Texas Rangers: 2013 schedule

6 Rangers who could decide a playoff berth

September, 23, 2013
If the Texas Rangers are to make the playoffs, they'll need contributions from just about everybody. But with one week to go in the season and the Rangers right in the middle of a fight for an AL wild-card spot, let's try to narrow that group down to six Rangers who could determine if there will be postseason baseball in Texas in October (this is listed in no particular order):

1: Ian Kinsler. With his offense struggling in September, manager Ron Washington tinkered with his lineup trying to create a spark. In the process, he moved Leonys Martin out of the leadoff spot and inserted Kinsler back in that No. 1 role. Kinsler, as in the past few seasons, has to be a sparkplug for this offense. He has to be the one that gets things going so that it trickles down from there. Adrian Beltre is this team's MVP, if you ask me, but he needs Kinsler to help set the table so Beltre has opportunities to drive him in. Since Kinsler switched back to leadoff two weeks ago, he has six multihit games and eight RBIs. Kinsler can make things happen on the bases, and the Rangers will need that this week.

2: Derek Holland. He pitches tonight in Arlington, Texas, against Houston, a series against the league's worst team that the Rangers must use to their advantage. Holland struggled to start September but allowed just two runs in six innings in a no-decision against the Tampa Bay Rays in his most recent start. He's in a key spot in the rotation this week with his start tonight, and he's slated for Saturday, the penultimate game of the season. Every game this week is big, but it's up to Holland to set the tone tonight and then possibly be in position to keep Texas in it, or give them a chance to claim that wild-card spot, on Saturday. He should have a big say in what happens to this team.

3: A.J. Pierzynski. This is the time of season that having Pierzynski could be even more important. He has postseason experience and knows all about pennant races and playoff chases. He's the guy that must keep this pitching staff calm (it will be Geovany Soto's job to do that with Yu Darvish) as they attempt to navigate through three games with Houston and four with the Angels to try to make the playoffs. Pierzynski's bat, of course, will matter, too. He was one of the few guys actually hitting when the Rangers couldn't buy a run at points this month. They need that stick now, along with his game-calling abilities.

4: Tanner Scheppers. Obviously, Joe Nathan is a key to this team's success as the closer. But he's done the job solidly all season. What matters just as much is getting the game to Nathan, and Scheppers is critical to that. He wasn't able to pitch on Friday in Kansas City after pitching in three straight games, and the Rangers couldn't close out that game after falling behind in the eighth inning. Scheppers has an ERA under 2.00 and has thrown the ball well in key situations. He's going to get some of those this week and must execute.

5: Elvis Andrus. He's becoming a critical leader for this team and also one of its most important hitters. Like Kinsler, the opponent does not want Andrus to get on base because of his speed and baserunning ability. Andrus is one of the few Rangers whose September split is solid. He's batting over .300 for the month, and it seems that when the Rangers do score runs, Andrus is somehow involved (either scoring it or driving it in). He'll need to continue that this week.

6: Gary Pettis. It might seem odd to see the third-base coach on this list, but the reality is that he's already had an impact on several games this month to help this team create runs. The club's issues with scoring runs with regularity this month has been documented constantly. But for a team that has had a power shortage, pushing the envelope on the bases matters. Pettis isn't afraid to get aggressive with runners. He must be smart about it, but that attitude could make the difference in the Rangers getting that extra run they need. Don't overlook his importance as the Rangers run the bases like crazy.

Darvish, Verlander hope for better Thursday

May, 12, 2013
As tune-ups go, Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander didn't exactly breeze through their outings in preparation to take the mound opposite each other at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Thursday. At least that's the schedule as we sit here today.

Darvish got the win on Saturday and allowed just three hits, but he gave up three runs in seven innings to the Houston Astros, who own the worst record in the league. He issued three walks and had eight strikeouts. It was Darvish's sixth quality start in eight outings this season. But it wasn't Darvish at his most dominant, either. It certainly wasn't the Darvish the Astros saw in his near-perfect game early in the season.

Darvish started the season 4-1 with a 1.65 ERA in his first five starts. He's 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in his past three starts.

Darvish did, though, give his team innings and get some offense (a big sixth inning) to back him in the victory (especially after Michael Kirkman struggled and made it a closer game than it should have been). Verlander wasn't as fortunate. He struggled from the very start of his outing against the Cleveland Indians.

Verlander had five walks on Saturday, his most since 2010. That included walking in a run, something he's done just three times in his career. Verlander allowed four runs (three earned) and needed 110 pitches just to get through five innings in a 7-6 loss to the Indians.

Both are at or near the top of the AL in most of the pitching categories and favorites for this year's Cy Young Award. Both will be looking for better outings on Thursday than they had on Saturday. It should be fun to watch.

Hold off trading Jurickson Profar for Oscar Tavares

April, 12, 2013
ESPN.com contributor and former GM Jim Bowden has an interesting post up (Insider) on why the Texas Rangers should trade top prospects with the St. Louis Cardinals. Bowden believes that because the Cardinals need a middle infielder and the Rangers could use an outfield bat, especially with Nelson Cruz and David Murphy in their final years before hitting free agency, that it makes sense. And he made a compelling case on our show (Fitzsimmons & Durrett) on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM on Friday.

