Texas Rangers: Ervin Santana

Matchup: Martin Perez vs. Ervin Santana

September, 20, 2013
KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers open a three-game weekend series in Kansas City as left-hander Martin Perez faces Royals right-hander Ervin Santana at 7:10 p.m. Friday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Perez (9-5, 3.64 ERA): Perez has followed up a six-game winning streak with two straight losses. … He allowed three earned runs in 6⅓ innings in the Rangers' 5-1 loss to Oakland on Sunday. … It was the first time Perez has lost a game when he's had a quality start. … Perez has pitched like a veteran, issuing two walks or fewer in 15 of 17 starts. … The only major league rookie left-hander with more wins is the Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu. … Perez has won five straight road games, the second-longest streak by a Texas starter behind Derek Holland's six-game streak.

Santana (9-9, 3.23): Santana has pitched well in his first season with the Royals. … He is ninth in the American League in ERA. … Santana had 6⅔ scoreless innings and beat Detroit on Saturday. … He gave up five hits while fanning five and walking one. … Santana is 5-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 14 home starts. … He took a no-decision in his only start against the Rangers this season back in June, allowing an unearned run in seven innings in a 3-1 Royals loss. … Santana is 6-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 28 career starts against Texas.

Hitters: Perez has never faced the Royals. Ian Kinsler (19-for-54, 1 HR, 6 RBIs) and Elvis Andrus (12-for-40, 2 RBIs) have had success against Santana.

Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Ervin Santana

June, 2, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's Yu Darvish time again for the Rangers as the ace right-hander goes for his eighth win against Kansas City and Royals right-hander Ervin Santana at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN-FM 103.3 and 1540-AM.

Darvish (7-2, 3.03): Darvish makes his 12th start, and he's off to a historic beginning to the 2013 season ... He is fourth pitcher in American League history with at least 105 strikeouts through 11 starts, behind Pedro Martinez (117 in 1999, 114 in 2000 and 121 in 2001), Sam McDowell (109 in 1968), Roger Clemens (107 in 1988) ... Darvish gets an extra days rest after getting on no decision Monday in Arizona ... He took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth but gave up a game-tying two-run home run to Diamondbacks shortstop Didi Gregorius ... Darvish had 14 strikeouts, the third time he's done that this season ... He's the 10th pitcher in AL history to have three 14-strikeout games in a season, the last Martinez in both 1999 and 2000 ... Darvish leads the majors with 12.71 strikeouts per nine innings ... His .186 opponents batting average is fourth best in the majors ... Darvish can tie Justin Masterson and Matt Moore for the AL leads in wins on Sunday ... Darvish is 4-1 with a 3.45 ERA for six home starts ... He won his only start against Kansas City last season, winning 8-4 at Kauffman Stadium ... He allowed three hits and had six strikeouts in seven innings.

Santana (3-5, 3.33):
Santana was traded from the Rangers' AL West rivals, the Los Angeles Angels, to Kansas City on Oct. 31 for lefty Brandon Sisk ... Santana is off to a solid start with the Royals, but a struggling offense hasn't helped him or new starter James Shields ... Santana was hurt by home runs in most recent start against St. Louis, allowing three of them in a 4-1 loss to the Cardinals ... It was Santana's fourth straight defeat despite going 7 1/3 innings ... Santana has a career 99-85 record, putting him a win from becoming the 10th Dominican-born pitcher to hit the century mark ... Santana has made 27 career starts againt the Rangers, going 13-11 with an ugly 6.04 ERA ... He is 6-7 with a 7.47 ERA in Rangers Ballpark ... He has twice shutout the Rangers.

Hitters: Elvis Andrus (12-for-37, 2 RBIs) and Mitch Moreland (5-for-17, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) have had the most success against Santana. Adrian Beltre has five home runs and Nelson Cruz has three off Santana. Darvish has held the Royals to a .105 batting average with Alex Gordon and David Lough collecting the only hits.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Ervin Santana

September, 30, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The second game of today's doubleheader features LHP Derek Holland vs. RHP Ervin Santana. The game starts at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. A look at the matchup:

Rangers play-by-play voice Eric Nadel looks ahead to the Rangers' potential playoff opponents, the health of the bullpen and more.

Listen Listen
Holland (11-6, 4.50 ERA): The 25-year-old is 6-0 with a 2.51 ERA in 10 starts in September the past two seasons. ... He gave up three runs in three innings in his last start, a 5-4 comeback win for the Rangers on Monday vs. Oakland. It was Holland's second-shortest start of the season. He threw 77 pitches in those three innings and allowed four hits and two homers. ... Despite that outing, he's still 4-0 with a 3.20 ERA in his last seven starts. ... In the middle game of the Rangers-Angels series last week, Holland held the Halos to two runs over seven innings. He is 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA in three starts against them this season.

