of work against live batters in a game situation.

Derek gave up 2 hits and 1 earned run in his inning. I’m sure that’s not what he was going for, but it happened. It probably didn’t make much difference in the outcome of the game, since the Rangers were already losing by 2 runs when Derek came in the game. I just hope it was a good learning experience for Derek.

Luke Hochevar got the start for the Royals, and he just pitched better. He allowed 2 runs on 6 hits with no walks in 8 innings. The Royals closer Joakim Soria came in to pitch the top of the 9th to finish the game.

I think the Rangers must have been tired today, because they seemed a bit subdued. I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong; I didn’t get to watch the game. I just listened to it on the radio.

But after last night’s 4 home runs, I was secretly hoping for some more Rangers to go yard today. Unfortunately, the only home run was by the Royals’ Billy Butler. Jeez, that guy is good.

Justin Smoak got another hit today, after breaking his hitless streak in last night’s game. And he drove in an run while he was at it. Hopefully things are starting to turn around for him.

Next, they’ll have an off-day in Minnesota and face the Minnesota Twins for the first time in 2010. This will also be their first time playing in the newly-constructed Target Field. The Twins can’t have too much of a home-field advantage at this point, so maybe the Rangers can get something done.

My Rangers’ record: 6-3
Overall Rangers’ record: 26-21
Days ’til my next game: 10
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Rangers take the series from the Royals

As I said yesterday, Kevin Millwood was slated to start today against Sir Sidney Ponson. And he did start. He just had to come out of the game after the 2nd inning because…

wait for it…

he hurt his @$$!

Kevin Millwood
Now I know he’s seriously hurt; he was experiencing tightness in his gluteus muscle, and I know that can definitely affect his delivery as a pitcher. But you knew I had to make a joke about it. How could I not??
Dustin Nippert
Anyway, Dustin Nippert came through for us again today, giving us 4 and 2/3 innings of relief and allowing only 1 run. He earned his 3rd win in just 8 days. So, basically, this kid just shows up to the ballpark not knowing if he’s pitching or not, and he’s proven in the past week that the Rangers can definitely depend on him in a desperate situation. I love this guy!
Sir Sidney Ponson
Sidney Ponson pitched 6 innings of shut-out baseball, but then the Royals’ bullpen came in to hand out 7 runs to the Rangers. Well, that’s not exactly true; the first 3 runs scored by the Rangers were unearned, coming off an error by Alberto Callaspo (the Royals’ 1st baseman) in the 7th inning. The poor guy should have caught a routine pop-up by Kinsler, but he lost the ball in the sun and ended up dropping it, and that allowed some Rangers to score. The bullpen gave up the 4 runs in the 8th inning, bringing the final score to 7-2.

Notables in this game:
1) Dustin Nippert, obviously
2) Michael Young had another 3-hit game

Michael Young
3) Marlon Byrd made a diving catch in center field. This almost isn’t “notable,” since it seems like Marlon is always making awesome diving catches in the outfield, but I want to let him know that we notice the amazing job that you’re doing, Marlon!
Marlon Byrd
Tomorrow, the Rangers are coming back home for a 7-game home stretch. First they’re playing 3 games against the Detroit Tigers, then the Seattle Mariners are coming into town for a 4-game set. I hope to be going to the game on Thursday night, because they’re giving away a really cute baseball cap to the first 20,000 fans. 🙂
Tomorrow’s pitching matchup: Tommy Hunter against Armando Galarraga. This is a bit scary, considering that Galarraga has been in the bigs for 3 years, so he definitely has more experience than Tommy. He also has the 2nd lowest opponent batting average in the AL, with batters hitting only .226 against him. But Galarraga has 5 wins and 8 losses this season. And remember last week, when Tommy Hunter was going up against Josh Beckett of the Red Sox? What happened in that game again? Oh right, Tommy did a FANTASTIC job and we won the game! So I’m not ready to declare a win for the Tigers just yet.

And, as I promised yesterday, here’s my Chris Davis count, along with a picture of Chris, just because I think he’s cute.

my husband
Days since CD has been in the majors: 22
 
Originally published July 26, 2009
 

oh $h!t

Well, everything started off fine. We were leading 3-0 after the top of the 4th. The Royals got 1 run in the bottom of the 4th, but we were still leading 3-1.

Derek Holland

Then came the bottom of the 5th, when Derek Holland gave up another 3 runs to the Royals. They yanked Derek Holland after 4.2 innings and brought in Jason Grilli to try to stop the bleeding, but to no avail. By the time the 5th inning was over, the Rangers were losing 4-3. Grilli came back to pitch in the 6th inning, and he did a good job of shutting down the Royals. Then Jason Jennings came in to pitch for us in the 7th inning, and he gave up 2 more runs to make it 6-3. Willie Eyre took over in the bottom of the 8th, in his first outing since his fight with the flu, and he did a good job too. But the damage was already done. So ends our winning streak.

