Texas Rangers: Ian Kinsler

Rangers start GM Meetings looking to improve

November, 10, 2014
Nov 10
PHOENIX -- After a season in which the Texas Rangers lost 95 games and the manager who took them to consecutive World Series appearances resigned, this offseason will not be a time to relax.

Yes, Aaron Rodgers told Green Bay Packers fans to relax on Twitter, which was followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James’ own comments of calming down the fan base after some recent struggles.

Jon Daniels
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezWhat will Jon Daniels' next move be as the Rangers try to improve this offseason?
Rangers GM Jon Daniels comes to the two-day GM Meetings here looking to make moves. It’s not time to panic, but it is time to do something.

The Rangers’ payroll will remain near the $133.5 million it was in 2014 and Daniels isn’t trying to open the checkbook for a high-priced free agent such as Jon Lester.

Daniels instead will seek trades while being mindful of the riches in the Rangers' Double-A system, where most of the young talent resides.

The Rangers have made a passing interest in oft-injured right-handed starter Josh Johnson. There was a rumor late last week that the Dodgers were trying to push Carl Crawford on the Rangers in exchange for Elvis Andrus.

A source said the Rangers were not interested in Crawford.

Finding a trade partner isn’t the hardest thing about the job for Daniels and his staff. It’s making sure the deal works.

(Read full post)

W2W4: Rangers vs. Detroit Tigers

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers conclude their three-game set against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

Here's a preview:

Avoiding a sweep: The Rangers have been swept three times this season but never in back-to-back series. The Rangers lost three straight to the Los Angeles Angles over the weekend. Overall, the Rangers have lost a season-high seven games and sit 12.5 games behind first-place Oakland in the AL West. Finding consistent pitching and hitting is the major problem for the Rangers right now. In Wednesday's 8-6 loss to the Tigers, there was no pitching as Joe Saunders fell to 0-4 and is now winless in seven starts this season. There was some hitting, however, as the Rangers scored the most runs since a 10-6 loss at Oakland on June 17.

Beltre on a tear: Third baseman Adrian Beltre is 9-for-12 over the last three games and has pushed his average to .328. In six games against the Tigers this season, Beltre is hitting .652 with eight RBI and he is hitting .470 against Detroit since the start of the 2012 season. Beltre, who reached 2,500 hits with a single on Tuesday now has 2,506 career hits.

Ian Kinsler's week: It started with a wave that miffed starter Colby Lewis and agitated manager Ron Washington and continued with a smattering of boos. Kinsler is having a pretty good time against his former club. He is 4-for-8 in the first two games here with three runs scored, three RBIs, a double, home run and a nifty play in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game (he does also have a throwing error). Kinsler has reached base in 10 of his last 11 games.

Can we get some pitching?: RHP Nick Martinez (1-4, 4.22) will start against the Tigers' Rick Porcello (9-4, 3.76) on Thursday. Martinez pitched well in his last outing, allowing just two runs on three hits in seven innings against the Angles last Saturday. Martinez no-hit the Angles until sixth inning. Martinez was credited with a no-decision as the Rangers lost 3-2 in extra innings.

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 8, Rangers 6

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers’ losing streak stretched to a season-high seven games on Wednesday night with an 8-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

How it happened: Pretty quickly. The Tigers scored three in the first inning: Miguel Cabrera’s sacrifice fly drove in the first run, followed by RBI doubles from Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez to get things rolling against Rangers starter Joe Saunders. The Tigers pushed the lead to 5-1 in the third, but the Rangers cut the deficit to 5-3 with a three-run fourth. Saunders couldn’t keep the game close, however; he allowed a homer to Victor Martinez off a 0-1 pitch. Ron Washington saw enough and relieved him in favor of Shawn Tolleson, who wasn’t much better; on the first pitch he threw, J.D. Martinez smashed a homer to right-center for a 7-3 lead. The Rangers kept coming back, cutting the lead to 7-5 with two outs and a man on in the seventh. Carlos Pena lined out to first to end the inning. In the ninth, trailing 8-5, the Rangers cut into the lead when Adrian Beltre singled in a run against former Ranger and current Tigers closer Joe Nathan. Pena came up again as the tying run against Nathan with two out, but he struck out swinging on a fastball to end the game.

