Texas Rangers: Austin Jackson
Holland didn't think the language would be suitable for children.
"I was very upset with myself," he said. "Going into the game, as I was walking in from the bullpen, I felt like I had everything I needed today. One pitch got away from me. This is a good ballclub we're going up against. They have a lineup that can match up with us. I left a pitch for Jackson to hit and he took care of it. I took care of what I needed to do.
"I got pissed at myself and I made the adjustment and it worked from there. I kept my cool. I didn't get as pissed as I normally would and kind of pace around. I gathered myself, slowed everything down, told myself, 'Hey, that's one, don't worry about it. Let's keep plugging away.' I did."
Holland certainly made an adjustment. After surrendering the run on two hits to start the game, Holland retired 22 of the next 24 batters he faced, nine of those on strikeouts to tie a season high. He pitched 7 2/3 innings, tying his deepest outing of 2012. The very difficult middle of the Tigers' order -- Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young -- went 0-for-8 with a walk and three strikeouts against Holland. Holland had his sinker, slider and changeup working and was in full command. In the process, he matched 2011 AL Cy Young winner and MVP Justin Verlander, who gave up one run in seven innings.
Holland retired the final 10 batters he faced, and left-handed hitters were 0-for-6 off him. Since he's returned from the disabled list, lefties are hitting just .163 (7-for-43) with one extra-base hit off him in seven starts.
The key now is for Holland to use this start as a springboard to returning to his dominant form from the second half of 2011. Saturday was as close as Holland has been to the guy that pitched a masterpiece in Game 4 of the World Series.
"He stood up for us tonight. We needed him to and he did," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I think Derek made the turn. He made the turn. He was competing hard, he did what he had to do. I hated to go get him in that seventh inning, but one swing by Gerald Laird could have made everything he'd done just fall apart. So I brought in Ogando."
Washington lingered at the mound before signaling for Alexi Ogando, but the skipper said he'd already made up his mind to switch pitchers.
"Because of what he did tonight, I felt he needed some respect so I talked to him a little bit and told him how proud I was of him and what he did out there," Washington said.
Holland (7-6, 5.18 ERA): He'll be making his 18th start (19th appearance) of the season and hopes to see some improvement after going 1-2 with a 7.00 ERA in his past four starts to see his ERA go from 4.84 to 5.18. ... He has had an extra day of rest, thanks to Thursday's off day. ... He gave up six runs on eight hits in six innings with seven strikeouts and two walks in a no-decision Sunday in Kansas City (the Rangers lost 7-6 in 10 innings). ... He has allowed multiple home runs in four straight starts (nine total) and his 21 home runs allowed in 107 2/3 innings are five shy of his career-high of 26 during his 2009 rookie season. ... He has a 2.25 ERA in one start versus Detroit (one earned run in four innings). ... Holland is 3-4 with a 6.19 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) in Arlington this season.
Verlander (12-7, 2.51 ERA): The 29-year-old is once again proving to be a workhorse, having thrown 168 2/3 innings, tops in the majors. He has thrown at least 102 pitches in every outing, and only Mother Nature (rain) on July 31 at Boston prevented Verlander from pitching at least six innings in every outing. ... His last outing was a good one. He worked eight innings and allowed two runs (both unearned) on eight hits with 14 strikeouts and a walk in a win over the New York Yankees. ... He threw a season-high 132 pitches in the victory. ... Verlander is 7-2 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 regular-season starts in his career versus Texas with 66 strikeouts and 18 walks. ... In last year's American League Championship Series, Verlander was 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA in 11 1/3 innings.
Hitters: Josh Hamilton (4-for-14, 2 RBIs) and Adrian Beltre (9-for-32, HR, 3 RBIs) have had success off Verlander. ... Ian Kinsler (3-for-21) and Nelson Cruz (1-for-12, 3 K's) have struggled against him. ... Only Delmon Young has more than three at-bats off Holland and he's 6-for-12 with two homers and two RBIs. ... Miguel Cabrera and Austin Jackson are a combined 0-for-6 with four strikeouts.
