Texas Rangers: Chicago Cubs

Rangers building depth in bullpen

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
5:05
PM CT
With the signing of right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa on Tuesday, the Texas Rangers made another small baseball statement, not a sexy one -- build the bullpen.

Neftali Feliz is the closer, but given his velocity issues after returning from Tommy John surgery last season, there’s nothing wrong with having a backup.

Fujikawa is backup.

He was mainly a setup man with the Chicago Cubs in two brief seasons but now recovered from Tommy John surgery, Fujikawa adds to a young bullpen.

“I think with Kyuji at the same token with his experience and ability he can pitch on the back end,” Rangers president/GM Jon Daniels said on a conference call Tuesday. “You’re going to need multiple guys over the course of the season that have the ability to pitch late in a game. We’re just trying to pick up the bullpen a little bit.”

The Rangers also have Robbie Ross Jr., who wrestled back and forth in the starting rotation, along with Tanner Scheppers, who just started to throw on flat ground recently as he recovers from arm troubles, as potential mainstays with Feliz.

Spencer Patton, Roman Mendez, Phil Klein and Alex Claudio are other young pitchers who expect to give manager Jeff Banister an opportunity to mix and match in his bullpen, if they should make the roster.

Of course, the Rangers could return lefty Neal Cotts to the team, but as the offseason continues a reunion seems less likely.

This latest addition comes with risks because you just don’t know about a pitcher once he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Some pitchers return fine, good as new. Other pitchers are never the same.

Feliz’s velocity was great some days, so-so on other days. During the season he spoke of needing to pitch almost every day to build arm strength so that blazing fastball he once had regained its power.

Thanks to Brooks Baseball's charting of pitches, we can see that Fujikawa's velocity was higher before the surgery, which is natural. Last season, Fujikawa's fastball averaged 91.4 mph, lower than his pre-Tommy John surgery velocity of 93.3. The sinker and cutter were basically the same in terms of velocity.

“It’s a lot better than it was before the surgery,” Fujikawa said of his arm strength. “Earlier in the (2013) season when I joined the Chicago Cubs I hurt my arm and it lingered a little bit. But it feels a lot better now than before I had the surgery.”
The Texas Rangers are finalizing a deal to sign right-handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, according to a source.

At the just-completed winter meetings in San Diego, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team was going to sign a right-handed reliever but the deal wouldn't be finished until next week.

Fujikawa must pass a physical, and the club must clear a spot on the 40-man roster before the deal can be final.

Fujikawa pitched for the Chicago Cubs the past two seasons, appearing in 27 games; Chicago declined a $5.5 million club option this offseason. The 34-year-old underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013.

Fujikawa pitched in the final two months of the 2014 season for the Cubs, appearing in 15 games. He finished with a 4.85 ERA and 17 strikeouts to 6 walks.

Sabermetrics' role with the Rangers

November, 17, 2014
Nov 17
1:00
PM CT
We have WAR. The WAR from Fangraphs and baseball-reference.com.

Then there’s FIP. UZR. WPA and wOBA.

There’s more, but it might take days to list all the categories and what they really mean.

It’s called sabermetrics and while it’s taken baseball by storm the last few years, the Texas Rangers and several other teams are increasing their usage of it.

Arizona Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony LaRussa said he’s hired someone full-time to explain it and how to properly use it.

“In the old days when I started hitting the pitcher eighth, all the sabermetrics guys loved me because they thought I was doing all this innovate stuff,” said LaRussa, a Hall of Fame manager, who was the skipper for three teams and won three World Series titles. “I believe there’s a lot of sense to it, but it helps you get ready to compete. You just can’t let it get in the way of how you compete. Right now there are people who tell you stolen bases, strikeouts are not a big thing. Batting average ain’t going to matter. There’s a place for everything, that’s why I love that term. Once the game starts, it’s about observation analytics and you watch and you make decisions.”

The sabermetrics of the game is attributed to younger general managers who attended Ivy League schools, such as the Rangers' Jon Daniels, who when hired in 2005 was the youngest GM in big league history at 28.

Daniels said he values the words of scouts and their eyeball test of players. Yet, while Daniels might still be young with a degree in applied economics and management from Cornell, he said the Rangers are in the middle of the pack when it comes to sabermetrics.

