Texas Rangers: Aubrey Huff

Matchup: Scott Feldman vs. Ryan Vogelsong

June, 9, 2012
6/09/12
9:00
AM CT
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.-- The second game of this three-game series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants features RHP Scott Feldman vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong at 3:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. A quick look at the matchup:

Feldman (0-4, 7.01): The 29-year-old is the first Texas pitcher to lose four consecutive starts since Matt Harrison on April 20-May 6, 2011. ... Feldman became the first Rangers pitcher to allow multiple eight-run innings in a career (including a club-record 10-run first inning on Aug. 12, 2008 at Boston). ... Has yet to complete five innings this season, exiting one out shy of five twice (both after E5's on Adrian Beltre that could have ended the inning). ... Lost his only career start vs. Giants in a June 19, 2009 (6 IP, 5 ER) matchup with Randy Johnson. ... Made two relief appearances against Giants in 2006, getting credit for the loss in one (first of two straight losses to S.F.). ... Has one run, two hits, and no walks in 14 career at-bats. ... Is a San Francisco 49ers and Golden State Warriors fan.

Vogelsong (4-2, 2.38): The 34-year-old leads the Giants and is fifth in the NL in ERA. ... The 2011 MLB All-Star plays his best ball at home, posting a 1.52 ERA and holding hitters to .199 at AT&T Park compared to his 3.71 ERA on the road this year. ... Has pitched seven shutout innings against the AL this year. ... Has faced only three current Rangers hitters, allowing three hits, one walk and a .273 batting average. ... Has never faced the Rangers.

Hitters: Current Giants are 4-for-18 against Feldman. ... Melky Cabrera is 2-for-6. ... Aubrey Huff is 1-for-6 with one RBI. ... Rangers hitters are 3-for-11 against Vogelsong. ... Yorvit Torrealba is 2-for-3 with one RBI and one walk.

Up Next: RHP Alexi Ogando (1-0, 2.27) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (2-6, 5.83), Sunday at 3:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.

Edgar Renteria's 3-run homer puts Giants up

November, 1, 2010
11/01/10
8:50
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The San Francisco Giants just moved closer to capturing the franchise's first World Series in 56 years.

Edgar Renteria, with two out and runners on second and third drove Cliff Lee's bread-and-butter pitch, his cutter, into the left-center field bleachers, giving the Giants Tim Lincecum a 3-0 lead.

The inning started badly for Lee, who gave up a lead-off single to Cody Ross and then another to Juan Uribe. Aubrey Huff nailed his first career sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third. But, Pat Burrell couldn't get the job done, striking out on the seventh pitch of the at-bat.

That brought up Renteria, who was batting .429 in the World Series entering Game 5. The blast was his second home run of the series.

Giants lineup: Hitless Pat Burrell is DH

November, 1, 2010
11/01/10
3:58
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Pat Burrell, who struck out four times in Game 3 and is hitless in the World Series (0-for-9), returns to the San Francisco Giants' lineup as the designated hitter for tonight's Game 5. After taking a seat to clear his head and work on his swing, Burrell will hit seventh against the Texas Rangers.

Game 4 hero Aubrey Huff, who hit a two-run homer in the second inning, drops from third to sixth in the order. Aaron Rowand will also make his first start of the World Series in center field, which moves Cody Ross to left field and Andres Torres to right field.

Here's the Giants' lineup:

RF Andres Torres (S)
2B Freddy Sanchez
C Buster Posey
LF Cody Ross
3B Juan Uribe
1B Aubrey Huff (L)
DH Pat Burrell
SS Edgar Renteria
CF Aaron Rowand
P Tim Lincecum (3-1, 2.79 ERA)

Foul: Tommy Hunter makes early exit

November, 1, 2010
11/01/10
1:29
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas – Unfortunately for young Texas Rangers starter Tommy Hunter, his most joyous moments this postseason amounted to twice dousing TBS sideline reporter Craig Sager with exploding beer.