Sun vs. Det: RHP Yu Darvish (11-8, 4.57) vs. RHP Rick Porcello (8-6, 4.65), 2:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW
Adams found himself in a jam after allowing a leadoff single to Austin Jackson and a walk to Quintin Berry. With runners on first and second and no outs in a 7-4 ballgame, the dangerous Miguel Cabrera represented the tying run at the plate.
“With Cabrera coming up, obviously I’ve got to make some pitches," Adams said. "This is a big situation."
Cabrera sent a rocket to center field that Josh Hamilton managed to grab just in front of the wall. It was the first of two outs in the inning that sent outfielders to the warning track.
Adams said that having athletes like Hamilton behind him on defense gives him added peace of mind.
“It’s really good to know that you have a defense behind you that’s going to go out and get the ball, in the infield or the outfield," Adams said. "Those guys will do whatever they have to to catch that ball, and it’s always a good feeling."
After getting Cabrera, Adams and the defense got the final two outs of the inning from equally dangerous Tiger hitters in Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. Fielder's groundout scored the Tigers' only run of the inning.
"It was a wild one," Adams said. "I couldn’t find the strike zone right off the bat. I used basically the whole field on two outs, and luckily I got out of that inning with one run.”
Whether it was luck or not, Adams and the Rangers held off Detroit to preserve Yu Darvish's 10th win and allow Joe Nathan to post his 15th straight save and 17th of the season.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers evened their three-game series with the Detroit Tigers with a 7-5 win Tuesday night. The Rangers came back from a 3-1 deficit to force a rubber match with the Tigers and give Yu Darvish his 10th win (the most by any American League rookie). Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: With the win, the Rangers even their current series with the Tigers and improve to 4-2 against Detroit this season. The Rangers also retain a 4 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, which is the largest lead of any major league division leader.
|Rangers GM Jon Daniels shares his thoughts on the injuries that have plagued the pitching rotation this season, calling up top prospect Martin Perez and much more. |
Easy as 1-2-3: Darvish had back-to-back 1-2-3 innings twice, in the second and third, and in the sixth and seventh. He also had 10 strikeouts (one short of his career high). He has struck out 10 or more four times this year, which is the most in the AL and tied with R.A. Dickey for the most in the majors.
Make way for Prince: Prince Fielder gave the Rangers fits, fueling the Detroit offense essentially on his own. He was the only Tiger to have a hit through the first four innings, supplying a two-run double in the first and a solo home run in the fourth. Fielder finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs.
Leadoff HR: Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff home run in the Rangers' half of the first to cut the deficit to 2-1. Kinsler had not hit a home run since June 8 against the San Francisco Giants (15 games). It was Kinsler's third leadoff homer this season and the 23rd of his career, which is a club record. Kinsler finished 2-for-4 with two strikeouts.
4-ever Young: Michael Young started a scoring run in the fourth inning when he hit a triple to drive in Adrian Beltre. Nelson Cruz added an RBI single to bring Young home, and Yorvit Torrealba and Brandon Snyder followed with RBI singles to put the Rangers up 5-3. The four-run fourth ended on an 8-2-6 putout at second when Snyder tried to take the extra base on his single. Going into Tuesday's game, Young was hitting .167 (7-for-42) with runners in scoring position over the previous 40 games, despite starting the year 15-for-38 (.395) with RISP. Young finished 2-for-4 with one strikeout.
Home run Hamilton: Josh Hamilton hit a home run for the second straight night, blasting a 422-foot solo shot in the seventh. Hamilton has struggled lately, by his standards. Going into Tuesday's game, he had a .197 average for June. But he still has 24 home runs on the season (tied for most in MLB) and 67 RBIs (eight more than any other major leaguer). Hamilton is just the eighth Ranger to have 23 home runs and 66 RBIs before the All-Star break. Hamilton finished 1-for-4 with one strikeout.
