Texas Rangers: Rangers Baseball Tonight
|Ron Washington clears the air surrounding Roy Oswalt, touches on whether Yu Darvish is pitching with extra pressure and defends his lineup on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Ben and Skin Show."
Darvish dropped to 11-8 on the season after Monday's start against the Red Sox, in which he gave up six earned runs on a season high 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Nadel asked Washington if it was reassuring to hear about Darvish’s state of mind.
“Yes, it really was," Washington said. "He’s finally relaxed and feeling like he can just go out there and be Yu Darvish and not worry about the results. I think we are about to see something special the rest of the way here. I don’t know when it’s going to click in, but it’s going to click in.”
The last Darvish-Washington meeting occurred after Darvish had lost three of four starts, but then he won his next three. The right-hander is scheduled to make his next start Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Right-hander Ryan Dempster makes his Rangers debut tonight as his new club vies for a four-game split with the Los Angeles Angels in Arlington. He's never faced the Angels, but he has faced Albert Pujols plenty of times in the National League Central.
|Ryan Dempster recalls beginning his career with the Rangers organization and the emotions that came with being traded the first time. He also touches on his stint as a closer.
What else should we know about Dempster?
His pro career began when the Rangers drafted him in the third round of the 1995 draft out of Gibsons High School in British Columbia. He signed July 6 of that year and was an employee of the Rangers until Aug. 8, 1996, when he and Rick Helling were traded to the Florida Marlins for John Burkett.
The feeling he had for that trade was a stark contrast from the most recent trade.
"Last time, I cried like a little baby. I had just turned 19. Your initial reaction is they don't want me, but it turned out they wanted someone to help win a pennant," Dempster said. "It kind of gave me an opportunity with another organization to get to the big leagues a lot faster. Looking back, I'm actually pretty thankful it happened. Definitely a change of emotions. And now the excitement of being traded back (to Texas)."
Dempster has only pitched for National League teams -- the (now Miami) Marlins, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs. However, there were plenty of interleague appearances.
He has pitched just once against the Rangers in his career, and that was on June 19, 2007 in Arlington. He closed a Cubs 5-4 win against the Rangers, striking out the side (Frank Catalanotto, Gerald Laird and Brad Wilkerson). Primarily, Dempster has been a starting pitcher in his career but his first four seasons with the Cubs were spent as a closer, which helped when he moved back to the starting rotation in 2008.
"It helps you deal with a little bit of stress during the game," Dempster said, "if you have the bases loaded and different situations that might necessarily get you moving as a closer. It taught me how to slow things down a little bit and realize that you are just one pitch away from getting out of an inning and that's all you can really control."
The Rangers like his competitiveness, his command of the fastball, his slider and splitter. According to baseball-reference.com, Dempster will work with Soto for the 105th time in his career. Only former Cubs catcher Michael Barrett (121) has caught more of Dempster's games in his career. One thing to keep in mind is that Albert Pujols is 18-for-55 (.327) vs. Dempster including seven home runs.
Listen to the podcast.
|White Sox slugger Adam Dunn talks about Josh Hamilton's struggles, playing for Robin Ventura and more.
"This is a feel game. He might come in tomorrow and just go on one of his unbelievable runs. It wouldn't surprise me a bit," Dunn said. "Hitting is a lot about confidence and it's feel, and he doesn't have either one of those right now or he wouldn't be doing what he's doing. He's just way too talented."
In 122 games played last season, which was Dunn's first with the White Sox, he batted just .159 with 11 home runs and 42 RBI. His on-base percentage (.292) and slugging percentage (.277) were well below his career averages. This season, Dunn has 30 home runs and already has more walks than all of last season (77 to 75).
As for Hamilton, He is batting .206 in his last 55 games. He is enduring a career-worst stretch with runners in scoring position at 0-for-19. Furthermore, Hamilton is leading the majors with a 36.2 percent swing-and-miss percentage.
Dunn talked at length about Hamilton, his brief time as a quarterback at the University of Texas, his impression of Yu Darvish, his running game, playing for Robin Ventura and more.
