Tagged: Minnesota Twins

Amazing!

Last night, one of the announcers mentioned that it was hard coming up with new superlatives to explain Cliff Lee’s performance. Let me try:

Amazing, Astounding, Awesome, Beautiful, Catastrophic, Delightful, Dominant, Excellent, Fabulous, Fantastic, Great, Ingenious, Marvelous, Masterful, Outstanding, Phenomenal, Resplendent, Sterling, Transcendent, Tremendous, Wonderful, and ultimately…

VICTORIOUS!!

I’ll admit it; I was worried about Cliff Lee in July and August. He wasn’t pitching well and no one knew why. I had blind faith that he would help us in the postseason, but I worried.

Now, it appears that my worry was completely baseless. But hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Just in case you were under a rock last night and didn’t hear about the game, I’ll elaborate: Cliff Lee fired 122 pitches in 8 innings with 1 walk, 2 hits, 13 strikeouts and no runs.

Yes, that’s right, the Rangers blanked the Yankees in an ALCS game! IN THEIR HOUSE!

In the top of the 1st inning, Michael Young got on base (he was 3 for 5 on the night, btw) and Josh Hamilton launched a homer over the right field wall, putting the Rangers up 2-0.

But that was the only bad pitch delivered by Andy Pettitte, who did a great job for the Yankees over 7 innings of work. He gave up just 5 hits and no walks while throwing 110 pitches.

There was no more scoring until the 9th inning, when the Rangers ran away with the game by scoring six more runs. I was giggling like a little kid!

In the bottom of the 9th, Neftali Feliz closed it out, and the Rangers won 8-0.

Tommy Hunter will pitch tonight against A.J. Burnett. Tommy pitched in Game 4 of the ALDS, and he lost that game, posting a 4.50 ERA. But in the regular season he was 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA.

A.J. did not have to pitch in the ALDS, since the Yankees swept the Twins in 3 games, so he hasn’t pitched in a game in 17 days. He was 10-15 in the regular season with a 5.26 ERA.

But he’s 4-3 with a 3.66 ERA against Texas. And last year, he pitched for the Yankees in Game 2 of the World Series, and he was dominant.

It won’t be easy, but I think the Rangers definitely have a solid chance to make it to the World Series. But I’m kind of hoping that the Yankees win either tonight or tomorrow, which would force a Game 6, because I have tickets. And I would love to see the Rangers clinch at home!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 90-72, 5-3 postseason
My Rangers’ record: 16-10, 0-3 postseason
Days ’til my next (potential) game: 2
Advertisements

Drive-by blogging

Hey there. I don’t have much time to blog, but I haven’t posted anything since Monday, so I’ll mention a few things real quick.

-The Rangers tried to claim Manny Ramirez on waivers, but the Chicago White Sox got him first. I’m glad. We don’t need a poisonous presence like his in the clubhouse.

-Michael Kirkman is awesome.

-Bengie Molina has a blog. I didn’t know that. Apparently he blogged for 3 years while he was with the Giants, so now he’s blogging for the Rangers. It’s pretty good stuff, and it just points out what a great guy he is.

You should check it out: http://bengiemolina.mlblogs.com/

-Rich Harden isn’t all that great. Yes, he threw a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings on Monday. But he also walked 5 batters and threw way too many pitches.

I think everybody is blowing this whole “no-hit” thing way out of proportion. He still needs to go deeper in games and control his walk totals.

-What’s up with Cliff Lee? Seriously! If you had posited the following scenario to me 6 weeks ago, I would have predicted a very different outcome:

“The Rangers will win 3 out of 4 against Minnesota. Rich Harden, Colby Lewis, C.J. Wilson, and Cliff Lee will be the starters in those 4 games. One of the starters will have a no-hitter through 6 2/3 in that series, and one starter will only go 5 innings and get the loss.”

Obviously I would have gone with Cliff Lee for the no-hitter and Rich Harden for the 5-inning loss. This is crazy.

-Playoff tickets are ridiculously expensive.

-I went to the game on Wednesday, and I had a great time. The weather was wonderful and the Rangers won. What more can you ask for?

-I’m going to the game on Sunday, and I’m really excited. I was dreading the prospect of an afternoon game at the end of August, but thanks to the cold front, it’s not going to be as hot! Sure, the high on Sunday is still going to be 97 degrees, but that’s better than 107!