Notables in this game:
1) Due to the nasty flu going around the clubhouse, Ron Washington had a kind of piecemeal line-up tonight. Absent were David Murphy, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Elvis Andrus tonight.

2) Michael Young came up with 3 hits tonight, the first of which was a solo home run in the top of the first inning. Good job Mikey!

Michael Young

3) Omar Vizquel made a gorgeous play at short-stop, which actually resulted in the Royals’ manager being ejected from the game. Omar went after a line drive between 2nd and 3rd, caught it barehanded, and launched it to Hank Blalock at 1st with barely a pause. The batter was really hustling on his way to first, and he almost beat the throw, but on the replay it was clear that Omar got the ball to Hank before the runner’s foot hit the bag. The Royals’ manager, of course, went out to argue the call with the 1st base umpire, as is customary for a close play. But things must have gotten pretty heated in the argument, because pretty soon, the ump ejected him from the game.

Omar Vizquel

In watching the Rangers’ post-game show on FSN Southwest, one of the viewers tweeted the following question: “What will Washington do with Holland after 2 subpar starts? Keep him in the rotation or move him back to the bullpen?”

Hmm, that’s a good question. And Steve Busby’s answer sounded pretty similar to what I opined yesterday about Derek Holland: There are 3 options. 1) Wash could keep Holland in the starting rotation in the majors, 2) move him to the bullpen in the majors, or 3) send him down to AAA to get some work as a starter. Buzz and I both agree that Derek Holland will be a great starting pitcher sometime in the near future. But we’re not really going to be able to depend on Holland to start for us every 5th day in the majors, so the 1st of those 3 options is pretty much ruled out. Maybe we can use him for spot-starts as we keep him in the bullpen, but the kid really needs to practice and get chances to succeed. Of course, Ron Washington could decide to keep him in the starting rotation and hope for the best. Who knows? It’s not a question with a cut-and-dried answer.

Tomorrow’s pitching lineup: Our ace Kevin Millwood, who has been doing an amazing job, against Sir Sidney Ponson, who hasn’t been doing too well of late. Ponson has 1 win and 6 losses so far this season. And yes, I did say “Sir” Sidney; he was knighted in his home country of Aruba in 2003. Interestingly enough, Ponson was a Ranger at the beginning of last season, and I met him on Photo Day last year. He was kinda weird. Just my impression. 🙂

Kevin Millwood
I’m totally confident that the Rangers can come back tomorrow to take the series. The Royals were getting desperate after 10 losses in a row, but after their single win tonight I think they’ll lose that fervor. And we can take them tomorrow; there’s no doubt in my mind.
Sir Sidney Ponson
Originally published July 25, 2009

Greinke who??

The Rangers flew to Kansas City this morning to face the Royals, even though they had the day off yesterday. Under normal conditions, the Rangers wouldn’t travel on a game day after having the previous day off, but the flu bug that has been plaguing the team of late forced them to reconsider. At last count, the following Rangers have succumbed to illness of late: Eddie Guardado, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (unconfirmed, but I swear I hear the announcers say his name during the game tonight), Omar Vizquel, David Murphy, Willie Eyre, Kevin Millwood, Frank Francisco, and Vicente Padilla. Although Francisco and Padilla may be unrelated to the others. Francisco has walking pneumonia (which may or may not have escalated to pneumonia after a bout with the flu) and Padilla has… drumroll please…

SWINE FLU!!!

Vicente Padilla

Yikes! Umm, let’s just hope that Padilla doesn’t spread that flu to the rest of the clubhouse!
Going into tonight’s game, the Royals were suffering from a 9-game losing streak. And the Rangers were coming off a 4-game winning streak. Unfortunately for the Royals, they now have a 10-game losing streak, and the Rangers now have a 5-game winning streak. But despite these stats, the Rangers were pretty spooked going into tonight’s game. And rightly so. Zack Greinke, the starter for the Royals tonight, has the best ERA in the American Leagues. Translation: he’s freakishly good. Great, even. Be afraid. Be very afraid. The only good news facing the Rangers regarding the Royals’ pitching: their bullpen stinks. I’m talking day-old-fish-left-out-in-the-sun stinky. They’re awful. So all they had to do was weather Greinke’s start and make it to the bullpen.

Zack Greinke
The Rangers were feeling pretty confident about their starter tonight, Scott Feldman. He’s a young pitcher (neither a newbie nor a veteran) who has done a very respectable job of late. So they pretty much had to cross their fingers and hope for the best.
 
Scott Feldman
But Feldman blew them all away.

Don’t get me wrong, Zack Greinke did a superb job, but he let his fabulous-ness slip on a single pitch, giving up a solo home run to Marlon Byrd. Then, after Greinke was pulled, the bullpen gave up another run to the Rangers, for a final score of 2-0. And Feldman lasted 8 innings in his outing tonight, which is very rare for starting pitchers in today’s times. It was something that Feldman had yet to do this year; he hadn’t even lasted through 7 innings until now. And, to top it all off, Scott got the chance to make an impressive definsive play as well, which made him immensely happy. Usually pitchers are pretty stone-faced on the mound, but Scott couldn’t help busting out into a huge grin after the play.

