Tagged: Mitch Moreland

Non-Fan Fest stuff

First and foremost, I have to acknowledge that Manny Ramirez is NOT going to be playing for the Rangers for the 2011 season! YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

The morning after I posted my anti-Manny blog, I got in the car to head out to Fan Fest. On my way out to Arlington, I heard that Manny had signed a one year deal with the Rays. It was a great way to start off the day!!

The blog I wrote yesterday about Fan Fest was already so long that I didn’t get to address this other stuff. So here are some other things I’ve been thinking about.

It was announced on Sunday that the Rangers reached a deal with Darren O’Day, so that’s one less arbitration candidate that the Rangers have to worry about. Now the only 2 arbitration-eligible players who have yet to sign are Josh Hamilton and Frank Francisco.

I hope they don’t pay Frankie Frank a lot of money. After his monumental crash early last season and the subsequently unimpressive remainder of 2010, I kinda wish Frankie would go away. Instead of spending money on him, we could put money towards a better use.

I’m not sure why they can’t reach a deal with Josh Hamilton, because he was the AL MVP last year. He only wants $12 million, just pay it!

From what I understand, the arbitration process comes up with a salary placed on what similar players are getting around the league. But there’s no one to compare Josh Hamilton to; he’s the best.

Major League Baseball recognized him as the Most Valuable Player in the entire American League in 2010. So I don’t think it would be out of the question to find the guy with the highest salary in the AL, then pay Josh more than that. Seriously.

Alex Rodriguez made $33 million dollars last year, but he wasn’t the MVP. Josh Hamilton was. Josh Hamilton is only asking for $12 million in 2011. Just pay it! It’s better than $34 million!

They were fine with offering Adrian Beltre a 6-year/$96 million deal, so why not Hamilton? Well they probably shouldn’t offer Hamilton a 6-year contract, because he’s pretty injury-prone.

But how about a 3-year deal where they pay him $12 mil for 2011, $13 mil for 2012, and $14 mil for 2013? And add in lots of incentives based on the number of games he plays, homer he hits, his batting average, etc.

Now it’s easy for me to give Hamilton someone else’s money. But I thought the Rangers weren’t supposed to be cash-strapped any more. I think the Rangers need to realize that they’re looking a gift horse in the mouth, put on their big boy pants and pay the man.

So, was I the only one who was sad to hear that Vernon Wells will be with the Angels next year? I mean, how did the Rangers miss out on that one?

Vernon Wells is a beast, and I would absolutely LOVE to have him in a Ranger uniform. I mean, he’s FROM here!!

In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, Vernon Wells was traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the LA Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera.

But maybe he wants a more active role that we would have available here in Texas. Wells is an outfielder, and the Rangers are pretty set in the outfield.

Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, and Julio Borbon are our 4 outfielders, not to mention Mitch Moreland (if he’s not at 1B) and Craig Gentry waiting at AAA.

For at least the next 3 years, Adrian Beltre will be our 3rd baseman and Michael Young will be the DH. So we can’t put Wells at DH.

Wells also has 4 years left on his contract for a hefty $86 million dollars. I think any team would be leery about taking on a paycheck that big.

I get all the reasons why, but it’s still upsetting. I like Vernon Wells.

It makes me feel better to know that Wells didn’t chose to go to the Angels, though. It wasn’t like he was a free agent; he was traded. He was happy with the Blue Jays. Yes, he waived his no-trade clause to accept the trade, but he didn’t go seek them out.

Ooh, hey! I just got an email from Jamey Newberg saying that the Blue Jays have traded Mike Napoli to us for Frank Francisco! Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

But wait, isn’t Mike Napoli a catcher? We already have Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor. I guess the Rangers’ recent lack of good catching taught them a lesson, and they don’t want that to happen again.

After having Salty spend so much time injured and Taylor Teagarden unable to step up, the Rangers were lucky that they were able to get Matt Treanor during Spring Training of 2010.

And then we had to go after Bengie Molina mid-season, and we traded Salty away. So I guess they want to make sure they don’t get caught in a lurch again.

Maybe Napoli can work as the other right-handed big bat the Rangers were hoping to add. So maybe he’ll DH on the days when Young is at 1B. Or something.

I don’t know how it’s all gonna work out, but I know that I like it. Way to go, JD!!!

Seriously, guys, how amazing is our GM?!? It’s all coming together, and I’m starting to really get pumped for the 2011 season!!

Pitchers and catchers report in: 22 days

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

Big Announcements

Announcement #1
Today it was finally revealeed that Josh Hamilton is the 2010 recipient of the AL MVP award.