(Read full post)

Gallo loses HR title, continues development

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
12:00
PM CT
Joey GalloAP Photo/Paul SancyaRangers prospect Joey Gallo hit 42 home runs in the minor leagues this season.
The minor league home run crown will go to Chicago Cubs prospect Kris Bryant, who hit his 43rd of the season Monday night for Triple-A Iowa.

What about Frisco’s Joey Gallo?

Well, the 20-year-old who won the minor league home run title last season with 40, finished the regular season with 42 for Double-A Frisco.

It’s been a remarkable rise to stardom for Gallo, a 2012 supplemental first-round pick by the Texas Rangers. Last week, he was named the Carolina League MVP for his time at Myrtle Beach (Class A), and after being moved to Double-A, he was selected to the Texas League postseason All-Star team.

“It’s been a good year so far,” Gallo told ESPN Dallas last week. “Obviously it’s been a great learning experience for me. Moving from Double-A was tough, but it’s been good. I didn’t know I won so many awards or whatever, not that it’s a huge deal anyways, but it’s kinda cool getting an award at the end of the year. It’s always a great feeling.”

Gallo is one of the top prospects in the Rangers' minor league system but you won’t see him among the September call-ups this season.

He’s competing with the RoughRiders in the Texas League South Division championship series which starts Wednesday.

The Rangers need to see him develop more into a true power hitter, who does more than hit home runs.

(Read full post)

Jon Daniels: Garza trade could 'haunt me'

March, 24, 2014
Mar 24
2:05
PM CT
Like most general managers, Jon Daniels has made some deals he wishes he hadn't made. Sure, he completed his share of blockbusters that helped the Texas Rangers vault into contention a few years back (the Mark Teixeira and Cliff Lee deals lead the list). But he also had some swings and misses (Adrian Gonzalez might be the biggest).

In July 2013, Daniels knew the Rangers needed some pitching help to bolster the rotation down the stretch, and he acquired Matt Garza from the Cubs, trading away four prospects. So what does Daniels think of that deal now?

Matt Garza
AP Photo/Andrew A. NellesIn 13 starts for the Rangers, Matt Garza was 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 84 1/3 innings.
"I thought way too short-term with the Garza deal last year," Daniels told Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. "That one's got a chance to haunt us and haunt me."

To land Garza, Daniels dealt third baseman Mike Olt, right-handed pitcher C.J. Edwards, right-handed starter Justin Grimm and right-handed pitcher Neil Ramirez, who was the player to be named later.

As expected, Garza became a free agent after the season and signed with the Brewers.

Garza had pitched well in Chicago, and the Rangers were desperate for pitching help to make a push. But the same Garza never showed up in Texas. In 13 starts in a Rangers uniform, Garza was 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 84 1/3 innings, and Texas didn’t make the postseason, losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 163, the one-game playoff to determine a wild-card postseason spot.

Olt is competing for the starting third-base job with the Cubs this spring. Edwards had a terrific 2013, split between the Rangers and Cubs, and continues to progress toward the big leagues. Add in Grimm and Ramirez, and the Cubs got a nice foursome of prospects for Garza.

That's why Daniels says it could haunt him.

Rangers send Ramirez to Cubs to complete Garza trade

August, 23, 2013
8/23/13
1:31
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Arlington, Texas — The Texas Rangers sent right-handed pitcher Neil Ramirez to the Chicago Cubs to complete the July 22 trade for right-handed pitcher Matt Garza.

PODCAST
ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the Rangers' aggressive style of play and bullpen struggles.

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The Rangers already sent right-handed pitchers C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm along with infielder Mike Olt to the Cubs as part of the deal.

The deal was completed after the Cubs claimed Ramirez off waivers. He has been assigned from Double-A Frisco to Double-A Tennessee.

Ramirez, 24, was 9-3 with a 3.84 ERA over 21 games with Double-A Frisco this season. He led the Texas League in strikeouts (127) and ranked 5th in wins. The right-hander was in big league camp for the second straight spring after splitting the 2012 campaign between Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock.

