Texas Rangers: Michael Saunders

Notes: Yu Darvish getting exam

November, 25, 2014
Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish is visiting team officials this week.

Items on his to-do list include meeting new manager Jeff Banister, checking in with pitching coach Mike Maddux and getting an exam on his right elbow, which had some mild inflammation toward the end of last season.

Darvish is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam and if the results are good, he's expected to begin his normal throwing program next month.

GM Jon Daniels said at the GM Meetings recently that Darvish is always in shape and doesn't have any issues regarding his durability. Darvish has spent time on the DL in all three of his big league seasons for a variety of reasons.

Darvish went on the DL after the mild inflammation was discovered and didn't return.

Chirinos wins award: It was nice to see Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos receive the first ever The Richard Durrett Hardest-Working Man award presented by the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Durrett, as you know, was a former Rangers beat writer for ESPNDallas.com. Durrett passed away June 17.

"I'm totally touched about the award," said Kelly Durrett, Richard's widow. "One of things I want our kids to remember about Richard was how hard working he was. He had so much dedication and drive and I still don't know how he got everything done in a day. He really did work harder than anyone I know. I think this is the perfect way to honor and to remember him. It's great that this could be done and I'm sure Robinson was someone Richard enjoyed working with and someone who is truly deserving."

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Matchup: Scott Feldman vs. Jason Vargas

September, 15, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The second game of the series between the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners features RHP Scott Feldman and LHP Jason Vargas. The game is at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21. A brief look at the matchup:

Feldman (6-11, 4.97 ERA): This is his 26th appearance (20th start) of the season as he attempts to snap a five-game losing streak after getting a no-decision in the Rangers' 5-4, 10-inning victory Thursday in Kansas City. ... Feldman gave up three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and no walks. ... It's the 100th career start for Feldman and his 201st appearance. ... His season has featured three streaks: six losses over six straight starts to begin the season, then six straight wins and now losses in his last five decisions. ... He has a 5.97 ERA in that span of six starts. ... Feldman is 5-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 24 career games (11 starts) against Seattle, including 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in two starts in May this season.

Vargas (14-10, 3.85 ERA): The 29-year-old will make his 31st start tonight, the most among any pitcher in the AL. ... He gave up three runs on four hits in seven innings in a loss to Oakland in his last outing Sunday. ... Vargas is 7-3 with a 2.99 ERA in his last 14 starts and was voted July AL pitcher of the month after going 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in six starts. ... He's not nearly as effective on the road than at home, posting a 9-6 mark and a 4.84 ERA away from Safeco Field (is 5-4 with a 2.62 ERA at home). ... Has tossed six or more innings in 25 of his 30 starts with 20 quality starts. ... This will be his 14th appearance against Texas (12th start) and it's his third game started against them in 2012. ... He's 4-5 with a 4.56 ERA in his career versus the Rangers, including 1-1 with a 4.73 ERA in two starts this season.

Hitters: Ian Kinsler is 10-for-26 with four doubles and a homer. Michael Young is 12-for-30 with a homer and six RBIs. ... Adrian Beltre is just 1-for-13 off Vargas. ... Franklin Gutierrez is 6-for-18 with five RBIs in his career against Feldman. ... Michael Saunders is 0-for-9.

Up next:

Sun. vs. Sea: LHP Matt Harrison (16-9, 3.36 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Beavan (9-9, 5.01), 2:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW

Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Hisashi Iwakuma

September, 14, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Seattle Mariners come to town and Yu Darvish will kick the series off for the Rangers. He'll face fellow countryman Hisashi Iwakuma at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. Here's a look at the matchup:

Darvish (14-9, 4.14 ERA): This will be his 27th start of the season and he comes into the outing off five consecutive quality starts, going 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA and a .161 opponent batting average. ... The numbers are even better in his last three starts: 2-0, 1.64 ERA with a .147 opponent average. ... Darvish got the no-decision in his last start, a 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay in 10 innings. He gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits in eight innings. ... Darvish has 196 strikeouts, the most by any rookie and the third-most in the league. He's seeking to become just the third AL rookie since 1976 with more than 200 strikeouts. The others: Mark Langston (204 in 1984 for Seattle), Daisuke Matsuzaka (201 in 2007 for Boston). ... Darvish is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA in three starts (16 innings) vs. Seattle this season.

Iwakuma (6-4, 3.39 ERA): The 31-year-old has won four of his last five decisions, but his most recent start was a short one and a loss. ... Iwakuma gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits in 3 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and two walks in a 6-1 loss to the Oakland A's. ... Iwakuma moved into the rotation in July and faced the Rangers that month in Seattle. He allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings with no strikeouts and three walks. ... As a starter, Iwakuma is 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 12 starts. ... He has an ERA more than two runs higher on the road (4.74) than at home.