What it means: The Rangers currently have the longest losing streak in the majors at seven. This is the longest slide for this club since a seven-game losing streak in September. While there are concerns about the lineup, there’s only so much the Rangers can do with that outside of a trade. The pitching staff has been inconsistent. Saunders fell to 0-4, and you have to wonder about his status in the rotation going forward.

Saunders held up: It appeared Saunders finished his warm-up tosses early; he wrapped up while ESPN was doing an interview with Washington at game’s start and at one point threw one more warm-up pitch. Maybe he was out of sync when the game started. His first pitch of the game sailed to the backstop, and he gave up a leadoff triple to Rajai Davis. Ian Kinsler walked and Cabrera’s fly out brought home the first run. Saunders might have lost a rhythm during the delay. He lasted just four innings, taken out after the fifth-inning homer to Martinez, allowing six runs on seven hits. He walked five and struck out two on 84 pitches.

Boos for Kinsler: Kinsler, the former Ranger, received mostly cheers on Tuesday night in his first game at his former home. On Wednesday, there were more boos during his trips to the plate. He went 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored on the evening. Unlike his wave to the Rangers' dugout on Tuesday after hitting a home run, there were no such hijinks Wednesday.

Pena gets going: Pena failed to hit a ball out the infield on Tuesday, but Wednesday night he went 2-for-5 with a homer and two runs scored. It was Pena’s first home run since June 20, 2013, when he played for Houston. The Rangers hope Pena can provide a boost to a lineup that's produced just 11 runs in the past five games coming into Wednesday’s game.

Up next: The Rangers have RHP Nick Martinez (1-4, 4.22) facing the Tigers' Rick Porcello (9-4, 3.76) at 7:05 CT Thursday night.

Wash: Kinsler would be plunked in old days

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
ARLINGTON, Texas -- After offering a "no comment" Tuesday night when asked about Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler's wave to the dugout after hitting a first-inning home run, Rangers manager Ron Washington opened up Wednesday morning about Kinsler's actions, saying that in the old days the second baseman would have been hit in his next at-bat for his actions.

"It wouldn't have been nothing personal," Washington said on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. "It was just saying, 'Hey, go ahead and enjoy what you just did, but don't do that."

Washington said pitcher Colby Lewis was miffed by the gesture, but Kinsler, who played with the Rangers for eight seasons, said he was just having fun. After Kinsler's next at-bat in the third, Lewis exchanged words with him as he was running by.

"I told him it was good to see him," Lewis said.

Washington said Lewis planned on sending Kinsler a message during the at-bat, but things changed as the game progressed.

"I think Colby's intention was to go up and in on him," Washington said. "But a lot of times you try to do stuff like that, the ball gets away from you and you could hurt someone, and after he didn't, he just decided he was going to go ahead and get him out. But I think after he got him out, he let him know how he felt when he crossed the plate."

Colby Lewis disappointed in Ian Kinsler

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler's visit to his former big league home came with a little drama.

After Kinsler hit a first-inning home run against Texas' Colby Lewis, he waved to the Rangers dugout as he arrived at first base. As Kinsler rounded the bases he wore a big smile.

[+] EnlargeIan Kinsler
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezIn what appeared to be an act of showboating, Ian Kinsler waved to the Rangers' dugout after hitting a home run in his first at-bat.
When his night was over, Kinsler finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs and a throwing error against the team he played with for eight seasons.

"It was fun," Kinsler said. "I was having a good time out there just enjoying myself and it was a pretty good feeling."

Kinsler said he wasn't waving at anybody when he reached the first base bag.