With the completion of the trade, the Rangers have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

Trade reaction: High price, but Rangers had to pay

July, 22, 2013
7/22/13
4:50
PM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels had to do something. With a disabled list riddled with starting pitchers and a rotation that isn’t deep enough, the Rangers’ front office traded for the top starter left on the market, sources told ESPNChicago.com and ESPNDallas.com today.

PODCAST
Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzimmons and Durrett to discuss the Matt Garza trade and if the Rangers are done shopping before the deadline.

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Matt Garza slides into this rotation as the No. 2 starter behind Yu Darvish. Garza is a rental, which means Daniels and the Rangers had to be willing to part with these prospects knowing they may get only a few months of Garza in their rotation. Of course, they might sign him to a long-term deal, but the Rangers had to make the deal knowing that might not happen and that they’d get no draft-pick compensation, either, thanks to the new CBA.

It was the right move. This rotation needs some help. This team needs a boost and this trade will provide it. This isn't just about trying to catch Oakland and win the AL West. It's also about getting set up for a deep playoff run. This is a solid playoff rotation with Darvish, Garza and Derek Holland as the top three, plus Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison possibly returning. It also gives the Rangers the option of sending Alexi Ogando to the bullpen if needed.

It cost the Rangers a lot to add a pitcher of Garza's quality. Mike Olt, one of the top hitting prospects in the system, goes to the Chicago Cubs. Can you imagine sending Olt in this type of deal a year ago? Well, neither could the Rangers when Zack Greinke was made available. Then, it was reported by a few folks that Texas wouldn't surrender Olt, Martin Perez or Jurickson Profar in any kind of deal for Greinke. Eventually, the Brewers took the Angels' offer headlined by Jean Segura. Texas, of course, went on to lose in the AL wild-card game and the Angels didn't make the playoffs (they didn't re-sign Greinke either, and the Brewers have enjoyed the talented Segura).

But things are different now. Olt's value isn't quite what it was, though he's still a high-end prospect who is terrific defensively at third base and has potential with the bat. He was the headliner. But there were others in this deal. Texas dealt C.J. Edwards, one of the talented young arms in the lower level, and Justin Grimm, who has major league experience and is, to keep the theme going, another young pitcher. It's a high price. But the Rangers needed to do it.

Daniels and the Rangers have done a good job of asset acquisition and development. You grab as many talented young players as you can with the hopes that some of them help you at the big league level in a Rangers uniform and others help you at the big league level by becoming trade pieces to put someone else in a Rangers uniform. They did it with Justin Smoak a few years ago, grabbing rental Cliff Lee. Garza is no Lee. But he's the best starting pitcher in a thin rotation market, and after a weekend in which some medical concerns popped up, the Cubs and Rangers got the deal done. I wonder whether Chicago took the past few days and showed that Rangers offer around, hoping to beat it. But it doesn't matter. Garza's next start is likely in the next few days in Arlington.

If the Rangers get the Garza who has showed up for the last month, their rotation becomes quite formidable come playoff time. Check out Garza's numbers from his last six starts: 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA, six quality starts, 38 strikeouts, 10 walks, .210 batting average against. That’s the stuff of a No. 1 starter. It’s also why the Cubs were in such good position to get a solid prospect package for Garza.

Just think about Darvish in Game 1, Garza in Game 2 and Derek Holland in Game 3. And that’s with 10 days left before the trade deadline. Daniels still has time to upgrade some more. You can bet he’ll try.

The Rangers needed to make this move. Did they overpay? Every team overpays for a top rental. But because they have the minor league assets, they can afford to do this and it doesn't set them back as much as it would other organizations. It sends a clear signal to this clubhouse that the front office is trying to win now. That should excite anyone in a Rangers uniform.

The bottom line: The Rangers have a better shot at catching Oakland and making a playoff run than they did yesterday.

Wash on Garza: 'Play with what you have'

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
1:48
AM CT


ARLINGTON, Texas -- There was no Matt Garza trade to the Texas Rangers after all on Friday night.

Rangers infield prospects Mike Olt and Luis Sardinas and pitchers Neil Ramirez and C.J. Edwards were all rumored as possible players to be dealt in exchange for the Cubs right-hander on Friday. But Ramirez started and allowed five runs for Double-A Frisco, and Olt and Sardinas both played in their minor league games.