Santana (9-12, 4.93 ERA): He recorded his 50th career home win in his last start, Sept. 21 vs. White Sox. ... He matched his career-high with 11 strikeouts in that game. ... This will be his 27th career start against the Rangers. ... In his last start vs. Texas, Santana gave up three runs on four hits in five innings in a 15-8 win. ... He is 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA in September. ... Is 2-3 with a 7.24 ERA against the Rangers since the start of 2011. ... He is 6-6 with a 7.08 ERA in 15 starts in Texas in his career.

Hitters: Michael Young is batting .355 against Santana (in 76 at-bats, the most of any Ranger). ... Ian Kinsler has a .365 average with a homer and six RBIs. ... Erick Aybar (10-for-33), Alberto Callaspo (9-for-27), Mike Trout (5-for-12) and Albert Pujols (5-for-9, 2 HRs) have hit Holland well. ... Torii Hunter is just 7-for-30 with seven strikeouts off Holland.

Rangers postponed; day-night DH Sunday

September, 29, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers-Los Angeles Angels game has been postponed because of rain and will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader Sunday.

Game 1 will start at 12:05 p.m. with Game 2 beginning at 6:05 p.m. at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Both games can be heard on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and seen on FSSW.

It’s the first split doubleheader in Rangers Ballpark history. Texas has played six split doubleheaders on the road, including April 21 of this season at Detroit.

Both teams will then be flying to the west coast after the second game with the Angels heading to Seattle and the Rangers going to Oakland.

"I don't like it (doubleheader), but we've got to play it, so you play it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It's something that has to be done."

Yu Darvish goes up against Zack Greinke to open the doubleheader. Saturday's scheduled matchup, Derek Holland vs. Ervin Santana, follows.

Washington said Geovany Soto would catch Darvish in Game 1 with Mike Napoli handling the duties behind the plate for Holland's start in Game 2.

Matchup: Roy Oswalt vs. Ervin Santana

July, 30, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers will look to rebound from a series loss to the Chicago White Sox with a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Arlington. The first game in this showdown of division rivals features RHP Roy Oswalt vs. RHP Ervin Santana at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540/FSSW/ESPN. A quick look at the matchup:

Oswalt (3-1, 5.22): The 34-year-old will be pitching on 12-days' rest after receiving an anti-inflammatory shot in his spine for back tightness last Monday. ... He is 2-0 with a 3.44 ERA in 18 1/3 innings in three starts at home this season, holding opponents to a .351 average at the Ballpark in Arlington. ... He has allowed just eight hits in his last two starts after giving up nine or more in each of his first three starts. ... The Angels are one of just three teams (also Red Sox and Indians) that Oswalt has never faced in his 12-year career. ... He is 6-9 with a 4.24 ERA in 19 starts (125 1/3 innings) against AL West clubs.

Santana (4-10, 6.00): The 29-year-old has the worst ERA in the Angels' starting rotation and has allowed the most home runs (23) and earned runs (74) on the pitching staff. ... His 74 earned runs are the third-most in the AL and fifth-most in the major leagues. ... The 2008 All-Star is currently riding a three-game losing streak after starting the season with six straight loses. ... He has struggled the most on the road this year, posting a 2-4 record and 6.96 ERA in 10 starts and 54 1/3 innings pitched. ... He is 12-10 with a 5.82 ERA in 25 career starts against the Rangers, throwing 154 2/3 innings with 181 hits, 107 runs (100 earned), 42 walks and 112 strikeouts. ... This year, he is 0-1 against the Rangers with a 32.40 ERA in just 1 2/3 innings pitched.

Hitters: Oswalt has allowed a .282 career batting average against current Angels hitters. ... Albert Pujols is batting .302 (26-for-86) with seven doubles, five home runs, 13 RBIs, six walks and seven strikeouts. ... Alberto Callaspo is 2-for-10 with an RBI and three strikeouts. ... Santana has allowed a career .308 batting average against Rangers hitters. ... Michael Young is batting .360 (27-for-75) with three doubles, three home runs, 14 RBIs, two walks and 16 strikeouts. ... Adrian Beltre is batting .235 (12-for-51) with a triple, five home runs, 15 RBIs, four walks and eight strikeouts. ... Ian Kinsler is batting .388 (19-for-49) with six doubles, a triple, a home run, six RBIs, three walks and five strikeouts. ... Nelson Cruz is 10-for-37 with a double, three home runs, four RBIs, a walk and 11 strikeouts.

