Tagged: Neal Cotts

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 26

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 7-0

Overall: 91-71  (2nd Place AL West) (-5)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Craig Gentry  .391/.462/.435, 1 Double, 3 RBI, 6 Stolen Bases

Alex Rios .346/.357/.654  3 Doubles, 1 Triple, 1 Home Run, 8 RBI, 3 Stolen Bases

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Mitch Moreland  .200/.333/.200

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

Texas Bullpen (Neal Cotts/Joe Nathan/Robbie Ross/Tanner Scheppers/Joakim Soria/Jason Frasor):  22 Games, 5-0 with 3 Saves, 20.2 Innings Pitched, 10 Hits, 1 Run, 7 Walks, 27 Strikeouts

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Alexi Ogando  3 Runs, 8 Hits Allowed in 5.1 Innings Pitched

The Texas Rangers have not qualified for the post-season, but thanks to an incredible last week of the season, they are guaranteed a 163rd game.

Say what you will about Texas getting to stay home the entire last week of the season to face the only two teams they dominated all season, they still needed every one of the seven straight wins they put together on the week to qualify for even this 163rd game. The Monday night match-up with the Tampa Bay Rays is not officially a play-off game, it’s actually a regular season game, with all stats counting towards the regular season total. Win tonight and THEN the Rangers can say they’ve made the post-season for the 4th year in a row.

Even with a 7-0 week, the Rangers weren’t the hottest team in the American League. That honor went to the Wild Card bound Cleveland Indians, who will take on the winner of tonight’s Texas-Tampa Bay game on Wednesday while riding a 9 game winning streak. The Indians dominated their week against the two lowest-ranked teams in the AL Central and Minnesota in particular seemed to just roll over against the hot Tribe. By the way, I want to meet the guy who could have said with certainty four months ago that the Indians would make the playoffs sporting a rotation that included Ubaldo Jiminez and Scott Kazmir.

Thanks to the Rays dropping two of their three games with the Blue Jays, the Rangers get to play the Rays tonight with rookie Martin Perez getting the start against David Price. The game will see the return of Nelson Cruz, who has now finished serving his 50-game Biogenesis-related suspension. Cruz will likely be the DH against the Rays. If Texas loses tonight, Cruz will be back for one game and then possibly no longer be a Ranger, as he heads into free agency after the season.

Seven days ago, I didn’t think I’d have anything more to write about in terms of play on the field after today’s wrap-up of the week. I am happy to say I will have more to write, at least for another day.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 23

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 2-4

Overall: 81-61  (2nd Place AL West) (-1.5)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Elvis Andrus   .462/.429/.769  1 Double, 1 Home Run, 4 RBI and 2 Stolen Bases

Alex Rios  .429/.500/.952  2 Doubles, 3 Home Runs, 5 RBI

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Adrian Beltre  .130/.231/.130

Ian Kinsler  .214/.214/.286  0 Walks, 6 Strikeouts in 28 At Bats

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

7/10 of the Rangers Bullpen (Neal Cotts/Alexi Ogando/Joakim Soria/Joe Nathan/Jason Frasor/Tanner Scheppers/Neftali Feliz): 13 Games, 11.1 IP, 9 Hits, 0 Runs, 2 Walks, 8 Strikeouts  1-0 with 1 Save

Martin Perez  1-0, 1.29 ERA 1.14 WHIP, 5 Strikeouts in 7 Innings Pitched

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

3/5 of the Starting Rotation (Yu Darvish/Derek Holland/Matt Garza) 4 Games, 0-4 Record, 22.1 IP, 27 Hits, 17 Earned Runs (23 Total Runs), 12 Walks, 13 Strikeouts, 6 Home Runs Allowed


If there’s one thing we know about the Texas Rangers, they are a streaky team. 
After a torrid August, September is not going well. The offense is once again sputtering and this past week, the starting pitching decided to head south after a long streak of success. While it was not optimal for Texas to lose two of three to the front-running Oakland A’s to start the week, it wasn’t embarrassing either, as they were playing on the road in Oakland, where Texas has not played well the past few years. No, what was embarrassing was practically getting swept in Anaheim by the Angels, against whom Texas was 10-2 on the season entering the series. Only a late rally on Sunday kept the Angels from sending Texas 2 1/2 back of Oakland with only 20 games to go. Instead it stands at 1 1/2.