Flirting with danger: Mike Adams found himself in a jam in the eighth after allowing a leadoff single and a walk. With runners on first and second and no outs, Cabrera had a chance to tie the game at 7. It looked like Cabrera had done just that when he sent Hamilton to the warning track in center field, but Hamilton came up with the out against the wall. Fielder then had an RBI groundout. Adams was able to escape the inning with minimal damage when David Murphy caught the final out of the inning on Delmon Young's drive to the warning track in left field to keep the score at 7-5.
Gentry back: Craig Gentry saw action in center field in the ninth inning. He had rolled his ankle in consecutive games against the Colorado Rockies. He caught a flyout to help close out the game.
If you can't stand the heat: The temperature at first pitch for Tuesday's game was 103 degrees. Temperatures are expected to stay in triple digits for the next two days.
Up next: The Rangers get one more shot at the Tigers in a rubber match Wednesday. RHP Roy Oswalt will make his second start for the Rangers against RHP Doug Fister at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW/ESPN.
Here are the lineups:
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton (L)
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Michael Young
LF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
RF Brandon Snyder
CF Austin Jackson
LF Quintin Berry (L)
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder (L)
DH Delmon Young
RF Brennan Boesch (L)
SS Jhonny Peralta
C Alex Avila (L)
2B Ramon Santiago (S)
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton (L)
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
DH David Murphy (L)
C Mike Napoli
CF Leonys Martin (L)
CF Austin Jackson
LF Quintin Berry (L)
3B Miguel Cabrera
1B Prince Fielder (L)
DH Delmon Young
RF Brennan Boesch (L)
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Ramon Santiago (S)
C Gerald Laird
No. 7: Nelson Cruz nails Miguel Cabrera at home plate in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series
The Rangers and Tigers were tied at 3 in eighth inning of Game 4. Texas held a 2-1 lead in the series and was desperately trying to prevent the Tigers from winning a second straight game and evening the best-of-7 affair. With Miguel Cabrera at third base representing the go-ahead run, Delmon Young hit a fly ball that wasn't particularly deep to right.
Cruz caught the ball close to the right-field line. Cabrera headed home as soon as it was caught. Cruz rifled a one-hop throw to catcher Mike Napoli, who had time to catch it and turn to get ready for the collision at the plate. Napoli absorbed the hit and held onto the ball, keeping the game tied.
"You've got to go, you've got to take a shot to win right there," said Michael Young, who was playing first base and watched Cruz's throw sail over his head. "If Nellie's throw is off by four feet he sneaks in there."
It was a momentum-building double play, too. The Rangers got another big throw in the 10th when Napoli gunned down Austin Jackson trying to steal second base.
What it meant: The game stayed tied on the road, allowing the Rangers to get some more chances to win it. It took 11 innings, but Napoli's single in the top of the 11th scored Josh Hamilton (who had doubled) with the go-ahead run. And Cruz then put it out of reach with a three-run homer for a 7-3 win.
The aftermath: Texas took a 3-1 lead in the series and despite losing Game 5, the team headed back home with a 3-2 lead. They finished things off by pounding the Tigers in Game 6 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington with 15 runs in a 10-run victory.
* Facing a Rangers lineup that might feature as many as seven right-handed hitters, Edwin Jackson's slider will be a key pitch for him in Game 4. He throws the pitch 45.7 percent of the time to righties, second-highest among starters this season behind Bud Norris.
* While with the White Sox earlier this season, Jackson faced the Rangers on May 16. He threw his slider 38.7 percent of the time in that start, his eighth-highest percentage among his 34 regular season and postseason starts this year. He threw it over half the time to righties, and they were 2-for-9 with four strikeouts in at-bats ending with the pitch.
* Jackson didn't have much other success in that start, however. The Rangers collected 11 hits off him in 5 1/3 innings, scoring four runs. His changeup was a big problem for him; he threw seven in the game, but the Rangers managed to total three hits against it. He didn't fare much better with his fastball either, with Rangers hitters going 6-for-13 against it. They were able to put Jackson's fastball in the air, with 11 of the 12 Jackson fastballs the Rangers put in play going for line drives or fly balls, something which may present a problem pitching in Arlington.