Otherwise, it’s been a disappointing playoff run for the 24-year-old righty. In his third postseason start, this one being crucial Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night, Hunter again didn’t pitch terribly, and he again left a close game. But, for the third time he failed to see the fifth inning and put back to work a sputtering bullpen.

Done in by 21 pesky San Francisco foul balls -- including 12 in the third inning alone -- that helped to drive up his pitch count, and by a first-pitch, 404-foot two-run homer by local product Aubrey Huff in the second inning, Hunter found himself again trying to explain how he felt good on the mound but couldn’t get the job done.

Huff’s homer stood as the Giants rode their young lefty, Madison Bumgarner, to a 4-0 victory. The Giants will now hand the ball to ace Tim Lincecum on Monday for the first of three elimination chances for the Giants. Of course, the Rangers will grasp to hope knowing they’ll have Cliff Lee going in his final start for the Rangers of 2010.

As for Hunter, he disappointingly ends his postseason with a 0-2 record and a 5.56 ERA. The two losses amount to half his total during the regular season when he won 13 of his 22 starts and never saw his ERA rise above 3.99

“It’s been tough when you don’t go out and do what you’re supposed to do. It’s tough,” Hunter said. “I felt pretty good tonight. There’s not too many things I would take back.”

Except for one: Huff’s towering home run into the right-field seats.

“He hit a pitch that didn’t do what it was supposed to do. It was a mistake,” Hunter said. “That’s what good hitters do. They hit mistakes.”

Hunter’s night might have turned out differently with just a smidgeon of help from his offense. But the Rangers’ mighty bats, bolstered by the designated hitter being in effect in their home ballpark, were befuddled by Bumgarner, who was nothing short of brilliant in his first World Series appearance.

Coming in, this matchup was billed as a toss-up: Two youthful arms with no postseason experience and nerves that might fray under pressure. Bumgarner watched fellow lefty Jonathan Sanchez get roughed up and leave early in the Rangers’ Game 3 win, but 21-year-old simply filed that away, came out and pitched the game of his brief big-league career.

He shut down Texas on just three hits, all singles. He struck out six and allowed one baserunner to reach scoring position.

The disparity in the two starters’ efficiency was drastic. Bumgarner threw 106 pitches and faced 27 batters over eight innings. Hunter, in just four innings, threw 83 pitches to 18 batters.

“He did great,” Hunter said of his counterpart. “He did what everybody’s supposed to do. He limited baserunners, he threw the ball well. Tip your cap. Probably the most potent lineup in baseball, he shut them down.”

Having to win three in a row, the Rangers will need their starters to go deep. Their bullpen situation is messy after Alexi Ogando exited the game during a second impressive inning of work with a left oblique strain. He will undergo exams Monday morning, but he is not expected to be available for Game 5 or beyond.

That removes the best right-handed arm outside of closer Neftali Feliz, who went a third World Series game Sunday without making an appearance. Trusted bullpen hands to get games to the ninth have dwindled to seemingly lefty Darren Oliver and, to an extent, lefty Derek Holland.

Washington’s confidence in Darren O'Day has to be somewhat shaken after he offered up a home run to Buster Posey in the eighth to make it 4-0. It was the second time in the series that O’Day has given up a blast to the first batter he’s faced. Juan Uribe tagged him for a three-run shot after O’Day relieved Lee in Game 1.

Of the seven relievers on the World Series roster, four own astronomical ERAs. O’Day and Kirkman are on the low end at 13.50 each. Holland is at 27.00, and Mark Lowe is at a mind-blowing 67.50. Ogando had yet to give up a run in 3 2/3 innings pitched, but he’s now out of service.

Oliver (3.38) and Feliz (0.00) are the only relievers that haven’t completely folded in pressure situations.

“I don’t think they’re going to need us [Monday],” O’Day said. “A guy like Cliff doesn’t have two bad games in a row. [The Giants] have got to go through him to win tomorrow, so maybe they won’t need us. That’d be nice.”

