Texas Rangers: Stock Report
Elvis Andrus: Andrus went 1-for-3 with a run scored in Thursday's 6-5 win as he continues to be the Rangers' most consistent offensive player in September. Andrus is batting .321 for the month with 18 RBIs, tied for second most in the American League behind only Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes. It's the highest monthly RBI total of Andrus' career. He also takes a 13-game hitting streak against the Los Angeles Angels into Friday's game.
Craig Gentry: Gentry is getting the everyday start in left field down the stretch and is making the most of it. Gentry, who has started the last six games, was 3-for-4 in Thursday's game. He is 12-for-25 in the last seven games and has scored a run in four straight. He had a season-high four hits and matched a career-best with three stolen bases Thursday at Tampa Bay.
The Rangers' luck: Texas has won four straight games and hasn't gained any ground in the wild-card race. Tampa Bay and Cleveland both take seven-game winning streaks into Friday's games. Jason Giambi's two-run pinch-hit homer stands as the biggest hit of the week, rallying the Indians over the White Sox on Tuesday night.
Neftali Feliz: It's really by process of elimination, but Feliz still has to establish after Tommy John surgery that he can be counted on in crucial moments. Feliz's four-pitch walk Friday night said he might not be ready. The Rangers lost that game, 2-1. It's by no means a knock on Feliz. He's still getting back to where he was before the injury.
Tanner Scheppers: He did allow a home run to Clint Barmes on Wednesday, but overall Scheppers is back to his dominant self. He had six scoreless outings before slipping up against Pittsburgh. The Rangers should be in good shape this weekend if they can take a lead to the eighth inning for Scheppers and closer Joe Nathan.
A.J. Pierzynski: Pierzynski has been a rock for the Rangers lately, on and off the field. He has nine hits in his last 21 at-bats. Pierzynski is hammering left-handed pitching with a .372 batting average for his last 43 at-bats. He's always been there to answer questions after games during the current losing streak, so much so that he said he was talked out after Wednesday's 7-5 loss to Pittsburgh.
Adrian Beltre: It's just been a rough go for Beltre, who carried the club in July and August. He is batting .209 with no home runs and three RBIs in 10 games in September. The Rangers are desperate for Beltre to get going in the final 17 games.
Mitch Moreland: Moreland hasn't adjusted well to the platoon with Jeff Baker. He's batting .130 for 23 at-bats for September. He'll take an 0-for-15 streak into the Oakland series with the A's slated to start three right-handers. Moreland is batting .238 against righties with 20 home runs in 286 at-bats.
Bullpen: Rangers relievers have a 2.25 ERA for their last 43 games as the bullpen also has helped springboard the Rangers into first place. The Rangers are second to Kansas City in bullpen ERA with a 3.00 mark. Texas is second in the majors with 28 wins from relievers and second with a 83.7 save percentage.
Alex Rios: The Rangers' new right fielder has provided a big boost with hits in 13 of his last 17 games. Rios has been productive with three doubles, a triple, a home run, seven RBIs and 11 runs during that stretch. Rios hit his first homer for the Rangers on Saturday.
Jurickson Profar: Profar has 11 hits in his last 56 at-bats, but he had a solid game in Wednesday's win with two hits and a run scored. It's difficult to get too down on Profar, who continues to play outstanding defense.
Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers is back in form. He was filthy in his one inning of work Wednesday against Milwaukee, striking out two of the three batters he faced to keep the Rangers ahead 5-4 in the eighth inning. He has allowed one earned run in his last 11 innings.
Rotation: Texas starters have permitted four runs or less in 18 straight games beginning July 27. That is giving ther club a chance to win every game. It's their longest such stretch since Sept. 1993. Rangers starters have a 3.12 ERA during this run.
Alexi Ogando: He could be headed to the disabled list for the third time this season Friday depending on the CT scan he had done on his sore right shoulder Wednesday. Ogando has made only 15 starts as he's never really been right -- health wise -- all season.
Yu Darvish: With his 14 strikeouts and no walks in Thursday's 7-1 win over Arizona, Darvish became the third pitcher in the modern era (since 1900) with three games of at least 14 Ks and no walks in a single season. He joined Randy Johnson in 2001 and Roger Clemens in 1997. Darvish has allowed one earned run in three starts since the All-Star break.
