Tagged: LA Angels

The Michael Young Debacle

As soon as the Rangers got Adrian Beltre a few weeks ago, rumors started flying about a Michael Young trade. I tried to ignore it.

MY said he’d be okay with becoming the Rangers’ full-time DH/super-utility infielder/1B split with Mitch Moreland.

And yet the Rangers continued to pursue Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Vladimir Guerrero, all DH’s. Whispers continued to swirl about trading Michael. Still I tried to ignore it.

Then the Rangers traded for Mike Napoli, who played mostly 1st base for the Angels last year. And the whispers got ever louder.

So I decided to write one blog about 2 weeks ago discussing the potential impact of the Napoli trade, and I thought that would be all I would write about the subject. I hate to beat a dead horse.

But last week, several media outlets began saying the same thing: The Rangers are talking to other clubs about trading Young. And what did I do? You guessed it: I tried to ignore it.

Yesterday, Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels confirmed via conference call that Michael has asked to be traded. Last night, Young spoke out as well. I can’t ignore it any more.

As much as I want Michael Young to spend his entire career in a Rangers’ uniform, I understand where he’s coming from. I touched on the reasons why we should and why we shouldn’t trade Young in my last blog.

But it appears to be getting ugly now. Michael feels that the Rangers weren’t straightforward with him, and he’s mad.

From his standpoint, the Rangers told him that they didn’t want to trade him, yet their actions told a different story.

Over the past 10 years, Young has moved from 2nd base to shortstop to 3rd base, and now he’s just expected to quietly accept the role of DH. That’s a lot of moving around for the sake of the team.

From the Rangers’ standpoint, they saw an opportunity to upgrade at 3rd base, and they took it. They feel like Young was okay with everything, then changed his mind and asked for the trade.

Nobody knows the whole truth from both sides of the coin, but this is what I think happened:

The Rangers put all of their eggs in Cliff Lee’s basket, then they freaked when he decided to go to the Phillies.

They started scrambling around to find another big-name free agent to show everybody that the Rangers, the defending AL champions, didn’t just sit on their laurels during the offseason.

So they went after a great player… a great 3rd baseman, even though the Rangers already had Michael Young at 3rd base for the next 3 years.

I can understand what the Rangers were trying to do. Adrian Beltre is undoubtedly the superior defensive player at 3rd base. But was it worth it to disrupt the harmony of the team to add a better player?

True, Michael Young’s baseball skills have started to drop off in the last few years. He’s 34 and he’s been in the Bigs for 10 years. It happens.

But he isn’t well suited to the DH position. He has a career batting average of .300, but he’s not a power hitter. His defensive ability has dropped from “really good” to “average,” but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t play in the field anymore.

I mean, come on, it’s not like he’s Vladimir Guerrero or something.

Most importantly, Michael’s value to the team isn’t limited to what he does on the field. His biggest impact is in the clubhouse.

Everybody on the team looks to Michael as the team leader. They take their cues from him. When something happens, they tend to gauge their own reactions by Michael’s reaction, and he brings them all together.

When the pictures from Josh Hamilton’s drunken evening surfaced in 2009, Michael was there for Josh. When word leaked about Ron Washington’s failed drug test last year, Michael was the first to speak up and offer support.

There are some people that think the clubhouse atmosphere is the most important part of a ball club. That a group of guys with a mediocre talent level can excel simply by how well they work together as a team.

Others don’t give team chemistry any credit, insisting that each individual player’s performance is what matters, not whether or not they have fun together or hang out before/after games.

I fall somewhere in the middle, but I’m closer to the “team chemistry” camp than the “individual performance” camp. I think it matters how well everyone gets along, because baseball is all about unity.

For example, in football, it’s completely normal to see a running back do a celebratory end zone dance after scoring a touchdown. It’s actually expected. They strut around and angrily chest-bump each other as a display of their superiority.

But in baseball, you don’t often see a player running around showing off how amazing he is. His teammates congratulate him, but when he’s interviewed after the game, he will almost always say something like “I couldn’t have done it without my team.”

We have seen Michael “take one for the team” over and over again in the past 10 years, and he’s finally had enough.