ESPN Insider Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the possibility of the Rangers trading Jurickson Profar.

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But I'm not ready to do it. Why? Here are two of my reasons:

1. Who says the Rangers have to trade Profar? Just because Elvis Andrus is locked up through 2018 doesn't mean Texas has to trade the No. 1 prospect in baseball, according to Keith Law's rankings last month, doesn't mean it's automatic that they ship Profar somewhere else. The reasoning most use is that Ian Kinsler doesn't want to play first base. I can understand not fighting that this season because Profar's development isn't hurt by getting some Triple-A at-bats. But if Mitch Moreland struggles or the club decides that Kinsler could help the team more by playing in the outfield, you tell him to go play those positions next season. Kinsler is under contract to be a Texas Ranger, not to play second base. He knows that, too. So if it's time to move him, you move him.

2. Trade Profar for a piece that you know can help you at the big leagues sooner and later. He's the top prospect in baseball. If he fronts a package, Tampa Bay has to listen in regards to David Price. If the Miami Marlins, who have not started the season well at all, decide it's time to part with Giancarlo Stanton, they have to listen if Profar is dangled (and he would be.). Those are the types of deals that you use the Profar piece to go and get.

Bowden notes that the trade would be a risk for both GMs. You lose that deal, and it has ripples that extend for years. Jon Daniels isn't afraid to make that kind of deal. But I don't think he should at this point. Wait to see what's out there at the trade deadline. If it's a guy that can help Yu Darvish front this rotation for a few more years or a middle-of-the-lineup bat that's under club control for a while, you talk about sending Profar out. But trading prospects -- even for a guy that Bowden and many feel is "can't miss" -- just isn't worth it right now for a contending team like Texas.

Just my two cents. Your thoughts?

Don't boo Josh Hamilton on April 5

January, 8, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers revealed today that the home opener of the 2013 season on April 5 against the Los Angeles Angels will start at 1:05 p.m. CT. That means Josh Hamilton's debut against his former team will be in the day. Hamilton signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels in December.

For those wondering, Hamilton hit .269 during his Ranger career in the day and .317 at night. But it's worth pointing out that it wasn't an issue for him last season, batting .311 with 11 homers in 38 days games.

Now that the time is set and the season gets even closer, I'm curious what fan reaction to Hamilton that day will be. Personally, I think Rangers fans should cheer him when he's introduced for the first time. I know things didn't end well here (I don't need to remind you of the dropped ball in center or the 0-for-4 on eight pitches in the AL wild-card game, do I?) and now he's playing for a big-time division rival, but Hamilton's ability helped get the Rangers to two consecutive World Series.

He won an AL MVP in 2010 in Texas. He hit .285 in 2012 with 43 homers and 128 RBIs. In 2011, Hamilton hit .298 with 25 homers and 94 RBIs in 121 games.

I know he created some drama and dealt with his alcohol addiction off the field, not to mention missing five games of one of the club's final road trips and his bat going MIA down the stretch in 2012. But step back and look at the big picture. He was a consistent No. 3 hitter who provided too many memorable moments to be booed, if you ask me.

Do you agree? What will you do when Hamilton is introduced in the early afternoon of Friday, April 5 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington?

Game times revealed for 2013 season

January, 8, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The times for Rangers games in 2013 were announced on Tuesday. You can go to the schedule here and see all of them. But here are some highlights:

* Regular home game times are 7:05 p.m. CT at night, 1:05 p.m. CT for day games during the week and 2:05 p.m. CT for Sunday games.

* Of course, there are exceptions. For starters, the Rangers will be on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball three times early in the season (the rest of that schedule comes out later):

Sunday, March 31 at Houston Astros: 7:05 p.m. CT
Sunday, April 7 vs. Los Angeles Angels: 7:05 p.m. CT
Sunday, May 19 vs. Detroit Tigers: 7:05 p.m. CT

* Texas also has some Saturday games that will not be played at the normal time. That includes:

Saturday, April 6 vs. Los Angeles Angels: 3:05 p.m. CT (Fox)
Saturday, May 4 vs. Boston Red Sox: 3:05 p.m. CT (Fox)
Saturday, June 1 vs. Kansas City Royals: 3:05 p.m. CT
Saturday, June 15 vs. Toronto Blue Jays: 3:05 p.m. CT
Saturday, June 22 at St. Louis Cardinals: 6:15 p.m. CT (Fox)
Saturday, June 29 vs. Cincinnati Reds: 6:15 p.m. CT (Fox)
Saturday, July 6 vs. Houston Astros: 6:15 p.m. CT (Fox)
Saturday, July 13 at Detroit Tigers: 6:15 p.m. CT (Fox)
Sunday, July 21 vs. Baltimore Orioles: 6:05 p.m. CT
Saturday, Aug. 3 at Oakland A's: 3:05 p.m. CT (Fox)
Saturday, Aug. 24 at Chicago White Sox: 3:05 p.m. CT (Fox)

Television could change other games as well. But that's what we know so far.

