Rapid Reaction: Angels 3, Rangers 0

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
10:04
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers got a well-pitched game from Nick Tepesch but came up empty against Los Angeles Angels pitcher Garrett Richards in a 3-0 loss Friday night at Globe Life Park.

Richards limited Texas to five hits in seven shutout innings before turning it over to the bullpen.

The loss was the Rangers' sixth in a row and No. 20 in their last 23 games.

A few observations:

Strong outing: Tepesch pitched better than his statistical line might indicate. He retired the first 10 Angels before Mike Trout broke the string with a 418-foot home run into the Angels' bullpen. It was Trout's second home run of the series and 22nd of the season.

Two defensive plays Rangers infielders couldn't quite make cost Tepesch in the seventh. Shortstop Elvis Andrus just missed flagging down Albert Pujols' leadoff single. Josh Hamilton followed with a base hit off the outstretched glove of Rougned Odor. Erick Aybar followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead and that was the end of the night for Tepesch.

Reliever Neftali Feliz couldn't prevent an inherited runner from scoring.

That smarts!: Rookie Jake Smolinski, batting .571 so far after four starts, stayed in the game after being hit above the left elbow by a Richards pitch in the second inning and promptly made a hard slide into second, breaking up a potential double play. But Smolinski did not return to the field for the third inning because of a left elbow contusion. X-rays were negative.

Collision course: Ron Washington's motivational clubhouse meeting Thursday might have had something to do with a near collision of Rangers in the first inning. Right fielder Alex Rios came running in on Trout's fly to shallow right and second baseman Odor was sprinting out. Rios dived out of the way at the last moment and Odor may have inadvertently contacted Rios as he made the catch. Rios stayed in the game and had two hits.

Wasted chances: The Rangers stranded a runner in scoring position off Richards in five of the first six innings. Leonys Martin failed on two chances, grounding to second in the first and to first base in the third.

15 and counting: Adrian Beltre keeps validating the players' All-Star voting, which saw him on top among third basemen. Beltre extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a third-inning single to right. It is the longest active hitting streak in the American League. Beltre last had a 15-game streak in 2008 when he played for the Seattle Mariners. In the eighth with a man aboard, Beltre drove Trout to the wall with a deep fly out.

Contact problem: Designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo struck out three times for the second straight game.

Defensive gems: There were quite a few for Texas. Beltre made a nice stop of a tricky hop off the bat of Pujols to end the first. Daniel Robertson covered a lot of ground to chase down Hamilton's fly ball in the fourth. Robinson Chirinos made a perfect throw to Andrus, thwarting Aybar's attempted steal of second in the fourth. First baseman Carlos Pena robbed Kole Calhoun of extra bases by spearing his line drive in the sixth. The Rangers turned a snappy double play started by Beltre in the eighth. It had to be snappy to double up Trout.

Up next: The Rangers and Angels tangle in the third game of the four-game series at 6:15 p.m. CT Saturday with Rangers right-hander Miles Mikolas (0-1, 12.46 ERA) facing off against right-hander Jered Weaver (9-6, 3.50 ERA) at Globe Life Park on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox.
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Garrett Richards allowed five hits over seven innings to extend his personal winning streak to seven decisions as the Los Angeles Angels handed the Texas Rangers their sixth consecutive loss, 3-0 on Friday night.

Mike Trout provided Richards all the run support he needed with a solo home run in the fourth inning, his 22nd of the season.

Richards (11-2) is unbeaten in his last eight starts and the right-hander has an ERA of 1.27 during that span.

Albert Pujols and Erick Aybar had two hits each for Los Angeles, and Alex Rios had two for Texas.

Texas right-hander Nick Tepesch (3-5) retired the first 10 batters he faced before Trout sent a 1-0 sinker 418 feet to center field for the game's first run. Tepesch allowed two runs in the seventh.

The Rangers left eight men on base, including runners in scoring position in six innings.


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Washington's message centers on commitment

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
7:01
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington gave a little more insight Friday to the clubhouse meeting he called after Thursday's 15-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"Mainly, I want to see commitment," Washington said during his pregame media conference before Friday's game against the Angels. "They're giving the effort. Effort is when you hit a ground ball, you run it out. Or a fly ball, you go at it.