Both sides are frustrated, and I don’t think this is something that can be fixed easily.

The best situation for Young at this point is a trade. If the Rangers can trade Michael to another team where he can be an everyday player both offensively and defensively, the Rangers have a much better chance of mending fences with him.

Then the Rangers need to apologize to Michael (publically would bwe nice, but privately would work too). They need to tell him that they’re sorry if they misled him in any way or didn’t give him the whole truth, and that they wish him nothing but the best in all of his future endeavors.

They should stress that they’ve loved having him the last 10 years and that he has been an invaluable asset to the Texas Rangers. They should emphasize how truly sorry they are that a deal couldn’t be worked out to keep Michael with the Rangers. And they should be sincere!

But I don’t think the Rangers will be able to trade Young without assuming responsibility to a big chunk of his salary. He is owed $48 million over the next 3 years, and it’s not likely that new team will want to pay that.

If they can trade Young, it will be catastrophic for the Rangers’ clubhouse. Not to mention the fact that we won’t have a DH.

They have to at least try to trade him, because Michael isn’t be happy with the role he’s been handed, and that will only cause more problems down the road.

After May of this year, Young will be a 10 and 5 player (at least 10 years in the Bigs, at least 5 years with the same team), so the Rangers won’t be able to trade him. If they’re going to do it, they need to do it now.

I don’t foresee a miracle where Michael is suddenly okay with his new role, or where the Rangers suddenly find a full-time infield position for him here. So I guess they’ll have to trade him. But it’s not gonna be pretty.

Pitchers and catchers report in: 8 days
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Just Say No

A few days ago, I started hearing rumblings about the Rangers and Manny Ramirez. Uh oh…

Last year, the same rumors began to circulate after Manny was put on waivers in late August. I prayed fervently that Manny would stay away. And he went to the Chicago White Sox, so the Rangers escaped unscathed.

I can only wait and hope the same thing happens again this year.

With the signing of Adrian Beltre, something like this was bound to happen. With Michael Young moving to DH/1B, Vladdy was practically guaranteed not to re-sign with the Rangers. Vladdy wants to play every day, and that’s not gonna happen on the Rangers in the near future.

So the Rangers are looking for a big right-handed bat to come off the bench late in games. (They want him to be right-handed because Mitch Moreland is a lefty, and Moreland would be riding the bench if Michael Young was in the game at 1B.)

Jim Thome was a possibility, but he’s a lefty. And he also decided to re-sign with the Twins for 2011, so he’s no longer an option.

There aren’t too many veteran righties left on the market at this point. It’s pretty much down to Vladdy and Manny. And we already know that Vladdy wants a more active role.

{Sigh}

I’m not saying that I won’t root for the Rangers if Manny is playing here, or even that I won’t root for him when he’s up to bat, but I’d rather have someone else.

I used to like Manny. I remember when the Red Sox has their heyday in the early 2000’s (culminating with their World Series win in 2004), and I loved to watch Manny alongside Johnny Damon and Big Papi.

But soon after, I started hearing lots of negative things about Manny. He publicly discussed his displeasure with the BoSox and requested a trade. It was suggested that he was not a team player.

Then during a game in 2008, Manny was shown slapping teammate Kevin Youkilis during a spat in the dugout. He had another altercation with the Red Sox’s traveling secretary, with Ramirez allegedly pushing him to the ground.

He also stopped hustling on the field, and Red Sox fans assumed it was because of his desire to be traded. But it may have had something to do with sore knees. Who knows?

Manny spent most of the next 3 years with the Dodgers, which just caused me to like him even less. I hate the Dodgers. They’re my least favorite NL team, and their my 2nd most hated team in all of baseball (behind the Yankees, of course).

During the 2009 season, Manny was suspended for 50 games because he voilated a drug test. He tested positive for HCG, which is a female pregnancy hormone thought to help reset an athlete’s body after a steroid cycle.

Later in the 2009 season, it was released that Manny had also failed a drug test in 2003.