Up next:

Tue vs. LAA: LHP Derek Holland (7-5, 4.74) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (13-1, 2.26 ERA) 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540/FSSW
Wed vs. LAA: RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.05) vs. RHP Dan Haren (8-8, 4.59 ERA) 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540/FSSW
Thur vs. LAA: LHP Matt Harrison (12-5, 3.02) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (9-7, 2.88 ERA) 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540/FSSW

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 9, Angels 2

July, 21, 2012

The Texas Rangers used a solid outing from Yu Darvish and an offensive explosion, including five home runs, to propel themselves to a 7-2 road win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. Some quick thoughts on the win:

What it means: After dropping the opener of the three-game series, the Rangers evened things up at a game apiece. More importantly, Texas now leads the Angels by six games in the American League West. The Rangers are 17-16 against their division opponents, including a 4-4 mark against L.A.

Early lead: For the second consecutive game, the Rangers scored a run in the first to get out on top before the Angels got a chance to hit. Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton got back-to-back singles before Adrian Beltre grounded into a fielder's choice, leaving runners on the corners with two outs. Michael Young came through in the clutch, driving in the first run of the game.

Extra-base hits rule second: After grabbing a lead in the first, Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba led off the second inning with back-to-back solo home runs off Ervin Santana. It was Napoli's first home run since June 22 against the Colorado Rockies. The Rangers followed the home runs with back-to-back doubles from Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler that pushed another run across. Beltre capped off the frame with a two-run shot of his own to make it a 6-0 game.

Early exit: Santana wasn't expecting to leave so early, but the Texas offense sent him packing in the second. A five-run frame ended Santana's day after 1 2/3 innings in which he gave up six runs on eights hits, including three home runs. It was the second time in the last three starts that Santana wasn't able to make it out of the second.

Bounce-back performance: In his last start, Darvish gave up seven runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings that capped one of the worst performances of his career. He bounced back with a good outing. The talented rookie had the Angels hitters off balance, allowing just two runs on three hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work on the mound. Darvish, who picked up his 11th win of the year and broke a streak of two consecutive losses, threw 18 first-pitch strikes to help him get ahead of hitters and control each at-bat. His 11 strikeouts matched a career high, and it's the sixth time this season he's recorded double-digit punchouts. Darvish had not allowed two earned runs or less since June 20 in a win at San Diego.

Offensive explosion: The Texas offense broke out for a dominating performance after being less than stellar for the last few weeks. The nine runs were the most the Rangers have scored since a 13-9 win over the Detroit Tigers on June 27. Texas accumulated 15 hits on the day, which is the first time since the All-Star break they have reached double-digit hits. Each starter in the Rangers' lineup recorded a hit. It is the first time that has happened since Texas' 9-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 12.

Deja vu?: Last season, Napoli came to life in the second half of the season. With the struggles he has shown in 2012, could he do it again? He's showing he is certainly capable against his former team. Before having a three-hit night Friday, Napoli had just two hits in his previous 22 at-bats. However, he continued the success from Friday, going 2-for-3 on Saturday with two home runs. It was his ninth career multi-homer game and his first since April 17 at Boston. Napoli is 13-for-25 all-time against the Angels.

Unforced mistakes: Darvish surrendered his two runs due to his own doing. He started the third inning against the No. 8 and 9 batters with a walk and a hit batter. Rookie sensation Mike Trout made him pay with a single up the middle off the glove of Andrus to score a run. Darvish limited the damage to just that with a strikeout and a double play on a caught line drive by Beltre to end the threat. In the fifth, he walked Trout with two outs. Trout stole second before scoring on a RBI single from Torii Hunter.

A triple away: Torrealba, who was making his first appearance since being reinstated from paternity leave, almost made history. The catcher was a triple away from the cycle and ended the day 3-for-4. With the home run in the second inning, he ended a 1-for-18 slump.

Good outing for Ogando: Alexi Ogando had a nice bounce-back performance in making his third appearance since returning from the disabled list. The right-hander pitched a perfect eighth with two strikeouts. In his last outing, Ogando gave up a run in one inning of work against Oakland. Since the injury, he has thrown 2 2/3 innings, giving up one run on one hit with two strikeouts.

New hit streak?: Young had his six-game hitting streak end Friday in the series-opening loss, but Saturday he picked up where he was before Friday's contest. The veteran finished the day 1-for-4 with a RBI. Young is 8-for-21 with runners in scoring position over the last 18 games after hitting 5-for-37 (.143) in those situations in the previous 37 contests.