"The dugout. Just saying hi," he said. "It was nothing personal at all, I was having a good time. It was my return home and to get lucky enough to ... have it go over the fence it was a good feeling and I was just having fun. I was just having fun. I wasn't thinking, I was just enjoying the moment and that's what happened."

There was a difference of opinion in the opposing dugout.

Rangers manager Ron Washington didn't comment on Kinsler's wave but indicated he wasn't happy and that Lewis was miffed by it.

"I have no comment on that," Washington said. "I keep that between us."

Lewis said he was disappointed in Kinsler's gesture but didn't believe it was a big deal.

"It's unfortunate, I feel like it's unfortunate but that’s just me," Lewis said. "I'm not going to sit here and bad-mouth Kins, I really enjoyed Kins and I enjoyed my time playing with him and I enjoyed him as a teammate; disappointed, that’s the word. That’s all. I love Kins, that’s all. I was just disappointed a little bit, that’s all."

Kinsler was traded in the offseason for Prince Fielder and voiced displeasure with the move. In an offseason interview with ESPN The Magazine, Kinsler said he hoped the Rangers go 0-162. Kinsler said he was joking and couldn't understand why there was such a fuss about his thoughts.

In terms of speaking with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, Kinsler said he had no intention of having a discussion with the man who made the trade happen.

"I know where his aspect of things is," Lewis said of Kinsler. "He feels the way he felt maybe how things went down, I have no idea. It's his opinion, it's how things transpired. He's got his view on it, I'm sure. Like I said, I'm taking it as if he was just disappointment in that aspect of things [on the home run gesture] and not with me."

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 8, Rangers 2

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers' losing streak reached six games with an 8-2 defeat to the Detroit Tigers at Globe Life Park.

How it happened: Things were moving along quietly until the seventh inning, when the Tigers sent 11 men to the plate and scored five runs, breaking a 1-1 tie. J.D. Martinez, who batted twice in the inning, hit a two-run homer off Colby Lewis for a 3-1 lead. Martinez, by the way, ended the inning with a strikeout.

Before he could strike out, the Tigers loaded the bases and beat up not only Lewis but reliever Ben Rowen, who allowed two runs on three hits before getting lifted for Shawn Tolleson. When the inning ended, Lewis was credited with four earned runs on nine hits in 6⅓ innings of work. The only positive from Lewis’ outing was he pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season.

What it means: Well, the Rangers are falling further and further behind the leaders in the AL West and for the two AL wild-card spots. At some point the Rangers have to end this slide, but against the streaking Tigers (who have a five-game win streak) it doesn’t appear as if that will happen soon.

Pena’s debut: The Rangers called up first baseman Carlos Pena before the game, and in four trips he struck out twice, bounced out to short and to the pitcher. Pena’s first at-bat came with two runners on and none out in the second. He struck out looking on a Drew Smyly curveball on the corner of the plate.

Kinsler faces old team: Ian Kinsler spent eight years with the Rangers before an offseason trade sent him to the Tigers. He played in his former home on Tuesday night and received a mixture of boos and cheers. He went 2-for-5 with a first-inning homer that traveled 384 feet, and a two-run single to left in the eighth. He also struck out on an off-speed pitch in the seventh. Kinsler committed a throwing error in the eighth when he threw a double-play ball wide of first base.

Some good news: Adrian Beltre’s second-inning single gave him 2,500 hits in his career. Beltre finished 4-for-4 with all singles, including an RBI single that tied the game in the third. He becomes the 97th player in big league history to reach 2,500 hits. He’s also the sixth player to reach 2,500 hits while playing the majority of the time at third base. George Brett (3,514), Wade Boggs (3,010), Brooks Robinson (2,848), Chipper Jones (2,726) and Buddy Bell (2,514) are the others.

Up next: The Rangers have LHP Joe Saunders (0-3, 4.11) facing RHP Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 2.33) Wednesday night.

