Tagged: Kevin Millwood

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.

World Series Game 1, Random Rangers Thoughts

Last night was Game 1 of the World Series, and the Phillies won!! And they didn’t just barely skate in for the win; they completely dominated. Cliff Lee was the starting pitcher for the Phillies last night, and he pitched a complete game. CC Sabathia started for the Yankees, and he did a pretty good job, but he was nothing compared to Cliff Lee. The Phillies were leading 6-0 going into the bottom of the 9th, but the Yankees were able to score a single run, keeping them from getting shut out. The final score 6-1. It was awesome!

The Rangers met with CJ Wilson at the end of the 2009 season and talked to him about possibly going back to a starting role. Which is very interesting. I think CJ could be a good starter, but we have a lot of options for the starting rotation in 2010. As things stand, we’ve got Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman for sure, and the remaining 3 slots could be filled by: one of our other starters from 2009 (Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Brandon McCarthy, or Dustin Nippert), Guillermo Moscoso or Luis Mendoza (who were starters in AAA), or by Neftali Feliz (being groomed to be a starter). Ron Washington also apparently wants to acquire a veteran starter, and Ben Sheets’ name is being tossed around yet again.

Rusty Greer confirmed that he recently interviewed with the Texas Rangers to take over Rudy Jaramillo’s former job as batting coach. Although Rusty doesn’t have any MLB coaching experience, he was a beloved player for the Rangers who spent his entire career here and who was adored by the fans. He has been coaching baseball at the collegiate level for Texas Weslyan. Evan Grant wrote a rousing article campaigning for Greer to share the job with current Oklahoma City batting coach Scott Coolbaugh, but Joey Matschulat with the website Baseball Time in Arlington (bbtia.com) reports that Scott Coolbaugh isn’t even interviewing for the job. Interesting.

18-year-old Japanese pitching phenom Yusei Kikuchi decided last week that he was going into the Japanese Draft and that he would not take part in American MLB. The Rangers had sent Derek Holland over to Japan in hopes of luring Kikuchi to the Rangers, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

Originally published October 29, 2009 

Questions

I have billions of questions buzzing around in my baseball-obsessed mind, all of which will be resolved at some point during the off-season, but I feel the need to get them out. Then I can cross them off when they’ve been resolved and explain the answers. So here we go!
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Ownership: Who will be the new owner of the Rangers? Will Nolan Ryan still be the team president? Will Nolan Ryan be a minority owner? Will Tom Hick stay on as a minority owner? Will new ownership affect (i.e. increase) our budget for the 2010 season?

Here’s what we know: There are 3 main groups, which are fronted by Chuck Greenberg, Dennis Gilbert, and Jim Crane. Greenberg’s group has included Nolan Ryan as a minority owner, so if he wins out, obviously Nolan will have a stake in the ownership and will stay on as president. But then again, it’s possible that if one of the other groups wins out, they’ll let him in as a partial owner. It is possible that the new ownership could fire Nolan as president, but I think that’s unlikely at this point. The fans love Nolan, and it wouldn’t make a good impression on the fans if their first move was to fire him. Tom Hicks has expressed interest in retaining a portion of his ownership as well, so we’ll have to wait and see how that pans out. At this point, the budget for 2010 will be approximately the same as it was for 2009, so the new owners will have to meet that budget or increase it. It would be nice if we could have a little more leeway to get some big names to Texas for our playoff push next year.
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Marlon Byrd: Will the Rangers re-sign him for 2010 and beyond?

Here’s what we know: Marlon says that he wants to stay with the Rangers. The Rangers want him to stay. He made a little over $3 mil in 2009, so he’ll want at least that much per year in his next contract. How much more is anybody’s guess. This is probably his only chance to negotiate a multi-year contract, and he’s probably wanting at least 3 years. But Marlon is already 32, so I’m sure the Rangers are anxious that health issues may mar his future playing time. And the Rangers don’t have a whole lot of money to throw around, so I’m sure that will affect how much progress is made towards contract negotion. But Marlon is a strong influence in the clubhouse, and Michael Young (team leader) is strongly campaigning for the Rangers to keep him. I think the Rangers will offer him something in the neighborhood of 4, 5, or 6 million dollars for the next 3 years, plus lots of incentives (i.e. bonuses if he plays at least x number of games, if he hits at least y home runs, or if he steals at least z bases, etc.). But if he wants something like $10 mil a year for 5 years, I think the Rangers will let him walk.
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Ivan Rodriguez: Will Pudge be back?