It was expected, but you never know. I though Ron Washington was certain to win AL Manager of the Year, but I was wrong.

Don’t get me wrong; Gardy is a great manager. But with the Rangers getting to the post-season for the 1st time in 11 years, then finally getting past the 1st round of the playoffs for the 1st time EVER, and then actually getting to the World Series… it seemed to me that Wash was the obvious choice.

Gardy is a perennial MOY candidate, and he certainly deserved MOY honors after his last 6 years. But for this year, Wash had the best year.

Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now. We’re supposed to be talking about Josh Hamilton! Congratulations Josh!!!

He was wonderful this year, but there was talk that he might miss out on MVP because he missed a month right at the end of the season.

Thankfully, the Rangers made it to the WS, and Josh got a chance to remind everyone of how good he is. Hamilton’s MVP award means that Rangers’ players have won 2 out of the 4 big awards this year: MVP and Rookie of the Year.

I’ve already mentioned that Ron Gardenhire was named Manager of the Year for the American League, and Felix Hernandez was named as the Cy Young award winner for 2010.

In the National League, Joey Votto got the MVP, Roy Halladay got the Cy Young, Buster Posey got Rookie of the Year, and Bud Black got Manager of the Year.

Announcement #2
The other big announcement made today regards the Rangers new hitting coach: Thad Bosley.

Five guys were interviewed, including Scott Coolbaugh, Johnny Narron, Ty Van Burkleo, and Luis Ortiz in addition to Bosley. Bosley was one of the finalists last year before the Rangers selected Clint Hurdle.

Bosley was the hitting coach for the Oakland A’s from 1999-2002. Before that, he played in the Majors for 14 seasons, including one season with the Rangers (1989-90).

Random other stuff
The Rangers have several holes they need to fill this off-season, just like every other Major League baseball team.

The main things are:
1) Sign Cliff Lee or another top-of-the-rotation starter
2) Extend Ron Washington (done)
3) Find a big-name catcher
4) Re-sign Vlad or find another big bat to add to the lineup
5) Find another hitting coach (done)
6) find a righty to share 1st base with/back up Moreland

Two of those six have already been taken care of, and the Cliff Lee situation will probably be up in the air for quite a while.

I would personally like to see Bengie Molina and Matt Treanor sharing the backstop duties for the Rangers next year, but Bengie is looking at possibly retiring.

The Rangers were thought to be going hard after Victor Martinez of the Red Sox, but it was released earlier today that he is close to a deal with Detroit. John Buck was another big name on the market, but he was signed by the Florida Marlins 5 days ago.

I’m not really sure what other front-line catchers are still up for grabs, bit it’s sad to see the Rangers lose out on V-Mart.

Tomorrow is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents. The Rangers have 4 free agents: Frank Francisco, Vladimir Guerrero, Cliff Lee, and Bengie Molina.

Cliff Lee is a given, because he will net 2 draft picks if he signs elsewhere, and if he accepts arbitration (which he won’t), it would only be for a 1-year contract. He wants a multi-year deal with a no-trade clause.

The only question I have is: if we end up signing Cliff Lee to a multi-year deal, do we still get the 2 draft picks? Hmm…

They might offer arbitration to Vlad, because they want him back, but only for a 1-year contract. He wants a multi-year deal, so he may not accept. But if he does accept, the Rangers may have to pay him significantly more than the $6.5 mil he earned this year.

I don’t know about Frankie Frank. I really wish they would just get rid of him, but for some crazy reason, the Rangers’ higher-ups seem to love him.

Bengie is unknown, because as I said earlier, he may want to retire.

Okay, I’m tired now. That’s all I got. Have a happy Thanksgiving!!!

Ouch!

Oh man, that was painful. I hate feeling that helpless.

Every night that the Rangers play, I’m hoping for a win. It’s never a guarantee. But when your team is up 6-1 going into the 6th inning, you feel like they have a pretty good chance of coming away with the W.

I guess the Rangers forgot that they were playing the Yankees last night. No lead is safe.

Cliff Lee got the start for the Rangers, going up against Javier Vazquez. And Cliff gave a very “Cliff Lee” performance for the first 6 innings. It’s just that we’re used to seeing a very good 8 or 9 innings from Cliff, and last night that didn’t happen.

The Rangers scored first in the bottom of the 1st inning, and then the Yanks even up the score 1-1 in the top of the 4th.