The Dodgers put him on waivers in late August, and on August 30 of 2010, Manny was claimed by the Chicago White Sox. His performance for them was decidedly lackluster during his 24 games. Now he’s a free agent, and the threat of Manny looms on the horizon.

TR Sullivan reported today that the Rangers, Angels, and Rays are all in the mix for Manny. MLBtraderumors.com agrees, they report that the Rays are also discussing a deal with Johnny Damon. So if the Rays get Damon, does that mean they’ll quit pursuing Manny? {Gulp}

Manny is reportedly very focused on baseball, and he’s had some amazing stats. But if he’s been taking steroids for at least the last 7 years, his accomplishments are greatly diminished.

With all of the stunts he’s pulled in the last decade, I’d just rather not have him in Texas. Period.

In other news, John Rhadigan has been named to replace Josh Lewin as the play-by-play announcer on television. I think I like this, but I won’t be able to give a definitive diagnosis until after I hear him call a few games.

You know who I would love to see calling games on tv? Steve Busby. I love when they bring him in to talk pitching. But he probably would need to be the color guy as opposed to the play-by-play guy.

I love Tom Grieve; he’s a very nice guy and he’s Mr. Ranger. But I would prefer Busby over Greive any day. Can’t you just imagine Buzz and Rhads together?

Well of course you can, because you’ve seen them do pre- and post-game shows together. It would be awesome, I’m telling you.

Maybe some day.

This weekend is the first 2-day Rangers’ Fan Fest, and I’m excited/nervous. It’s at the Arlington Convention Center this year, which is definitely different from having it at the Ballpark. But last year it didn’t get above freezing all day at Fan Fest, and spending most of the day outside was not easy.

So at least we won’t be cold this year. But I’m dreading all the running back and forth. I’ve seen the layout, and it looks like I’m going to be running around or standing in line all day tomorrow. All by myself, because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me. Great.

A crushed pelvis + arthritis + a long time on my feet = lots of pain for Katie. And since it’s a 2-day thing, if I get up on Sunday morning incredibly sore and beat up, I’m screwed. But it’s a new experience, so we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll bring my cane.

I just need to remember that if I don’t get somebody’s autograph, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll get it later. I shouldn’t push myself too hard, but just try to have fun! Woo hoo!!!

Oh, I just remembered that I hadn’t told you about the autographs I got last weekend. The Rangers Winter Caravan made a stop at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco (I LOVE that place!), and there were a lot of guys signing autographs.

For myself: David Murphy, Dave Anderson, Steve Buechele, and Mitch Moreland
For my step-dad Larry: Derek Holland (smeared everywhere unfortunately) and Chuck Greenberg
For my dad: Steve Buechele, Tommy Hunter, and Mitch Moreland

My step-sister Faith went with me, and we had a BLAST! So hopefully this weekend will be more of the same!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 26 days

Finally!!

It’s been a week since I last blogged, and there was a HUGE development that I neglected to address. Late Wednesday night (actually early Thursday morning) the Rangers were sold to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan.

HALLELUJAH!!!

This has been a very long time coming, and I’m elated that Rangers Baseball Express (a.k.a. the Greenberg/Ryan group) decided to stick it out. They had to pay more than their primary bid ($575 million back in January), but it’s finally over.

$70 million of that initial $575 mil bid was alloted for the parking lots around the stadium. So, in essence, RBE was going to spend $505 mil for the team (and acquired debts) and $70 mil for the parking lots.

But in order to free up more money for the actual team, RBE scratched the deal for the parking lots. The final amount decided Thursday was $593 million, not including the parking lots. This bid includes $385 million in cash and the assumption of $208 million in debt owed by the club.

As far as I can tell, there are 3 options as far as the parking lots go: 1) RBE acquires the lots in a separate transaction, 2) Hicks Sports Group (a.k.a. Tom Hicks) refuses to sell them (which would create tension), or 3) RBE and HSG split up the profits somehow.

I’m just glad it’s over. This has been 15 months in the making. Now the Rangers can just focus on winning!

Okay, back to the Rangers’ actual baseball performance. They just finished a 9-game road trip against all 3 of our AL West opponents, and they didn’t fare too well. But they’re still leading the West by 7 1/2 games!

