Texas Rangers: Dexter Fowler

W2W4: Rangers vs. Astros

September, 22, 2014
The Texas Rangers start their final homestand of the 2014 season against a team that’s beaten them up all season, the Houston Astros.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the Astros? Jose Altuve leads the majors with a .345 BA and is fourth in WAR Offense at 6.56. Jake Marisnick has 19 RBIs in 45 games for Houston since his trade from Miami. Dexter Fowler has five multihit games in the past 10 games. Chris Carter has a hit in 15 of the past 19 games. The Astros are 11-5 against the Rangers this season and won their past three in Arlington. The starting pitching has 15 quality starts in the past 21 games.

What’s up with the Rangers? Texas has won eight of the past nine games and improved interim manager Tim Bogar’s mark to 9-6 since taking over for Ron Washington. The bullpen has allowed one run in the past 19 innings of work. If the Rangers lose 100 games, they would have to lose their last seven games. Currently, Arizona (62-94) owns the worst record in the big leagues; Texas (62-93) and Colorado (65-91) follow. Leonys Martin is hitting .344 in the past 15 games. Ryan Rua hit .429 in the recently completed six-game road trip.

The return of Neftali Feliz: When the Rangers traded Joakim Soria, it moved Feliz back into the closer's role. Sunday, Feliz hit 97 mph on the gun in picking up his 11th save of the season as he struck out the side in the ninth inning. Feliz had four strikeouts and three saves in his past three appearances.

The pitching matchups: Monday: LHP Derek Holland (1-0, 0.99) versus RHP Nick Tropeano (1-1, 2.70). Tuesday: RHP Nick Martinez (4-11, 4.85) versus LHP Brett Oberholtzer (5-12, 4.39). Wednesday: TBA versus RHP Scott Feldman (8-11, 3.82).

Roster numbers add to Washington's pain

August, 30, 2014
HOUSTON -- The manager sat in his chair, legs crossed, and explained his pain very calmly.

On Friday night, Ron Washington used his 59th player of 2014, first baseman Ryan Rua, tying a major league record. In about four days, the Texas Rangers will surpass the mark either with the September call-ups or when left-hander Derek Holland pitches Tuesday at the Kansas City Royals.

Then again, the way this season is going, the Rangers might hit 60 this weekend during this series against the Houston Astros.

[+] EnlargeMichael Choice, Adam Rosales
AP Photo/Richard Carson

Michael Choice, right, who had a big night Friday, is one of the young players manager Ron Washington has used in his many lineups this season.

“It hurts because you’re a competitor, it’s why it hurts,” he said.

When Roman Mendez lost on Thursday night, he became the 23rd different pitcher to lose a game, a franchise season record.

Washington has used all sorts of people in different positions. He’s had to do more teaching than ever before at this level. The coaches have done more teaching, too.

The general manager, Jon Daniels, is using his unlimited cell phone minutes looking for talent almost on a nightly basis.

Injuries and ineffective play are the reasons why the Rangers have made so many lineup changes.

Washington’s pain subsided for one night when the Rangers beat the Astros 13-6. The victory doesn’t change the escalating roster adjustment that’s been the story in 2014.

Fans are understanding or angry.

Washington feels it.

“You still lead,” he said. “It’s never easy to swallow.”

He’s got young players trying to make it, like Arlington, Texas, native Michael Choice, still hitting under .200. Choice had a career-high three hits Friday night, including a three-run homer. Miles Mikolas, Nick Tepesch and Nick Martinez continue to figure out big league pitching and hitters.

Washington doesn’t have Yu Darvish or Shin-Soo Choo. Alex Rios is playing hurt. Colby Lewis is pitching with a bionic hip.

Seeing nifty plays from Rua, who controlled a hard throw from Adrian Beltre that skipped through the dirt in the first inning, makes you smile.

How about that 23-year-old catcher, Tomas Telis, with the presence of mind to field a relay throw and then throw out Dexter Fowler at second base in the first inning?