Tomorrow’s pitching match-up: our 22-year-old Derek Holland (with 3 wins and 5 losses) against Luke Hochevar (with 5 wins and 3 losses). The Rangers really want to get another starter and move Derek to the bullpen, because the poor guy just isn’t ready to be a starter. He usually lasts around 4 innings, and team president Nolan Ryan is really pushing his starters to try for 6 or 7 innings. Derek just needs to work up to it. He absolutely has the potential, and I think that if he has the chance to go into the bullpen for the rest of the season, or even down to AAA to work on his endurance, he’ll be a fabulous starting arm next year or the year after next. So I have total faith in your future, Derek, and on a side note, you were really funny when I met you earlier this year on Photo Day! You’ll be great! Best of luck tomorrow!
Derek Holland
 
Originally published July 24, 2009

We swept the BoSox!

So, last night we went to the game and

it was amazing!!!

I’m really glad I Tivo’d it, because I can’t wait to watch it again and listen to the commentary by the announcers, Tom Grieve and Josh Lewin. Oh, and speaking of Josh and Tom…

I got their autographs!!!

Tom Grieve was a player for the Texas Rangers. He moved down with the original Washington Senators when the Texas Rangers were first formed, and then after his playing days were over, he became the General Manager for the Rangers for a few years. And now, he’s one of the announcers. I took some brand new baseballs to the game with me (just in case), and I got Tom to sign one of the baseballs. I just walked up to the press box and hollered out “Tom!” and he turned around. I asked him if he would sign a baseball for me, and he just held out his hands so that I could toss it to him.

Tom Grieve

After I tossed Tom the ball, Josh leaned over to say hi. I asked Josh if I could get his autograph too, on a pad of paper (since he wasn’t a baseball player), and he agreed. He signed the autograph “Go Rangers! Josh Lewin.” Tom’s signature was very “pretty,” not messy like so many autographs you see nowadays. So that was cool.

Josh Lewin

I almost got Tommy Hunter’s autograph too (our newbie pitcher that went up against the veteran Boston pitcher in the 2nd game of the series), but he quit signing right before I walked up. The MLB has some rule about players not being able to sign autographs 45 minutes before game time or something. Stupid rules. [grumble grumble grumble]

Tommy Hunter

For the record, Vicente Padilla DID NOT pitch last night. He had some kind of flu bug or something. Apparently, it’s going around the clubhouse, and the players are kinda spooked. Ron Washington warned all the players to be careful and to try not to touch each other as much as possible. They made a big show of not touching each other, even during the congratulatory high-fives after they won the game. It was pretty funny watching them to pretend to slap high- and low-fives! They also were careful to cover their mouths with their gloves, to keep from spreading any germs.

Vicente Padilla

So anyway, Dustin Nippert stepped in instead of Padilla, and he was superb! YAY NIPPERT! And they let Taylor Teagarden start as catcher, so that was good.

Dustin Nippert

Ian Kinsler made 2 AMAZING plays at 2nd, and he also got a solo home run during the game. The first play was in the top of the 2nd inning, when a line drive was hit about 4-5 feet over his head. And he just popped up like it was nothing and caught it!! I don’t know how he jumped that high! He’s a short little dude!

Ian Kinsler

Kinsler’s second awesome defensive play came in the top of the 9th inning, when another line drive came screaming right at him, and this time he dove and caught it about 2 inches above the grass for an out! Fabulous!

One long ball that the Sox hit to right center field in the 6th inning provided some entertainment too. Both Josh Hamilton (playing center field) and Nelson Cruz (playing right field) were running for it, and right as they were closing in on it at the warning track, they collided in a big bear hug! They both stayed upright, and after regaining his composure, Nelly held up his glove to show that he still had the ball. In the replay, you can see that Nelly caught the ball about 2 steps before he ran into Josh, then Josh seems to whisper something in Nelly’s ear right as Nelly raises his glove. Love those guys! When Jim Knox interviewed Nelson Cruzon the field immediately after the game, Knoxy asked Cruz what he was thinking as Josh Hamilton was running toward him. Nelson said with a grin, “He’s a big guy. I don’t wanna get hurt.” Apparently they were both calling for the ball, but they couldn’t hear each other because of the crowd. Now let’s hope that their hugging doesn’t put them both out with the flu, because we really need those guys!

Josh & Nelly hug 🙂

For a more complete game summary, check out the Rangers official website:

http://texas.rangers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090722&content_id=5999124&vkey=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=tex

The Rangers have an off day tonight, then they’re going to Kansas City for 3 games over the weekend.

Originally published July 23, 2009