Ian Kinsler: Nothing to say to Jon Daniels

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler said he's over it.

He spent eight seasons with the Texas Rangers and in some ways he expected more. Maybe he thought he would have been dealt with differently, maybe on a personal level instead of a professional level.

Ian Kinsler
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarIan Kinsler says he has no hard feelings toward Jon Daniels and also nothing to say to him.
But the Rangers traded Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers in the offseason and it sparked a series of comments from Kinsler in an ESPN The Magazine story that said he hoped his former team goes 0-162.

It seemed as if Kinsler was being serious. He was joking and Tuesday night, as a steady rain poured down at Globe Life Park, Kinsler talked about the man who made the deal to trade him, general manager Jon Daniels.

"I haven’t talked to JD since last season," Kinsler said. "Never talked to him through the trade process, through anything that was going on, never given a heads up or maybe, 'this might happen or we’re possibly thinking about trading you.' Nothing like that, no communication. I have nothing to say to him. He probably has nothing to say to me. No reason to talk to the guy."

Sports is a business and few players get to finish their careers with the teams they love. Kinsler didn't sound too bitter about the trade yet wished it were handled differently.

(Read full post)

W2W4: Rangers host Detroit Tigers

June, 24, 2014
Jun 24
The slumping Texas Rangers will try to end their season-long five-game losing streak by hosting the Detroit Tigers in the first of three games at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Tuesday.

Here's a preview:

Ian Kinsler returns: After saying he hoped the Rangers would go 0-162, second baseman Kinsler makes his first appearance in Arlington with the Tigers. Kinsler said the quotes, in an ESPN The Magazine story, were taken out of context. Still, Kinsler is kind of defiant when it comes to a possible reception he'll receive Tuesday. "If people want to boo me for saying something bad about the front office, that's their prerogative," Kinsler told MLB.com. "I guess we'll see." Kinsler went 8 out of 17 in a four-game set back in May where the Tigers lost three of four games to the Rangers. Kinsler comes in hot, going 6-for-14 with three RBIs and four runs scored in the weekend set against Cleveland.

Trying to end the slide: You know it's going bad when staff ace, Yu Darvish, can't end a losing streak. The Rangers were swept in a three-game set by the Los Angeles Angels and Darvish (7-4) didn't have his best stuff. He gave up five runs on five hits in six innings of work. He gave up two home runs and walked four. After winning four consecutive games, Darvish has lost his last two outings. After beating Oakland, 14-8 on June 16, the Rangers have scored 15 runs during their five-game slide including four the last two games.

Getting kicked out: Ron Washington was kicked out of the first inning of Sunday's loss to the Angels for arguing a play that was overturned by replay. You can't argue plays that have been overturned. The Rangers also had a couple of players ejected against the Angels. Michael Choice and Alex Rios were tossed for arguing balls and strikes Saturday night.

The pitching matchups: Texas has Colby Lewis (5-4, 5.97) against Detroit's Drew Smyly (3-6, 3.48) on Tuesday. Nick Tepesch (2-3, 4.38) vs. Anibal Sanchez (4-2, 2.33) on Wednesday and Joe Saunders (0-3, 4.11) faces Rick Porcello (9-4, 3.76) in the series finale Thursday.

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Tigers 2

May, 24, 2014
May 24

DETROIT -- The Texas Rangers defeated the Detroit Tigers 12-2 on Saturday afternoon. Some quick thoughts:

How it happened: The Rangers jumped on Tigers starter Rick Porcello, pounding 12 hits -- a season high against Porcello -- and scoring seven runs, four of them in the fourth inning. Rougned Odor led the way with five RBIs, and every batter in the lineup had a hit for Texas. Rangers starter Nick Martinez kept the Tigers' lineup from making a comeback with his quality start. Porcello has a 7.68 ERA in seven starts against Texas in his career.

