Friday, April 26, 2013
Stock Report: Nick Tepesch up, schedule makers down
By Todd Wills
Nick Tepesch: What can you say about rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch. All he's done so far is throw strikes. He hasn't walked anyone since three free passes in the second inning of his debut April 9 against Tampa Bay. Since then he's gone 19 innings without a walk. He's reached double-digits in ground ball outs in his three starts other than the one last Saturday when Tepesch left in the second inning after getting hit on the wrist by a line drive.
Nelson Cruz: Cruz became the third player in Rangers history with three home runs in four days that were either 3-run homers or grand slams. Cruz had two 3-run homers against the Angels on Tuesday and Wednesday and a grand slam against Seattle on Sunday. Jeff Burroughs had three 3-run home runs April 29 and May 1-2, 1976. Larry Parrish had two grand slams and a 3-run homer in July 1982.
Big innings: The Rangers were the last team to score four or more runs in an inning. They're making up for it now. The latest outburst was Wednesday's 9-run fourth inning against the Angels. The Rangers went on to win 11-3. It was the most runs the Rangers have scored in a road inning since Aug. 22, 2007 in Baltimore when they scored 30 runs and won 30-3.
The schedule maker: The Rangers were forced to travel two time zones to Minneapolis because of a night game Wednesday night in Anaheim, arriving at their hotel at 6:30 a.m. It would have been kind of the Angels to play a day game, but the Halos protected their home gate with a night game instead. The Rangers responded by winning 2-1 Thursday night. Coaches and players have long said it's the second game after a morning arrival that impacts their energy the most.
Mitch Moreland: Mitch Moreland has seven hits in his last 23 at-bats as he rebounds from a tough start. But he's still struggling against left-handed pitching. Moreland has three hits in 27 at-bats with one RBI against lefties. A healthy Jeff Baker could take away playing time, starting Friday night against Twins left-hander Scott Diamond.
Joakim Soria: Soria's return to the big leagues after Tommy John surgery won't happen until June because of a strained pectoral muscle. The Rangers' bullpen has been stellar so far, but Soria is expected to be an important addition when he makes it back.