"Commitment is doing what the game asks you to do. Not doing something that somebody else has the ability to do and you don't. Commitment is not looking for a reward after doing what you're supposed to do.

"We're in the process of getting the new guys to understand what this means. It's a process. I've been in the process all my life. I want committed people. I don't want just one guy to get paid. I want all of us to get paid. And the only way that can happen, we've got to win."

Texas has lost five straight and 19 of 22 to fall to the bottom of the AL West standings.

Washington said he can live with a player who doesn't get the desired result when trying to do the right thing -- like taking a pitch or sacrificing an at-bat to get a runner over.

"If you do the right thing more times than not you'll get the results you're looking for," he said.

Washington said the Rangers' younger players have a role model in third baseman Adrian Beltre. Just as it was a few years before with Michael Young.

"In this game, showing what needs to be done is more important than telling them what needs to be done," the manager said.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus, unlike many of the newer Rangers, has heard Washington's words before in a clubhouse meeting.

"Everything he said is right," Andrus said. "Wash is super cool, but it got to the point where he needed say some things.

"He's always into it. He has passion. I'm all for it."

Andrus is back in the lineup after missing the last five innings of Thursday's 15-6 loss to the Angels when he tweaked his ankle turning a double play.

Dream start: Hot-hitting rookie Jake Smolinski, batting .571, draws his fourth straight start and his parents will once again be in the stands at Globe Life Park. He'll be in left field and bat sixth.

"This has been something I'll never forget," said Smolinski, now 8-for-14 at the plate with three doubles and four RBIs. "I don't want to get caught up in numbers. I just want to make sure I'm giving 100 percent and whatever happens, happens."

Smolinski has noticed the scouting reports are a lot better in the big leagues. And that it is difficult to track a line drive to left field at Globe Life Park before the sun sets.

Roster moves: The Rangers made a couple of moves on Friday, signing well-traveled 32-year-old right-handed pitcher Jerome Williams to a contract with Triple-A Round Rock and shifting outfielder Engel Beltre from Round Rock to Double-A Frisco to continue his rehab assignment.

Williams was recently released by the Astros. He also has played for the Giants, Cubs, Nationals, Twins, Dodgers, Athletics and Angels. His first start for Round Rock would likely be Sunday.

Rangers' Geovany Soto arrested

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
3:06
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto was arrested Wednesday night on a charge of marijuana possession in the town of Grapevine in northeast Tarrant County.

Soto, 31, was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana under two ounces, according to Sgt. Robert Eberling of the Grapevine Police Department. He was released on $500 bail.

"I was stopped by Grapevine Police on Wednesday night," Soto said in a statement released through the team. "I am embarrassed and would like to apologize to my family, the Rangers organization, and our fans that I was taken in on this charge.

"Because this is an ongoing case, I cannot discuss this matter any further at this time."

Soto has not played this season after injuring his left knee in March.

"The Rangers organization is aware of Wednesday night's incident involving Geovany Soto," the team said in a statement. "We have spoken to Geovany, and he has apologized and expressed deep embarrassment for the situation. We have notified Major League Baseball of the incident. As this is an ongoing case, this is the only comment we will have at this time."

Soto hit .245 with nine home runs and 22 RBI last season, his first full year with Texas after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the non-waiver trading deadline in 2012.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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Prince Fielder begins rehab

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
10:12
AM CT
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Prince Fielder's body is still on the mend, but that didn't stop the Rangers slugger from appearing in the ESPN The Magazine Body Issue.

Fielder spoke Thursday to reporters in the clubhouse for the first time since his cervical fusion of two disks in his neck on May 27.

Fielder's conversation came a day before the Body Issue hit newsstands. The 275-pound slugger had a nude cover shot for the issue that had already been circulated.

He took the expected ribbing from teammates. The shoot was done before Fielder's surgery.

"Everything's been good so far I guess," he said. "Yeah, just happy I did it, it was pretty cool. You don't have to have a six pack to play sports or to be an athlete, so I figured I'd give it a shot, see how it looks."

Fielder said he is focused on healing after neck surgery, and he's not worried about when he will play again for the Rangers.