You see the throw Telis made to throw out Marwin Gonzalez trying to steal third? The throw was perfect. All Beltre had to do was put the glove down.

There’s talent here.

Just not enough of it.

“I still feel it. I just know I have a sense of why,” Washington said. “If I have my regular team and it wasn’t happening, it would be tough to put a finger on why. Why can’t this guy, who has this track record, not be doing this? I know the track records of the guys we have out there.”

Some of these track records aren’t very good.

A few players are keeping the Rangers above water on some nights, such as Beltre, who is in contention for the AL batting title, and Elvis Andrus, who remains a threat despite down numbers for a man from the No. 2 spot.

In a bottom-line business, maybe upper management doesn’t want to hear about excuses for this failure of a season. Washington doesn’t talk in disappointments or being frustrated. He doesn’t worry about job statuses or impressing anybody.

“I can’t control what someone else thinks,” Washington said. “I just try and do the best that I can each and every single day, and I can look in the mirror and be satisfied, that satisfies me. That’s what keeps me sane. I don’t look at management giving me a pass. I don’t look at it like that. I don’t think like that. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know what my intentions are today and that’s what I’m dealing with.”

Holland probably described this season better than anybody on Friday night when talking about himself. “Agony, anger and frustration,” he said.

Hot Stove: Dexter Fowler talk

November, 21, 2012
I've received emails asking about some possible trade targets for the Texas Rangers and a few of you have asked about Dexter Fowler (by the way, if you've got some questions and trade targets, feel free to email me at rdurrettjr@aol.com). Fowler, who turns 27 in March, would be a center field option. He showed promise offensively in 2012.

Fowler hit .300 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 2012 for the Colorado Rockies. That doesn't exactly provide a ton of power for the Rangers, but it would give them someone who showed they could get on base -- .389 on-base percentage -- and had a .863 OPS. He stole 16 bases last season as well. His 2.6 WAR was the best of his career, by the way. Fowler played 143 games in 2012 and 131 of those were in center field. He had a .978 fielding percentage and made six errors in center field.

He's switch-hitter, which certainly has some appeal, and he's under club control through 2015. But he'll get a raise through arbitration from his $2.35 million salary last year. ESPN.com's Jason Churchill guesses that's about $6 million.

Fowler could be one of those guys that is on the market after the other "bigger" center field free agents and trade possibilities head elsewhere. The Rockies, according to some reports, want pitching with upside. Perhaps something like Martin Perez or Cody Buckel, though it's unclear if that's enough to get a deal done.

Honestly, I question if Fowler is worth more than one top-flight pitching prospect. He probably has more upside than Craig Gentry, but how much more? Gentry had 214 fewer at-bats than Fowler and drove in 26 RBIs and had 13 stolen bases. With more playing time, Gentry's numbers could look similiar, except for the home runs. Gentry hit .304 this season, by the way.

I'm intrigued by the fact that Fowler is a switch-hitter and has more of a track record than Gentry, but I'm hesitant to part with some pitching prospects that could be keys in other deals for potentially better players. I'm more inclined to see what Leonys Martin or even Gentry could do with smoe more playing time. But that's just me. Perhaps I'm underplaying Fowler's upside.

What do you think? Judging from my emails, some of you are interested in Fowler as an outfield option. What are you willing to give up for him?

Lineup: Adrian Beltre at DH

June, 22, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers will have Adrian Beltre as the designated hitter in Friday's series opener against the Colorado Rockies. Manager Ron Washington said he was going to rotate the DH to give guys rest over the next few days, and today that guy is Beltre with Michael Young taking over for him on the field.

Here are the lineups:


2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
LF Josh Hamilton (L)
DH Adrian Beltre
3B Michael Young
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mike Napoli
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Craig Gentry

CF Dexter Fowler (S)
2B Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
DH Jason Giambi (L)
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Todd Helton (L)
3B Chris Nelson
C Wilin Rosario
SS Jonathan Herrera



Colby Lewis
10 5.18 133 170
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182