Here’s what we know: The fans adore Pudge, and he said that he wants to finish out his career here. And even though he’s pushing 40, he’s still pretty darn good. He’s played on 2 World Series teams, and he has a lost of post-season experience (which the Rangers are seriously lacking). He has 13 Gold Gloves. But because of his age, the Rangers might be hesitant to offer him a multi-year contract, or to pay him a particularly hefty sum for 2010. Jarrod Saltalamacchia recently had surgery for Thorasic Outlet Syndrome, and while his prognosis looks good, there’s no telling how he’ll progress. Taylor Teagarden was unimpressive in 2009. Max Ramirez spent a lot of time on the DL in AAA. And the Rangers just outrighted Kevin Richardson to the minors. So it might be good to have him around. We acquired him as “strictly a back-up catcher” in August of 2009, but he ended up being our everyday catcher to close out the season. He made 1.5 mil in 2009. Will he accept $1 mil and a one-year contract? $5 million and a 2-year contract? We’ll see.
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Omar Vizquel: Will he be back for 2010?

Here’s what we know: Omar has said that he wants to play next year, even though he’s the oldest active position player at 42 years old. He was a great mentor for Elvis Andrus in his rookie year (2009), but does Elvis still need him in 2010? He has 11 Gold Gloves, and his defensive work is truly beautiful. I swear, he looks like a ballet dancer out there sometimes! He played 63 games for the Rangers this year: 16 games at 2B, 27 games at SS, and 20 games at 3B, and he made NO errors. None, zippo, nada. That’s pretty amazing. He’s said he would be interested in returning, but he wants to shop around first.
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Starting rotation: Which 5 pitchers will we go with in our starting rotation for 2010?

Here’s what we know: Ron Washington has already said that Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman have guaranteed slots next year. But the other 3 are up for grabs. The possible candidates are: Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Brandon McCarthy, Dustin Nippert, Matt Harrison, Eric Hurley, and Guillermo Moscoso. I discussed the pros and cons about all these pitchers in a previous blog. But Wash has also said he would like to obtain another veteran starter this winter. So if he does that, then there will only be two spots up for grabs, making the competition even tougher. But can we get anybody good for relatively little money? And of course, as we all know, our starting rotation can change a lot during the year due to injuries, etc. I mean, look at our poor rotation in 2009! On Opening Day, it was Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Kris Benson, Matt Harrison, and Brandon McCarthy. Matt Harrison and Brandon McCarthy both went on the 60-day DL, Kris Benson was a disaster, and we released Padilla because of all his foolishness. So you never know what can change throughout the season!
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Acquisitions: Right-handed bat to play 1B and DH, left-handed relief pitcher

Here’s what we know: In addition to a veteran starter, Wash also said he’d like to pick up a right-handed bat who can play 1B or DH, as well as another lefty reliever. I’ve heard Jermaine Dye’s name brought up to fill that first role, and while he is right-handed, he has played mainly in the outfield. In 2005, he played 1B once and SS once for the Chicago White Sox. That’s it. But if we keep Marlon Byrd, we may not need another right-handed bat. CJ and Eddie are our only lefty relievers at this point, and Eddie’s probably not coming back (I’ll address that later), so it would be nice to have another one.
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Batting coach: Who will replace Rudy Jaramillo?