* Of interest in terms of home series and times:

* The April 10 game vs. Tampa Bay on a Wednesday is a day game at 1:05 p.m. with the club headed on the road.

* Boston comes to town May 3-5 with games at 7:05 p.m., 3:05 p.m. and 2:05 p.m. over that weekend.

* The New York Yankees are in Arlington for four games on July 22-25 (Monday through Thursday). The first three games are 7:05 p.m. with the finale at 1:05 p.m. with the Rangers headed to Cleveland for a weekend series.

* The final seven games of the season are in Arlington with three against Houston and four against the Angels. The four-game Angels series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. starts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2:05 p.m. on Sunday.

Rangers to play Padres at Alamodome

November, 16, 2012
The Texas Rangers announced Friday that they will play two exhibition games -- Friday, March 29 at 7:05 and Saturday, March 30 at 1:05 p.m. -- against the San Diego Padres at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Tickets go on sale to the general public at noon on Friday, Nov. 30.

ESPN MLB insider Jim Bowden joins Ben and Skin for a walk around the Rangers Hot Stove.

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Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan was in San Antonio Friday morning for the announcement. It will be the first time baseball has been played at the Alamodome. Ryan Sanders Baseball, the group charged with running the event, has collaborated with AstroTurf -- the official synthetic turf supplier of Major League Baseball -- to build a 133,000 square-foot custom field for the Alamodome floor. Other modifications include custom fencing, walls, padding, netting, dugouts, bullpens, foul poles and more.

"We’re excited about the opportunity to be playing in the first-ever baseball games in the Alamodome,” Ryan said. “We appreciate the support of everyone involved from the city, the Missions and the Padres as well."

San Antonio's mayor, Julian Castro, told the San Antonio Express-News that he believes the game could get local fans interested in trying to attract more big league teams to the city to join the NBA's Spurs. San Antonio is currently home to the Missions, the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

"There's no question that San Antonio is getting closer and closer with the explosive growth of population, rising income levels and a booming television market," Castro told the newspaper. "Our city is closer than it ever has been, but it's also still a challenge to predict exactly when we'll get something."

Rangers to play in Alamodome this spring

November, 14, 2012
The Texas Rangers are expected to play one or two exhibition games in the Alamodome in San Antonio prior to the 2013 season, the first time a big league baseball game will be played in an arena that wasn't originally built with baseball in mind.

Reid Ryan, CEO of Triple-A Round Rock, confirmed that the plan is for the Rangers to play in the Alamodome but said more information would be available in the near future, possibly as early as a Friday at a news conference. That should include which team will be playing against the Rangers.

Texas could play the games on a Friday and Saturday in March, according to the San Antonio Express-News, which first reported the story (you can read that here).

"The exciting thing for San Antonio is that this is going to be the first time that baseball is going to be played at the Alamodome," Ryan said. "For the Rangers to be able to extend the brand in Round Rock and now down in San Antonio is going to be good for baseball and good for the Rangers and their fans."

Read more here.

Highlights of Rangers' 2013 schedule

September, 12, 2012
The Texas Rangers released their 2013 schedule today. Here are some of the highlights (full schedule here):

* Texas opens the season on the road in Houston on Tuesday, April 2. This will be the first time Texas has opened the season on the road since 2008. It's the first regular-season game for the Astros as a member of the AL West. Texas will face them 19 times, as they will the rest of the division.

* The home opener is Friday, April 5, against the Los Angeles Angels. This season, the rivals didn't play their first series until mid-May. That opening homestand is six games and includes three against the Tampa Bay Rays.

* There's a scheduled day-night doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks (the Rangers' "prime" NL partner now that the Astros are in the AL) at Chase Field on Memorial Day. This is the first time the Rangers have had a doubleheader on the season-opening schedule since 1991, when they played two at Cleveland. Arizona comes to Arlington later the same week.

* The club's other interleague games in Arlington are against the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Texas plays the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and the Brewers on the road.

* Texas is back at home on July 4 and playing the Seattle Mariners.

* The final seven games of the season are at home against the Astros (three games) and the Angels (four games). That could prove interesting should the race be tight.

* The club has just one 10-game road trip all season, and it falls in early August, when temperatures are so hot in Arlington. They go to Oakland, Los Angeles and Houston. The off day in that trip is between the final game of the series against the Angels and the start of the series against the Astros.

* Texas plays 17 of its 27 games in April away from Arlington, including a three-game set at Wrigley Field and four in Seattle and Minnesota.

* The Rangers' longest homestand is 11 games from June 10-20. They'll play the Indians for three and Toronto and Oakland for four each.

* They do have a couple of interesting flights based on trips. Texas goes from St. Louis to New York to play the Yankees, but they do have an off day between those series. They also travel from Tampa to Kansas City for the final road trip in mid-September.

* Texas is on the road for seven games before the All-Star break (in Baltimore and Detroit) and then starts the second half against Baltimore and New York at home.

* The Boston Red Sox come to town for one series -- May 3-5. The Yankees are in Arlington once -- July 22-25.



Adrian Beltre
.324 19 77 79
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182