Elvis Andrus: He'll take a 14-game hitting streak into Friday's series opener against Oakland. The streak started in the first game after the All-Star break against Baltimore and Andrus has kept it going -- maybe with an assist from Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez. Read about Pudge's impact here.
Leonys Martin: Martin had a two-run double in the fourth inning on Thursday night to give him five RBIs in the last three games. It was his third straight hit with runners in scoring position after being 1-for-12 in his previous run-producing opportunities. All of this while moving into the top spot in the batting order on Monday.
Robbie Ross: Ross had a rough July. He had a 7.88 ERA to raise his season ERA from 1.88 to 2.89. The left-hander's biggest problem is retiring left-handed hitters. They are 5-for-6 and have 12 hits in the last 23 at-bats with three home runs. The three homers have come in his last 11 innings after not allowing one in 36 2/3 innings to start the season.
Manny Ramirez: The Rangers took a no-risk chance on 41-year old slugger Manny Ramirez when they signed him to a minor league deal last month. After an early show of power, Ramirez has two extra base hits -- both doubles -- in his last 51 at-bats. Scouts have said he's been unable to generate bad speed. Ramirez wasn't in Round Rock's lineup on Thursday night in Fresno, but he was on the lineup card.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's Friday, so let's take a look at who's trending up and who's trending down in Texas:
Jon Daniels: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels made baseball's first big deal before the trade deadline, acquiring the best starting pitcher on the market, Matt Garza, for one major league player, Justin Grimm, and prospects. The Rangers' starting rotation has been depleted by injuries this season and only had 10 wins since June 1. Garza won his first start for the Rangers on Wednesday, beating the Yankees 3-1.
Bullpen: Rangers relievers had produced 25 1/3 scoreless innings over a seven-game stretch before closer Joe Nathan allowed two ninth-inning runs in Tuesday's 5-4 loss to New York. Left-hander Neal Cotts has been as good as any reliever in baseball with a 0.91 ERA, third lowest among major league pitchers with at least 25 innings.
Elvis Andrus: Andrus is starting to get the barrel of the bat on the baseball and the results are improving. Andrus is batting .360 out of the All-Star break and has a seven-game hitting streak. Andrus has an 11-game home hitting streak, the second longest of his career.
Offense: The Rangers were shut out for the sixth time on the season Thursday, one more than all of 2012. They batted .254 with 17 runs on the 17-game homestand. The Rangers' season-long trend of being awful with runners in scoring position continues. They are hitting .165 in those situations in the last 12 games. The Rangers have 34 games this season when they've scored two runs or fewer.
Nelson Cruz: Cruz has four hits in his last 23 at-bats as his bat has gone cold. He had one RBI batting in the No. 3 spot in the lineup on the homestand. Cruz has been streaky throughout his career, so it's too early to say facing a possible suspension is taking a toll.
Mitch Moreland: Moreland had two hits in 25 at-bats on the homestand. With Cruz and Adrian Beltre both struggling at the same time, the Rangers need other players in their lineup to produce. Moreland did have a clutch two-run home run to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead in Tuesday's game against New York, a game they eventually lost 5-4 on Nathan's blown save.
Adrian Beltre: The reigning American League Player of the Week takes a 13-game hitting streak into Friday's game against Detroit. He is batting .451 with six home runs, three doubles, 12 RBIs and eight runs scored in that span.
Ross Wolf: Wolf got a crucial out on one pitch in Monday's win against Baltimore. He then made an emergency start Thursday against the Orioles, allowing two runs in six innings. Wolf has filled every role asked of him this season.
Joakim Soria: Soria has lifted the bullpen, retiring all six batters he's faced since being recalled Sunday. He had a scoreless inning against Houston on Sunday in his first major league outing since Sept. 2011 with Kansas City. Soria adds depth in the bullpen and will take pressure off setup man Tanner Scheppers.