Here’s what we know: Jon Daniels and Ron Washington are supposedly “constructing a list” of candidates to replace Rudy, and they plan on interviewing about 4 or 5 guys for the position. Some names that have been thrown around are Scott Coolbaugh (Rangers AAA batting coach), Rusty Greer (former Ranger), Will Clark (former Ranger), Julio Franco (managing in Mets farm league), Gary Pettis (currently our 1st base coach), Carney Lansford (fired by San Francisco last week), Clint Hurdle (former Colorado manager), Tim Wallach (Dodgers hitting coach in 2004), Thad Bosley (hitting coach in Oakland with Wash), Gerald Perry (hitting coach for Cubs, fired in June), Greg Colbrunn (minor league hitting coach for Yank
ees), Dave Hudgens (former A’s hitting coach), Mike Boulanger (Minor League hitting coach), and Toby Harrah (former Ranger, current hitting coach for Tigers). I’m sure there are a bunch of other names too that I haven’t heard yet. So obviously, there are a lot of choices. It’s just about finding a good fit.

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Eddie Guardado: Is he really retiring?

Here’s what we know: He’s definitely thinking about it. But that’s about all we know. He didn’t pitch too well towards the end of the season, so as terrible as it sounds, I’m kind of hoping he retires. He’s a free agent, and I just don’t think it’s useful to pay him a significant amount of money for just one more year when he’s at the end of his career and losing his stamina.

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Outfield: What will our outfield look like next year?

Here’s what we know: Marlon Byrd (righty) is a question mark. We have Josh Hamilton (lefty), Julio Borbon (lefty), David Murphy (lefty), and Nelson Cruz (righty). We also have Chris Davis (another lefty in the lineup) as our starting 1st baseman, and Salty is a switch hitter. So we could possibly have 5 left-handed bats in a 9-man line-up. That’s not so good. Borbon is rumored to be “the center fielder of the future,” but he has a weak arm. He’s supposed to be working on that this winter, but who knows? Josh Hamilton had a spectacular 2008, but he had trouble staying healthy this year. I don’t want to lose anybody, but I have this sneaking suspicion that we’re going to trade David Murphy. That hurts me, because he’s a good Texas boy, but I just can’t shake that feeling. And I have a feeling that Nelson Cruz could be great. I’m mean he could be Josh-Hamilton-in-2008-great. But what about Craig Gentry? He was the surprise September call-up from AA. It makes the most sense that he would at least begin next year in AAA, but it’s certainly an intriguing idea. He’s a righty, with an incredibly strong and accurate arm, and he’s supposedly speedy on the bases, but he needs to learn how to bat against big league pitching.

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.

Random Rangers Thoughts: 2010 Starting Rotation

Ron Washington has already said that Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman are guaranteed a spot in next year’s starting rotation, and that Tommy Hunter, Brandon McCarthy, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Dustin Nippert, Guillermo Moscoso, and Neftali Feliz will have to battle for the remaining 3 slots.

Kevin Millwood

Like I said previously, I think a 6-man rotation would benefit Kevin Millwood. He needs more rest between outings. If Ron were to allow that, I’d vote for Hunter, McCarthy, Harrison, and Holland. But there’s not much of a chance of that happening. And I don’t know too much about Harrison, but I think the remaining 3 starting spots should go to one of those 4 guys.
Dustin Nippert
Dustin Nippert did a great job as a starter, but he’s also been good in long relief, and we need somebody that we can count on to give us a good 3-4 innings of relief if needed. He’s also been great in spot-start appearances. Maybe he could be used to spell Millwood in a few starts next season.
Neftali Feliz
I feel like Neftali Feliz has a little more work to do before he gets into the rotation. He needs to work on his consistency before they think about using him as a starter. When he initially was called up at the first of August, he was absolutely phenomenal… for about a month. Then he cracked wide open.

Before September 8, he had an ERA under 1. (!) But since September 8, he’s averaged giving up a walk and a hit per inning. That’s not good. You need to be able to depend on your relievers to shut down games. There was no way that he could have continued at the breakneck pace he was going in his first month in the Bigs. So, as much as I enjoyed watching those performances, I don’t expect to see that absolutely dominant Neftali every time he takes the mound. I mean, for heaven’s sake, he struck out 28 batters in his first 22 innings pitched! Who could keep that up?? But he at least needs to be dependable. If he practices a bunch in the off-season, I would love to see him as a 6th/7th inning guy.