They played the first series of the road trip in Anaheim, winning just 1 out of 3. No bueno. Then they headed to Seattle and won 2 out of 3. Of course, cause the Mariners suck! Next they went on to Oakland and they only won 1 out of 3. Come on, guys!

That means they went 4-5 on the road trip, which isn’t great. They were off last night, but tonight starts a 2-game series in Arlington against the Yankees.

Out of all the teams that are coming to Texas this year, the Yankees are the only ones I’m not seeing. And that’s not because I couldn’t get tickets; it’s because I didn’t want tickets!

It’s so sickening to go to RBiA when the Rangers are playing the Yanks, because at least half of the crowd is dressed in Yankees garb. Disgusting.

Anyway, the Yankees are coming, and they’re going to be a tough team for the Rangers to beat. The last time we played them was in April, and that series was in New York.

And the Rangers got swept. Lovely.

At least this time they’ll be in our house instead of the other way around. Then, after another off-day, the Red Sox are coming to Arlington. Now that’s a game that I am going to!

The BoSox are my 2nd favorite team, but I won’t be cheering for them at the game I go to on Saturday. I want my Rangers to win. But I love Big Papi and Terry Francona and Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

C.J. Wilson will be starting tonight (10-5, 3.30 ERA) against A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.93 ERA). The numbers seem to speak for themselves in this matchup, but we must remember that C.J. hasn’t been doing so hot lately. He only went 3 innings in his last start, and that’s not typical C.J.

Tomorrow it’s Cliff Lee (10-4, 2.44 ERA) against Javier Vazquez (9-8, 4.63 ERA). Yeah, I know how it looks too. It looks like the Yanks don’t have a chance. But Cliff is only 2-2 in 6 games as a Ranger. Hopefully he’ll pick it back up, but the Yankees are a hard team to face.

Before I sign off, though, I should address Rich Harden. When we last left off, I was very impressed by his first start after getting off the DL. But unfortunately, he pulled another “Rich Harden” in his last start.

He only went 2 1/3 innings, walking 5 and allowing 3 earned runs. I don’t know what we’re going to do with him.

They will probably skip his next start, because there was some leeway in the schedule with a day off before and after the 2-game Yankee series. Or they could bring up Derek Holland from AAA.

I think Rich should get one more chance to prove himself, but if he tanks next time, I think he should be gone. Either he should go on the 60-day DL, go to AAA, or be outright released. We don’t need to keep screwing around with this.

And I think the higher-ups realize that they can’t let him flounder indefinitely. This is a legitimately contending team. Go Rangers!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 64-47
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days ’til my next game: 4

Off-day ramblings

Yesterday was an off-day, so there was no Rangers’ game for me to dissect today. Instead, I want to address a couple of things that I’ve meant to talk about but haven’t gotten around to.

First and foremost is the Rangers’ ownership situation. Today is August 3, and an auction for the team is set to take place tomorrow (August 4). It is very rare for a major league ball club to be auctioned off, so this kind of puts us in uncharted waters.

I have been planted firmly in the Greenberg/Ryan camp from the beginning, and that hasn’t changed. I still really want them to get the team, but apparently, it doesn’t seem likely that they will get the team.

All of this ownership stuff has been very confusing, what with the bankruptcy situation and all of the angry creditors and such. So I’m not even pretending to know what’s going on or what might happen.

But other people (who may or may not know more than I do) don’t seem to think that the Greenberg/Ryan group will be victorious tomorrow.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, is said to be deeply rooted in the mix of other potential bidders. The notion of Cuban getting the Rangers absolutely infuriates me.

Yes, he has plenty of money. He’s been very smart with his money. After the Tom Hicks Debacle and dealing with a team that has been flat broke for the past several years, this appears to be quite an attractive possibility.

But ultimately, you have to realize that Mark Cuban is a tool. And we don’t need another George Seinbrenner in Texas.

I’m not trying to imply that George Steinbrenner was a tool. But he did get really involved with the Yankees in areas that ownership doesn’t usually go. He was known to be hotheaded, hiring and firing people at the drop of a hat.