In the bottom of the 4th, Josh Hamilton led off with a double. Two outs later, Josh was still standing on 2nd base when the Yankees decided to intentionally walk David Murphy. I guess they learned their lesson from the night before!

Bengie Molina drew an unintentional walk next, loading the bases. Then Mitch Moreland stepped in and hit a 2-RBI infield single, putting the Rangers up 3-1. Nice!

In the bottom of the 5th, Elvis Andrus led off the inning with a single, followed by another single from Michael Young and a double from Josh Hamilton. 4-1 Rangers, no outs, men on 2nd and 3rd.

Vlad came up next and grounded out. Then Nelson Cruz got a single to load the bases, followed by a 2-RBI single by David Murphy. 6-1 Rangers!

Next came Bengie Molina, who popped out to right field. Nelly made a dumb move after that by trying to tag up at 2nd base and advance to 3rd, but he was out by about 10 feet, ending the inning (and the Rangers’ scoring).

It would have been nice if the rally had been allowed to continue, because as it turns out, 5 runs wasn’t enough of a lead. And the Rangers didn’t score any more runs in the game.

In the 6th inning, Cliff Lee started running into a little bit of trouble. He allowed a lead-off triple to Derek Jeter, and they Jeter was able to score on a wild pitch. 6-2 Rangers.

But Cliff seemed to settle down after that, and he struck out the next 3 batters to end the 6th.

In the bottom of the 7th, Cliff started running into a lot of trouble, which is extremely unusual for him. He allowed a double to Robinson Cano to start off the inning, then he struck out Jorge Posada.

After that, he gave up a single to Austin Kearns. Men on 1st and 3rd, 1 out. If it had been anyone on the mound other than Cliff Lee, Wash probably would have pulled him right there. But Cliff Lee gets a longer leash. As he should.

Then Lance Berkman hit a ground rule double (the ball bounced over the fence), which scored Cano. 6-3 Rangers, men on 2nd and 3rd, one out. The last straw was when Brett Gardner hit a single to center field, allowing Austin Kearns to score.

6-4 Rangers, men on 1st and 3rd, one out. And Cliff Lee was done after 6 1/3 innings.

Darren O’Day came in to strike out Jeter, then Wash brought in Darren Oliver, who struck out Nick Swisher, ending the torturous inning.

But the damage was already done. And it would only get worse.

Frankie Frank came in to pitch the 8th inning, and he immediately gave up a solo home run to Marcus Thames. Just like last night. Only last night it was A-Rod who hit a solo homer to start off the 8th inning.

When is Ron Washington going to realize that this year’s Frank Francisco is not last year’s Frank Francisco?? Yes, he was our closer last year, and a good one at that. But this year, he just doesn’t have it.

Frankie struck out A-Rod next, then he walked Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada back to back. Due to the Rangers’ defensive prowess, they got of of the inning by turning a double play. But the home run Frankie allowed put the score at 6-5 Rangers going into the bottom of the 8th.

We already know that the Rangers didn’t score in the 8th (or 9th), because I said earlier that their 5th inning rally was the last time the Rangers scored for the night. Onto the top of the 9th.

Neftali Feliz came in to pitch (of course), and I was a little scared because of the one-run margin, but not very scared because I knew that even if the Yankees scored, we would still have the bottom of the 9th and even extra innings, if necessary.

Besides, Neftali hadn’t blown a save since May (3 months ago)! No problem, right? Wrong.

Neffy walked the first batter he faced, Lance Berkman. Then he gave up a single to Brett Gardner, followed by a single by Derek Jeter. Jeter’s hit allowed one run to score, tying the game up 6-6.

Nick Swisher was the next batter, and he struck out. He was the last batter that Neftali saw, and Wash opted instead for Alexi Ogando. 6-6, men on 1st and 3rd, one out.

Ogando allowed a single to Marcus Thames, which put the Yankees over the top 7-6. Ogando struck out A-Rod, then there was yet another pitching change.

This time Wash went with Matt Harrison, and he struck out Robinson Cano. Then it was the Rangers turn to… do nothing.

Mariano Rivera come in to pitch the bottom of the 9th, but that wasn’t as scary because the Rangers beat Mo the night before.

Elvis Andrus hit a lead-off triple, which gave the crowd a burst of energy. But unfortunately Elvis had to stand on 3rd base as Michael Young got a shallow fly ball out, and then Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero both grounded out. Game over.

The Rangers are off tonight, and I don’t know if they need it, but I sure do. Even though it was only a 2-game series with the Yankees, both games were emotionally exhausting. I’m excited to watch some mindless television tonight and recuperate.