Derek Holland
I think that Derek Holland should have spent this season working through his issues in AAA instead of at the big league level. But nobody asked me. And with Matt Harrison, Brandon McCarthy, Eric Hurley, and Joaquin Benoit all going on the 60-day DL this season, we needed pitching at the big league level. I definitely think that he learned a lot this year, and he will undoubtedly be better next year, but I just wish he could have gained that experience at the AAA level instead of coming up before he was ready. Anyway, I think Derek Holland could be a great addition to our rotation next year (after being in our starting rotation for most of this year), but I would like to see him start off the season at AAA.
Tommy Hunter
As I’ve said several times this year, Tommy Hunter is a hoss. Tommy was very stable and dependable in his stint this year as a starter. He had a few outings last year that didn’t go too well for him, but I think they definitely taught him a lot; especially after his strong showing this year! He has been nicknamed Tommy “Big Game” Hunter, as well as “Big Thunder.” Okay, the boy is big. He’s 6’3′” and listed at 255 lbs. That’s not that big, though. They should leave him alone! Brandon McCarthy and Dustin Nippert are 6’7″ and 6’8″ respectively, but they’re skinny. Especially McCarthy; it looks like a stiff breeze would blow him over.
Brandon McCarthy
One thing Brandon McCarthy will have to work on is staying healthy. During last year’s off-season, he apparently put on 25 lbs to stay stronger and more durable. But it didn’t seem to work, because he spent 3 months on the DL during this year’s season with a stress fracture in his right scapula. If he can stay healthy, he can really do some great things for the Rangers next year, whether that’s in a starting role or as a reliever.
Matt Harrison
I haven’t seen much of Matt Harrison this year. He had some starts for the Rangers in April, May, and June, but I didn’t truly become obsessed with the Rangers until July. He had 4 wins, 5 losses, and 2 no-decisions for a total of 11 games pitched in those 2 1/2 months of work, with a 6.11 ERA. Not too impressive. But in 2008, he had 9 wins and only 3 losses in 15 games pitched. I’m really excited to see what he can do next year for the Rangers.
Guillermo Moscoso
Guillermo Moscoso spent a lot of his time this season shuttling back and forth between Arlington and Oklahoma City. The time he spent in Arlington, however, was in relief instead of as a starter. He got into 10 big league games this year (14 innings), with an impressive 3.21 ERA. I thought that he did a good job in his work for the Rangers, and I think he deserves a chance to prove himself as a starter.

Win in Anaheim!

Yesssss!!!!!!!! We avoided the sweep in Anaheim! And we put a much-needed end to our 4-game losing streak! I was really worried that the Rangers weren’t going to be able to pull it together and would just lose out. But they didn’t!

I was worried that Ron Washington had completely given up on winning in Anaheim when most of his regular starting lineup was out yesterday, but apparently it was just the jolt that the guys needed. The Rangers were able to get their first win in 5 games without Michael Young, Pudge, Hank Blalock, Marlon Byrd, and Nelly Cruz.

Kevin Millwood
Kevin Millwood was on the mound for the Rangers yesterday, and he was able to pitch the complete game! He wasn’t looking so great early on, but he seemed to find his groove in the later innings and was able to strike out 10, with 8 of those strike-outs coming in the 5th inning and beyond.
Andruw Jones
First of all, the guys were much better about getting on base last night. They had 15 hits yesterday, compared with only one hit in the shut-out the night before. The only guy NOT to get a hit last night was Andruw Jones (surprise, surprise). But even Andruw got some RBI action last night with a sacrifice fly.

Chris Davis

It started in the top of the 2nd inning, when Chris Davis hit a homer with Ian Kinsler on base to give the Rangers an early 2-0 lead. The Angels’ starter, John Lackey, apparently didn’t know about CD’s sore hammy, and he wasn’t shy about encouraging Davis to maybe step up his pace while running around the bases. Classic John Lackey! That guy is such a tool! {rolls eyes and shakes head while smiling indulgently}

But the Rangers didn’t hold onto the lead for long. Millie let 3 runs cross the plate in the bottom of the 3rd inning, but then he got out of it and shut down the Angels for the rest of the game.

The Rangers came back in the top of the 5th inning to tie it up 3-3 on a pair of doubles by Julio Borbon and Ian Kinsler, but they were just getting warmed up.