Meanwhile, Garza worked out for the Chicago Cubs before their game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in advance of his scheduled start for Monday.

PODCAST
Todd Wills joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the possible Matt Garza trade, Mike Olt, Manny Ramirez, Rangers injuries and potential moves before the trade deadline.

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Multiple media outlets reported that the Rangers and Cubs got all the way to trading medical information -- usually the last step before a trade is agreed upon -- but the Rangers wouldn't comment on any details.

The Rangers just went about their business and the night ended with a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said before the game he's only concerned with the players on his current roster.

"I'll get excited if what we're talking about comes to fruition," Washington said. "I'm not going to get excited if the property we're talking about is not ours.

“This is a tough business. You've got to play with what you have. That's the attitude we have."

Tepesch has second tough outing in a row

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
11:57
PM CT
CHICAGO -- The Texas Rangers’ pitching is the main reason they entered Monday evening tied for the best record in baseball. That didn't hold against the Chicago Cubs, however, as rookie Nick Tepesch got roughed up for the second straight game.

[+] EnlargeNick Tepesch
David Banks/Getty ImagesAgainst the Cubs on Wednesday, rookie Rangers pitcher Nick Tepesch had a trying fourth inning, when he let former Texas pitcher Scott Feldman knock in a run before Chicago scored four more.
“He just didn’t have his sinker. He usually has a good sinker working, but he just didn’t have it tonight,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after the 9-2 loss dropped Texas to 20-12. “The breaking ball was a little inconsistent. He was trying to get his fastball inside; he just couldn’t get it on the plate.”

Tepesch lasted four innings, giving up six runs (five earned) on six hits and four walks, while striking out four.

His unraveling came in the fourth, when he quickly got two outs, but allowed a double to Luis Valbuena and intentionally walked Darwin Barney to get to former Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman. Feldman fell behind 0-2, but managed to stay alive long enough to drive a fastball into the left-center gap to knock in a run and put the Cubs ahead, 2-0.

“I was just trying to get a hit,” Feldman said. “Trying to put some runs on the board or at least be a tough out or something like that. But anybody would do that -- walk a big league hitter to get to a pitcher. Luckily, I was just able to find a hole there.”

Chicago tacked on four more runs in the inning on a pair of two-RBI singles by Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo, making it the team’s highest scoring frame of the season.

Washington visited the mound prior to Feldman’s at-bat to explain the situation to Tepesch and remind him that despite being a pitcher, Feldman could still handle the bat.

It’s now been back-to-back tough outings for Tepesch, who gave up five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings last Wednesday in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

“(A speed bump is) all it is,” said Washington. “Rookies don’t only have them. Every pitcher that ever steps on that rubber has them.”

Feldman, on the other hand, has strung together some great starts for the Cubs, following up last week’s complete game with another gem. Feldman’s seven shutout innings dropped his ERA to 2.70 on the season. He came out for the eighth inning, but he left after only two pitches due to an apparent hand cramp.

PODCAST
Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox, if Yu Darvish has been even better than expected and what moves we could see the club make before the trade deadline.

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“He can have some good stuff and he looked like he was on his way to finishing the eighth inning,” Washington said of Feldman. “But it just didn’t happen. I don’t know if he came up with a cramp or he hurt something or what. He was good tonight.

“As far as our offense was concerned, we couldn’t do anything with him.”

Feldman spent his first eight seasons in Texas before signing with the Cubs as a free agent this past offseason.

“I tried to just relax out there and everything,” Feldman said. “But obviously I know a lot of those guys and have a lot of respect for them. I had a great [eight] years over there and made some good friends.”

“When we’re not playing against them,” he said, “I hope they do good. But a night like tonight, I definitely want to try and get them out.”

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 9, Rangers 2

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
10:28
PM CT


CHICAGO -- The Texas Rangers followed up their three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox by being dominated by a struggling Chicago Cubs team, 9-2. The Rangers fell to 20-12 on the season.

PODCAST
Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox, if Yu Darvish has been even better than expected and what moves we could see the club make before the trade deadline.