Listen to the podcast.
|Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre discusses the team's issues pushing in runners, Josh Hamilton's struggles and the trade deadline.
"We hope that, collectively, we'll be able to capitalize in those situations where we (don't) let the starter escape when he's in the hole and give him more momentum, some more confidence."
The Rangers have scored 57 runs in July, the fewest this month in the American League. In the 17 games, the Rangers are 26-for-123 (.211) with runners in scoring position. Beltre is a .308 hitter with RISP for the season.
Beltre also discussed what he sees when he watches Josh Hamilton at the plate, the season-ending injury to Colby Lewis and the trade market (including former teammate Ichiro Suzuki being dealt and what the Rangers might do).
Late in Wednesday's game, Beltre was hit in the left side of the head by a 92-mph pitch from Vicente Padilla and left the game. An exam revealed no concussion, but he has a contusion.
Due to time limitations, only a portion of this interview aired on last night's radio broadcast. Listen to the podcast for the extended version.
|Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus joins Rangers Insider to discuss Texas' unique draft situation.
Goldstein was a guest on Rangers Insider, which preceded Wednesday night's network pregame show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. He liked the Rangers' draft strategy and spoke about certain "lottery tickets" that could lead to some major power ball in the future.
If you are curious about the current Rangers, their home-grown draftees on the major league roster include second baseman Ian Kinsler (17th round in 2003), righty Scott Feldman (30th in 2003), outfielder Craig Gentry (10th in 2006), lefty Derek Holland (25th in 2006) and first baseman Mitch Moreland (17th in 2007). Home grown is defined as being drafted and developed by the Rangers. Colby Lewis could be considered to be a part of that category as he was the 38th overall selection in the 1999 draft, but he has played for other teams before returning to Texas.
Goldstein also discussed the the Rangers' first selection this year, Lewis Brinson -- "the most interesting" pick -- a local find, the Rangers' scouting effort and whether the revised draft rules make sense. We also shifted gears and talked about a couple of current minor leaguers at Double-A Frisco -- Mike Olt and Barrett Loux. Listen to the podcast.
Bryan Dolgin is the radio pregame and postgame show host on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. He is also the host of Rangers Insider and Rangers Magazine on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. Follow him on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD
|Elvis Andrus joined Rangers Baseball Tonight to talk about Miguel Cabrera, the Game 2 win, his approach at the plate and more.
Andrus was the Warm-up Show guest on Rangers Baseball Tonight for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, and he talked about making an adjustment at the plate from Game 1 to Game 2. Andrus is looking forward to Game 3 even though he is just a .224 career hitter in Detroit.
“It’s a huge field. If you hit a gap, there’s a chance for a triple, and that’s what I’m looking for in this series. It’s a pitcher’s field, but sometimes the ball carries well to left field. A lot of our guys feel good hitting here, and same with me,” Andrus said. “We really don’t think the pressure is on our side.”
How does the infield grass play at Comerica Park?
“Here is a little faster than home. Every field is faster than home. It feels good to hit and put pressure on the defense. A hard ground ball is going to get by the infield,” Andrus said. “On defense, we just have to be ready."
Andrus also talked about Miguel Cabrera, the Game 2 win, his approach at the plate and more. Listen to the podcast.
Follow Bryan Dolgin on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD.
|Rangers outfield and baserunning coach Gary Pettis joined Rangers Baseball Tonight to talk about Endy Chavez, Comerica Park, his playing days as a Detroit Tiger and more.
Endy Chavez, who is starting in left field, could factor in both areas. He is a threat to steal and will need to cover ground in the spacious ballpark. During the regular season, Chavez hit .301 in 83 games played. In 137 total chances in the field, Chavez made just one error and had three assists.
“He’s just a consistent ballplayer," Pettis said. "He understands the angles and what he should do if the ball is hit in his direction. He knows exactly where he should throw it, and he’s an accurate thrower.”
In Fister’s 71 career outings, he has allowed just six stolen bases.