Up Next: The Rangers and Angels finish out the three-game set in Anaheim on Sunday. The matchup will feature LHP Matt Harrison (12-4, 2.87 ERA) vs. RHP Dan Haren (6-8, 4.86 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/ESPN.

Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Ervin Santana

July, 21, 2012
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The second game of this three-game series between AL West rivals pits Yu Darvish against Ervin Santana at 3:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox. A quick look at the matchup:

Darvish (10-6, 3.96 ERA): The 25-year-old rookie will make his 18th start of the season, with the Rangers having gone 11-6 in games he's taken the mound. ... He is third in the American League with 57 walks, while the Angels as a team rank second-to-last in that offensive category. ... His 10 wins and 121 strikeouts leads all AL rookies. ... Allowed a season-high seven earned runs in last week's loss at Seattle. ... Will try to avoid three straight losses for the first time in the U.S. ... He is 1-1 in two starts against the Angels, allowing five earned runs in 11 2/3 innings. ... Lost last outing in Anaheim despite a quality start and holding the Angels scoreless through five frames. ... Five of his six losses have come away from Arlington. ... Darvish is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA the third time he faces a team.

Santana (4-9, 5.60 ERA): Has lost two straight while the Angels have gone winless in his last four starts. ... Has been stingy in his last two home starts, allowing only two earned runs in 17 innings. ... Will be making his first start of the season against the Rangers. ... Santana was 1-2 with a 5.96 ERA against Texas last year.

Hitters: Ian Kinsler is 18-for-47 (.383) with a home run and five doubles off Santana. ... Elvis Andrus is 11-for-31 (.355) with four walks. ... Michael Young is 26-for-74 (.351) with three homers and 13 RBIs. ... Adrian Beltre has four homers and 13 RBIs, but is only 11-for-49 (.224). ... Nelson Cruz also has three homers. ... Josh Hamilton has struggled against Santana, going 6-for-31 (.194). ... Mike Trout is 3-for-6 with a home run against Darvish. ... Torii Hunter has the other blast, but the Angels have hit a combined .174 off Darvish.

Up next:

Sun at LAA: LHP Matt Harrison (12-4, 2.87 ERA) vs. RHP Dan Haren (6-8, 4.86 ERA), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/ESPN
Mon vs. BOS: RHP Roy Oswalt (3-1, 5.22 ERA) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (10-4, 4.24 ERA), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/ESPN

Rapid Reaction: Angels 6, Rangers 1

July, 20, 2012

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers squandered early opportunities and Derek Holland was shaky in Friday's 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Some quick thoughts:

What it means: The Angels took the first game of the three-game set, pulling within five games of the Rangers in the American League West standings. ... The Rangers are 16-16 in their own division, and 3-4 against Los Angeles.

The bad with the good: Holland looked nothing like the pitcher who last week blanked the Seattle Mariners. The left-hander had been sharp on the road (4-1, 2.58 ERA) heading into Friday, but the Angels tagged him for six runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. Los Angeles had five extra-base hits; Texas had two.

Unlucky No. 11: Mark Trumbo fouled off six pitches during his at-bat in the sixth inning, so he had plenty of looks at Holland before launching the 11th pitch for his team-leading 27th home run. Holland had Trumbo 0-2 in the count but couldn't put him away.

Too much of the zone: Trumbo's screaming blast hurt, but it was a slow, hanging curveball in the fourth that proved to be the backbreaker for Holland. The pitch seemed to freeze as it reached home plate and Erick Aybar lunged at it, but still managed to hook it into the left field corner to give the Angels a comfortable 4-1 lead. That it came immediately after a mound visit by pitching coach Mike Maddux didn't help matters.

Ol' four-six-three rally killer: Teams don't get too many golden opportunities against Angels ace Jered Weaver but the Rangers had one in the third inning and wasted it. Mike Napoli led off with a bloop single to right field and Craig Gentry followed with a liner that skipped past left fielder Mike Trout for a double, setting up a favorable situation with the top of the order due up. But Ian Kinsler fouled out on the first pitch he saw and, after a walk to Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton bounced into an inning-ending double play. Weaver fed off the escape act, and Angel fans roared.

Accurate Andrus: Holland's numbers would have been worse if not for a perfect throw home from Andrus in the first. The Angels got greedy on Howie Kendrick's game-tying double, waving the 230-pound Albert Pujols around from first. Andrus received the throw from Gentry, and fired a strike to the plate to limit the damage.