And it will be good to put some more distance between ourselves and our closest competition in the AL West (Oakland).

Overall Rangers’ record: 72-55
My Rangers’ record: 14-8
Days ’til my next game: 2

It’s good to be home again!

Man, that was a tough road trip. At least we ended it with a win.

Dropping three straight to Tampa Bay was awful. We split the 4-game series in Baltimore, but we probably should have swept them.

So which do you think is worse? That the Rangers were humiliated against a team they will very likely see in the playoffs (TB)? Or the fact that they only took 2 out of 4 against the worst team in baseball (the O’s)?

I’m not giving up on my boys. They just really need to step it up.

Yes, we still have an 8-game lead in the AL West. As long as we win our division, we will get to the playoffs. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get past the first round.

If the season ended today, the Rangers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay Rays would be going to the post-season. And the Rangers would have the worst win/loss record of all the playoff teams.

In the first round, Tampa Bay would play Minnesota, and the Rangers would again face the Yankees. And the Yankees would have home-field advantage.

We’ve seen this before, and it doesn’t end well for the Rangers. They need to prove that they’re not just the Yankees’ whipping boy. Because the goal isn’t just to get to the post-season, but to actually make it past the 1st round.

I really feel like the Rangers have a shot this year. They just need to be careful so that they don’t fade down the stretch.

Speaking of fading down the stretch, I’m concerned about all the injuries hurting our playoff berth. The Rangers currently have 6 players in the 15-day DL. If most of them are well enough to come back by August 31st, we should be good.

I’m sure that most of you know that the active rosters expand on September 1 from 25 up to a maximum of 40 players. But only the players who are on the Rangers’ 25-man roster on August 31st can participate in post-season games, unless there is an injury and someone has to be called up.

Kinsler’s been out since July 29, and hopefully he’ll be able to come back at the end of August. The Rangers could really use Kins in the post-season. Cristian Guzman was pretty useless as Kinsler’s initial replacement.

Taylor Teagarden has been doing a great job filling in for Matt Treanor, so it will be interesting to see what happens if Treanor can make it back before the 31st.

It will be good to get Dustin Nippert back too. Matt Harrison is a great lefty long reliever, but Scott Feldman is not a good option for a righty long reliever. Dustin is no longer having headaches, so I’m not really sure what the hold-up is.

But the player that the Rangers need the most is Nelson Cruz. They need his boomstick as well as his range and strong arm in the outfield. Seriously, I can’t wait for Nelly to come back.

Luckily, Josh Hamilton and Vlad Guerrero seem to have emerged from their slumps, lessening the need for Nelly’s bat. But just think how much better we will be with Cruz!!

The Rangers are back in Arlington today, and they are set to play 3 games against Joe Mauer the Minnesota Twins. The Twins are a good team, but the Rangers have been great at home this season.

Rich Harden is starting tonight for the Rangers. Again? I thought we got rid of him! I thought he was gone for good when the Rangers put him on the DL this last time. I mean, how many chances are we gonna give this guy?

He’s just too unpredictable. He’s only had 2 good starts all year long. Enough already!

But then again, maybe he’ll have another stellar performance this evening and continue it all the way through the post-season. Miracles can happen, right?

After Harden, Colby Lewis is expected to pitch on Tuesday night, followed by C.J. Wilson on Wednesday.

My prediction is that we will lose the game tonight (and then hopefully we’ll really be rid of Rich Harden)! Then Colby will finally get his 10th win on Tuesday, followed by another spectacular show by C.J. Wilson, earning us the series win on Wednesday.

I’m going to the game Wednesday, and I’m really excited because I just looked at the 10-day forecast. It looks like tomorrow will be our last day of 100+ degree weather! Yay!!

My dad mentioned that a cold front is supposed to come through on Tuesday night, so I figured the temperature might drop a bit on Wednesday and then climb right back up. But the forecast predicts 93-95 degree highs every day through Wednesday, September 1! Woo hoo!!!

Bring on the Twins! It’s gonna be downright chilly!!!

Overall Rangers’ record: 69-54
My Rangers’ record: 13-8
Days ’til my next game: 2

2 playoff wins!

Yesterday, there were 2 playoff games: Game 3 of the ALCS between the Yankees and the Angels in the afternoon; and Game 4 of the NLCS between the Dodgers and the Phillies in the evening. And both of my teams (the Angels and the Phillies) had walk-off wins right at the last minute, and they both won their games by a score of 5-4! Exciting stuff!