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Big fourth dooms Rangers: The Cubs jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first, but it was a five-run fourth that sealed it for Chicago. The Cubs, having scored only 3.65 runs per game coming into Monday night -- 24th ranking in baseball -- managed to get to a normally strong Rangers pitching staff. The Cubs made two quick outs to start the fourth, but Nick Tepesch intentionally walked Darwin Barney following Luis Valbuena’s double to get to Cubs pitcher Scott Feldman. Feldman knocked in Valbuena with a single. David DeJesus followed with a walk, then Starlin Castro knocked in a pair with a single. Anthony Rizzo capped off the scoring with a two-run single to give the Cubs their highest scoring inning of the season.

Tepesch struggles: Tepesch had his worst outing in the big leagues, lasting only four innings, giving up six hits and six runs (five earned), striking out four and walking four. It was the two-out damage in the fourth that really burned Tepesch and the Rangers, as he failed to retire Feldman with two down and two out in the inning.

Feldman dominates: Not only did Feldman deliver the key hit at the plate, he delivered his second consecutive dominant performance on the mound. Feldman followed up his complete game last week against the San Diego Padres with seven shutout innings against the Rangers. Feldman, who had spent his previous eight seasons in the big leagues with Texas, allowed only two hits and one walk, while striking out three and allowing no runs to shut down his former team.

Offense a no-show: The Rangers managed only two runs, both of which didn't come until the ninth, when the team already found themselves in a 9-0 hole. The offense has been inconsistent this season, putting up 4.42 runs per game, good for eighth in the AL. While that’s not a terrible ranking, it’s a far cry from what they had done the past three seasons, ranking first, third and fourth in 2012, 2011 and 2010, respectively. It’s still early and the Rangers are loaded with talented hitters, but manager Ron Washington surely would love to see his veteran bats pick up the slack when a youngster like Tepesch or Justin Grimm inevitably hit road bumps.

Up next: The Rangers start a two-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night. A pair of rookies take the mound as Justin Grimm (2-1, 2.28) and Wily Peralta (2-2, 6.00) face off. First pitch at Miller Park is at 7:10 p.m. CT.

Buzz: Yu Darvish pushed to his limit

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
5:56
PM CT
CHICAGO -- In Sunday’s gem against the Boston Red Sox, Yu Darvish threw 127 pitches. In his final season in Japan, Darvish reached or passed the 130 pitch mark in seven of his 28 starts, going as high as 145 in one outing. Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington was clear that while he’s fine with the occasional 130-pitch outing, he wasn’t going to push Darvish past that number.

PODCAST
Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox, if Yu Darvish has been even better than expected and what moves we could see the club make before the trade deadline.

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“I was going to let him try to get that last out,” Washington said. “If his pitch count went to 130, it went to 130, as long as he got the out. But that was it; he wasn’t going back out there.

“Throughout the game, he was telling me he felt as strong as a bull, don’t pay attention to my pitch count. He’s never going to do the 140 here.”

The fact that Darvish doesn’t pitch again until Saturday, giving him an extra day of rest in between starts, was a factor in Washington’s decision to keep Darvish out there for so long. Washington also emphasized that as an ace, Darvish is going to be expected be able to handle that little extra nudge at times.

“I tell you what, John Farrell didn’t do nothing with that bullpen when (Jon) Lester was out there struggling when he piled up those pitches,” Washington said. “No, he was going to let him get out of there, because if he’d have went out there, Lester might of hit him with the ball. These studs, you gotta push them sometimes a little further.”

Darvish last made a start against the Red Sox on Aug. 6 of last season and got battered in 6 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on 11 hits and four walks. Washington said that was a factor in Darvish being pumped for Sunday’s game.

“I think he was in overdrive because that’s the type of guy he is,” Washington said. “It was Boston that kicked his (butt) one time and then they popped three runs (on Sunday) off him in a hurry. The mistakes he made to those guys, he never made again. (David) Ortiz could sit there all day looking for an inside fastball, he wasn’t getting it. And when he did get it, it was way in.”