Hometowner Aubrey Huff goes deep, 2-0

October, 31, 2010
10/31/10
8:28
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- San Francisco Giants designated hitter Aubrey Huff pummeled the first pitch he saw from Tommy Hunter, driving it high and deep into the right-field bleachers for a 2-0 lead in third third inning.

Andres Torres led off the third with a double that hit the first base bag and sped down the line.

Hunter has thrown 72 pitches through three innings. He's been unable to put batters away with two strikes as Giants hitters have done a good job fouling pitches off and driving up his pitch count. As the bottom of the third begins, the Rangers' bullpen is quiet.

Huff started high school in Mineral Wells, Texas, and played his last two years at Brewer High School in Fort Worth.

Giants make DH change, add LH bats

October, 31, 2010
10/31/10
4:07
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- After Pat Burrell's struggles in this series -- eight strikeouts in nine at-bats -- and Pablo Sandoval's 0-for-3 showing as the DH, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy made some changes.

He's inserted left-handed hitters Travis Ishikawa and Nate Schierholtz after seeing how Colby Lewis carved through a right-handed heavy lineup in Game 3. The lineup for Game 4:

CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
DH Aubrey Huff (L)
C Buster Posey
LF Cody Ross
3B Juan Uribe
1B Travis Ishikawa (L)
SS Edgar Renteria
RF Nate Schierholtz (L)

Bullpen averts crisis, seals it for Lewis

October, 30, 2010
10/30/10
11:18
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas – The count went from 0-and-2 all the way to 3-and-2 and an all-time Rangers Ballpark record crowd of 52,419 rose as one, sweating a tidal wave of nervous energy that could have swept sidewinder Darren O'Day into early retirement.

A faulty cog in the Texas Rangers’ consecutive bullpen meltdowns by the Bay, O'Day called out catcher Bengie Molina to discuss pitch selection to dangerous rookie catcher Buster Posey, who, with a runner on first, could have tied it up with one crack of the bat.

“I had an idea what I wanted to throw,” O’Day said. “And he [Molina] had a better idea of what I wanted to throw. I went with Bengie.”

[+] EnlargeDarren O'Day
Elsa/Getty ImagesDarren O'Day opted to listen to Bengie Molina before getting Buster Posey to ground out to end the eighth inning. "I had an idea of what I wanted to throw, and [Molina] had a better idea of what I wanted to throw," O'Day said. "I went with Bengie."
O’Day executed the pitch, a slider away, and Posey got on top of it, softly rolling it up through the box. Shortstop Elvis Andrus charged it, scooped it and threw out Posey in plenty of time.

Inning over. Crisis averted.

“I wasn’t worried at all,” starter Colby Lewis calmly said in the happy postgame clubhouse.

That meeting at the mound was the biggest single moment of the World Series for the Rangers. Whether it becomes a series-altering is to be seen, starting with Sunday’s Game 4.

But, Lewis’ second consecutive brilliant start, following up his eight-inning gem that clinched the American League pennant, spared the bullpen from another long night and pulled the Rangers back into the World Series. The 4-2 victory leaves them trailing the San Francisco Giants, 2-1, with two more to go at home and under AL house rules.

Lewis gave up a second solo home run to Andres Torres in the eighth inning with one out. After Nelson Cruz made a terrific running catch on Freddy Sanchez’s missile to left, Lewis got to 0-2 on Aubrey Huff and appeared poised to get out of the eighth on his own terms, as he did against the Yankees.

But, then Lewis plunked Huff. That triggered manager Ron Washington to the mound. Lewis exited to a standing ovation. Posey stood in the on-deck circle representing the tying run.

“I brought in O’Day to face Posey,” Washington said. “I wanted to give him [Posey] that funky [side-arm] look. If Posey gets a hit, I’m bringing in [Neftali] Feliz.”

More on the young flamethrower in a moment. First, O’Day had to walk through fire as the right-hand-hitting Posey laid off three straight pitches to take the count full. Molina and O’Day met on the mound.

O’Day, Molina said, wanted to throw Posey a slider on the inside of the plate. Molina shook him off and recommended, if not demanded, a slider away.