Mitch Moreland: Moreland had four hits in 34 at-bats before his three-hit game Thursday against Baltimore. His strikeouts have mounted. But he was back to using the whole field in Thursday's game against the Orioles, so hopefully that will carry over.
Nick Tepesch: Tepesch landed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, giving him a chance to regroup after a rough last month and half. Tepesch had allowed four earned runs or more in five of his last six starts before the injury.
Jurickson Profar: Profar has played well defensively and he seems to have adjusted well to left field. But offensively he has struggled with eight hits in his last 53 at-bats. He has three hits in his last 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Joe Nathan: He was the American League delivery man of the month after saving all 11 of his opportunities in June. Nathan has converted 12 straight saves and is 28 for 29 for the season. He has a 9⅓ scoreless innings streak intact. Nathan can put a scare into you -- Seattle's Kyle Seager hit one off Nathan to the fence in a 5-4 game on Thursday night -- but he is getting the job done.
Martin Perez: His scoreless inning streak ended at 16 2/3 innings Thursday night after the Mariners scored an unearned run against him. Perez has pitched five innings and allowed two runs or less in all three of his starts since being recalled from Triple-A Round Rock. He has stabilized the rotation while rookies Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm have struggled of late.
Engel Beltre: When the 23-year-old rookie outfielder is involved in the game, something exciting happens. Beltre sparked the Rangers again Thursday night, scoring the go-ahead run from third base on a shallow line drive to left field. Beltre has two multihit games in three starts and tons of energy to go with it.
A.J. Pierzynski: Pierzynski isn't alone as far as slumping, especially power wise. He has two hits in his past 21 at-bats, though his single in the seventh inning Thursday night keyed a four-run inning and rallied the Rangers from a 3-1 deficit. He's in a bit of home run drought, going without a long ball since June 22. Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre and David Murphy have all ended 20-plus game streaks without a home run this week, so it's Pierzynski's turn.
Robbie Ross/Neal Cotts: OK, their stock isn't really down. The overall picture says both pitchers have been outstanding this season. But they did each give up two-run home runs in the series against Seattle, both coming with the game tied. Ross' home run allowed to Seager came in the top of the 11th, and the Rangers went on to lose 4-2.
The Heat: What happened to the 100-degree days in Arlington? The scorchers? The game-time temperature on July 4 was 93 degrees. After a hot start to the homestand, it's been mild all week. Maybe the sun is in a slump? We probably won't be saying that in August.
Rangers' lefty starters: Derek Holland was brilliant Thursday in New York, throwing a two-hit shutout against the Yankees. Holland had been 0-5 with an 8.85 ERA in eight career regular-season appearances against the Yankees before his dominant effort. Rangers top pitching prospect Martin Perez, who will start Friday night at home against Cincinnati, allowed two runs in seven innings in his return to the big leagues last Saturday at St. Louis.
Leonys Martin: The center fielder will take a 11-game hitting streak into Friday's game, the second longest streak in the American League behind Detroit's Miguel Cabrera and the Los Angeles Angels' Alberto Callaspo, who have hit in 12 straight. Martin is batting .411 during the hitting streak to take his batting average from .252 to .288.
Nelson Cruz: Cruz belted his 20th home run of the season Wednesday, making this his fifth consecutive season with 20-plus home runs. It ties a club record for consecutive 20-homer seasons with Pete Incaviglia (1986-90), Juan Gonzalez (1995-99), Ivan Rodriguez (1997-2001) and Rafael Palmeiro (1999-2003).
Yu Darvish: He will take a seven-game winless streak into Sunday's start against the Reds. Darvish allowed three home runs in his start Tuesday against the Yankees, losing a 3-1 lead at New York. He allowed home runs to non-power threats Brett Gardner and Jayson Niz. The Rangers eventually lost the game 4-3. Darvish had 100 pitches through five innings in his start compared to the 92 it took Holland to throw a complete game Thursday. Darvish continues to rely too much on his breaking pitches.
First-inning blues: The Rangers have gone 19 straight games without scoring in the first inning. It's their longest such streak since 2004. Texas hasn't had a first-inning extra base hit in 29 games, the longest streak since Oakland went 31 games without one in 1984. The Rangers have been outscoring 34-18 in the first inning. Their 18 first-inning runs are the fewest in baseball.