What it means: Texas can win the series with a victory on Sunday. The Rangers are one game under .500 despite all their injuries and gained a game on the Oakland Athletics in the American League West, moving to six games back.

Nice Odor: Odor was the offensive player of the game on Saturday with two triples and five RBIs. He finished 4-for-5 for the game, which included a double and a run scored, and played well defensively. It's a career-high outing for the 20-year-old second baseman, and he became only the second Rangers player to record five RBIs in a game since the start of the 2013 season (Adrian Beltre did it on July 19 at the Baltimore Orioles). Odor also is the first No. 9 hitter with at least two triples and five RBIs in a game in MLB history (since RBI became official in 1920), according to data from ESPN Stats & Information.

Mound presence: Martinez was impressive on Saturday, even wiggling out of a two-out jam in the fifth. He pitched in rhythm and navigated his way through a difficult lineup. He was able to hold the Tigers to one run in the second, picking off Rajai Davis as he tried to steal third. Keeping it a one-run game might have helped Martinez settle down until his offense gave him a ton of support in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Martinez appeared to run out of gas in the sixth, but he got a double play to end the inning, when Nick Castellanos' liner went straight to Odor at second, who tossed to first. It was a quality start for Martinez.

Beltre's belt: Beltre smoked a ball into the left-field seats in the fifth. The home run ties him with Albert Belle for 64th all time at 381 for his career. Beltre is hitting .386 (17-for-44) in his past 11 games, with hits in 10 of those contests.

Terrific trio: The bottom of the Rangers' order powered the offense on Saturday. Through the fourth inning, the Nos. 7, 8 and 9 hitters -- Leonys Martin, Donnie Murphy and Odor -- were 8-for-12 with eight RBIs (including a Murphy two-run HR) and seven runs scored. The three hit for a combined cycle. Martin was back in that group after Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to put him back down in the order and reinsert Shin-Soo Choo at the leadoff spot. Both players had hits in the game at their respective spots.

RISP drought: Elvis Andrus ended his long drought with runners in scoring position, though he didn't drive in a run in the process. Andrus singled off infielder-turned-pitcher Danny Worth in the ninth. He's now 2-for-32 on the season. He was 1-for-3 on Saturday, grounding out with runners on the corners in the third and seventh. The hit in the ninth ended his streak of 29 hitless attempts with runners in scoring position.

Challenges: The Rangers and Tigers were a combined 3-for-3 in challenges on Saturday. The Rangers' lone challenge came on the double play to end the sixth, when initially it was ruled that Mitch Moreland's foot didn't touch the bag before replay showed he got his toe on the bag before Alex Avila's hand.

Sore ankle: Well, it's not a Rangers game without some kind of ailment. Choo came out of the game in the sixth with a sore left ankle. Michael Choice replaced him. Club officials said it was a precautionary move in what was an 8-1 game at that point.

Up next: RHP Colby Lewis (3-3, 5.40 ERA) is on the mound for the Rangers against RHP Justin Verlander (5-3, 3.55 ERA) at 12:08 p.m. CT Sunday on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. It's the final game of this four-game series and the last time the Rangers are in Detroit during the regular season.

Rapid Reaction: Tigers 7, Rangers 2

May, 23, 2014
May 23

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers quickly erased a 2-0 Rangers lead and cruised to a 7-2 victory on Friday night at Comerica Park. Some quick thoughts:

How it happened: Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez allowed three straight hits in the second to fall behind 2-0 before settling down and getting some support from his offense. Sanchez got 14 of his next 15 batters out as the Tigers built a 6-2 lead through six. He ended up allowing just the two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Scott Baker, meanwhile, gave up six runs on eight hits in six innings.