If there’s good news, it’s that the Rangers aren’t the only streaky team in the AL West. The A’s showed just last month they can go into funks of their own,as evidenced by the 10-game swing in the standings over a 3-week period in August. Still, three games ago Texas had their destiny in their hands with a 1/2 game lead. A week later and it’s Oakland that has the momentum in their favor. It doesn’t help that Oakland faces off with the lowly Minnesota Twins the first three days of the week while the Rangers square off at home against likely playoff-bound Pittsburgh. This series has me a little torn. I know the Rangers need to sweep this series to keep the heat on Oakland. On the other hand, I am so stoked for the Pirates and their fans that they are one win away from clinching their first over-.500 campaign in 21 years. I’m also a fan of Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who served as the Rangers’ hitting coach for the 2010 World Series team.

No matter how you slice it, Texas needs to follow up two consecutive 2-4 weeks with a 4-2 or 5-1 showing against Pittsburgh and Oakland. The weekend series with the A’s is the last regular season meeting between the two clubs. Anything worse than 2-1 against the A’s means a likely second place finish in the AL West.  Texas, it’s time to pull on your big boy pants.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 22

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 4-2

Overall: 79-57  (1st Place AL West) (+1)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Elvis Andrus   .421/.450/.474  1 Double, 4 RBI

Ian Kinsler .360/.385/.400  1 Double, 3 Stolen Bases

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Jurickson Profar  .174/.240/.348  (But he did have a home run)

Leonys Martin  .174/.208/.304  (But he did have a home run and 5 RBI)

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

7/9 of the Rangers Bullpen (Neal Cotts/Robbie Ross/Joakim Soria/Joe Nathan/Jason Frasor/Tanner Scheppers/Neftali Feliz): 16 Games, 16 IP, 11 Hits, 0 Runs, 3 Walks, 19 Strikeouts  2-0 with 1 Save

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Travis Blackley  5.23 ERA  6 Earned Runs in 10.1 Innings Pitched


It was a wasted week. Again.
Once again the Rangers had a winning week at 4-2, but this time they lost a game and a half in the standings. Texas followed up a great road sweep of the Mariners only to come home and lay an egg in front of the home crowd against the lowly Minnesota Twins. Meanwhile, the second place A’s proved they’re up to the task of repeating as AL West champions by taking three out of four from the Detroit Tigers ON THE ROAD, then came home and swept the Wild Card-contending Tampa Bay Rays. Ron Washington is always quick to say his team can’t worry about what other teams are doing. If they take care of their own business, everything will be OK. Against the Twins, Texas didn’t take care of their own business.

Rangers Hall of Famer Jim Sundberg tweeted over the weekend that, with big series coming up, it’s natural for contending teams to look ahead a bit. I hope that’s the case because the Rangers and A’s are head to head the next three days and Texas needs to bring its A game (or A’s game, as it were). I stated last week it was important for Texas to go into September with a 4 game or more lead because the schedule this month favors the A’s. With a one game lead today instead of four you can officially label me as skeptical about my team winning the West in 2013. This week, it’s six games on the West Coast: three at Oakland followed by three games at Los Angeles. Oakland is at home all week against the Rangers and the Astros. Texas needs to take two of three against Oakland and, dare I say it, sweep the Angels. Anything less and this time next week I’ll probably be talking about the second place Rangers. I hate to talk about the second place Rangers.

