Texas Rangers: NL
The AL and NL each have one roster spot left, with fans voting online through Thursday. The five candidates for the final AL roster spot are all right-handed pitchers: Starters Jake Peavy of the White Sox, Jason Hammel of Baltimore and Darvish along with relievers Jonathan Broxton of the Royals and Ernesto Frieri of the Angels.
"Just being selected among those other guys, they're all good pitchers," Darvish said through an interpreter. "Just being among them is an honor."
Darvish has downplayed a possible appearance in the All-Star game, and on Friday said he wasn't deserving of the honor. Yet, he won't get another chance to show fans he should go.
His next start is scheduled for Saturday, but it could move up to Friday should the Rangers decide left-hander Derek Holland is ready to return to the rotation from the disabled list.
Darvish didn't do any campaigning for votes after Sunday's game.
"The fans get to vote for the last spot," he said. "There's nothing much I can say on that. I'll just stay quiet and see what happens."
He was 2-for-13 in that span.
He broke out of his slump Sunday.
Cruz finished with three hits, including a two-out two-run single as part of a five-run first inning.
"I think my approach has been good the last few games," Cruz said. "I'm seeing a lot of good pitches and wait for the right pitches."
Cruz also took off his batting gloves, something he does when he's struggling. He did it Saturday night, too.
"I don't know the last time I did it," Cruz said. "I felt the bat better."
Said Ron Washington on Cruz's day: "Did a lot for his confidence."
With Michael Young at first and one out, Cruz hit a ball that was caught, then dropped by center fielder Justin Maxwell. The third base umpire, Tim McClelland ruled Maxwell dropped the ball.
It appeared Cruz and Young didn't know the ball was dropped in center field. The relay throw to the infield got a little crazy. Cruz passed Young between first and second base. So first baseman Carlos Lee tagged Cruz. Young was also tagged, but he stood on first base when it happened.
The ruling on the field was Cruz was out but Young was safe because he got back to the bag at first and didn't touch second base. The thinking is Young was OK because he was standing on a bag and Cruz wasn't.
Houston Astros officials called Elias Sports Bureau to determine if should Cruz get a hit. He was credited with one, his third of the day, but he was tagged out 3 unassisted.
It was Cruz's seventh three-hit game of the season.
"If we can stay away from him, we will," Washington said.
If Adams is out, Washington will use Koji Uehara, who has a 10 1/3 scoreless inning streak going.
It was a serious health issue for Adams who went to an area urgent care clinic on Friday afternoon and didn't get to the ballpark until 30 minutes before first pitch.
"I'm getting better," Adams said. "I told [the coaching staff] I'm good to go. It was kinda bad. I never had a respiratory infection before. It was zapping all my energy."
Adams said he had some shortness of breath and was checked for pneumonia.
"I feel a helluva lot better than I did the last four days," he said.
Notes: Nelson Cruz is starting in right field today after coming out of the ninth inning on Saturday night due to tightness in his right quad. Cruz and Washington don't believe the leg is a big deal. Washington said he wanted more speed in the outfield as the reason for taking Cruz out and inserting Craig Gentry in center, Brandon Snyder in left and moving Josh Hamilton from center to right in the ninth inning.
"It's good," Cruz said of his quad. Later he added, "Sometimes I don't feel it at all. Game starts, I feel it because I got to get a little more loose." Cruz said he's getting treatment and doing stretching exercises to keep his legs loose.
Closer Joe Nathan is available to pitch after getting Saturday night off. Nathan had pitched four consecutive days. Reliever Alexi Ogando will not pitch because he went two innings Saturday. Robbie Ross, the lone lefty in the bullpen, will pitch today if needed. ... Washington said Mike Napoli will catch Yu Darvish Monday night in Seattle. Yorvit Torrealba starts at catcher today. ... Adrian Beltre could move to DH when the Rangers go to Seattle.
Here we go.
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Michael Young
LF David Murphy
RF Nelson Cruz
C Yorvit Torrealba
P Colby Lewis
2B Jose Altuve
SS Jed Lowrie
RF Brian Bogusevic
1B Carlos Lee
LF Travis Buck
3B Chris Johnson
CF Justin Maxwell
C Jason Castro
P Jordan Lyles
The Texas Rangers left-handed starter lost a four-run lead, gave up a season-high three home runs and was taken out after just five innings.