"I'm motivated [to play], but I just want to heal first. I'm not trying to push anything," Fielder said. "That's what got me in this situation now. I'm trying to be a little smarter."

The first baseman said he is doing a little rehab, but nothing too serious or baseball-wise yet.

Fielder isn't expected to play again this season, but he should be ready for spring training.

"Right now, not really worried about the baseball part," he said. "Worried about just actually letting it fuse and letting it heal. Baseball stuff, that'll be there, obviously. But I just want to heal first before I do anything. Once I get cleared to do something, I don't know how to do under 100 percent."


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Extra Bases: Gimenez ignores Weaver's taunts

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
8:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When catcher Chris Gimenez took the mound as an emergency pitcher in the ninth inning of Thursday's 15-6 Rangers loss, he could hear razzing from Jered Weaver in the Angels' dugout.

The last time Gimenez, a catcher-first baseman for the Rangers, pitched, it was in an Alaskan college summer league. Weaver, now the ace of the Angels' pitching staff, was a teammate.

“He was reminding me that my earned run average back then was 36,’’ Gimenez said. “I was hoping not to have a 36 after this one.’’

Instead, Gimenez set the Angels down in order on a groundout, strikeout and fly ball.

“Really it is not something you want to do, but at the same time you kind of do,’’ Gimenez said. “You might as well have fun with it.’’

In the fourth inning, Gimenez suggested to a coach that if needed, he was ready. In the eighth, he got word to warm up.

“I was trying to calm myself down. I'm a catcher. My plan was to throw it down the middle and see what happens.’’

Gimenez became the seventh position player to pitch in Rangers' history, and the second this season. Mitch Moreland worked an inning in a 12-1 loss in Colorado on May 6. The most notable example is Jose Canseco's appearance against Boston in 1993, when he injured his arm and missed the rest of the season.

The Rangers will hope to avoid another emergency hurler when they host the Angels in Game 2 of the series, set for 7:05 tonight at Globe Life Park.

Washington calls clubhouse meeting

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
12:09
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Following the Texas Rangers' 15-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, manager Ron Washington held a rare clubhouse meeting.

“I needed to remind them of some things,’’ Washington said at his postgame news conference that was delayed by a half-hour. “I think they received my message well.’’

[+] EnlargeChris Gimenez
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsAccording to Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez -- called on to pitch the ninth inning against the Angels -- manager Ron Washington said things that needed to be said in the clubhouse meeting following Texas' fifth straight loss.
Texas has lost five in a row and 19 of 22.

With so many newcomers, the makeup of the clubhouse has changed.

“There’s a big group that doesn't know what winning is all about,’’ Washington said. “But I wanted them to know I believe in them.’’

His message is to keep fighting.

“Baseball is full of adversity, but don’t give in to it,’’ Washington said.

Catcher Chris Gimenez, an emergency pitcher on this night, said he thought the manager said things that needed to be said.

“This is not a losing team,’’ Gimenez said. “This organization has done well. He told us we shouldn’t make excuses for ourselves and that he still feels like we have guys that can play.

“I think everybody on the team would agree he said things that should be said. And if we can’t pick it up, we don’t deserve to be here.’’

Lewis bombed: The Angels attacked so quickly, Colby Lewis said he never really had a chance to establish his game plan.

“I wanted to get ahead early and get outs, but I really didn’t have an opportunity to get ahead," he said. "I felt like it happened so quick. Like the first or second pitch and done. They hit it and found the gaps and I got beat, plain and simple."

In 2⅓ innings, Lewis was charged with a club-record 13 runs, 11 of them earned, on 13 hits.

“I didn’t get outs. I didn’t do my job.’’

Said Washington: “For three innings, they pounded us. They didn’t miss. There were a couple of outs we didn’t get. I really thought after they scored two in the first inning, Colby would shut them down. It didn’t happen.’’

Washington Safe?

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
11:59
PM CT


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The Baseball Tonight crew blames injuries, not manager Ron Washington, for the Rangers' struggles this season.

Rapid Reaction: Angels 15, Rangers 6

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
10:30
PM CT
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Angels delivered an early knockout blow with 13 runs in the opening three innings and cruised to a 15-6 victory over the slumping Texas Rangers before 30,686 Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

Texas, now 16 games under .500, lost its fifth in a row and has won only three of its past 22.