Something good happened for the Rangers today, though. The Greenberg/Ryan group (Rangers Baseball Express) were officially approved this morning, so the team has actually changed hands! Goodbye, Tom Hicks! Don’t let the screen door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!

Tomorrow night it’s Tommy Hunter (9-1, 3.01 ERA) against the Red Sox Josh Beckett (3-2, 6.21 ERA). According to the numbers, Tommy should dominate, but Josh Beckett has been an excellent pitcher in the past. This season, he’s just missed 2 months because of a back strain.

I remember last year when Tommy Hunter went up against Josh Beckett in Arlington, and Tommy did a beautiful job and ended up getting the win. That was July 21, 2009. Let’s see if he can do it 2 years in a row!

Overall Rangers’ record: 65-48
My Rangers’ record: 13-7
Days ’til my next game: 2

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

NLCS Game 1, Arizona Fall League

Last night was Game 1 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS) between the Phillies and the Dodgers. And my hex was broken, because the Phillies won!
Clayton Kershaw
I don’t know if it was just because I was baseball-starved, but I thought last night’s game was really good! Clayton Kershaw was the starting pitcher for the Dodgers, and Cole Hamels took the mound for the Phillies.
Cole Hamels
Kershaw lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 4 hits, 5(!) walks, and 3(!) wild pitches while getting 3 strike-outs. Hamels went 5 1/3 innings and gave up 4 earned runs on 8 hits and 1 walk, with 4 strike-outs.
James Loney
The Dodgers scored first on a solo home run by James Loney in the bottom of the 2nd inning, so they were leading 1-0. Then, in the top of the 5th inning, the Phillies came roaring back to score 5 runs, all the property of Clayton Kershaw.
Carlos Ruiz
With 2 men on and no outs in the top of the 5th, Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies catcher, stepped up to the plate and belted out a 3-run homer to vault the Phillies to a 3-1 lead. But they weren’t done yet!
Ryan Howard
After Ryan Howard got a 2-run double with 2 outs in the 5th inning, Joe Torre finally pulled Clayton Kershaw, and the Phillies went into the bottom of the 9th with a 5-1 lead. I don’t know about the Phillies players, but I was feeling pretty confident with a 4-run lead. I should have known better. The Dodgers are a great team, a playoff team, and this is a playoff game. There are no easy wins once you get to this level.
Manny Ramirez
The Dodgers didn’t stay down for long. Cole Hamels gave up 3 runs in the bottom of the frame to bring the score to 5-4, and the Dodgers were back within a run. Manny Ramirez was responsible for a couple of those runs with a 2-run homer in the inning. And the Phillies lead was no longer comfortable.
Raul Ibanez
In the top of the 8th inning, Raul Ibañez hit the Phillies’s second 3-run homer of the night to help the Phillies breathe a little easier. 8-4 Phillies.
But then the Dodgers came back again in the bottom of the inning with 2 more runs, scaring the Phillies again. The Phils couldn’t add any more insurance runs in the top of the 9th inning, so they went into the bottom of the 9th leading 8-6. Which is not enough of a lead to feel comfortable going against the Dodgers in the bottom of the 9th.
Matt Kemp
And sure enough, the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter in the 9th inning (Matt Kemp) got a single. Uh-oh. But, miraculously, the next batter (Casey Blake) grounded into a double play, clearing the bases and putting the Phillies only one out away from a Game 1 victory! Whew! Then James Loney walked. Oh no. But then Ronnie Belliard flied out, and the game was over! Phils win!
The announcers of last night’s game pointed out that in the past 17 years, the team who won Game 1 of the NLCS was the team that went to the World Series 14 times. That’s promising!
Vicente Padilla
Today’s pitching matchup: Pedro Martinez for the Phillies against Vicente Padilla for the Dodgers. Eww, Padilla. Interestingly enough, Pedro Martinez used to be a Dodger, so he’ll be pitching against his old team. Go Phillies!
Marcus Lemon
In other news, I finally got some information on the Arizona Fall League. Our boys are on a team called the Surprise Rafters, and it includes Brennan Garr (P, Frisco), Matt Harrison (P, Rangers DL this season), Danny Gutierrez (P, Frisco), Evan Reed (P, Bakersfield Blaze), Tanner Scheppers (P), Marcus Lemon (2B, Frisco), Mitch Moreland (RF, Frisco), Doug Hogan (C, Blaze), and batting coach Brant Brown (Frisco).
The Surprise Rafters of the Arizona Fall League are undefeated at 3-0! There are apparently 6 teams in the Arizona Fall League, and they’re divided into the AFL East and the AFL West, each with 3 teams. And our Rangers’ prospects are leading their division (the AFL West)! Yay! 🙂
 