Rare power: An unlikely source brought the thunder early. Andrus hammered a 3-and-2 offering from Weaver to deep left-center field, putting the Rangers on the board in the first. It was only his second home run of the season and first since April 11 -- a drought that spanned 83 games. It's all the Rangers would muster.

Up next: Yu Darvish vs. Ervin Santana at 3:05 p.m. Saturday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox.

Rangers-Angels Q&A session

July, 20, 2012

ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett and ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon discuss the Rangers-Angels series this weekend in Anaheim.


Which player would you most like to see in a Rangers uniform before the trade deadline?


Discuss (Total votes: 4,013)

MS: It seems like both of these teams suddenly have some issues with their starting rotations. What's the latest on the Texas starting rotation and do you think any concerns are long-term or just blips in the middle of a season?

RD: For the Rangers, it's more about injuries. They avoided any roster moves for the first five weeks of the season and then the injuries hit all at once. But they are starting to see some reinforcements. Derek Holland is back and has pitched well in two starts off the DL. Colby Lewis allowed just one run in five innings Wednesday, his first start off the DL. Roy Oswalt bounced back with a better showing in his first start after the All-Star break. Yu Darvish is still looking for consistency with his command and didn't have it despite 11 days off (that includes the All-Star Game because he didn't pitch). He'll get another shot this weekend. Matt Harrison remains the club's most solid performer in 2012.

RD: What should Rangers fans expect from Dan Haren this weekend, assuming he pitches Sunday?

MS: Tough one, Richard. On the one hand, Haren’s stuff hasn’t looked as crisp this season, including in a Class A rehab game Monday night. On the other hand, he seems intent on proving to everyone he’s still a front-line starting pitcher. One thing they should expect is a relatively short outing, at least by his standards. I imagine he’ll be on a 90-pitch limit coming off lower-back inflammation. One thing they can’t expect is for him to beat himself. If he walks more than two batters in a game, he’s having an off night.

MS: Did people in Texas expect Mike Napoli to do what he did last year again this season? Or, did people realize he's a super-streaky hitter?

RD: They know he's streaky and didn't expect him to hit .383 for the season like he did for the second half of 2011. But they sure didn't expect a .223 average. Napoli hasn't looked comfortable at the plate except for one week where he really tore the cover off the ball earlier this season. He's missing pitches he crushed last year and is striking out at a much higher rate than he has in his career. It's a surprise to see him in a rough patch for this long. Will a series against his former team help get him going?

RD: We talk a lot about Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, but when the season started Kendrys Morales was seen as a key offensive producer to help Albert Pujols in that lineup. How has he been?

MS: I guess mediocre would probably be the word. He’s gotten his share of hits, but hasn’t really driven the ball as well as he did before he broke his leg. It’s all perfectly understandable. What’s not as understandable is why it took Mike Scioscia until mid-July to install Trumbo as his cleanup hitter and slide Morales down a spot.

MS: We've seen some unpredictability from C.J. Wilson lately. When he struggled with Texas, did it typically last a while or was he good at making adjustments between starts?

RD: Wilson put up some stinkers in Texas, too, and bounced back just fine. He makes adjustments and figures it out. He's a big thinker -- maybe even on overthinker at times -- and few in the league work harder between starts. He'll have his rough starts, but rarely do they turn into long patches of struggles. Don't worry about Wilson in the regular season. The question will be if he can get things figured out in the playoffs.

RD: If Craig Gentry and Mike Trout were in a 40-yard dash, who would win and by how much?

MS: I don’t know much about Craig Gentry, but I think the Angels would take Trout over just about anybody who doesn’t return kicks in the NFL.

MS: The Angels and Rangers had big contingents at the All-Star game. I think there were 12 guys between the two teams, about one-third of the AL squad. What did the Texas guys say, if anything, about sharing a clubhouse with Angels players? Do you think this is a tense rivalry, an intense rivalry or just another three games on the schedule?

RD: I think fans and media make more of the "intense" rivalry than the players. There's mutual respect from both clubs and they've expected a spirited rivalry. But I wouldn't call it intense and there's no dislike that I can see between the teams. They both want to win and they'll play hard.

RD: Why has Ervin Santana struggled so much this season?

MS: I can’t give a detailed answer in terms of his mechanics or anything, but his raw stuff doesn’t seem to be the issue. He’s the hardest thrower in the Angels rotation and still has a nice slider. I guess you could point to whether he needed to tinker with a new pitch in the last few years. You could wonder about a pattern which tends to see him struggle one season and rebound the next and whether that says something about his focus.

MS: Do you expect GM Jon Daniels to be active at the deadline? Where does he seem to be focusing?