Taylor Teagarden
In the top of the 6th inning, the Rangers scored 6 runs and batted around. Nice! Omar Vizquel led off the inning with a strike-out for the first out of the inning. Taylor Teagarden started the onslought of runs with a double, which was good for him, because his batting average could use a little boost! Then Craig Gentry got a single to put runners at the corners.

Craig Gentry
Julio Borbon followed that up with a single, plating Taylor Teagarden, and Craig Gentry turned on the burners and made it to 3rd base. Runners at the corners again, Rangers leading 4-3, still only one out.
Elvis Andrus
Then Elvis Andrus came up to bat, and he hit a doubled on a fly ball to left field. Craig Gentry scored, and Julio Borbon got to 3rd base. Runners at 2nd and 3rd, Rangers leading 5-3, still one out.

David Murphy
Next the Angels decided to intentionally walk David Murphy to load the bases, which brought up Andruw Jones. In the past, Andruw Jones was a serious threat. He’s hit 388 career home runs. But now, after 14 years in the big leagues, he’s hitting only .207. It was a good idea for the Angels to walk Murph, who has a hot bat, in favor of Andruw Jones, whose bat has cooled.
Julio Borbon
And that was when Andruw got his sac fly, allowing all the runners to tag and advance. Julio Borbon scored, Elvis Andrus to moved to 3rd, and David Murphy advanced to 2nd base. 6-3 Rangers, 2 guys in scoring position, 2 outs.

Ian Kinsler
Then the Rangers went from being “good” to being “lucky.” Ian Kinsler was the next batter, and he hit the ball to shortstop Brandon Wood. But instead of fielding it cleanly for an out, Wood bobbled it for an error, allowing Kins to reach 1st base. Elvis scored, and Murph moved to 3rd base. 7-3 Rangers, two outs.

Chris Davis singled next, which plated David Murphy and moved Ian to 2nd. 8-3 Rangers, still two outs.

Omar Vizquel
Then Omar Vizquel got his 2nd chance of the inning, and he got a hit this time. He singled on a line drive to left field, scoring Kinsler and moving Davis to 2nd. 9-3 Rangers, still 2 outs. Finally, Taylor Teagarden, who started the rally earlier in the inning, ended the rally by striking out to give the Angels a breather.

The Rangers added a couple more runs in the top of the 9th inning, including walking in a run, but the game was pretty much over after the 6th inning.

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy.jpgTonight’s pitching matchup:
Brandon McCarthy (7-4) against the Seattle Mariners’ Ian Snell (7-10). B-Mac really should have gotten a win in that last one, so I hope he gets one tonight. But Ian Snell has been doing really well of late, so we’ll have to fight for this one. Hopefully the Rangers can carry their momentum from last night’s win onto the field tonight.

Random Rangers Thoughts #1: Kevin Millwood

Kevin Millwood is supposed to be the ace of our pitching staff. And he did well through the first half of the season. But then, at the All-Star Break, he took a nosedive. He lost 4 of his 5 starts in July, 4 of his 5 starts in August, and his first 2 starts of September.

So Wash let him skip a start and he worked on his delivery with pitching coach Mike Maddux. And in that next start, on September 21st, he was stellar. But in the one after that, he was saved only by an 11-run inning by the Rangers’ offense. When he left the mound after the top of the 5th inning, we were losing 3-1, and Millie didn’t look like he would be coming out for the 6th. But after the bottom of the 5th, when we were leading 12-3, I guess Ron didn’t see any harm in getting him back out there. Why not? We were leading by 9 runs. So he got the win.

I’m afraid that Millwood won’t be able to match that great September 21st performance with any kind of regularity next season. If we had a 6- or more man rotation, Millwood might make it through next year, but we won’t. We’ll have the standard 5-man rotation, and that will kill him. My prediction is that Millwood starts out strong next season, but starts to go downhill before the All-Star Break. Ron will have to rest him more between outings to get the same kind of production.

My fear is that Ron will keep running him out there with the mentality that “Kevin is our ace,” and we’ll end up losing a bunch of games. Please, Ron, for the love of all that is good and holy, give Millie some extra rest next season!!!