Originally published October 16, 2009

Sunday night’s RoughRiders’ game

[Sorry for the different sizes of photographs. Some came from my camera and some came from Richard Durrett]

A few weeks ago, I read on the Dallas Morning News’ Rangers’ Blog about a special ticket deal that they were doing for Rangers’ bloggers. And who has a blog about the Rangers? Why, I do, of course! 🙂 For $15, you could get seats right by the RoughRiders dugout, all-you-can-eat hotdogs/burgers/chicken sandwiches/chips/drinks, and a special meet-and-greet with Blake Beavan before the game. Sound familiar?
Blake Beavan
No, of course it doesn’t. No one actually reads this thing. I’m doing it for my own amusement. Anyway, it sounded remarkably similar to the deal we got when we went with Evan Grant to see a RoughRiders’ game a few weeks ago. With Evan, the tickets were free, but the food wasn’t, so I spent about the same amount of money. And the last time I met Blake, I didn’t get to get his autograph, but I DID THIS TIME!! YAY!!!
 
Since this game was scheduled for a Sunday night, I knew my dad wouldn’t be able to go, since he works till 8:00 on Sundays. And most of my other friends are sick of my baseball obsession, so I decided to be a big girl and go by myself. And maybe I could meet some other people who are as obsessed with baseball as I am, and I wouldn’t feel so crazy!
 
Blake Beavan (in the gray)
First was the Q&A with Blake Beavan. We were in one of those outside seating areas with picnic tables all around, and he and Richard Durrett (the DMN Rangers’ Blog guy) were just sitting at a table kind of in the middle. There were some other fans just sitting around eating before the game, with no idea that one of the team’s starting pitchers was sitting among them. And how would they know? He wasn’t wearing his uniform; he was in regular clothes (a polo shirt and jeans).
Richard started off by asking Blake some questions, and then Richard said he didn’t want to be the one asking all the questions; he wanted us to get in there too. I was sitting at a table kind of in front of Blake, with two other guys that I didn’t know. Richard looked right at the guys and said, “Come on, guys, I know you have some questions.” But they didn’t say anything, so I piped up. “How many pitches do you have, and are you working on developing any more pitches right now?” Richard obviously didn’t expect this from me, and he looked at me and nodded with raised eyebrows, kind of like “wow, I’m impressed! Good question!”
 
Blake Beavan
Of course I wasn’t able to process most of the answer, because I was looking at Blake Beavan, and oh my gosh. I remember he said that he had 4 pitches: a 2-seamer, a 4-seamer, and 2 others I don’t remember. He’s not really working on any other pitches specifically right now, but he’s always trying to improve the pitches he has. He said that he’ll probably want to try and develop a 5th pitch somewhere down the road, but not now. Maybe a slider or something? I don’t remember. I think I picked my chin up off the ground long enough to mutter something like, “Four sounds like a good number to me.” Stupid! He’s freakin’ 20 years old!! He was born in 1989. He’s waaaay too young for me. But I have this weakness for guys who are in the 6’4″/6’5″ range height-wise. And man, is he pretty!
Blake Beavan
Anyway, I learned a lot of stuff from the questions people asked, but I know that no one reads my blog anyway, so it’s kind of pointless to go over it all in detail right now.
The highlights:
-Blake has a pitching regimin worked out for him by his pitching coach that he follows during the off-season
-He practices with Kevin Millwood (Rangers’ starting pitcher) during the off-season
-His goal is to make his big-league debut at 21 years old
-During the season, they have to throw bullpen sessions of about 50-60 pitches on some of their off days, so they don’t get 5 full days of rest. At most, it’s 3 days of rest.
-On some of the games when he doesn’t start, he has to “chart” during the game instead of hanging out in the dugout/bullpen with his teammates. I asked him what “charting” was, but I didn’t get most of the answer, because he was standing next to me at that point and I was looking at his eyes atop his 6’5″ frame. Oh my! But from what I gathered, it’s kind of like keeping score. They have to track everything that happens in the game.
Blake Beavan
After I got Blake to autograph a baseball for me, he was just standing there looking bored, and I didn’t want to leave yet, so I hung back. Everybody else was leaving to go get food, and that’s when I asked him why he wasn’t wearing his uniform, and he told me about charting. As I was talking to him, another girl/lady walked up with something for him to sign. She didn’t have a pen, so I loaned her one of my stolen Olive Garden pens. And that’s how I met Sara!
 
yeah, I’m the fat one on the left! 🙂
Since I was there by myself, I knew I needed to open up and talk to people. So we started talking on the way to get something to eat, and she mentioned how nice Blake Beavan is to look at. A girl after my own heart! I soon realized that she is like me: someone who is very interested in the game, but also enjoys stopping to take in the scenery along the way. And when I’m with my dad, I can’t say stuff like that.
 