A.J. feeling fine: After a four strikeout performance Sunday, A.J. Pierzynski was out of Monday’s lineup. According to Washington, it was just a day off for Pierzynski. Washington said he tried to give Pierzynski a break Sunday, but he didn’t want one. However, Pierzynski was "cool" with Monday’s breather.

“Striking out four times yesterday for A.J. is no big deal,” Washington said. “We had a mask in Minnesota we used to pass around. It had four Ks down the middle. Sometimes you get a game where you just don’t make contact.”

Pierzynski only started one game in last week’s three-game set against the Chicago White Sox because of a sore oblique, but started all three against the Red Sox over the weekend.

Perez starting for Frisco: Martin Perez will make his first rehab start of the season for Double-A Frisco on Monday night. Washington said there was no guarantee that Perez would be put in the rotation once he’s ready to return to the big leagues.

“His job is to go and get ready,” Washington said. “When he’s ready, we’ll make a decision.”

Perez has been out since March 3 when he fractured his wrist after being struck with a line drive. It was believed that Perez was the leader for the final spot in the rotation when he sustained the injury.

“It’s great that we’re getting our pitching back, it gives us depth,” Washington said. “But it’s gonna come down to what’s best for us and what’s best for the player at the time. Then a decision will be made.

“If we all feel that (Nick) Tepesch needs to be here or (Justin) Grimm needs to be here, those other guys are going to have to wait their turn. There’s only one guy that I see, when he’s ready to go, he’s going to be here, that’s Mr. Hipster, Colby (Lewis).”

Lineups: Geovany Soto starting at catcher

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
5:02
PM CT
A.J. Pierzynski is getting the day off, so Geovany Soto will start at catcher against his former team. David Murphy is in left field and Leonys Martin is in center for the Rangers, who are coming off a three-game sweep of the Red Sox. The Cubs have lost four straight games and will send former Ranger Scott Feldman to the mound against Nick Tepesch. The game is a makeup of a contest that was rained out April 17. Here are the lineups:


RANGERS

2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mitch Moreland
C Geovany Soto
LF David Murphy
CF Leonys Martin
P Nick Tepesch

CUBS

CF David DeJesus
SS Starlin Castro
1B Anthony Rizzo
LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Nate Schierholtz
C Welington Castillo
3B Luis Valbuena
2B Darwin Barney
P Scott Feldman

Matchup: Nick Tepesch vs. Scott Feldman

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
1:30
PM CT
The Rangers play their makeup game from an April 17 rainout at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on Monday night. Rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch will start for Texas against ex-Ranger right-hander Scott Feldman. First pitch at Wrigley is at 7:05 p.m. on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM (1540 AM in Spanish).

PODCAST
Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox, if Yu Darvish has been even better than expected and what moves we could see the club make before the trade deadline.

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Tepesch (2-2, 3.54): Tepesch looks to bounce back after allowing five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings in a loss Wednesday night to the Chicago White Sox. Manager Ron Washington said that he stayed with Tepesch one batter too long in the start as the 24-year-old rookie allowed a two-run home run to left-handed hitter Alejandro De Aza in the seventh inning to put the Rangers behind 5-2. ... Tepesch issued a walk to White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez in the second inning, ending a streak of 20 1/3 innings and 85 batters faced without a walk. Tepesch ended up with two walks and four strikeouts and threw 109 pitches. ... Tepesch uses his sinker to get ground balls. He's third in the American League with a ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio of 2.50. ... This will be his first start against a National League opponent. ... Tepesch is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two road starts. ... Tepesch is from Kansas City, Mo. and pitched for the Missouri Tigers.

Feldman (2-3, 3.34): Feldman, a 30th-round draft pick who came up in the Rangers' farm system, won 37 games in seven seasons with Texas. ... He signed with the Cubs as a free agent in the offseason after the Rangers decided to part ways with the 30-year-old right-hander. ... Feldman was 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA last year for the Rangers, starting 21 games and pitching in relief eight times. ... Feldman will makes his third home start for the Cubs. ... He pitched his first career complete game in the Cubs' 6-2 victory over San Diego on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. He allowed two runs on two home runs -- three hits allowed in all -- and had a career-high 12 strikeouts. Feldman had six consecutive strikeouts in the third and fourth innings and retired 18 straight Padres before Carlos Quentin reached on an error with two outs in the seventh inning. ... Feldman hasn't had very good defense behind him as seven of his 18 runs allowed have been unearned. ... Right-handed batters are hitting .182 against him.