He took the loss in a 6-5 victory for the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
It was Holland's first start since May 10, but he pitched one inning of relief Monday against Kansas City and had one bullpen session before the team arrived here.
So with all the rest, what happened?
"The first two innings, he was real sharp," manager Ron Washington said. "Then all of a sudden he couldn't get the ball to his arm side, which means he had to come to the middle of the plate or inside, and he didn't get there and those right-handed hitters just turned him around. When the first two innings started, I thought he was on his way to having a pretty good game, it just didn't turn out that way. He got the ball up and got into some wrong spots and those right-handed hitters didn't miss it."
Holland (3-3) allowed five runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks. He struck out six while throwing 100 pitches. In the first three innings, Holland struck out three and only allowed two hits, an infield single by Jed Lowrie and a home run to the No. 8 hitter Chris Snyder.
It unraveled in the fourth when he walked Justin Maxwell to start things and gave up a home run to cleanup hitter Carlos Lee to cut a 4-1 deficit to one. In the fifth, he gave up a two-out single to Jose Altuve and Maxwell hit what Washington called a "bomb" to left that gave the Astros a 5-4 lead.
Washington said his young starter has to finish the deal when given a lead.
"It's obvious I was supposed to put that away," Holland said. "But I couldn't get my fastball down and a couple of pitches got away and they hit them."
Holland said he didn't really know what was going on with his lack of command after the second inning.
"To be honest, I couldn't really tell you exactly what it was," he said. "I just know my fastball command went erratic all of a sudden. I couldn't locate down, everything was up. Just fell behind a lot so it made it predictable what to sit on, too."
He was taken out as a precaution with a tight right quad, and manager Ron Washington wanted some speed in the outfield. He moved center fielder Josh Hamilton to right in the eighth because he was due to bat in the top of the ninth inning. Craig Gentry, a late-game pinch hitter, played center, and Brandon Snyder, another late-game pinch hitter, played left.
Washington said it wasn't anything serious with Cruz, but noticed something was bothering him earlier in the game.
Cruz downplayed his health issue saying he's been battling it for some time.
"Just tightness, nothing big," Cruz said. "It's the right one, it's nothing big. I've been playing [with it] the last three games."
Health isn't the only thing Cruz is battling. He failed to deliver in the top of the eighth inning with his club down a run. With runners at first and second and none out, Cruz hit a liner to right for the first out.
"It wasn't productive," Washington said.
"I just tried to drive the ball and move the runner. That was my approach," Cruz said. "Move the runner, but I hit a flyball deep and I missed my pitch."
Coming into the game, Cruz was hitting .256 with runners in scoring position with a team-high 14 strikeouts in 43 at-bats.
He said he's not pressing in those situations because he's had success in the past as evidenced by his 17 RBIs.
"If I get five at-bats, I want to get five hits," Cruz said of hitting with RISP. "My approach is going to be the same. I've been there before. I know what to do."
Adams said he went to an urgent care clinic Friday afternoon to get a X-ray and CAT Scan on his chest. Adams also got some blood work.
"Hard to recover right now," Adams said.
Adams didn't get to the ballpark Friday night until 30 minutes before first pitch. He was three hours early Saturday but wasn't sure if he could pitch.
With Adams out, it makes for some interesting decisions in the bullpen.
Closer Joe Nathan appears out for Saturday after pitching four consecutive days. He's never pitched in five consecutive days. Normally, Adams would take over the closer role, but with his status uncertain, it appears Koji Uehara might get some significant late-inning relief work.
Manager Ron Washington said he heard Uehara was hoping to get some late-inning work, but it hasn't happened given the success of how Washington uses the bullpen.
Alexi Ogando, Adams and Nathan are the late-inning specialists. But with Adams and Nathan out, Ogando might become the closer. Robbie Ross, who pitched 2 1/3 innings Friday night, could be available for one or maybe two batters Saturday.
HOUSTON -- The Silver Boot series continues at Minute Maid Park after the Rangers took Game 1 on Friday night. Saturday, the Rangers send lefty Derek Holland to take on right-hander Lucas Harrell.
Holland (3-2, 3.78 ERA): He's making his eighth start of the season and first since May 10 at Baltimore. Holland had his start pushed back four days so the club could give him some extra rest and keep Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis on their regular schedules. Holland is 2-0, with a 1.33 ERA on the road, where opponents are hitting just .181 against him. Holland picked up the victory at Baltimore, where he allowed three runs, all unearned over six innings. Against the Astros, Holland is 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in two career starts. He picked up a win last season at Houston.