On the positive side, welcome back Neftali Feliz! The man whose image is indelibly frozen in my brain when he struck A-Rod out looking to end the 2010 ALCS and send the Rangers to their first World Series returned to Texas Sunday after the long recovery from Tommy John surgery. Feliz threw two scoreless innings against the Twins. His velocity isn’t where it was a couple of years ago but he mixed his pitches well. I’ll pit the Rangers bullpen against just about any team in baseball. The offense is another question altogether,

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Week 21

Rangers primary logo

Here’s a wrap-up of the past week that was in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous week of play.

Rangers Record: 4-2

Overall: 75-55  (1st Place AL West) (+2.5)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Adrian Beltre   .350/.480/.750    2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 4 RBI, 5 Walks

Ian Kinsler .364/.400/.500  1 Home Run, 6 RBI

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Jurickson Profar  .188/.350/.313

Leonys Martin  .222/.391/.222

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

5/7 of the Rangers Bullpen (Neal Cotts/Robbie Ross/Joakim Soria/Joe Nathan/Jason Frasor): 11 Games, 11.2 IP, 5 Hits, 0 Runs, 2 Walks, 16 Strikeouts  2-0 with 1 Save

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Matt Garza  5.93 ERA  9 Earned Runs (10 Total) in 13.2 Innings Pitched


It was a wasted week. 
You might think that strange considering the Rangers had a winning week at 4-2 and went from a half game up in the standings to two and a half up on the second place Oakland A’s, but it was indeed a wasted week. Why? Because Texas should have a three and a half game lead entering play today. The Rangers pushed the lead to 3 1/2 after Friday’s win over the Chicago White Sox, then couldn’t win either Saturday or Sunday with Yu Darvish and Matt Garza on the mound. The A’s went 1-1 in that span against Baltimore. It was a prime opportunity for Texas to add some space and they blew it. The offense could only score four runs over the last two games of the week and Garza turned in another lackluster performance to boot.

Every game counts in this stretch because the strength of schedule favors Oakland in the September stretch drive. Now is the time Texas has to go into overdrive because the A’s are certainly going to make another push soon. The Rangers have to take advantage against the Mariners this week while the A’s have to contend with the Detroit Tigers on the road. It won’t be easy for the Rangers, as they have to face both Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma in the three game set, not to mention Rangers killer Kyle Seager, who has 11 doubles and four home runs against Texas this season. It doesn’t matter how difficult the chore, they have to take two of three at Seattle this week and follow it up by taking at least two of three at home against the Twins while the A’s host Tampa Bay. The lead is two and a half games now. It needs to increase to four or five games by Sunday. If it’s less than four, there’s still a very good chance the A’s will once again win the AL West. If it’s four games or more, the odds tip over to the Texas side of the ledger.

Texas Rangers Caliente y Frio: Weeks 16/17

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Here’s a wrap-up of the past two weeks that were in Texas Rangers baseball. All stats listed are just for the previous two weeks of play.

Rangers Record: 2-8

Overall: 56-49  (2nd Place AL West) (-6)

Jalapeno Caliente (Offense):

Elvis Andrus   .333/.415/.389   2 Doubles, 4 Walks, 3 Stolen Bases

Raspa Frio (Offense):

Mitch Moreland  .056/.128/.139   2 hits in 36 at bats with 11 strikeouts

Nelson Cruz  .171/.256/.343

Dishonorable Mentions: Adrian Beltre .225, A.J. Pierzynski .220, Leonys Martin .231 and Ian Kinsler .237

Jalapeno Caliente (Pitching):

Matt Garza  1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.68 WHIP

Neal Cotts  5 IP with 0 Hits Allowed

Raspa Frio (Pitching):