George Steinbrenner set up the Yankees so that they have the highest payroll in all of Major League Baseball by $44 million dollars. A-Rod is being paid $33 million this year, which is almost the entire budget of the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2010 (the Pirates are at $34.9 mil).

I’m not saying that there should be a salary cap in baseball. But I am saying that if you have a bottomless pit of money, then players are just going to start asking for more and more money just because they can. And it drives up prices all over baseball.

This is the whole premise behind why I hate the Yankees. I realize that the Yankees have a rich history, especially going back to the days of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and Yogi Berra and Lou Gehrig.

But now they’re just the team that has the most money, and the elite players go there because they’ll get paid the most there.

The Yankees have the top 4 players with the highest salary in all of baseball (A-Rod, CC Sabathia, Derek Jeter, and Mark Teixeira), and just their 4 salaries alone is over $100 million. That’s just ridiculous.

Cuban, like Steinbrenner, has more money than God. And Cuban is way too emotionally invested in every aspect of the game. But then again, Steinbrenner actually liked baseball. Cuban doesn’t. I’m just going off of what Cuban has done with the Mavericks.

Yes, it’s true that since Cuban has done great things with the Mavericks. Since he bought them 10 years ago, they have been to the playoffs every single year. He has paid obscene amounts of money to get great basketball players to come to Texas.

But he also sits courtside at every game (home and away), screaming obscenities at the officials and at the other team’s players. He has had to pay at least $1.665 million in fines because of 13 separate incidents, including as recently as May 22 when he spoke out against LeBron James. The Rangers don’t need that kind of publicity.

Okay, I’m going to stop ranting now. I hope that what I’ve just said makes sense. When I get this heated over a subject, sometimes I make connections in my head that don’t exactly translate to the written word.

In other news, the Rangers are 8 games up on both the Angels and the A’s, because Oakland won yesterday and LA had an off-day (just like the Rangers did).

I kind of feel bad for poor Seattle, because they’re 22.5 games back in the AL West. I was predicting them to be more of a threat this year than the Angels and the A’s.

Speaking of Seattle, Justin Smoak has recently been demoted to AAA Tacoma, where he can hang out with fellow trade-bait Blake Beavan. Beavan was recently promoted from Seattle’s AA affiliate to AAA Tacoma.

Michael Schlact posted a great blog today about the impact of all of these trades on the Rangers’ minor league system. It’s a great insider’s perspective. You can read it here.

It’s probably about time I started talking about Rich Harden. I was not at all impressed with how he started off the season for the Rangers, and I was about ready to give up on him when he surprised everyone with a breakout performance in Oakland on Monday, May 3.

I was willing to give him a bit of leeway after that stellar game, but by the end of May, I had given up hope again. I was praying that the Rangers would get wise and send him back to AAA until he learned his lesson.

And in the middle of June, Rich went on the DL with a “left glut strain.” I’m sure Rich was a little sore, but he may not have been injured enough to actually go on the DL under normal circumstances.

I think the Rangers said, “Okay, here’s the deal, Rich. You’re not producing. So you can either:
  1)go straight to AAA (do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200) or
  2)go on the DL, get some rest, get your act together, and try again.”

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Rich was legitimately injured. Either way, he made his post-DL debut on this past Saturday in Anaheim, and he was the same guy from May 3 against Oakland!

He allowed just one run over 7 innings of work, and he only threw 88 pitches (62 for strikes). He ended up getting the W, and I would venture to say that it is only the 2nd win that Harden has actually earned this year.

Scott Feldman has generally been producing like Rich Harden had been this year, meaning that he just hasn’t had commanding stuff, wasn’t going deep enough in games, and has been generally ineffective. But with Harden and Derek Holland both on the DL, there wasn’t really anyone who could take his place.

Something had to be done about Feldman, though, if the Rangers were going to continue their post-season bid. I figured that Harden would make a couple of starts until Derek Holland came off the DL to permanently take Harden’s/Feldman’s spot in the rotation.

But instead, Rich blew everyone away with his performance. Now let’s just hope it stays that way. But I suppose if Harden tanks again, we can still replace him with Holland.