What it means: The Tigers evened the series at a game each with two games left and ended a four-game losing streak. The Rangers had crept to within a game of .500, but now fall two back and 7 1/2 games behind the Athletics, pending Oakland's result against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Up too often: Baker had too many pitches up in the zone on Friday, and he wasn't missing many bats (he had one strikeout and it didn't come until the sixth), as the Tigers took advantage. Even after the Rangers gave Baker a 2-0 lead in the second, he gave it right back in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run homer by Austin Jackson. The Tigers added a run in the third and two more in the fifth off Baker, as well. Even the outs the Tigers hit were hard. We'll see if this means Joe Saunders gets the rotation spot next time through or if Baker sees another opportunity.

Kinsler kills it: Ex-Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler had three doubles and scored after each of them on Friday. His first double went down the first-base line -- a rare opposite-field double for him -- and his second one went down the third-base line. The third, for good measure, was a fly ball to right field. Kinsler has four hits against his former team in this series.

Moreland's impact: Mitch Moreland put the Rangers in front in the second with a two-run double to left-center. Moreland's poke scored Adrian Beltre (single) and Alex Rios (bloop double) to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead. The two RBIs put Moreland at 17, one more than Prince Fielder. Moreland also made a nice play at first base, digging an errant throw from Elvis Andrus and preventing a run and Andrus' second error of the inning. With Fielder out, this is a big opportunity for Moreland to show he can handle the everyday job at first. He played well on Friday.

Big arm: Once again, catcher Robinson Chirinos showed off his arm. In the first inning, with the speedy Rajai Davis at first base, Chirinos made a snap throw to first after Kinsler took a strike. Davis was too far off the bag and could not get back before Mitch Moreland applied the tag. Just like that, a runner on at first with no outs was eliminated.

League-leading DPs: Rios grounded into his 11th double play of the season in the seventh inning and his 12th to end the game in the ninth. Rios, the Rangers' most consistent offensive producer and team leader in RBIs, leads the AL in ground-ball double plays so far in 2014.

Up next: RHP Nick Martinez (0-1, 2.28 ERA) is on the mound for the Rangers opposed by RHP Rick Porcello (7-1, 2.91 ERA) at 3:08 p.m. CT on Fox Sports 1.

Ian Kinsler prefers leading on field, not off

May, 22, 2014
May 22
DETROIT – Give former Rangers infielder Ian Kinsler credit: He was honest enough on Thursday to admit that the kind of leadership role he had in Texas wasn’t something that fit his style.

“I’m here to play baseball. I’m here to win,” Kinsler said. “I’m here to help the team any way I can and perform. That’s really it. I’m not worried about taking care of any young kids or making sure dress code is met or anything like that. I’m here to play ball and help the team.”

So was it a relief to come to a place where that isn’t expected or needed?

[+] EnlargeIan Kinsler
Mark CunninghamIan Kinsler has found a comfort zone in Detroit, where he says can focus more on the game itself.
“Yeah, it is,” Kinsler said. “That’s all I want to do is play baseball. I want to be on the field and compete and talk about the game, help my teammates in that way. I’d love to talk about baseball and what I see on the field and things you can take advantage of. As far as the other stuff, in my opinion it’s for the birds and not something I enjoy doing.”

It’s not that Kinsler was “forced” to lead by the Rangers. But circumstances dictated that it was necessary. Michael Young left to play for the Philadelphia Phillies and later the Los Angeles Dodgers, leaving a void in the clubhouse. Other veteran players were replaced with young prospects, needing guidance and attention from those with experience. Kinsler was one of the few players left from the club’s core – a homegrown talent drafted and developed by the organization – and thought he was ready for the responsibility.

The Rangers needed Kinsler to step up and help run the clubhouse in Young’s absence. But Kinsler just isn’t that type of personality. He says he isn’t an emotional guy off the field, maybe hinting that if it was “rah-rah” speeches the club needed, he wasn’t the one to do it. But Young wasn’t particularly emotional, either.