I just want to take a moment to address the fact that I have loved baseball since before I was aware that it sometimes happens to be filled with attractive guys. At 11 years old, I wasn’t looking at Pudge saying, “ooh, he’s hot!” Ugh. I still don’t say that. Sorry, Pudge, but the love I have for you is purely from your performance on the field. I have always been pretty good at separating my “crushes” on players from their performance in the game. Although you’re always a little bit prouder when the player you think is cute does a good job on the field. 🙂
 
Inside the RoughRiders’ dugout
Okay, enough of that. On to the game. I soon realized that I was sitting all by myself, with no one in the seats surrounding me. Geez, do I smell or something?? I thought all the DMN blog seats would be together. I watched the first couple of innings, but then I got bored, so I went to find Sara. The seat next to her was empty, so I sat there for the rest of the game and we talked for most of the game, about baseball and the players and about life in general. Aww, good times! I made a new baseball friend! The picture to the left was taken when I walked down and snuck a peak inside the RoughRiders’ dugout.
The RoughRiders ended up shutting out the Midland RockHounds 7-0, and Johnny Whittleman had a 3-run homer! I found out about an interesting tradition that they have at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, where they take up a collection for a player if he gets a home run, because those poor minor league guys get no money. I wish I’d had more cash on me, but I chipped in all I had, which was a dollar. I thought that was really cool!
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
I had heard during Saturday night’s radio broadcast of the Rangers’ game that Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Rangers’ catcher, would be making a rehab start with the Frisco Roughriders on Sunday. [He’s been on the 15-day DL with a mild case of Thorasic Outlet Syndrome.] And sure enough, he was there! I really would have loved to have the opportunity to get his autograph, but I never really got an opportunity. This is a picture I took of Salty’s first at-bat, but you can’t really tell it’s him. Oh well.

Batting Coach Brant Brown, Salty, and Chad Tracy (1B)
I could have easily walked up to Salty while he was in the dugout, but the players aren’t allowed to sign autographs during the games. I know this because I tried. Well, not with Salty, but with Jose Diaz, a pitcher. I recognized Diaz from a tv show I watched chronicling one of the RoughRiders’ road trips earlier this season. But no dice; I wasn’t able to get the autograph from Diaz. I looked for Salty after the game, but he came out after the 7th inning, and he must have snuck back to the clubhouse when I wasn’t looking. This picture is just before Salty’s 2nd at-bat. He was 0-for-2 on the night with a walk and a run scored.
 
Salty behind the plate 
 The game was scoreless through 5 innings, and it seemed like a very long game. Not that that was bad! I really enjoyed myself, and normally “time flies when you’re having fun.” Last night’s weather was fabulous too. The temperature was in the 80’s at the beginning of the game and in the 70’s at the end of the game, with not too much humidity and a light breeze. Perfect!
Marcus Lemon
 After the game, I tried to get some autographs, but most of the players just headed off the field. Marcus Lemon (the 2nd baseman for the RoughRiders) stayed, and he was very nice to the fans. There was a dad was there with his little boy, and Marcus had a couple of baseball bats that he was carrying. And he gave one of the bats to the little boy! Aww!
 
Marcus Lemon is a name I’ve heard thrown around quite a bit when I’ve heard people talk about Rangers’ prospects. But unfortunately, since he’s a 2nd baseman and our infield is pretty much sewn up for the near future, he may have to get traded to another team to see any big league playing time. He signed a baseball for me. Really nice guy.
 
Johnny Whittleman came over for a little while to join Marcus in signing autographs, but left soon after. He is normally the RoughRiders’ 3rd baseman, but he was DHing last night. And in the 8th inning, he got a 3-run homer to seal the deal for the ‘Riders! So I got the autographs of Blake Beavan, Marcus Lemon, and Johnny Whittleman last night, which join my growing collection of RoughRiders autographs along with Beau Jones and Mitch Moreland!