RD: GM Jon Daniels is always active at the trade deadline. It's in his nature. But he's in a good spot here. The Rangers don't have to make a deal. If the right one is out there -- like maybe a top of the rotation starter like Cole Hamels -- they can decide whether that's worth a top prospect or not (I don't think it is, but it depends on how badly they want a rental like Hamels on top of the rotation come the playoffs). But the club could use a right-handed bat off the bench, too, and could consider a left-handed specialty reliever. So no matter what happens, I expect they'll be active.

RD: Do the Angels plan on getting aggressive at the trade deadline? Do they have some pieces in the minor leagues that they could deal to get an impact player? What are their biggest needs?

MS: Yes, and no. I think they would love to be aggressive, but no, they don’t have a ton of minor-league depth, particularly in the pitching department, which is what rebuilding teams often want. I’m pretty sure Jerry Dipoto will make a move. I’m not at all sure what it will be.

Angels, C.J. Wilson match made in SoCal

November, 15, 2011
News out of the GM meetings in Milwaukee on Monday night (they start in earnest Tuesday) centered around the Los Angeles Angels' intrigue in Texas Rangers free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson.

Angels general manager Jerry DiPoto had an extended meeting with Wilson's agent Bob Garber and said he hopes the team's interest in the quirky lefty is mutual, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were the initial teams -- as they always are -- thought to be at the top of the list of suitors for the 16-game winner. Yankees GM Brian Cashman has contacted Wilson's agent, but the club that makes the most sense to seriously pursue the Newport Beach, Calif., native is the Rangers' main AL West rival.

By bringing home Wilson, who turns 31 on Friday, the Angels can spring one back on the Rangers while adding a quality left-hander to an already strong rotation that features fellow native son and Cy Young candidate Jered Weaver, plus Dan Haren and Ervin Santana.

In consecutive seasons the Angels, the former lords of the AL West, have watched the Rangers make two World Series with former Angels playing significant roles. When the Angels refused to give Vladimir Guerrero a multi-year deal, Rangers manager Ron Washington convinced the veteran slugger to come to Texas as the designated hitter.

This season -- the Year of the Napoli -- further agitated the Angels after catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli -- who hit .320 on the season, dispelled the notion that he is a poor receiver and was then the Rangers' hands-down World Series MVP -- landed in Texas days after the Angels shipped him in a deal to Toronto.

Wilson inherited ace responsibilities this season after Cliff Lee spurned Texas' best free-agent offer. Wilson had another strong regular season in just his second as a starter, throwing more than 220 innings, striking out more than 200 batters and lowering his ERA under 3.00. However, he struggled again in the postseason. As the team's No. 1 starter in all three series, Wilson was 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in just 28.0 innings over five starts. In nine career postseason starts, he is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA.

If Wilson does return to the Rangers, it would figure he would again be in line to serve as the No. 1 starter, barring signing or trading for a front-line arm. The Angels, however, could slide the needed lefty into any slot two through four -- and what a luxury that would be for the pitching-rich Angels.

It will be interesting to see just how high Angels owner Arte Moreno will authorize his front-office to go for Wilson, and how serious free-spending teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, both with rotation holes, become.

The tone coming from the Rangers during the postseason seemed to suggest that they are prepared to lose their former draft pick to the highest bidder. If that is the payback-driven Angels, we'll see if that changes Texas' tune.

In other Rangers-related news from Milwaukee:

* GM Jon Daniels is not attending the annual meetings. He has a good excuse. Daniels' wife, Robyn, delivered the couple's third child over the weekend, daughter Charlotte. Assistant GM Thad Levine and director of baseball operations Matt Vinnola, will represent the Rangers.

It's official: Santana, Weaver on short rest

August, 26, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- As expected, Angels manager Mike Scioscia has decided to pitch Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver on short rest for the first time in their careers. The move allows the Angels to throw their best pitchers at the Rangers in this critical three-game series. Dan Haren goes on full rest tonight.

"We're not afraid of Santana and Weaver," manager Ron Washington said, adding that they weren't Don Drysdale or Sandy Koufax. "We've faced Weaver and Santana before."

Washington said he isn't sure whether he would start a pitcher on short rest in the regular season.

"I haven't had a chance to make that decision, so I don't know," Washington said. "If I had to make that decision and I felt it was right, I would do it. I didn't have to make it."

But he had to make that call in the ALDS last season with Cliff Lee. The Rangers said they were going to pitch Lee on short rest before the series, but changed their minds a few days prior to the playoffs. They went with a 4-man rotation instead, which is why Lee pitched the deciding Game 5 against David Price in Tampa Bay and helped send the Rangers to the ALCS. So why didn't the club pitch Lee on short rest?

