Friday, June 1, 2012
Stock watch: Joe Nathan up; Derek Holland down
By Richard Durrett
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Before the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels clash in a three-game series, let's take stock in who's trending up and who's trending down for the Rangers.
Joe Nathan: The closer has put all of his first-week issues behind him and has been rock solid. He's retired 21 of the last 23 batters he's faced and has worked eight scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts in his last eight games. ... Nathan pitched in a blowout loss to the Mariners for the second consecutive night after telling Ron Washington he'd do it if the skipper needed him to save some other bullpen arms (like Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama). That's a team player.
Rangers closer Joe Nathan talks about why he was never worried about his abilities after struggling in spring training, the Angels' recent surge and more.
Nelson Cruz: Boomstick appears back, though he's still looking for a little more consistency. He has three homers in his last six gamdes and pounded out 11 RBIs on the homestand. He was 0-for-6 in the final two games, but overall has been much better than the start of the season.
Mike Napoli: After a 3-for-25 slump that had him as a down stock a week ago, Napoli is 4-for-12 in his last three games with two homers and seven RBIs. And he loves hitting against his old team.
Derek Holland: After breezing through the first inning Wednesday, Holland couldn't get through the second. He faced 12 batters, gave up eight runs on eight hits and walked the final two hitters he faced on nine pitches, ending his night. Holland's ERA jumped more than a full run. It will be interesting to see how he responds.
Craig Gentry: The outfielder made an ill-fated dive attempt in the eighth inning of Monday's game against the Mariners, nearly allowing Brendan Ryan to score on an inside-the-park homer (but Cruz was backing it up and the Rangers executed some nice throws to get him). He was just 2-for-10 on the homestand at the plate.
Pitching: We'll lump the staff together when it comes to the last two games, allowing 31 runs to the Seattle Mariners, who has scored just 11 in their five-game losing streak before Tuesday and Wednesday. It was a rough patch for the arms, who look to rebound this weekend.