Hitters: There's no history. Feldman spent his entire career with the Rangers before this season. Tepesch is making his first start against the Cubs and sixth career start overall.

The Week Ahead: Cubs, Brewers, Astros

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
1:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- This should be interesting. The Rangers are already in Chicago, where they will begin a 10-day, nine-game, four-city road trip with a makeup game Monday against the Cubs. As Rangers radio play-by-play voice Eric Nadel duly noted, they'll play in four different cities in eight days.

PODCAST
Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox, if Yu Darvish has been even better than expected and what moves we could see the club make before the trade deadline.

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It's Tuesday and Wednesday against old American League foe Milwaukee, a day off Thursday in Houston, then three games against their new American League rivals, the Astros, over the weekend. Then it's next Monday-Wednesday at the Rangers' closest pursuer in the AL West, the Oakland Athletics. The last time the Rangers were there they lost three straight games to lose the division title.

Here's how the first week of the road trip shapes up:

Wait 'til next year: The Cubs are slumping, losers of four straight after a three-game sweep at the hands of Cincinnati. The Cubs can't hold a lead and they can't win a close game. At 11-20, the Cubs have lost nine games in which they led at some point. After Sunday's 7-4 loss to the Reds, the Cubs have seen 26 of their 31 games decided by three runs or less. They are 9-17 in those games. The Cubs never led Sunday, but were within two runs going into the eighth inning.

Russell raises value: Cubs left-handed reliever James Russell, the son of Jeff Russell -- No. 2 on the Rangers' all-time saves and games pitched in list -- is off to a perfect start. James Russell, a product of Colleyville Heritage, Navarro College and the Texas Longhorns, has tossed 12 1/3 scoreless innings to begin the season. He had 11 scoreless innings in April, the first Cubs reliever with at least 10 innings pitched to go the season's first month without allowing a run since 1969. With the Cubs struggling, the 27-year Russell's trade value should be high on or before the July 31 trade deadline.

Soriano moves up: Former Ranger Alfonso Soriano, playing the outfield for the Cubs, belted two home runs Saturday, giving him 375 for his career, making him the 70th player in major league history to reach that mark. His next home run will tie him with Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk for 69th on the all-time list. Soriano hit 64 homers in two seasons with the Rangers in 2004-05.

Brewers slumping, too: The Rangers will move from a Cubs team with a four-game losing streak to a Brewers team that has lost five straight games. The Brewers aren't getting any pitching. Milwaukee has allowed at least six runs in each game during the losing streak. Tuesday's starter Willy Peralta comes off of his worst start of the season, allowing six runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Cardinals. The Brewers did get third baseman Aramis Ramirez back off the 15-day disabled list this weekend. He is 2-for-6 since his return from a sprained left knee.

Then there's the Astros: Oh, the Astros. Does anyone ever wonder what would have happened had the Rangers ended up with Jim Crane as their owner instead of Bob Simpson and Ray Davis? Try not to imagine it. The Astros are 8-24 and are on pace to lose a major league record 122 games. Somewhere the 1962 Mets are breaking out the champagne. The Astros have lost 10 of their last 11 games, getting outscored 26-2 on Saturday and Sunday by Detroit. Tigers ace Justin Verlander had a no-hitter in the seventh inning. Yu Darvish, who pitches Saturday night, was an out away from a perfect game against the Astros on April 2. Fortunately because of Crane's Comcast debacle, no one in Houston can see the games. Maybe he planned it this way. Minute Maid Park should be packed with Rangers fans this weekend.

Rangers-Cubs rainout will be made up May 6

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
3:43
PM CT
The Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs will play on Monday, May 6 at 7:05 p.m. at Wrigley Field in a makeup game for April 17's game that was rained out. May 9 was originally an off day for both clubs.

That road trip for the Rangers will now be a four-city, nine-game trip to Chicago (May 6), Milwaukee (May 7-8), Houston (May 10-12) and Oakland (May 13-15).

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182