Mike Trout led the Angels with four hits, including his 21st home run, and drove in four.

Some observations:

Dubious record: A Rangers pitcher had never allowed more than 12 runs in a game -- until the Angels rocked Colby Lewis for 13 in 2⅓ innings. John Burkett and Charlie Hough, the two Rangers who allowed 12 in 1999 and 1986, respectively, can now rest easy as they slip from atop the list.

By the scoreboard clock, it took nine minutes for the Angels to open a 4-0 lead in the top of the first.

Lewis allowed 13 hits (one shy of the club record), but the defensive play behind him didn’t inspire much confidence. Second baseman Adam Rosales hopped a throw into the stands, turning Kole Calhoun’s leadoff triple into a run. First baseman Carlos Pena fumbled a ground ball when he appeared to have a play at the plate. In the Angels’ six-run second inning, Rangers right fielder Alex Rios gloved and then dropped Albert Pujols' fly to right that carried to the wall. Rios was charged with an error, making two of the runs in the inning unearned.

Speed and power: Trout had hits in his first two at-bats without getting the ball out of the infield. A big swing in the first generated a 40-foot dribbler. An inning later, Trout’s speed allowed him to leg out a ground ball to short. But on his third look at Lewis, Trout launched a 407-foot three-run home run over the center-field wall, the knockout blow for the Rangers' pitcher.

Hard feelings: Former Ranger Josh Hamilton was greeted with boos when introduced in the first inning and promptly doubled high off the right-field wall, the first of three doubles for the Angels' cleanup hitter. Hamilton turned boos to cheers in the third when he went down swinging. Feelings are still pretty raw about his "not really a baseball town" remark in reference to Arlington.

Rolling along: Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a first-inning single. It is the longest Rangers streak since Elvis Andrus hit in 16 straight last season. Beltre added to his club lead with his 13th home run in the sixth, squeezing one over the wall in the right-field corner. He finished his evening with his third hit, a single in the ninth.

Riding the wave: The incredible start for Rangers rookie outfielder Jake Smolinski continues. His two-run double in the first inning, followed by a single in the fourth and another RBI double in the ninth, made him the first Ranger to have eight hits in his first four games. He finished with three RBIs and scored twice. Smolinski came into the game as the first Ranger since Brandon Boggs in 2008 to have as many as five hits in his first three games.

Mopping up: Long reliever Roman Mendez put the brakes on the Angels' assault, checking them on one hit in 2⅔ innings. That’s two scoreless outings for Mendez in two major league appearances.

Matt West, promoted from Triple-A Round Rock earlier in the day, retired six straight in his major league debut.

Finishing it off was catcher Chris Gimenez, the second Rangers position player to pitch this season and the seventh in club history. He retired all three he faced and got a strikeout.

Up next: The Rangers and Angels meet in the second matchup of a four-game series at 7:05 Friday with Nick Tepesch (3-4, 4.29 ERA) facing off against right-hander Garrett Richards (10-2, 2.71 ERA) at Globe Life Park on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.

Mike Trout, Angles plate 15 in romp over Rangers

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
10:27
PM CT
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- All-Star center fielder Mike Trout had a three-run homer among his four hits for the fast-starting Los Angeles Angels in a 15-6 victory over the freefalling Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

The first four Angels batters in the game had hits and scored. It all got started when Kole Calhoun had a leadoff triple into the right-field corner, then trotted home on an errant relay throw that bounced into the seats.

Calhoun had four hits and scored four times while finishing a homer shy of a cycle. He had three hits in the first three innings for the Angels, who won for the seventh time in eight games.

The Rangers have lost five straight and 19 of 22. They have the worst winning percentage in the majors at .413 with their 38-54 record.

Hector Santiago (1-7) struck out eight in six innings. The left-hander allowed four runs and five hits.


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C.J. Wilson (ankle) put on DL

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
10:16
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Los Angeles Angels starter C.J. Wilson was put on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of a right ankle sprain, providing an extended break that could be beneficial for the struggling left-hander.