Martin Perez  0-1, 10 Earned Runs in 9.1 Innings Pitched

Ross Wolf  0-1, 10 Earned Runs in 7 Innings Pitched

The wheels on the bus fall off and off. Just when the pitching staff returns to some semblance of order, the offense just totally falls off the map. While it was known the Texas offense would fall off with the departures of Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young, I don’t think anyone could have foretold the current state of the Rangers offense. Texas opened up the second half with a 7-game home stand and only managed to win two games, getting swept by the Orioles and splitting four against the equally offensively challenged New York Yankees. Hitting the road, the Rangers were swept in Cleveland for the first time in 33 years. It was no sin to get shut out by Justin Masterson on Saturday, but the Rangers followed that up by getting blanked by Ubaldo Jimenez Sunday, causing a post-game closed-door meeting in which Rangers manager Ron Washington reportedly held the floor for 40 minutes. The tongue-lashing was probably necessary, but it doesn’t bode well for a team when there are two of these closed-door meetings in a span of just six weeks. Something has happened to this team and it’s anyone’s guess what it is. Too many youngsters? A lack of leadership among the players? Players not holding each other accountable?

Adding insult to injury, Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers was assaulted Thursday night (or early Friday morning depending on your definition) on the way back to the team hotel. Scheppers told police he was blindsided on the street for no reason. Witnesses say he lost a bar fight, one which he instigated himself. I don’t know the truth, but I DO know it’s NEVER a good thing when something happens to you at 2:30 in the morning. The odds are pretty good Scheppers (and reportedly Joe Nathan and A.J. Pierzynski) was at a bar and somebody didn’t take kindly to something.

Oh, yeah and now reports say the Rangers have shopped Joe Nathan around to see if it might bring something good in return. There’s no question the offense needs some help but would one bat be enough? It sure doesn’t look like it right now. The head honcho at one fan site went so far as to say maybe the Rangers should flip Garza after one start and start rebuilding for next year now. I can see a possible Nathan trade, since Joakim Soria could easily move into the closers role. Flipping Garza right after getting him would be equivalent to throwing in the towel on 2013 and I don’t think anyone in the Rangers organization is ready to do that yet.

If things are going to change for the Rangers, it has to start happening this week. The Rangers open with a three game home stand against the suddenly Albert Pujols-less Los Angeles Angels, followed by a single make-up game Thursday at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks, then three on the road at Oakland against the first place A’s. Texas not only needs to get back into pennant contention, they’re also at the rear of the Wild Card race. Starting tonight, we’ll see if Wash’s tirade in Cleveland makes any difference.

Garzantuan? Garzilla vs. The Evil Empire? What Play On Words Will Work?

Cliff Lee July 10, 2010

IP            H             R             ER           BB           SO          HR          ERA

9              9              6              6              0              2              3              6.00

Ryan Dempster August 2, 2012

IP            H             R             ER           BB           SO          HR          ERA

4.2          9              8              8              3              6              2              15.42

Matt Garza July 24, 2013

IP            H             R             ER           BB           SO          HR          ERA

7.1          5              1              0              0              5              0              0.00

Guess which one of these three Rangers fans took to right away? Besides the obvious love of getting the win, besides the fact Garza gave up no earned runs, Matt Garza’s debut was notable in one other way. It was the first game since May 30th in which the Rangers pitching staff didn’t give up a walk, a span of 47 games.

Another noteworthy accomplishment: Ron Washington is known for assigning innings to his relievers. Closer Joe Nathan pitches the 9th inning beginning to end. Thus it was surprising to the Rangers faithful to see Wash go against the grain Wednesday night, keeping Neal Cotts in to face (and retire) the first two batters of the inning. Nathan was then brought on to get the third and final out of the inning and the game.

Matt Garza had an incredibly successful debut as a Ranger, the most successful since John Burkett tossed a shutout in his first Texas start in 1996. What does he get for an encore? A match-up against Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels Monday night. Should be fun.

Garza & Count

 

Interesting Moves

Plenty of moves made by the Texas Rangers today, most of them of the unexpected variety.