Tonight kicks off a 3-game series in Seattle, followed by a 3-game series in Oakland this weekend. Then the Rangers come back home, but they have to face the Yankees and the Red Sox. Yikes.

Tonight it’s Colby Lewis (9-7, 3.40 ERA) against Seattle’s Jason Vargas (6-5, 3.20 ERA). According to the numbers, they seem about equal. So I guess we’ll have to see!

I’m actually grateful that the game doesn’t start until 9:10 Central tonight, because after I leave work today I have to ride the DART bus/train for an hour to Garland so that I can pick up my car from the shop. Hey, at least the A/C is finally fixed! Go Rangers!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 61-44
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days ’til my next game: 11

Trade deadline stuff

Remember at the end of my last post when I was excited about what trades the Rangers might make? Well, they lived up to the hype!

On Thursday, the Rangers traded AA right-handed pitchers Omar Poveda and Evan Reed to the Florida Marlins for infielder Jorge Cantu and cash. Yes!

Jorge Cantu had been linked to the Rangers and several other teams over the last week, so this move wasn’t a surprise. I was just happy to hear that the Rangers had won out!

When Ian Kinsler went on the 15-day DL (a day before Jorge Cantu arrived in Arlington), the Rangers called up Mitch Moreland from AAA to fill his roster spot. But Moreland isn’t a 2nd baseman; he’s a 1B/OF. So I just assumed that as soon as Cantu arrived, Mitch would go back to OKC.

Nope. Moreland went 2-for-4 in his major league debut, and he was pretty good at 1st base too. So the Rangers send Chris Davis back to Oklahoma instead, and they are planning on platooning Cantu and Moreland at 1st base.

On Friday, the Rangers traded AA right-handed pitchers Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark to the Washington Nationals for infielder Cristian Guzman and cash. Cristian Guzman is primarily a 2nd baseman, so this makes a bit of sense considering the fact the Ian Kinsler recently went on the DL.

But what are we going to do with Guzman after Kinsler comes off the DL? I read somewhere (but I don’t remember where) that after Kinsler is back, Guzman will be our utility infielder. He can also play shortstop and third.

But what about Andres Blanco and Joaquin Arias? I don’t know. I’ve never really warmed up to Arias, so it wouldn’t bother me too much to see him go. I’m reluctant to lose Andres Blanco, though. He’s just shown incredible defensive skills and versatility at 3B, SS, and 2B.

Apparently, Guzman originally vetoed the trade, not wanting to uproot his family. But after realizing that he had a chance to be part of a team that is going to the post-season, he acquiesced. Smart move!

It hurts to lose Ryan Tatusko, because I liked him. At the RoughRiders’ game I went to a few weeks ago, he pitched a complete game shut-out, and it was a joy watching him pitch. But the fact that I have autographs of both Tatusko and Tanner Roark assuages my regret a bit.

On Saturday, the Rangers traded AAA catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Boston Red Sox for 3 minor leaguers and $350,000. One of the players hasn’t been decided yet, but the other two are RHP Roman Mendez (short-season A) and 1B Chris McGuiness (high A).

After losing all those players in the Bengie Molina, Cliff Lee, Jorge Cantu, and Cristian Guzman trades (10 players in all), it’s nice to get some more mior leaguers to restock our system. And the $350K will help us sign some of our draft picks from this year’s June draft.

It hurts a little to see Salty go, but maybe a change of scenery will help him. It didn’t seem like he was going anywhere with Texas, and the Red Sox were really interested in him. I’m just sad I didn’t get his autograph while he was here. But I got to pat him on the head!! 🙂

Since my last post:
-The Rangers won Game 3 vs. Oakland, taking 2 out of 3 and winning the series.
-The Rangers lost 2 out of 3 in Anaheim, losing the series.
-The Rangers are now 8 games ahead of the Angels and 8 1/2 games ahead of Oakland. But today is an off-day for the Rangers, so they will either gain or lose 1/2 game on Oakland and LA.
-Josh Hamilton got a cortisone shot in his knee, and he should be able to start on Tuesday in Seattle.