Leading takes time. It means paying attention to everything around you both on and off the field. It’s being willing to say something even when it’s not popular, or checking in on a rookie even when your own game isn’t up to standards. It also means talking to the media and staying patient when dumb questions are asked. Sometimes it means biting your tongue, something Kinsler had trouble with at times. The other side of that is it means taking blame when things aren’t going well and putting up with fan discontent as one of the leaders of the team.

There are a lot of demands on those types of players, especially in a 162-game season that’s played in the span of six months.

That’s not an easy balancing act.

“I wanted to be a leader,” Kinsler said. “I love being a leader on the field. I love being a leader in the dugout. I love talking about baseball and helping players on the field and whatever it had to do relating to baseball.

“But after Mike left and the organization started to change a little bit, a lot of young players came up, and that became part of the leadership. You have to teach players how to prepare the right way and that in turn is going to help you win. But I'm not good at that. I'm not good at following a guy around or telling him what time to show up to the field or stuff like that, how to prepare for a game. I think they should figure that out on their own. As far as the game, I love to lead on the field.”

(Read full post)

W2W4: Texas (without Fielder) faces Tigers

May, 22, 2014
May 22
DETROIT – For the first time this season, the Rangers and Detroit Tigers will square off against each other. The teams play four games in Comerica Park. A few things to watch:

* Ian Kinsler in a Tigers uniform. The leadoff hitter is having a good year, playing for a team other than the Rangers for the first time in his career. He said some controversial things before the season began, but has gone about his business and helped the Tigers to the best record in the AL. How will he fare against his former team? That’s something to watch.

* Will Prince Fielder play? The slugger did not play Wednesday and did not travel with the team to Detroit so that he could be examined again by spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett. If that exam goes well and Fielder feels ready to return, he could join his teammates in Detroit. Fielder received a nerve-root injection Saturday morning and hasn’t played in four straight games. He won’t play Thursday, which will make it five.

* Quality starts? Nick Tepesch provided the Rangers their fourth quality start in the last 21 games and the first by someone not named Yu Darvish since late April. Can someone other than Darvish get quality starts in this series against the Tigers? The revamped rotation gets its chance as Nick Martinez and Scott Baker will get starts during the series. This club needs more from its starters, especially with the offense struggling to string hits together.

* Darvish. Whenever he’s on the mound, you better pay attention. You never know when he might flirt with something special. He is 4-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four career starts against the Tigers. He gave up two runs in eight innings in a 2-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday. Torii Hunter has faced Darvish more than any other Tigers hitter and is 6-for-21 (.286) with one homer and six RBIs and eight strikeouts. Miguel Cabrera is 3-for-12.

* Watch how the Rangers handle Cabrera. He is one of the most feared hitters in the league and manager Ron Washington has a ton of respect for him. He’s been intentionally walked plenty in his dealings with Texas. Cabrera is hitting .323 with seven homers and 39 RBIs.

* Homers. Victor Martinez leads the Tigers with 12 home runs, and the team has five players with at least four home runs. The Rangers have two – Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo. Choo hit his fifth homer of the season Wednesday to take the team lead. Martinez has been a huge offensive contributor for the Tigers, batting .323 and knocking in 26 RBIs, giving pitchers more than just Cabrera to think about.

* Sweep. The Tigers were swept in Cleveland as Al Alburquerque balked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 13th inning. Joe Nathan blew a save chance, giving up a two-run homer to his former Ranger teammate David Murphy. And even after the Tigers got a one-run lead in the 13th, they couldn't hold it.

Two-strike approach helping Rangers' bats

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Despite just two runs scored Sunday, the Texas Rangers' offense came alive during this recent 10-game homestand. They scored in various ways, something manager Ron Washington has preached. He wants a versatile offense that can cash in opportunities without necessarily having to have a hit in every situation.

But for an offense to succeed, it has to get the job done with two strikes. And the Rangers are doing that. Texas is batting .219 with two strikes in the count. That's tops in the American League. In fact, only the Rangers and Yankees (.202) are hitting over .200 in those situations. The Rangers have the third-fewest strikeouts in the AL with two strikes in the count and are tied for the fourth-most walks.