"He'd never done it," Washington said. "Cliff was all for it. It's Cliff Lee."

But the club decided not to do it.

Washington said Scioscia has a "better feel" for his pitchers than Washington does and the Rangers manager isn't surprised by the decision.

"I'n not surprised at anything Mike does," Washington said. "He knows what's best for his team. [He] always has."

Pitchers starting on short rest this season have a 4.34 ERA in those starts. Still, the move allows the Angels to throw their best arms at the Rangers and avoid using Jerome Williams or Joel Pineiro.

What to watch: Rangers-Angels

August, 26, 2011

OK, the biggest series since, well, last week in Anaheim, is upon us. The Rangers and Angels will faceoff for three games that will clearly go a long way toward determining the AL West this season.

It's difficult to believe that just a little more than a week ago, the Rangers were three outs away from an 8-game lead. Now, it's just 2 games. The Angels come in having not lost since Mark Trumbo's 2-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to avoid a four-game sweep last week. The Rangers have lost six of the last eight to see their lead drop by four games in the span of a week. So here we are. Some general things to watch tonight and througout the series:

* Starting pitching. That's perhaps the biggest storyline of the series. The Rangers' starters in the last seven games have 7.43 ERA with just two quality starts and the Rangers have lost five of those games. Starters have given up at least 6 runs in each of the last three games. The starter's ERA of 3.74 is the highest since July 2.

In this 6-game winning streak for the Angels, the starting rotation has posted a 2.79 ERA with four quality starts and every starter has thrown at least six innings in that span. Manager Mike Scoiscia is expected to pitch Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver on short rest in the series. We'll see how that strategy works and how it may impact the Angels even after the series.

* Early runs. The Rangers fell behind early to Boston in each of the last three games, all lopsided losses. They can't afford to do that against the Angels with the way LAA's pitching has been. Texas needs to stop this streak with some early momentum. The team that gets on the board first could have a nice advantage, especially tonight as the series starts.

* Offenses going in opposite directions. The Angels offense has struggled to get the clutch hits and extra runs all year. But in this 6-game winning streak, they've surged. The team is batting .314 with 10 homers and has scored an average of 6.5 runs per game. The Rangers have played eight games in that same span, starting with the 2-1 loss to Anaheim last week, and are hitting .197, averaging just 2.6 runs per game. They've had eight hits or less in all of those games.

That's worth pointing out again: Including the final game of last week's 4-game set with LAA, the Angels' batting average is 117 points higher and they are scoring nearly 4 more runs per game. That trend clearly has to change for the Rangers to win the series.

* Fatigue. The Rangers starters say they're not tired, but they don't look fresh out there lately. That's especially true of the young guns. Derek Holland's job tonight is to show he isn't fatigued -- or if he is to fight through it -- and pitch well against the Angels again. Colby Lewis, who struggled in his last start, will get another shot to do the same on Sunday.

* Crowd. The first week of school, not to mention the heat and premium pricing, impacted the crowds at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington for the Boston series. And they didn't have much to cheer about the final three games. Big crowds are expected this weekend and the Rangers need those fans to get into it and make the ballpark a real home advantage for them.

* Defense. Last week, the Angels kicked the ball around against the Rangers, helping Texas in the process. Executing in the field is critical as neither team can afford to give runs away.

* Speed. Watch the basepaths in this series. Both these teams know how to play small ball and they know how to run. And they'll get aggressive when they can. The Rangers need Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus to get on base. Kinsler did his job in the three Boston losses, going 4-for-12 with a walk. But Andrus was 0-for-12 and 0-for-1 on stolen base attempts.

* Momentum. It can change quickly. The Angels didn't appear to have any as they went to the plate in the 9th inning of last Thursday's game, staring at a sweep. But they pulled the game out and haven't lost since. The Rangers have hit a rut. One big inning or great pitching performance could turn those trends around.

Offense nosedives in third straight loss

August, 25, 2011

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A Michael Young line-drive single in the second inning. An Ian Kinsler infield hit in the third. A Nelson Cruz single between short and third in the seventh.

That was it for the Texas Rangers at the plate in Thursday's 6-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Boston lefty Andrew Miller lowered his 4.99 ERA by half-a-point after pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings. It was his longest outing in more than two years. He struck out six Rangers and allowed one runner beyond second base. If you hadn't heard of Miller in this 10th start of the season, perhaps you have heard of the next pitcher this slumping Rangers lineup will face Friday night, the Los Angeles Angels' Dan Haren.