The move came a day after Wilson allowed six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings against Toronto. He has given up 19 runs and 31 hits over 16 2/3 innings his past four starts.

"I think C.J. has been kind of really banging his head against the wall trying to get back to where he knows he can be," manager Mike Scioscia said. "And maybe just by exhaling a little bit and getting a little different perspective, he can get to that result a little quicker, and he will. He's too good of a pitcher not to find it."

Wilson rolled his ankle and was noticeably limping at one point before coming out of Wednesday's game, which the Angels won 8-7.

Scioscia said the ankle is not the cause of the pitcher's recent struggles. Wilson, who wasn't with the team in Texas, said after Wednesday's game that his issues on the mound weren't because of any physical problems.

Wilson (8-6, 4.33 ERA) last won June 24 against Minnesota, when he allowed six runs in five innings of an 8-6 victory. He has had three consecutive no-decisions since, the longest outing in that span being 4 1/3 innings.

It is Wilson's first trip to the disabled list since becoming a starter in 2010 while still with the Rangers. He has failed to pitch more than five innings in four consecutive starts for the first time.


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Infielder-turned-pitcher West newest pen addition

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
6:28
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- In an effort to bolster an overworked bullpen, the Rangers promoted 25-year-old right-handed reliever Matt West from Triple-A Round Rock. West will be available for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in the opener of a four-game series.

To make room for West, Tuesday night’s starting pitcher Phil Irwin will head back to Round Rock. Irwin was scheduled to start Sunday’s final game before the All-Star break. Rangers manager Ron Washington said no decision has been made on a Sunday starter.

“We needed fresh arms in the bullpen and Irwin wasn’t going to be available for a couple of more days," Washington said. “West has been throwing the ball well."

West, a Houston native, hasn't had a typical route to the big leagues. In 2007, he was drafted by the Rangers in the second round as an infielder. The Rangers converted him to the mound in 2011.

“It was either pitch or get released," West said.

West missed almost the entire 2013 season after Tommy John surgery, but he impressed the Rangers this spring. He began 2014 with Double-A Frisco and in eight appearances was 2-0 with an 0.68 ERA in 13.1 innings.

At Round Rock, West had a 2-2 record with a 4.50 ERA in 19 appearances. Combined, he is 4-2 with a 3.13 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 10 walks in 37 1/3 innings.

“He’s just now getting to full strength after surgery," Washington said.

West said he had a little pitching experience at Houston Bellaire High School. “I’d come in for the seventh inning and throw as hard as I could."

West’s progression this season isn’t about developing one pitch but “knowing where the ball is going and fine-tuning all my pitches."

Just visiting: Prince Fielder was a clubhouse visitor Thursday and said he was feeling fine after undergoing surgery on a herniated cervical disc in his neck.

“I’m just hanging around with the guys a little bit," Fielder said. “I miss this part the most. (It's) something I took for granted."

Fielder, 30, said the neck injury caused him to lose feeling in his hands. He couldn’t pinpoint a time when he first began to experience pain.

“I have complete trust in what the doctor is doing, and now I have to wait for it to heal," he said.

Fielder batted .247 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 42 games before going on the disabled list. Asked if his neck injury hurt his numbers, Fielder replied, “I don’t think it helped. Things happen. I wish it hadn’t."

Fielder has six years remaining on his Rangers’ contract.

“I’m happy to hear all the pain is gone," said Washington. “What happened he couldn’t prevent."

The manager is hopeful that after a full recovery, Fielder can produce as he has in the past.

“We’re looking forward to him getting back on the field and helping us," Washington said.

Testing times: Washington calls the Rangers’ current skid -- 18 losses in 21 games -- one of the toughest he’s been a part of. “I’ve been through tough stretches as a player and tough stretches as a coach. My job is to lead through it."

Notes: The Rangers announced infielder Donnie Murphy rejected an outright assignment to Round Rock and has been placed on waivers for the purpose of his unconditional release. … Geovany Soto has been transferred from Round Rock to Frisco on his injury rehab assignment. … Reliever Jason Frasor has allowed runs in his last four appearances. Said Washington: “Every time he throws a pitch where he doesn’t want it to go, they hit it. It happens. When you’re going good, they pop those pitches up."