The club's best two-strike hitter is Adrian Beltre, who is slated to return this weekend from the disabled list. He's tied for sixth in the league in two-strike batting average. But the Rangers are the only team with five players in the top-25 in two-strike average. That also includes Josh Wilson (4-for-14, 2 RBIs), Alex Rios (9-for-32, 3 RBIs), Shin-Soo Choo (11-for-40, 4 RBIs) and Elvis Andrus (10-for-38, 2 RBIs).

It's early and we'll see where these averages go throughout the course of the season, but so far the Rangers are seeing some success with two strikes.

“I have a plan and so far it is working," Andrus said about his two-strike approach, which has improved over last year (he finished last season at .195 with two strikes). "I try to be a little bit earlier than on my regular approach. I concentrate on seeing the ball better. I try to see the breaking ball before it breaks. The biggest thing is being able to swing at strikes. Maybe in the past I was too impatient with two strikes."

(Read full post)

Saltalamacchia pokes fun at Ian Kinsler, Sox

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
New Miami Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s comments about the Boston Red Sox, his former team, sounded familiar Thursday. But there was nothing serious about them.

“I hope they go 0-162,” Saltalamacchia told reporters during spring training yesterday. “Now they're all sleazeballs."

Saltalamacchia, of course, was joking and had a smile on his face as he said it.

The comments were taken from the ESPN The Magazine story on Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who made the statements in regards to the Texas Rangers and general manager Jon Daniels in a story published earlier this week.

Kinsler said he hoped the Rangers went “0-162” and called Daniels a “sleazeball,” blaming him for pushing Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan out of the organization. Kinsler has said the comments were “taken a little bit out of context,” but that he had no plans to reach out to Daniels.

Saltalamacchia, who signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Marlins this offseason, is a former teammate of Kinsler’s as the catcher came over to the Rangers as part of the Mark Teixeira deal at the trade deadline in 2007.

Saltalamacchia was part of the world champion Red Sox last year and is close to many of his former teammates there.

Real impact is on Kinsler's reputation

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
 Ian KinslerMark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty ImagesWhat effect will Ian Kinsler's comments have if someday he's looking for a new team?

PHOENIX -- Ian Kinsler’s comments won’t really have an impact for the Texas Rangers beyond today. The story is now out there, and Kinsler has attempted to take some of it back. Sort of.

But Kinsler is no longer in the Rangers’ clubhouse. He’s not even in the division. And while the Detroit Tigers are one of the teams to beat in the American League, the Rangers have to worry about getting to the postseason through a competitive division before they concern themselves with the Tigers. That can wait.


Which former Ranger is now the biggest enemy?


Discuss (Total votes: 6,377)

I’m sure June 24-26 will be a little more entertaining now, if nothing more than to see whether Kinsler garners more boos in his return to Texas than Josh Hamilton did last year.

No, the real impact is on Kinsler’s reputation. The “0-162” comment is a shrug-your-shoulders-deal to me. Obviously no team goes 0-162, which is why Kinsler’s explanation that it was a joke might have some truth to it. But it’s clear from the article that he was happy to get out of Texas.

How is calling someone a “sleazeball” taken out of context? It’s not. Kinsler admitted that the comment was “childish,” but he didn’t deny saying it. It shows how he really feels about GM Jon Daniels, a point he reinforced Tuesday by saying he has no plans on calling Daniels. If he cared how Daniels felt or even wanted to try to explain himself, he’d call. He doesn’t. (Never mind that the guy he’s calling that is the one who agreed to give him the lucrative, long-term deal he now has.)

Some of you may cheer Kinsler’s honesty. Others may think that calling a GM who is no longer Kinsler’s boss is no big deal. But I think it’s a big mistake, and not just because burning bridges is rarely a good idea.

(Read full post)



Adrian Beltre
.324 19 77 79
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182