Hitters: Ian Kinsler and Craig Gentry are both 2-for-3 and Kinsler has a HR off Iwakuma. ... Michael Young is 1-for-5. ... Mariner hitters are batting just .238 against Darvish this season. ... Kyle Seager is 3-for-7 with five RBIs. ... John Jaso is 2-for-4 with a homer. ... Michael Saunders and Brendan Ryan are a combined 2-for-14.

Up next:

Sat. vs. Sea: RHP Scott Feldman (6-11, 4.97) vs. LHP Jason Vargas (14-10, 3.85), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/TXA21
Sun. vs. Sea: LHP Matt Harrison (16-9, 3.36 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Beavan (9-9, 5.01), 2:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW

Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Felix Hernandez

July, 14, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers will face off against the Seattle Mariners in the second game of this three-game series at 8:10 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW. This divisional matchup features RHP Yu Darvish against RHP Felix Hernandez. A quick look at the matchup:

Darvish (10-5, 3.59): The 25-year-old is making his first start of the second half and 17th start of the year. ... Was a member of the American League All-Star team but did not pitch in the game Tuesday in Kansas City. ... His last outing was on July 1 vs. Oakland when he suffered his first career lost at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. In that start he pitched seven innings, giving up just three runs on five hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts. The loss ended a three-game winning streak. ... Has recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts three times this season and at least 10 strikeouts five times, which is most in the A.L. and tied with the Mets' R.A. Dicky for most in the big leagues. ... His 10 wins and 117 strikeouts leads all rookies. ... The wins set the Rangers record for wins by a rookie before the All-Star break. ... Ranks among the A.L. lead in strikeouts-per-nine innings pitched (2nd, 10.26), wins (t-3rd, 10), strikeouts (4th, 117) and opponent's average (6th, .227). ... Is 1-1 with a 8.38 ERA in two starts vs. Seattle. ... Last start against the Mariners came in a 6-1 loss May 21 on the road in which he gave up five runs -- four earned -- on four hits with six walks and five strikeouts in four innings pitched.

Hernandez (6-5, 3.13): The 26-year-old is slated to make his 19th start of the season. ... He was named to the American League All-Star team but did not pitch. ... Has not recorded a win in his last two starts. ... Has 11 quality starts this season. ... Has pitched at least seven innings 11 times this year, including six outing of at least eight innings. ... Tied with Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg for most strikeouts in the major leagues with 128. ... Has a 2.52 ERA in nine starts at home this year. ... Recorded a win in his only matchup against the Rangers this season on May 21 in Seattle. He gave up just one run on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in eight innings of work on the mound.

Hitters: Current Rangers are 112-for-438 (.256) all-time against Hernandez. ... David Murphy is 19-for-60 (.317) with four doubles, two home runs, 10 RBIs and 13 strikeouts. ... Nelson Cruz is 12-for-47 (.255) with a double, three home runs, four RBIs and 10 strikeouts. ... Josh Hamilton is 8-for-45 (.178) with two doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBIs, eight walks and 13 strikeouts. ... Current Mariners are 12-for-40 (.300) off Darvish. ... Ichiro Suzuki is 5-for-7 (.714) with a double, a triple and two RBIs. ... Michael Saunders is 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Up Next:

Sun. vs. Seattle: LHP Matt Harrison (11-4, 3.10) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 4.84), 3:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Mariners 2

July, 14, 2012

The Texas Rangers started the second half of the season right with a 3-2 road win against the Seattle Mariners after the All-Star break. The Rangers halted a ninth-inning rally from Seattle, but failed to preserve a shutout. The Rangers got their offense going with nine hits, and Derek Holland got the win, throwing 7 2/3 shutout innings. Some thoughts on the win:

What it means: The Rangers are still tied with the New York Yankees for the most wins in the major leagues with a 53-34 record. With the win, they also improved their AL West lead to five games over the Los Angeles Angels.

Pitchers duel: Holland and former Ranger Kevin Millwood put on a show. The game was scoreless through the first four innings and both teams had a combined four hits through four innings. Holland had back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the second and third innings and again in the fifth and sixth. Holland also got out of a one-out jam in the fourth inning. Millwood retired nine straight after a leadoff single from Ian Kinsler in the first. Millwood's dominance dwindled in the fifth inning. In the end, Holland proved the better starter as he posted a quality start and came close to a complete game shutout. Holland finished with four hits, no runs, two walks and four strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.

The offense gets going: At first it appeared the offense was still in it's funk that began before the All-Star break, as the Rangers were scoreless with two hits through the first four innings. But the bats got going in the fifth inning with the help of a timely Mariners mistake. Michael Young and David Murphy hit singles to begin the inning and Mike Napoli hit into what should have been a double play, but turned into a fielder's choice when Dustin Ackley lost his grip on the ball after the putout at second. One out later, Kinsler hit an RBI single, but Napoli was called out at home to end the inning with the score 1-0. The Rangers scored again in the sixth after a Josh Hamilton single and an Adrian Beltre two-run homer to make the score 3-0. In the eighth inning, Nelson Cruz was inches away from a solo homer to deep center, but settled for a double. Seven Rangers finished the game with at least one hit.