The first day of the International Signing Period was today and the Rangers were far busier than even the most aggressive fans would have thought. The rules have changed under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement as it applies to Latin American players. In the past, teams could spend as much as they liked on as many international players as they’d like (usually from Latin America), as long as they were eligible. Texas has been among the freest of spenders on Latin American talent. It has netted them Jurickson Profar, baseball’s #1 prospect and current utility player; Martin Perez, now in the starting rotation; Alexi Ogando, a starting pitcher now on the DL; and a whole slew of players working their way through the minor league system.

This year, the rules have changed. Teams are given a cap on how much they can spend on Latin American players and the cap varies depending on the parent club’s fortunes in the standings. The Houston Astros can spend the most, the Rangers are among the teams who can spend the least. It’s also complicated. Teams can acquire more money to spend via trades. At least one club already has done that this year. If clubs go over their cap, they not only have to play a luxury tax, they’re penalized the following year.

Count the Rangers as a team in the penalty box. Today they’ve already signed SS Yeyson Yrizarry (Baseball America’s #7 International prospect), RHP Marcos Diplan (BA’s #6), OF Jose Almonte (MLB.com’s #13) and SS Michael DeLeon (BA’s #26 prospect) for a combined total of over $5 million. Texas didn’t make any deals to acquire more cap money. Their cap budget was $1.94 million, so they’re already at least $3 million over the cap. Texas will have to pay an extra luxury tax of  100% (another $3 million) PLUS in next year’s signing period, the most they’ll be allowed to sign a prospect for will be $250,000. If an International Player Draft comes to pass, Texas would pay the luxury tax PLUS lose their first round pick in the 2014 and 2015 drafts. Texas has apparently decided to go all in this year and look elsewhere next year, probably to Japan or on a Cuban defector, neither of which is a part of the International pool of players.

As if this wasn’t interesting enough, the big league club made a move today that is very curious, designating RHP Kyle McClellan for assignment and recalling RHP Josh Lindblom from AAA Round Rock. McClellan was certainly a candidate to be DFA’d. After a decent start, allowing one run over 4 innings in his first three appearances, McClellan gave up runs in each of his next four outings, 7 in all in only 5.1 innings. Not a surprise there at all. What’s curious is the timing. Curiosity #1: Texas is playing Seattle and Houston this week, two teams on the lower end of the league. It’s pretty safe to assume Rangers starters will be able to go longer over the next six games, thus taxing the bullpen less. In other words, McClellan probably would only be needed once at best this week. Curiosity #2: Why was Lindblom brought up to replace him? He’s been a starter all year, including 4 starts for the Rangers. Why convert him to the bullpen now, especially when it’s doubtful he’ll be needed much this week? Curiosity #3: Rumor has it Joakim Soria is about ready to be activated by the

Joakim Soria

Joakim Soria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rangers, perhaps in time for the Astros series this weekend. The former Royals closer will go in back to back outings for Frisco Wednesday and Thursday. As long as those outings go well, and Soria has already tossed 5 scoreless innings in rehab thus far, he’ll be deemed ready to go. That would have been the time to DFA McClellan. Lastly is Curiosity #4: When Soria is activated, who will be the player to go? Lindblom? Why bring him up just for four days? Ross Wolf? He hasn’t done anything to deserve a demotion. Those are the only possibilities in the bullpen. Possibly Nick Tepesch or Justin Grimm could go down to Round Rock, with Lindblom moving into their starting role, but that’s pretty much a lateral move that doesn’t improve the ballclub much, if at all.

The only thing that makes much sense is we’re about to see an unexpected disabled list move on the pitching staff, maybe Tanner Scheppers, who insists he’s healthy yet had horrible command on Sunday. Or we’re about to see the first mid-season trade go down, one that changes the face of the pitching staff. Maybe Robbie Ross or Neal Cotts will find themselves part of a trade package.

Things will start shaking out the day Soria joins the Rangers. We’ll see how the dominos fall.