“He’s probably one of the fastest guys to home plate in the league, so that poses a different challenge for us. Stolen bases may not come so easily,” Pettis said. “We can do other things. We can play hit-and-run, can try to advance on balls in the dirt, we can go first to third…We just have to do those other things to put ourselves into scoring position.”
Pettis talked more about Chavez, Comerica Park, his playing days as a Detroit Tiger and more. Listen to the podcast.
Follow Bryan Dolgin on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD.
|Rangers rewind: Nelson Cruz talked about the ALCS and his home run in Game 1 before delivering his heroics in Game 2.
“It’s more simple than it looks,” Cruz said. “He’s going to throw you fastballs most of the time. You have to be prepared for that. My first at-bat, he threw me two-seamers out of the strike zone way inside. That at-bat I just went with a plan to swing at strikes.”
Cruz received three fastballs and delivered the home run in a 2-0 count.
The Rangers' all-time postseason home run record holder boosted his total to eight (later nine with the walk-off grand slam) leading off the seventh inning in Game 2. He saw three sliders before hitting a fastball for a home run on a 1-2 count. Cruz knew the scouting report on starting right-hander Max Sherzer.
“He’s aggressive with his fastball,” Cruz said prior to the game. “He’s got a good slider. We just have to make sure he throws strikes. Sometimes, he has a tendency to be wild. We have to take advantage of that if the situation comes.”
Cruz was 1-for-15 in the ALDS, and he discussed how facing the Rays may have helped for this series in which he is now 4-for-7. Cruz also talked more about life in the batter’s box since the left hamstring strain, the weather affected ALCS, and more. Listen to the podcast.
Follow Bryan Dolgin on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD.
Young had a plan back in spring training to be more aggressive on pitches in the strike zone and to be a tougher out when he has two strikes. Yes, even at 34 years old, with 10 years in the majors, one batting title on his resume (2005) and an offseason filled with drama, Young was focused on improving himself at the plate.
Following Wednesday night’s win over the Indians, I contacted our friends at ESPN Stats and Information to learn the difference between the Michael Young of 2010 and 2011 based on the variables mentioned above. Thanks to Courtenay Harris for compiling the following information:
Through September 14, 2010, Young was batting .305 on pitches inside the strike zone with 128 hits, including 17 home runs, 58 strikeouts, a .310 on-base percentage and a .494 slugging percentage.
Through September 14, 2011, Young has greatly improved on batting average, but his home run power has decreased. However, look at the difference. He is batting .352 with 150 hits, including six home runs, 43 strikeouts, a .351 on-base percentage and a .481 slugging percentage.
The significant stat when it comes to Young batting with two strikes is that he has cut down on his strikeouts this year compared to last year, from 104 to 78.
If you would like to totally geek out on stats, here’s some stats on Young for pitches out of the strike zone. He is chasing 5 percent fewer pitches this year while his batting average is at .289 (compared to .247 last year), and his on-base percentage is better, from .393 to .433.
Digest that and read his postgame comments from Rangers Baseball Tonight on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network on what led to first-pitch swinging against Fausto Carmona for the bases loaded-clearing double in last night’s 7-to-4 win.
“I was just trying to get something up in the zone and really bear down on the strikezone,” Young said. “He’s got a great sinker. He’s got one of the best sinkers in the league. The last thing you want to do is go outside the strike zone and swing at something down on the ground and pound it to the third baseman and maybe have a double-play ball.”
I think it's safe to say that his approach is working even as the end of the regular season draws near.
Follow Bryan Dolgin on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD
“You’re talking about a difference from worst to first in a matter of not even 24 hours," Gonzalez said in The Warm-Up Show for Rangers Baseball Tonight on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. "Obviously, it’s a great feeling. Knowing you’re not going to be in the playoffs ... It’s one of those things, you try to work on things and try to get better in different situations. But now, man, getting into the mix, it’s a whole different mindset. You try to do our homework real quick. It’s 3.5 games ahead. We’re right in the mix. No better place to be.”