The Yankees had already beaten the Angels in the first 2 games of the series, and if they had won yesterday’s game, they would be up 3-0 in a 7-game series. It would have been nearly impossible for the Angels to win 4 straight games and continue on to the World Series, so they really needed a win yesterday to stay in the race. But the Angels were back home after playing the first 2 games in NYC, so it looked like it might be possible.

Derek Jeter
The Yankees were leading 3-0 going into the bottom of the 5th inning, after 3 solo home runs by Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, and Alex Rodriguez. Andy Pettitte, the Yanks’ starter, had kept the Halos scoreless through the first 4 innings. Things were not looking good for the Angels.
Howie Kendrick
But Howie Kendrick helped to stave off a shut-out for the Halos by getting his own solo home run in the bottom of the 5th inning. And that was followed up by 2 more runs in the bottom of the 6th when Vlad Guerrero hit a 2-run shot out of the park, which tied the score up at 3-3. Then the Angels actually took the lead in the bottom of the 7th inning when Howie Kendrick hit a one-out triple, followed up by a sac fly from Maicer Izturis.
Jorge Posada
But the Halos’ lead didn’t last very long. In the top of the 8th inning, Yankee Jorge Posada hit another solo shot out of the park to tie the score up 4-4. Uh oh. (On a side note, doesn’t Jorge Posada look just like Sid the Sloth from the Ice Age movies??)
Alfredo Aceves
The game stayed tied up until the bottom of the 11th inning, when, with two outs and no one on base, Joe Girardi pulled rookie right-handed pitcher David Robertson in favor of rookie RHP Alfredo Aceves. Girardi said he thought that Aceves would be a better match-up for upcoming batters Howie Kendrick and Jeff Mathis. Huh. Interesting.
Jeff Mathis
Howie Kendrick immediately hit a single. Nice! Then back-up catcher Jeff Mathis stepped up to the plate, and he hit a double to center field! Kendrick was able to come all the way around from first base to score the winning run! The Angels won 5-4!

So the Angels still need to win 3 out of the remaining 4 games to make it to the World Series, and they’re definitely fighting an uphill battle. But yesterday’s victory shows that there’s still hope! That was the first time the Yankees had been defeated in this year’s post-season (since they swept the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS). Whoo-hoo!

Over in the National League, the Phillies were up 2 games to 1 against the Dodgers before last night’s game. The Phillies were also playing at home (like the Angels), so the automatic favor goes to them for this game. But it was a close one!
Ryan Howard
The Phillies started off with a 2-run lead when Ryan Howard hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 1st inning. {BTW, that means that Ryan has now had an RBI in 8 straight playoff games. That ties a record. Pretty awesome.}

But the Dodgers came back and scored 2 runs of their own in the top of the 4th inning to tie it up 2-2. Then the Dodgers scored one run each in the 5th and 6th innings to take a 4-2 lead! Oh no!
Shane Victorino
In the bottom of the 6th inning, Shane Victorino hit a one-out triple that rattled around in the left field corner. Under normal circumstances, that’s not possible. But Shane Victorino is a fast runner, and Manny Ramirez was fielding the ball in left field. Doh! Even the “impartial” announcers said, “Oh, well, it’s Manny.” Apparently he’s not known for being a good fielder. šŸ™‚
Chase Utley
Anyway, Chase Utley came up next with a single, and that plated Victorino. So the Phils got back within one run with a score of 4-3. But the score stayed right there, stuck at 4-3, until the bottom of the 9th inning.
Jimmy Rollins
With one out in the bottom of the 9th, pinch hitter Matt Stairs took a walk. Then catcher Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch. Two on, one out. The next Philly to bat, Greg Dobbs (pinch hitting for pitcher Brad Lidge), lined out to third. Still two men on, two outs. And here came Jimmy Rollins, hitting a double to score both men on base! The Phillies win 5-4!

Tonight, the Angels will take on the Yankees again in Anaheim. They really need to win tonight’s game, to show that yesterday’s win wasn’t just a fluke, but they’re not mathematically eliminated if they lose tonight. The pitching match-up pits the Yanks’ CC Sabathia against the Halos’ Scott Kazmir. They’re both great pitchers, but I’m hoping Kazmir blows Sabathia away! Go Angels!!