As for Derek Holland, his tailing fastball to right-handed hitters will be key for him:
* That pitch was among Holland’s most effective during the regular season, and he relies on it heavily, throwing the pitch 64.6 percent of the time against righties, the fourth highest percentage among left-handed starters.
* According to PITCHf/x data, Holland’s fastball averaged 11 inches of “tailing break,” the most among starting pitchers in baseball.
Most Average Horizontal Break on Fastballs -- Lefties, 2011 Season (min. 1000 fastballs)
Derek Holland: 11.0"
David Price: 10.5"
Chris Capuano: 10.4"
Matt Harrison: 9.7"
The Tigers were ready for it in Game 4 of the ALCS. Their right-handed hitters got four hits against it, including home runs from Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta in the first two innings. That’s as many hits as he allowed on fastballs away to right-handed hitters in his last seven regular-season appearances (spanning 119 pitches).
DETROIT -- In the hallway outside the Texas Rangers' celebratory clubhouse and away from the media horde, catcher Mike Napoli wrapped his burly, tattooed arms around the tall, lanky frame of flamethrower Alexi Ogando.
They embraced for a few moments, pulled back, smiled at each other, laughed and hugged again. Instantly, a conversation without words between two men who speak different languages needed no interpretation.
All ended well despite Ogando's fastball not finding the outside target, his first misstep in three otherwise dominating outings in an ALCS that the Rangers now lead 3-1 with three chances to clinch a return trip the World Series.
Josh Hamilton, Napoli and Nelson Cruz, who delivered another amazing moon-shot, blew the game open in the 11th for the 7-3 win, but it was six more innings of stellar relief work from a rested and near-invincible bullpen that made it possible.
Mike Adams faced four batters in his one inning. Darren Oliver, Scott Feldman and Neftali Feliz all faced just three.
Of the five relievers that had a part in this huge win, none have been a member of this burgeoning family longer than Wednesday's winning pitcher, and perhaps fans tend to forget that about Feldman. The 6-foot-6 bearded wonder won 17 games as a starter in 2009, struggled in 2010 and then injured his right knee. The day after that season ended he underwent microfracture surgery, a procedure seen more in the NFL and NBA. He watched his teammates celebrate last year all the way to the World Series.
And for much of this season, Feldman was an afterthought among fans as he rehabbed in the shadows. Even later in the season as he made his return to the mound, results were sketchy and his future cloudy. Who knew if Feldman would be good enough to make the playoff roster?
"Pitching in the postseason is something new to me, and I'm having fun with it," Feldman said. "It's a lot of fun being on this team right now."
Feldman's long relief in Game 2 after starter Derek Holland faltered early allowed the Rangers to stay close and eventually win. His one inning Wednesday in the 10th also proved colossal as manager Ron Washington wanted to save closer Neftali Feliz for the final three outs, whenever those were to come. Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn't have that luxury and turned to Jose Valverde for two innings.
Valverde got through the 10th, but the Rangers shelled him in the 11th for four runs before he could get two outs.
Feldman's 10th, with a little help from his battery mate Napoli, cleared the way for the offensive fireworks.
Feldman got Inge on a bouncer back to the box for the first out. Then, on an 0-1 pitch, he inexplicably sailed one across Austin Jackson's chest to put the Tigers' best threat to steal -- and the potential winning run -- on first base.
"That's the last thing you really want to do there is give a guy a free pass," Feldman said, "especially with Miguel Cabrera lurking around there."
With Ryan Raburn at the plate and Cabrera, whom the Rangers walked three times and once intentionally with the bases empty, was on deck. On cue, Jackson took off for second base. He didn't make it. Napoli popped up and gunned him down for the second out of the inning, kicking the door open to get out of it without facing Cabrera, who doubled in two in the third.
"Nap bailed me out big time," Feldman said. "He made a great throw. Unbelievable throw really. That was huge."