“Seeing as Bengie’s been playing since I was maybe in the sixth grade, and he played for that team and that [Posey] was his replacement,” O’Day said, “I figured he probably had a better idea of what he wanted me to throw.”

[+] EnlargeNeftali Feliz
AP Photo/Eric GayNeftali Feliz made his first appearance of the World Series, blowing away the Giants in the ninth inning to earn the save.
Said Molina: “It’s a no-brainer because I think the only chance you give [Posey] is to have something middle-in and then he hits it out. I don’t mean that Posey cannot hit the ball the other way. I don’t mean that at all. I’m just saying you go with that because it’s a lot harder -- with O’Day pitching -- it’s a lot harder to go the other way.”

Retiring Posey finally allowed Washington to to go the 22-year-old Feliz for a postseason save situation in his first World Series appearance. It took 14 games, but was well worth the wait. A tad nervous and wild during the ALDS, Feliz blistered fastball after fastball. He threw 12 heaters among 13 pitches in the 1-2-3 ninth.

“I was mentally prepared,” Feliz said. “I was trying to keep all my pitches low and do my job.”

After a third-pitch slider to lead-off man Pat Burrell, Feliz threw nothing but smoke, all clocked between 97 and 99 mph. Burrell swung at a high one and whiffed. Cody Ross, who broke up Lewis’ shutout bid with a solo homer in the seventh, sailed a 99 mph fastball to the warning track in right. Juan Uribe had no chance to catch up to a 99 mph riser.

“Just blowin’,” Lewis said. “It was awesome.”

Feliz became the second-youngest pitcher in World Series history to record a save behind only Bob Welch in 1978 against the New York Yankees. Who’d the 22-year-old pass? Nolan Ryan. The Rangers team president and co-owner saved Game 3 for the 1969 New York Mets. He, too, was 22, but about three months older.

Asked about passing Ryan, Feliz smiled as he spoke in Spanish to team interpreter Eleno Ornelas. A contingent of Latin press suddenly laughed out loud as Feliz answered the question.

“Of course, I am very happy and I have to take advantage of what life gives me, the chance to save a game,” Ornelas translated.

Perhaps something was lost in translation. Not lost was the uplifting performance by a bullpen that desperately needed one.

“It’s huge, especially for [O’Day],” the staff’s elder statesman, Darren Oliver said. “He’s been doing it all year anyway, but to do it in a big situation like this, because everybody’s watching, every pitch is so important, I’m sure his phone is blowing up with a bunch of text messages.

“It’s good for him. At least he’ll get some good sleep tonight.”

Local lad Aubrey Huff recalls old ballpark

October, 29, 2010
10/29/10
12:02
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- San Francisco Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff played two years at Mineral Wells High School and then transferred to Brewer High School in Fort Worth, where he became an all-district player.

[+] EnlargeAubrey Huff
Howard Smith/US PresswireGiants first baseman Aubrey Huff, who grew up in North Texas as a Rangers fan, will be in familiar surroundings when the World Series shifts to Arlington for three games starting Saturday.
He grew up a Texas Rangers fan and now he's back home and playing in the first World Series in North Texas. The series shifts to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington starting Saturday for Games 3, 4 and 5.

Huff reminisced about his early days attending Rangers games at old Arlington Stadium:
"Yeah, I went to probably a handful of games at the old stadium when I was a kid, real young. Barely remember it. I remember you could stomp on that stadium in the outfield and hear the whole thing shaking. I thought that was the most beautiful park I had ever seen in my life when I was a kid. I was at the final game at the old park, when they moved the plate over to the new one, and watched that whole ceremony. I don't know what game I went to in the new one. I know it was the next year at some point. I don't think it was Opening Day or anything. Went to that new one, and then that was the most unbelievable park I had ever seen.

"I just remember Dollar Hot Dog Night when I was a kid, 12, 14 years old, just up there in the upper deck eating dollar hot dogs all day."