 

Originally published October 20, 2009

Playoff races

Well, the playoffs have been disappointing for me so far. Since my Rangers aren’t in it, I’ve had to pick other favorites in the ALDS and NLDS races. Here are the contenstants, with my picks in bold:

ALDS – Minnesota Twins & New York Yankees,
           LA Angels & Boston Red Sox
NLDS – Colorado Rockies & Philadelphia Phillies,
           LA Dodgers & St. Louis Cardinals

I want Minnesota to beat out the Yankees, because I’m really proud of the stretch run they made to get to the playoffs. Joe Mauer is the obvious AL MVP pick. And the Yankees are evil, flat out. But unfortunately, the Yanks are already beating the Twins 2 games to none. Next they’ll go play in the Metrodome, and the Twins are heavily favored to win there, but the Yankees only need to win one more to knock the Twins out of it. And if there’s a need for Game 5, it will be played in the Bronx. {Sigh}

I’m rooting for the BoSox in their match-up, because their my 2nd favorite team behind the Rangers, but they’re down 2 games to none against the Angels. Although that doesn’t bother me too much, because the Angels are a respectable team. Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, and Chone Figgins are all stand-up guys, and the Angels have beloved former Rangers Darren Oliver and Gary Matthews, Jr. But I hate Mike Scioscia, even though I have to admit that he might be worthy of Manager of the Year. And the Angels’ heart-wrenching loss of Nick Adenhart could make anybody a little misty. So if the Angels make it to the World Series, I won’t be too torn up, but I’d rather see the BoSox.

I can’t make a pick between the Rockies & the Phillies. I like the Rockies because I used to go camping in Colorado a lot when I was a kid, and I can remember when the Rockies were formed. Also, Jim Tracy has done a very remarkable job as their manager this year, and his son, Chad Tracy, is in the Rangers’ minor league system (he plays for the AA Frisco RoughRiders). But one of my best friends since childhood is Rachel, and her fiance is a Phillies fan, and they could be back-to-back winners. I don’t have anything against either team, so I find it very difficult to pick a side in that match-up. Each team has won one game, so they’re tied up.

And finally, I hate the Dodgers for 3 reasons. 3rd – they have Manny Ramirez. What a jerk. 2nd – their manager is Joe Torre, who used to manage the Yankees. Hate the Yankees. And the #1 reason why I hate the Dodgers – they picked up Vicente Padilla after the Rangers dumped him. Ugh, I HATE Padilla!!! I get all riled up just thinking about it. But you know what? They deserve each other. I’ve been rooting for the Cards because I’m anti-Dodgers and because they have Albert Pujols. I mean, how can you not love Albert Pujols?? He’s gonna be the NL MVP. But, of course, the Dodgers have won 2 games against the Cards.

All three of my picks are down 2 games!! Maybe I should just stop watching, because I’m apparently bringing mad mojo.

One game playoff

I know the Rangers are done for the season, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any good baseball to watch. Yesterday, the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers had a one-game playoff to see which team won the AL Central Division and advanced to the post-season. The game started at 4:00 Central, and I tried to listen to it on the radio, but I kept getting called away from my desk. Stupid work. {grumble, grumble, grumble}

But man, it was a great game! The Twins ended up winning 6-5 in the bottom of the 12th inning! I was able to watch it from the bottom of the 8th inning on (once I got home from work). I found myself rooting for the Twins, mainly because I respect how far they had to come to make it to this playoff chance. At one point in September, they were 7 games back! But they played their way back into it. They won 16 out of their last 20 games before last night’s game! That’s how I wish my Rangers had done it. šŸ™‚

And of course the Twins have Joe Mauer, the obvious choice for this year’s MVP. They also have Justin Morneau (out with a stress fracture), and Jason Kubel, and Michael Cuddyer, and Delmon Young, and Alexi Casilla, and Nick Punto, and Denard Span, and Orlando Cabrera…

But I would have been happy for the Tigers too. Gerald Laird, their catcher, used to play for the Rangers. And I like Curtis Granderson; he’s a great player. And Magglio OrdoƱez, and Placido Polanco, and Brandon Inge, and Aubrey Huff, and Carlos Guillen, and Miguel Cabrera… these are all names I know and respect for their baseball talent.
 
And even though it’s not my Rangers, I still feel like I should do a game summary, just because the game was that good! So here we go!
 