This season, Gonzalez made 49 relief appearances for the Orioles, posting a 2-2 record with a 4.27 ERA. Lefties are batting .211 against him this season and .212 during his career. He has allowed runs in just one of his last 19 appearances.
|New Texas Rangers relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez joins Rangers BBTN to discuss his trade from the Baltimore Orioles, owner Nolan Ryan, Andy Pettitte's impact and more.
He greatly admired Nolan Ryan and still does.
“Nolan Ryan’s the man, bro. He’s the man back then. He’s the man now,” Gonzalez emphatically stated. “I’ve always been a big fan of his. He’s everything a pitcher should be.”
Gonzalez is one of many men that manager Ron Washington can choose from in the bullpen. There are 10 relievers (including long man/spot starter Scott Feldman), but Gonzo is one of just two lefties joining Darren Oliver.
As Richard Durrett indicated in a recent blog post, Boston left-handed hitters Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez are a combined 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts vs. Gonzalez.
In addition to talking about the trade and Nolan Ryan, Gonzo expresses why he was disappointed in his time with Baltimore, the impact of Andy Pettitte, the kind of pitcher he is and more. Listen to The Warm-Up Show for Rangers Baseball Tonight on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network.
|Arlington Bowie alumnus Vernon Wells talks about the Rangers-Angels series finale, the transition from the Blue Jays to the Angels, manager Mike Scioscia and more.
Wells was a guest on Rangers Baseball Tonight on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. He enters the rubber match of this three-game series with a .215 season batting average in his first season with the Angels.
Last October, Wells was at Rangers Ballpark to see best friend Michael Young compete in the playoffs and World Series. Wells was spotted wearing a Michael Young Rangers jersey.
“I was like a kid going to watch ballgames again and cheering for your favorite player. It was fun watching him get to go through it,” Wells recalled. “It makes you want it that much more. I was happy to wear his jersey even though every time I wore it they lost. So, I stopped wearing it.”
On tonight’s warm-up show, Wells also talked about how big a game this is for the Angels and Rangers, the transition from the Blue Jays to the Angels, playing primarily on grass, Mike Scioscia and more about the above topics.
Follow Bryan Dolgin on Twitter @RangersRadioBD.
|Former Rangers catcher and current Boston backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia visited Rangers BBTN and talked about a season of good health and his happiness with the Red Sox.
“Thinking back on it, there’s obviously some stuff I wish I would have done. I wish I would have taken more time off instead of trying to rush back. Just be a little smarter with that. As far as catching is concerned, it didn’t really change anything. I just needed to get healthy. And I probably didn’t get healthy until this past offseason.”
Salty entered Monday night’s game with 74 starts behind the plate. He has thrown out seven of the last 16 and 10 of the last 27 potential base stealers. Furthermore, Salty has reached base in 35 of his last 43 games. He is batting .246 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs and has reached base in 35 of his last 43 games.
He was also part of a memorable game in Rangers history on Aug. 22, 2007. Salty was a rookie when the Rangers beat Baltimore 30-3 in the first game of a doubleheader.
“I remember everyone hitting,” Salty recalled about the game in which he hit two home runs and collected seven RBIs. “It was a long day. We went out swinging the bats well. It seemed like nobody could get out. It was a fun day.”
Salty also talked about the impact catcher Jason Varitek and bullpen coach Gary Tuck have had on him. Also, he talks about the trade from the Rangers to the Red Sox.
Follow Bryan Dolgin on Twitter: RangersRadioBD
|Rangers lefty Matt Harrison talks about setting a career high for starts in a season.
Harrison was a guest on Rangers Baseball Tonight heard minutes before the first pitch on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network, but it was recorded the day before his start. Harrison talked about his first half of 2011, C.J. Wilson, wearing long sleeves on a 98-degree day and more.
|Nelson Cruz talks about his big 31st birthday with Rangers Baseball Tonight.
The Texas Rangers right fielder matched a career high with six RBIs. He drove in three with his 19th home run of the year, and the other three came home on his first triple of the season.
Cruz was the guest on the warm-up show which was heard on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network preceding the second game of the Marlins-Rangers series. He talked about his night at the plate, hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, possible All-Star Home Run Derby participation, his defense and more.
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