Yes, the Rangers aren't getting quality starting pitching -- just two "quality starts" in the last eight games -- but the offense has disappeared with it. The Red Sox took the final three games of the four-game set by a combined 30-7 score, handing the Rangers their longest home losing skid in more than a year. It also whittled the Rangers' shrinking lead in the American League West to just two games as the idle Angels were probably watching it unfold from their Arlington hotel room.

"Well, the thing was," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the Red Sox, "they whipped our butt for three days. We couldn't pitch to stop them and we couldn't get anything going offensively."

The futility included an o-for-4 night including three consecutive strikeouts by Josh Hamilton that dipped his average below .300 for the first time in nearly a month. Nelson Cruz managed a ground-ball single in four at-bats. Red-hot Mike Napoli struck out in all three of his at-bats and catcher Yorvit Torrealba was also 0-for-3.

Falling behind by six runs in each of the last three games doesn't bode well for an offense that has been shutout in two of the last five games. Thursday's three hits marked the eighth consecutive time that the Rangers had eight or fewer hits which is the longest such drought in the last two seasons. They're 2-6 in that span which includes an overall batting average of .197 (51-for-259) and a ghastly .163 (7-for-43) with runners in scoring position.

The Rangers threatened Miller really only once. Omar Quintanilla reached on an error to lead off the sixth and Ian Kinsler walked to put two men on for only the second time in the game. Elvis Andrus grounded into a fielder's choice and then with runners at the corners was gunned down trying to steal second as Josh Hamilton fanned for strike three.

Two Boston relievers did not allow a hit in 2 2/3 innings.

"We've scored before when we're behind, we've scored when we've had to tack on runs when we're ahead," said Young, who led off the second with a single but was set down his next three trips to the plate. "We know how to do it no matter what the situation is, no matter how many runs the other team has and no matter how many runs we have. We know how to score runs, it just hasn't happened the last few games."

The streaking Angels are next up starting Friday night with Haren, who brings an ERA under 3.00. Manager Mike Scioscia is threatening to make a bold move by going to red-hot Ervin Santana and then ace Jered Weaver, who has pitched two gems against Texas this season, both on three days' rest.

"I'm not really worried about what they're doing with their rotation," Kinsler said. "I say it over and over again, we're not worried about the Angels, we're worried about ourselves. If they want to bring a guy back on two days' rest or five days, I don't really care. It's none of my concern. My concern is this team."

Mound Matchup: Wilson vs. Santana

May, 15, 2011
The three-game series between the Rangers and Angels closes today with C.J. Wilson taking on Ervin Santana. Here's the matchup.

Rangers:C.J. Wilson (4-2, 3.36): The ace of the Rangers staff makes his ninth start of the season. Wilson had an uneven start in his last outing, walking five while allowing five earned runs on just two hits in seven innings of work in a 7-2 loss to Oakland. ... Wilson is 3-1 with a 3.25 ERA in his last six starts vs. the Angels. In 27 career starts at home he's 14-7 having won four of his last five outings vs. the Angels. ... Wilson's 48 strikeouts are the ninth most in the AL and while that is good, opponents are 9-for-9 in stolen-base attempts against him this season.

Angels: Ervin Santana (1-4, 4.81 ERA): He is 1-2 in his last three starts but has pitched into the seventh inning of each of them. ... He is also 0-3 with two no-decisions in his last five starts. ... Opponents are hitting .263 against him. ... In his only start of the season against the Rangers he gave up six earned runs on 10 hits in four innings. He took the loss. ... Santana is holding opponents to a .188 batting average with a full count.

Rangers chase Ervin Santana, lead 6-0

April, 18, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers knocked out Angels starter Ervin Santana in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The big blow came from Adrian Beltre, who smashed a home run 412 feet to dead center to push the Rangers lead to 6-0. After that, Angels manager Mike Scioscia had seen enough and pulled Santana.

When his night was over, Santana had allowed six runs on 10 hits in four innings of work. He walked two and struck out three while throwing 90 pitches. Santana failed to get any outs in the fifth inning leaving way for Rich Thompson.

It started in the fourth when Mitch Moreland stroked a two-out two-run single to center. The previous hitter, Mike Napoli, earned a 10-pitch walk.

As C.J. Wilson was moving along as the Rangers starter in the middle innings, the Rangers hitters rolled past Santana to start the fifth.

Ian Kinsler tripled down the left-field line and later scored on a suicide squeeze by Elvis Andrus. Andrus moved to second when Santana overthrew first base and the ball sailed into right field.

Michael Young's single to left set up Beltre, who sent a pitch to the grass beyond the center-field wall for his fifth homer of the year.



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