Huff went on to play ball at Vernon College before transferring to Miami. The Tampa Bay Rays drafted him in the fifth round in 1998. In 2006, the Rays traded him to Houston. He moved on to Baltimore and Detroit before landing in San Francisco this season.

He's looking forward to playing in front of the "home" crowd on the game's biggest stage:
"You know, I think I saw on the game they clinched [the American League pennant], watching it on TV that night we were in Philly, I think they had 53,000 fans or something. That's a lot of fans, and it sounded really loud. There's one thing about Texas fans, they remind me a lot of St. Louis fans; they're very good baseball fans. Big football, big football place. From growing up there, I know it's all Cowboys all the time but they seem to be out of it right now, so I'm sure all the folks are just turning to the Rangers. I'm sure they've got a lot of die hard fans there. I know my grandparents growing up were. They've passed, and they got me into baseball, really. Listening to Rangers games whether it be on the radio or watching TV when my mom worked late at night."

Blister, bullpen ruin C.J. Wilson's night

October, 29, 2010
10/29/10
12:37
AM CT


SAN FRANCISCO -- C.J. Wilson deserved better. On a night when the lefty came to deal on the heels of Cliff Lee's surprising Game 1 tumble, a ruptured blister on his middle finger, an impotent offense and an imploding Texas Rangers bullpen turned a Game 2 pitchers’ duel into a 9-0 San Francisco romp.

Wilson pitched superbly, matching the Giants’ stellar starter, Matt Cain, for all but one pitch. San Francisco shortstop Edgar Renteria launched a fifth-inning Wilson fastball high into the left-field bleachers for a 1-0 lead. In the top half of the fifth, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler missed giving Texas the lead first with a blast that smacked off the top of the center-field wall, just inches from going over, and somehow stayed in play.

Kinsler settled for a leadoff double, but another round of failed hitting with runners in scoring position left him standing on second.

[+] EnlargeC.J. Wilson
AP Photo/David J. PhillipRangers starter C.J. Wilson went toe-to-toe with the Giants' Matt Cain, but his solid outing was ruined by a blister and his bullpen.
The rapidly moving game remained 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh when the blister on Wilson’s left middle finger ruptured during a 10-pitch at-bat to Cody Ross, resulting in a walk, and the beginning of the end. The bloody blister left Wilson incapable of gripping the seams of the baseball, and he removed himself from a game that would put the Rangers in a 2-0 hole as the World Series shifts to Texas.

“Cain and I had a good pitching battle all the way through,” said Wilson, who allowed three hits. “I made that one mistake to Renteria and other than that I was in complete control the whole way. ... You never want to come out of the game, but I did what I thought was right for the team at that point. It didn’t work out as well as anybody drew it up.”

Spinning out of control is the Rangers’ bullpen. Darren Oliver couldn’t finish off the Giants in the seventh, allowing one run. But, it was a mind-numbing eighth that ended any hope of a comeback. After Darren O’Day struck out the first two batters, Buster Posey singled.

Rangers manager Ron Washington pulled the righty O’Day in favor of young lefty Derek Holland, a success story against the Yankees in the ALCS, to pitch to the left-hand-hitting Nate Schierholtz.

O’Day, a spot pitcher whom Washington tends to pull rather than face a left-handed hitter, was upset he couldn’t punch out Posey to end the inning.

“Obviously, yeah, it’s tough to watch for sure. You want your teammates to succeed. You want your team to succeed. We just didn’t get the job done, including myself. Schierholtz was coming up. Derek Holland was warming up and if you look at what he did last series against the Yankees, he’s obviously a pretty damned good pitcher.”

Unfortunately for Holland, he’ll need a short memory to soon forget what happened next.

“I was in the bullpen hitting my spots,” Holland said. “And then I come out of the bullpen and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.”

Holland threw 13 pitches to three batters; one for a strike. Schierholtz walked on four pitches. Then Ross watched four go by to load the bases. Aubrey Huff ran the count to 3-0 before Holland finally landed one in the strike zone. The fifth pitch, a fifth consecutive fastball, missed and a run came home.