Comeback Rangers: Thursday's 4-3 win over Oakland was the 21st come-from-behind victory of the season for the Rangers, which is tied for second in the majors. The Rangers, whose last four wins have been of the comeback variety, are 12-7 in one-run games, tying the New York Yankees for third in the majors.
Leonys Martin: He's taken over the center field job from Craig Gentry. Martin has hit safely in six straight games, going 9-for-19 in that time to boost his batting average to .278. He also has turned into a major stolen base threat, swiping bags in four of his last six games and 11 of his last 30. Manager Ron Washington said Thursday he will ride Martin's hot streak. Who wouldn't?
Ian Kinsler: His value to the Rangers has never been greater. It's no coincidence that his return sparked the club to a series win over Oakland. Kinsler, who came off the disabled list last Saturday, was 6-for-16 against the A's with four RBIs, including the game-winning hit in Thursday's 4-3 victory. Kinsler has six RBIs in six games since returning from a rib cage injury.
Lance Berkman: He has one hit in his last 15 at-bats and has been out of the lineup for three of the last four games as Washington takes it easy on his surgically-repaired right knee. Berkman had a two-run homer from the right side in Wednesday's victory. It's from the left side, which has traditionally been his power side, that Berkman isn't generating power. He has three hits in his last 29 at-bats with no extra base hits against right-handers. Berkman's last homer against a righty came on May 11 against Houston.
Elvis Andrus: He's swinging better, and he's mostly had bad luck the last few days. Still, he has two hits in his last 25 at-bats and can't get out of a funk that has him batting .239 entering Friday's game.
Tepesch/Grimm: It hasn't been easy for the Rangers' rookie starters, who have seen their numbers balloon this month. Nick Tepesch is 0-2 with a 6.95 ERA for June. Justin Grimm is 1-2 with a 9.90 ERA. The Rangers are sticking by them with Tepesch starting Sunday night on ESPN against the Cardinals.
Jason Frasor: He's picked up a few ticks on the radar gun with his fastball of late, hitting 93 to 94 mph, and he's getting the results to go with it. Frasor has worked 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his last five outings. He has a 1.50 ERA in his last eight games to lower his ERA to 2.95.
Jeff Baker: He's been everything the Rangers could ask for from a utility man. He has played six positions, including playing a flawless second base on Wednesday. He has four home runs and seven RBIs in his last seven games.
David Murphy: Manager Ron Washington has stuck with Murphy in the No. 2 spot in the batting the order where he is 4-for-37, 6-for-46 and 11-for-68 in different stretches of his season. He's just not getting it done.
Center fielders: The combination of Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin has produced seven hits in 46 at-bats in June. Martin has the only home run. They each have one RBI.
Justin Grimm: The rookie right-hander has won three consecutive starts at a time when the Rangers have No. 3 starter Alexi Ogando on the disabled list and when it is uncertain when Colby Lewis will be able to begin rehabbing again. Grimm leads all American League rookie starters with five wins. He has been great at Rangers Ballpark where he is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA for the season.
Jurickson Profar: Profar has a six-game hitting streak with 10 hits in his last 25 at-bats. The 20-year old has settled in nicely with multiple hit games in three of the four starts. He's also played well defensively as he proves he belong at the big league level.
Adrian Beltre: He has a seven-game hitting streak while take his turn at carrying the middle of the Rangers' lineup. Beltre has 11 hits in last 30 at-bats with four doubles. The good news for the Rangers is his power numbers should pick up if he continues to swing the bat this well.
Ian Kinsler: Kinsler, the catalyst at the top of the Rangers' lineup, is probably out until July 1 because of a stress reaction in his rib cage. Jurickson Profar is playing well in Kinsler's absence, but don't kid yourself if you don't think Kinsler's bat is missed. The Rangers are 6-5 without Kinsler as they've lost the presence of his combination of power and speed in the leadoff spot.
Michael Kirkman: He's just not getting it done, allowing two more runs Thursday as Arizona was able to close to within 9-5 in the eight inning. It was the fifth time this season Kirkman has allowed multiple runs in a game. Kirkman is out of options, and he's still a talented lefty in the bullpen, so the Rangers need to find a way to get him right.