Overall Rangers’ record: 61-44
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days ’til my next game: 12

Cliff Lee’s first Rangers’ win!

Hopefully last night’s win was just the first of many wins in a Rangers’ uniform for Cliff Lee. Well, at least until the end of the season.

But before we delve into last night’s game and the rest of the Rangers’ upcoming homestand, let’s wrap up the road trip, okay?

I posted about the Rangers’ Game 1 win in Detroit, but I haven’t talked about Game 2 or Game 3. Game 2 was glorious for Rangers’ fans, with a final score of 8-0. Tommy Hunter is now 7-0 on the year, and no other Rangers’ pitcher has ever done that before.

Hunter was magnificent, giving up only 3 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings. Darren Oliver came in to pitch the 8th, and Doug Mathis closed things out in the 9th. Murphy, Kinsler, and Hamilton all had home runs, and they accounted for half of the Rangers’ runs for the night.

Game 3 was not nearly as nice. This time, it was the Rangers’ who were shut out for most of the game, and the final score was 4-1 Tigers.

Colby Lewis took the hill for the Rangers, and despite the final numbers, he really didn’t look too bad. He gave up 4 earned runs on 9 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings, but the Tigers never had him reeling.

Colby gave up a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 2nd, and he got into some trouble before he could get out of the 7th inning, allowing 2 more runs to score.

The Rangers were trailing 2-0 for most of the game, but that shouldn’t have been too big an obstacle for the red-hot Rangers. Unfortunately, they were just shut down by Max Scherzer.

Scherzer allowed 4 hits and 3 walks in 7 shutout innings, and he was followed by Phil Coke, who pitched a perfect 8th inning.

Then Jose Valverde came out to pitch the bottom of the 9th inning, and he was all over the place. He walked Ian Kinsler on 4 straight pitches, almost hitting him with 3 of them. Then he actually did hit Vlad Guerrero.

During Josh Hamilton’s at bat, he threw a wild pitch that allowed Kinsler and Guerrero to each advance 90 feet. Josh grounded out, but that allowed Ian to score our lone run of the night.

Even though the Rangers’ weren’t able to end their road trip on a high note, it was still a very strong stretch. They took 3 out of 4 in Boston and 2 out of 3 in Detroit, and they are now 24-21 on the road for the year.

An old axiom states that if a team can win 2/3 of its home games and win 1/2 of its games on the road, then that team can usually make the playoffs. The Rangers have currently won about 63% of their home games, and they have won about 53% of their road games.

They’re 3% lower than expected at home, but they’re 3% higher than expected on the road. Not bad.

Okay, enough about that. Let’s talk about last night’s win!

Cliff Lee was going to get his first Ranger win eventually, it’s just a bit surprising that it took him 3 starts to do it. Lee is one of the best pitchers in baseball, and that’s because he is one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball.

Everyone knows that when Cliff Lee takes the ball, he’s going to give you a quality start. He always goes at least 7 innings (more likely 8 or 9), throws right around 100 pitches, and hardly ever gives up walks. He’s incredibly effective while being incredibly efficient.

Jered Weaver got the start for the Halos last night, and a pitcher’s dual was expected. And that’s pretty much what we got. The final score was 3-2 Rangers, but it was a hard-fought game.

The Rangers scored first with a solo home run by Michael Young in the bottom of the 1st inning. It took the Halos a while to score off of Lee, but they finally got a run across in the top of the 5th, which tied the score 1-1.

In the bottom of the 6th, the Rangers strung some hits together to get 2 more runs across, putting them up 3-1. But in the top of the 7th, Mike Napoli hit a solo home run, making it 3-2 Rangers.

I was not comfortable with only a 1-run lead in the 7th inning against the Angels. Until Feliz got the very last out, I was nervous. Because the Angels are a really good team. I mean, they are the defending champions of the AL West.

Cliff Lee threw 99 pitches in 8 1/3 innings, giving up 2 earned runs on 4 hits (including a solo home run to Mike Napoli) and no walks. Neftali Feliz came in to record the final 2 outs, and he notched his 26th save.