As the balls kept coming, Rangers manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux never got the bullpen warming. Washington said he thought Holland would correct his fastball, but he never could.

“Very frustrating. I’m happy with what he did,” Holland said of Washington sticking with him. “He had confidence in me. It’s my fault. I let him down. I let the team down in that situation. This is a very serious time.”

Finally, Mark Lowe got up. He came in and promptly walked a fourth consecutive batter, Juan Uribe, on five pitches. Suddenly, Wilson’s hard-fought battle against the near-perfect Cain was a 4-0 deficit. The Giants would make it 9-0 by the end of the inning.

Wilson helplessly watched his work unravel.

“No, I’m not surprised at all,” said Wilson, who got a no-decision in Game 1 against the Yankees after a strong start followed by an epic bullpen failure. “When you walk a metric-ton of people, they’re going to score.”

The Rangers obviously miss the services of injured eighth-inning set-up man Frankie Francisco, who remains with the club. He was almost teary-eyed when asked how badly it hurts to be out of commission and watch the bullpen spiral.

Francisco had been a valuable bridge to get to rookie closer Neftali Feliz, who has still not pitched in a save situation. Feliz hasn’t pitched since the ALCS clincher last Friday night and could have been an option to stop the bleeding in the eighth, but Washington said he never considered going to his 22-year-old fireballer.

“No, I didn’t,” Washington said. “I didn’t at all.”

Now the Rangers head home for a possible three games and needing to win four of the final five to capture the franchise’s first World Series. Nothing is predictable, as the first two games at AT&T Park have shown. Lee proved mortal and when Wilson gave everything he had, a tiny, but debilitating injury, a dead-bat offense and a bungling bullpen did him in.

“Trust me,” Holland said sternly. “The bullpen is going to be fine come Friday [for Game 3]. It’s a new day. We’re not going to sit and dwell on it. This game’s over and we’re going to come back and help this team win.”

Beloved Bengie Molina moved by cheers

October, 28, 2010
10/28/10
7:15
AM CT

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's probably a good thing Texas Rangers catcher Bengie Molina was busy warming up starting pitcher Cliff Lee for Game 1 of the World Series when the lineups were introduced to the AT&T crowd.

When Molina's name echoed throughout AT&T Park, the former San Francisco Giants catcher, traded to the Rangers at mid-season, received a warm welcome from the passionate fan base he played in front of for 3 1/2 seasons. Molina, catching Lee in the bullpen located in foul territory in right field, raised his right arm to acknowledge the standing ovation.

Had he not been consumed by warming up Lee, Molina might have become overcome by emotion.

"It was very touching. I felt that deep in my heart," said Molina, who visited and embraced former teammtes before the game. "It almost made me cry just to know that they appreciate me like that. I'm very thankful for the fans. I'm very thankful because I spent 3 1/2 years here and they respected me the way that they did. It was very appreciated, but I just didn't want to cry because there are too many people here.

"I had no idea what to expect. I am wearing the wrong colors and they are very protective of their players and their colors, so I didn't know what to expect. That's why it was very touching."

And then Molina did what he's done this entire postseason -- he got on base. Molina singled in his first at-bat against Giants starter Tim Lincecum, the young ace Molina caught since the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner busted into the big leagues in 2007.

Molina singled in a run in the sixth off Lincecum, who was pulled two batters later. Molina came around to score to cut the Giants' lead to 8-3.

"I'm not a guy that's going to talk about my offense so much. It was very nice to have a good game. I wish I would have gone 0-for-4 and got the win, but it didn't happen. I'm very happy for what I did, but we need to come back [today] and get another one."

The 36-year-old catcher who is contemplating retiring after the season, threw out Aubrey Huff attempting to steal second in the seventh inning.

Molina will take Game 2 off. Matt Treanor is expected to catch C.J. Wilson. Molina is expected to start Game 3 when Colby Lewis takes the mound as the World Series descends on Arlington, Texas, for the first time.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.06 182 144
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .320
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 64
RA. Beltre 63
OPSA. Beltre .875
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182