AL West lead: Oakland finally lost to rival San Francisco on Thursday as the Rangers were able to build their division lead back to three games. It ended a stretch where the Rangers had lost ground in the AL West standings for four straight days, the first time that's happened since May 2010.
David Murphy: Murphy has come alive batting second in the lineup, going 5-for-18 in five starts. His two-run home run in the first inning Wednesday sparked a three-run inning in the Rangers' 3-1 win. Murphy also hit a key three-run homer against Detroit on Sunday.
Leonys Martin: Martin has a seven-game hitting streak as he gets more comfortable every game. He has eight hits in his last 21 at-bats and five steals in the last seven games.
Nelson Cruz: Cruz isn't slumping, but he's not dominating either. He has grounded into three double-plays in the last six games.
Joseph Ortiz: The Rangers will let Ortiz figure things out at the big league level. He had three walks Monday against Oakland after walking only two in the previous 16 games. Ortiz has allowed runs in seven of his 17 outings.
The Rangers: At 27-14, the Rangers have their best record through 41 games. Their previous best had been 26-15 in 1996. The Rangers have been in solo possession of first place for 25 consecutive days. They are the first team to have a seven-game division lead at this point in the season since Boston in 2007.
Mitch Moreland: Mitch Moreland hit two more doubles to drive in runs in Thursday's 10-4 victory, including what turned out to be the game-winning runs, and continues to be the Rangers' hottest hitter. Since April 22, Moreland has 33 hits in 91 at-bats with six home runs, 10 doubles, a triple, 15 RBIs and 13 runs. It's one of the best Rangers streaks in recent memory.
Yu Darvish: He's won five straight decisions, the longest single-season win streak of his career. He is one win shy of matching his overall best streak of six wins in a row from Aug. 28, 2012 to April 7, 2013. He has won seven straight games at Rangers Ballpark.
Joe Nathan: It's hard to say a closer who has saved all 12 of his opportunities is down, but Nathan has flirted with his trouble in his last two outings. He's allowed a run in each of his last two games. He loaded the bases in Oakland, putting the winning run on second base, before getting a strikeout and a fly out. Nathan's velocity is down, but more regular work could solve that.
Derek Lowe: His last two appearances haven't gone well. He allowed four runs in the eighth inning in Houston to turn a 12-1 game into a 12-5 game. The Rangers eventually won 12-7. Lowe has allowed nine hits and nine runs in his last 4 2/3 innings.
Justin Grimm: The Rangers will be looking for a better result from Grimm when he starts Saturday against Detroit. He's allowed 10 earned runs in his last 10 innings, giving up three home runs as his ERA has risen to 4.28.
Pitching staff: The Rangers have a 3.19 ERA in the last 27 games to drop their team ERA from 3.34 to 3.22, the second lowest ERA in the Majors behind St. Louis (3.07). It's the second lowest ERA ever through 34 games behind the club's 3.19 ERA in 1976.
Tanner Scheppers: Scheppers continues to trend upward with his 0.53 ERA the second lowest by a qualifying reliever in the American League. Opposing batters have two hits in their last 17 at-bats against Scheppers. He has allowed one walk in his last 8 1/3 innings and has retired the first batter he's faced in last seven appearances.
Elvis Andrus: Andrus has a six-game hitting streak and has a hit in 15 of his last 16 games to raise his batting average to .266. He had a three-hit game Wednesday and is 5-for-9 in his last two games.
A.J. Pierzynski: Pierzynski was already trending down before he landed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a strained right oblique muscle. He had four strikeouts in that Sunday afternoon game against the Red Sox. When he returns he'll be riding a stretch in which he was 16-for-73 to drop his batting averaged to a season-low .263. The injury helps explain a lot.
Nelson Cruz: Cruz carried the Rangers in April but he's dipped significantly of late. He is on a 5-for-36 stretch to drop his batting average to a season-low .270. Cruz has also struggled in the outfield missing two catchable fly balls during the two-game series at Milwaukee.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.