Jered Weaver threw 118 pitches in 6 innings, giving up 3 earned runs on 7 hits (including a solo home run to Michael Young) and 2 walks. Then Francisco Rodriguez (no, not that K Rod) pitched the final 2 innings for the Angels.

Tonight C.J. Wilson (8-5, 3.23 ERA) is starting for the Rangers, while Joe Saunders (6-9, 4.83 ERA) is going for the Halos. I’d like to say that the Rangers have this one sewn up, but you can never say that against the Angels. So we’ll see. Go C.J.!!

I’m going to both Saturday’s and Sunday’s games, so I’m gonna be pretty exhausted on Monday. It’s worth it though!

This weekend marks the Rangers’ annual Alumni Weekend, and several Rangers’ alumni will be on hand before the game on Saturday to sign autographs. Whoo-hoo!

Then Sunday is Newberg Night at the ballpark, and I’m looking forward to the pre-game Q&A with Jon Daniels. I’m going by myself, but I’m betting I’ll make a new friend. I’m quite loquacious, especially when it comes to baseball. So I can’t just sit by myself all night.

Overall Rangers’ record: 59-40
My Rangers’ record: 12-5
Days ’til my next game: 1

Cranky

Lack of sleep + a Rangers’ loss = Cranky Katie.

I don’t mind staying up past midnight in the middle of the week if the Rangers can pull out a win. But last night was painful.

It was very close for the first 5 innings. The Rangers and Angels went back and forth, each scoring one run at a time, and at the end of the 5th inning, the score was 3-2 Rangers. I was on the edge of my seat, knowing that the Rangers would really have to fight and claw all game long in order to remain on top.

But then came the bottom of the 6th inning. Scott Feldman got 2 quick outs, then he ran into some trouble. He gave up a single to Kevin Frandsen, and then Frandsen reached 2nd on a wild pitch. Erick Aybar got a single next, allowing Frandsen to score and tying the game up 3-3.

Wash took Feldman out and brought Darren Oliver in from the bullpen, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Oliver has been our most reliable reliever, and when he comes in, he usually closes things down. Before last night, Oliver had made 8 straight scoreless appearances.

If Oliver could have just gotten the 3rd out quickly to get out of the inning, it wouldn’t have been so bad. But instead, he walked Howard Kendrick, loading the bases for Bobby Abreu.

Abreu is a very patient hitter, and he takes a lot of walks. So Oliver was in a tricky situation; he needed to throw Abreu strikes to get him out, but not a strike that Abreu could really get a piece of.

Unfortunately, Abreu got a good enough piece of one to produce a bases-clearing double. That made the score 6-3 Angels. Lovely.

Oliver finally got out of the inning, but the damage was already done. The Rangers looked like they might be able to come back when Vladdy hit a 2-run home run in the top of the 7th, but they weren’t able to overtake the Angels again. The final score was 6-5 Angels.

Last night’s game was hard-fought, and the Angels definitely proved themselves as formidable opponents. But what angered me the most was all of the missed scoring opportunities.

The Rangers left 9 men on base last night. They had an amazing opportunity with the bases loaded and no outs in the 5th inning, but they only got one run out of it. They also had the bases loaded with 2 outs in the 8th, and they weren’t able to get any runs out of it.

It’s just frustrating to have guys on base and not be able to get them home.

On a positive note, Josh Hamilton increased his hitting streak to 22 games last night. Yay Josh! It would be perfect to see him hit a Grand Slam tonight, or maybe knock in the winning run for the Rangers. Or something. I’m not asking too much, am I? 🙂

Maybe I should try to take a nap before the game tonight. Because if the Rangers lose again tonight, I’ll be doubly cranky tomorrow.

I’m really hoping they don’t lose tonight though. I hope Omar Beltre is as good in the starting rotation as Alexi Ogando has been in relief. I hope the Rangers find a way to get runners home instead of leaving them on base. More than anything, I hope the Rangers can finish out this remarkable month of June with a win.

My Rangers’ record: 10-3
Overall Rangers’ record: 46-30
Days ’til my next game: 3