Walking into danger: Holland narrowly avoided disaster in the fourth inning when he allowed a one out single and back-to-back walks to load the bases. Former Rangers first baseman Justin Smoak stepped up to the plate and worked a full count. After a 10 pitch battle, Smoak popped up to Elvis Andrus. With the bases still loaded, Miguel Olivo hit what looked like a single to right field, but Cruz caught up to it to end the inning and keep the score tied at zero.

Young stays hot: Young built upon his season-high four hit game in the series finale against the Minnesota Twins before the All-Star break with another solid performance. He went 2-for-4 and scored the first run of the game.

Napoli's struggles continue: Napoli had another hitless game accompanied by a familiar strikeout in the eighth inning. He managed to reach base twice on a fielder's choice in the fifth and a walk in the seventh. He also got credit for a stolen base in the fifth. He is 2-for-18 in the month of July and was batting .225 prior to Friday's game. He left the game after the eighth with a bruised right quad.

Nathan saves the day: Joe Nathan earned his 19th save of the season in stressful fashion. He failed to preserve the shutout when he had to pitch out of a jam to preserve the Rangers' win in the ninth inning. Kyle Seager hit a one-out single followed by two more singles from Smoak and John Jaso to load the bases. Michael Saunders hit an RBI single to erase the shutout, but was caught in a rundown between first and second base for the second out. Smoak then scored on a wild pitch to cut the Rangers' lead to one. The situation became more stressful when Nathan walked Carlos Peguero with a full count. Nathan finished the game when he struck out Ackley.

One-man show: The Mariners had only two hits through the first six innings, both off the bat of Casper Wells. Wells finished 2-for-4. The Mariners got their third hit from Seager, who hit a leadoff single in the seventh. Seattle finished with seven hits.

Up next:

Sat at SEA: RHP Yu Darvish (10-5, 3.59) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (6-5, 3.13), 8:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.

Sun at SEA: LHP Matt Harrison (11-4, 3.10) vs. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 4.84), 3:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FSSW.

The homer and the block for Mike Napoli

May, 28, 2012
RangersAP Photo/Brandon WadeMike Napoli holds up the ball after tagging Seattle's Brendan Ryan out at home.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mike Napoli was busy for the Texas Rangers on Monday night.

Rangers catcher Mike Napoli talks about the play he made at home plate in the eighth inning against the Mariners, what exactly Craig Gentry was doing and more.

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He smashed a three-run home run to right field, breaking a 1-1 tie, and his block of home plate in the eighth inning kept the Rangers with a little more cushion against Seattle.

After a 4-2, Rangers win, Napoli was sought after by reporters in the clubhouse.

He seems to be breaking out of his slump. He was mired in a 3-for-25 spell before his two-hit game Sunday and then his three-RBI night against the Mariners.

But leave it to Ron Washington to bring everything to reality.

"That was a big hit for us. We certainly needed it and he needed it for his own well being," the manager said. "But you don't come out of a slump in two days. You just got to keep swinging. I think he'll let you know in the next week or so if he's out of a slump. He's starting to feel much better up there at the plate and (what) we got out of him tonight, we certainly needed."

What almost gets lost with the Napoli homer is his play at the plate.

With the Rangers leading 4-1 in the eighth, Seattle's Brendan Ryan hit a shot to center that was misplayed by center fielder Craig Gentry, who dived for the ball and let it skip past him to the wall.

"Don't leave your feet," Washington said. "If you're off your feet you need to catch it."

The hit drove in one run, but Nelson Cruz tracked the ball down against the wall in center and threw a strike to Ian Kinsler, the cutoff man. Kinsler said before getting the throw he peeked to see Ryan round second and get the go sign from third-base coach Jeff Datz.

"I was going to make the throw regardless," Kinsler said.

The throw was where Kinsler wanted it, slightly up the line and high. Napoli blocked the plate with his left leg and placed a tag on the left arm of a sliding Ryan, who was called out at home.

"I just trying to block the plate. I knew it was going to be a close play," Napoli said. "I was able to stick my foot in front and Ian gave me a good throw and I was able to block the plate."

Napoli's night started off slowly as he struck out twice against Kevin Millwood, who pitched well against his former team. Millwood allowed one run over five innings. He struck out five but left after throwing 97 pitches.

Napoli came up in the sixth inning with a chance to make a mark against reliever Steve Delabar. With two on and one out, Napoli sent a fastball that hit the facade in right for a 4-1 Rangers lead.

"Those are over and done with," Napoli said of his strikeouts. "I keep moving on, even if I have a good at-bat or not. It's past and you just try to build of the previous at-bat and in this game you have to let things go and move on to the next. Just trying to go up there and give a tough at-bat every time."



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