The game took place in the Hubert H. Humphry Metrodome in Minnesota, and over 55,000 Twins fans were there to show their support. Rick Porcello (a candidate for Rookie of the Year) was the starting pitcher for the Tigers, and Scott Baker took the mound for the Twins.
 
Curtis Granderson
In the top of the 3rd inning, Curtis Granderson of the Tigers worked a walk with one out. Then Placido Polanco grounded out, moving the runner to 2nd base. After that, Magglio OrdoƱez singled in Granderson. Runner on 1st base, 1-0 Tigers, with 2 outs.
Miguel Cabrera
Then Miguel Cabrera hit a home run to center field. He and OrdoƱez crossed the plate, bringing the score to 3-0. Things weren’t looking to hopeful for the Minnesota Twins.
But in the bottom of the frame, Matt Tolbert (Twins) scored on a throwing error by Tigers’ pitcher Rick Porcello during a failed pickoff attemp, and Tolbert was able to get home. That put the score at 3-1 Tigers.

Jason Kubel
In the bottom of the 6th inning, Jason Kubel (of the Twins) hit a solo home run to make the score 3-2, and that put the Twins within a run.
Orlando Cabrera
Then in the bottom of the 7th inning, Nick Punto (of the Twins) started off the inning by hitting a line drive to left field for a single. One batter later, Orlando Cabrera hit a home run, putting the Twins on top 4-3. That’s two 2-run home runs by a guy named Cabrera in the same game! (They’re not related. Miguel Cabrera plays for the Tigers and Orlando Cabrera plays for the Twins. Confusing, I know.)

Magglio OrdoƱez
But in the top of the 8th inning, Magglio OrdoƱez (Tigers) hit a solo home run to tie the score at 4-4. Things were starting to get pretty dramatic!
Brandon Inge
In the top of the 10th inning, Aubrey Huff (of the Tigers) was hit by a pitch, so he took first base. Then later in the inning, Brandon Inge hit a double, plating one run. The Tigers took the lead 5-4! There was a lot of celebration in the Tigers’ dugout, because it looked like the Tigers would be winning the game.

Michael Cuddyer
But the Tigers couldn’t stop the Never-Say-Die Twins from scoring in the bottom of the frame, to tie up the score again. Michael Cuddyer started off the bottom of the 10th inning with a triple to center field. Matt Tolbert came up later in the inning with a single, which scored Cuddyer from 3rd base.
Delmon Young
The Tigers had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the 12th inning, but they couldn’t score. Then in the bottom of the 12th, Carlos Gomez (of the Twins) led off with a single. The Tigers decided to intentionally walk Delmon Young, putting runners on 1st and 2nd. Alexi Casilla hit a single to right field, and Delmon Young came in for the winning run. It was a walk-off win for the Twins!
The Twins flew to New York late last night, and they will play their first post-season game with the New York Yankees tonight at 6:07.

CC Sabathia
Tonight’s pitching matchup: CC Sabathia (NYY) against Brian Duensing (MIN). All of the logic says that the Yankees will win, since 1) the Yankees have home field advantage, 2) the Yankees have had more time to rest, and 3) CC Sabathia is a Cy Young candidate, and Duensing is a rookie. But these Twins are on a roll. And I hate the Yankees, so I would love for the Twins to just beat the tar out of them!

Worst things about 2009

Ugh, it hurts me to write this list, but these are setbacks/disappointments/frustrating things that affected the Rangers during the 2009 season (in no particular order):

*Losing 5 games in a row at the end of August – killed our chances

*Josh Hamilton’s injury-plagued season

*Financial constraints of our ballclub

*Injuries to our pitching staff: Joaquin Benoit, Eric Hurley, Brandon McCarthy, and Matt Harrison all had to go on the 60-day DL.

*the Rangers’ offensive slump

*Losing 3 out of 4 games in Oakland in the beginning of August

*Not signing Matt Purke

*Josh Hamilton’s January scandal

*All of our losses against the teams that we should have beaten (Minnesota, Oakland, Seattle, Baltimore, Detroit, etc.)

*Losing the game to Tampa Bay in the 8th and 9th innings during the last home game of the year

*Michael Young’s injured hamstring, which caused him to stay out of the lineup for 3 weeks during our late August/early September downhill slide

So basically, it all boils down to injuries, not having any money, and the inexperience of having a young club not used to dealing with stressful situations. Next year will be better.