ICYMI: SweetSpot hits of the week

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
4:08
PM CT
Quite a week, eh? We've seen a massive "go for it" trade that paid quick dividends for the A's, some unfortunate DL news for the Yanks' Masahiro Tanaka and the Reds' Joey Votto, and a couple of disappointing vets were DFA'd. Although Carlos Beltran's facial fractures off a BP ricochet off his own bat and the screen takes the "freak injury" award this week.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Inside the 'Zona
D-backs' slap-hitter offense decent but unusual: Though good overall, the Diamondbacks offense is among the worst in the majors in walks and "hard-hit average." Ryan P. Morrison draws from a quote from Bill James in wondering whether slap hitters are an inefficiency Arizona could exploit. Follow on Twitter: @InsidetheZona.

Wade Miley is the canary in the coal mine: The D-backs are sellers, but their moves so far have been short-term oriented. Jeff Wiser looks at Miley's value as a trade chip, and makes the case that what the team decides to do with Miley will tell us a lot. Follow on Twitter: @OutfieldGrass24.

Atlanta Braves: Chop County
Mississippi Braves game report from 6/24/14: Photos and scouting reports on several of the Braves top prospects, including speedy second baseman Jose Peraza. Follow on Twitter: @gondeee.

Baltimore Orioles: Camden Depot
Examining Steve Pearce's fantastic, unexpected first half: Matt Kremnitzer dives into the play of Pearce, who has been a major reason why the Orioles currently reside in first place in the AL East. His season has been a wild ride of being designated for assignment as well as delivering outstanding play at the plate. Follow on Twitter: @CamdenDepot.

Boston Red Sox: Fire Brand of the American League
It's time for the Red Sox to sell: Alex Skillin writes that the Red Sox need to consider trading players such as Jake Peavy, Jonny Gomes and Koji Uehara to allow the team an opportunity to evaluate its younger talent, like Jackie Bradley Jr, Mookie Betts, and others who could benefit from full-time work. Follow on Twitter: @firebrandal.

Chicago Cubs: View From The Bleachers
Why you should be in favor of the big trade: Joe Aiello talks about the weekend deal that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to Oakland and why Cubs fans should be happy with the result. Follow on Twitter: @vftb.

What the Samardzija and Hammel trade means for the rebuild: Noah Eisner breaks down the deal further and looks at what it means going forward for the Cubs' farm system. Follow on Twitter: @Noah_Eisner.

Chicago White Sox: The Catbird Seat
The White Sox are not a bullpen away from being contenders: The White Sox bullpen is terrible, yet the team floats around near .500; would they be contenders if they could get some relievers? James Fegan says no. Follow on Twitter @TheCatbird_Seat.


Colorado Rockies: Rockies Zingers
The 2014 Colorado Rockies: What went wrong?: Eric Garcia McKinley looks at the Rockies' first-half performance so far and discusses why the Rockies are doing so badly. It turns out that they weren't that good in the first place. Follow on Twitter: @garcia_mckinley.

New York Yankees: It's About The Money
The real Brandon McCarthy: Katie Sharp gives Yankee fans on primer on their newest starting pitcher. Follow on Twitter: @ktsharp.

Power-hitting Brett Gardner: Katie examines how Gardner's game has changed and power has become a part of it. Follow on Twitter: @IIATMS.

St. Louis Cardinals: Fungoes
Matt Adams' secret: Better strike-zone discipline?: Since returning from the disabled list, Adams has been beating the shift and pretty much everything else that opposing teams have thrown at him. He credits improved strike-zone discipline. But is that really the case? Follow on Twitter: @fungoes.

Texas Rangers: One Strike Away
The case for trading Alex Rios: Brandon Land examines the possibility of the Rangers trading Rios to retool for 2015 or 2016. Follow on Twitter: @one_strike_away.

Jason Rosenberg is the founder of It's About the Money, a proud charter member of the SweetSpot Network. IIATMS can be found on Twitter here and here as well as on Facebook.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.341 13 50 50
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 13
RBIA. Beltre 50
RA. Beltre 50
OPSA. Beltre .929
WY. Darvish 8
ERAY. Darvish 2.97
SOY. Darvish 142