Feldman then got Raburn to chase a fastball that tailed off the plate for his fifth postseason strikeout to end the inning.
And now Feldman, who hasn't allowed a run or a walk and has surrendered just one hit in 5 1/3 relief innings, is one win away from his first World Series.
"He's been a huge part of our team for a long time now," Michael Young said. "When you have microfracture surgery that's no small thing. We all saw how good he was in 2009. He's shown many times what he means to this team. He's always been a great teammate. I think we're really happy now he's able to make contributions because he deserves it. He deserves the chance and he's capitalizing on it."
Just another family moment.
Jackson worked with hitting coach Lloyd McClendon before Tuesday's Game 3 on orders from manager Jim Leyland, and the leg kick was at the top of the to-do list.
Jackson's leg kick and his timing looked just fine as he played a pivotal role in the Tigers taking a 5-2 win to cut the Rangers' series lead in half. The center fielder and lead-off hitter went 3-for-5 Tuesday night, slapping three consecutive singles in the third, fifth and sixth. He came around with the go-ahead run in the fifth for a 2-1 lead and drove in Andy Dirks for a 4-1 margin in the sixth.
Entering Game 3, Jackson was 1-for-9 in the ALCS with six strikeouts.
"You try not to let it weight on you," the 24-year-old Jackson said. "Being a leadoff hitter, you try to spark the team a little bit. When it's not going as well as you want it to, you kind of take it to heart a little bit. I'm just trying to do whatever I can do to get on base, get in scoring position and try to let the guys behind me drive me in."
That's exactly what happened as big boppers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez will get most of the offensive headlines. Cabrera doubled Jackson home and later hit a solo homer in the seventh, and Martinez led off the fourth with a home run.
For Jackson, it all comes back to the leg kick. In one night he shook off an 0-for-6 slump and boosted his postseason average to .286.
"When the timing is off with the leg kick everything is kind of out of whack," Jackson said. "Just trying to find that timing and find the groove is tough."
ARLINGTON, Texas -- If there was a starting pitcher who could understandably have some excuses for a poor performance, it was Matt Harrison.
While Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki was fighting through a triple-digit fever in Game 4 of the NBA Finals across town, Harrison was dealing with pain from a kidney stone that still has not passed.
Harrison said he "hit a wall" earlier than expected -- probably because he's hasn't been feeling well the past few days. But health aside, he said he didn't make the pitches when he had to. Harrison ended up allowing four runs on eight hits in just four innings with two walks and five strikeouts in a game in which the Tigers scored eight runs on 20 hits.
Harrison also didn't use another excuse: a controversial call in the fourth inning. Harrison was ahead in the count 1-2 when Austin Jackson swung at a breaking pitch low and inside. Catcher Mike Napoli thought he caught the ball cleanly for a strikeout. But home plate umpire Ed Hickox ruled Jackson foul-tipped the ball and it hit the dirt before Napoli got it.
"He foul tipped it, but I thought he [Napoli] caught it clean," Harrison said. "But that was the umpire's judgment and that's the way it goes. I still got to make another pitch even though I didn't get my way that time. I left the ball a little bit over the plate and he was able to drive one in the gap."
Jackson hit a 3-2 pitch for a single to drive in two and make it a 3-0 game. Jackson would later come around to score to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead after four innings. They would add to it to end up with eight runs on 20 hits. Detroit has 38 hits and 21 runs in the first two games of this series.
"It seems that everything they touch fell in," manager Ron Washington said. "In the game of baseball, a base hit is a base hit and they're getting them. They're getting them with runners on base."
Harrison threw 89 pitches in five innings. It came a night after Colby Lewis threw 88 pitches in just 3 1/3 innings. The excellent starting pitching this club had on the road has not shown up yet at home. Harrison had a scoreless streak of 19 1/3 innings snapped in that fourth inning.
Meanwhile, Harrison said he's going to keep resting and seeing if the kidney stone passes.
"I don't know what's going on really," Harrison said. "Hopefully, it's out of the way in the next day or so and I can get ready for my next start."
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.