Harrell (2-3, 4.40 ERA): Prior to this season, Harrell had just five major league starts. Now, he's scheduled to make his ninth start Saturday night. He took the loss May 14 at Philadelphia. He gave up just two earned runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts. This is Harrell's first career start versus the Rangers. Harrell's last win came May 4 against St. Louis when he pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs, three earned on seven hits. He struck out three.
Sun. at Hou.: RHP Colby Lewis (3-3, 3.63) vs. RHP Jordan Lyles (0-0, 3.00), 1:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540/FSSW
HOUSTON --The Texas Rangers got a gutty and sloppy pitching effort from Neftali Feliz and some timely hitting to beat the Houston Astros, 4-1, in Game 1 of the Silver Boot series at Minute Maid Park on Friday night.
How it happened: It wasn't the best night for Feliz, but the Rangers bats helped him out early. Adrian Beltre drove in the first of his two runs with a sacrifice fly to center to bring in Ian Kinsler for the first run of the game in the third inning. Nelson Cruz added to the lead with an RBI single to center. In the fifth, the Rangers added one more run on an RBI double by Michael Young, who seems to have broken out of his slump with two hits and a walk. Beltre closed the deal with a solo shot to left field, that if not for that wall in left center, might have landed in Huntsville.
Long night for Feliz: Feliz was chastized by the manager, walked the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters and threw 84 pitches through four innings. When the Rangers starter's night was done, he had thrown 101 pitches in 4 2/3 innings and for a no-decision. Feliz battled trouble all night and couldn't control his fastball. he walked five, hit one batter and allowed just one run on three hits. He also struck out six. Feliz drew the ire of manager Ron Washington in the fourth inning when he walked pitcher Wandy Rodriguez with two outs. Washington jogged to the mound and after a one-sided conversation, headed back to the dugout. Feliz then struck out Jordan Schafer on three pitches. But Washington had seen enough to pull Feliz in the fifth after two more walks sandwiched around two outs. Rookie Robbie Ross retired Brian Bogusevic on a fielder's choice to end the inning. With Feliz out, Ross became the pitcher of record.
Young gets a hit: It's been a tough stretch for Young. He finished the Rangers' seven-game homestand with just four hits in 27 at-bats. He was hitless in his last 11 at-bats until a second-inning single to center ended the string. For the night, Young went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and an RBI. Before the game, Washington said Young will stay in the lineup and he felt his veteran utility man would break out of his slump. He was right and don't expect Young to sit tomorrow against a right-hander, Lucas Harrell, for Mitch Moreland.
Beltre on a tear: Third baseman Beltre has reached base in his last nine games. Friday night he went 2-for-3 with his eighth home run of the season, a blast to left center. Beltre is 12-for-46 during the last nine games with two doubles and two home runs. In the last 21 games, Beltre has six home runs, five doubles and 18 RBIs.
Joe Nathan gets the save: For the first time since 2009, closer Nathan pitched for a fourth consecutive game. Nathan, who picked up his ninth save, had uneventful ninth inning, including a strikeout to end the game. He has two saves in his last four outings and hasn't allowed a run since May 13. Sept. 13-16, Nathan went four consecutive games for the Minnesota Twins, registering three saves during that time.
Notes: Rangers fans were in full force at Minute Maid Park on Friday night. There was a "Let's Go Rangers" chant in the eighth inning. ... Rangers are now 136-131 all-time in interleague play. ... Rangers are 62-72 in NL parks. ... When Feliz pitches, the Rangers normally do well, they're 5-2 in his starts in 2012. ... Friday night was the Rangers' 14th series of the 2012 season which marked the 14th different opponent. When the Rangers begin a three-game set at Seattle on Monday, it will be the first time they've seen an opponent a second time. ... Yu Darvish will speak with reporters Saturday afternoon. ... With Mike Adams unavailable, Koji Uehara took his spot as the setup man in the eighth. He struck out one in a scoreless inning. ... Kinsler was knocked down by a pitch that sailed over his head in the ninth inning by reliever Rhiner Cruz. Kinsler flew out to deep left field and when he got back to the dugout, slammed his helmet into a cubbie hole. Cruz then hit the next batter, Elvis Andrus, who promptly stole second. ... Josh Hamilton, who had a 16-game hitting streak snapped Thursday afternoon, began a new one with a single in the third.
Next: Rangers-Astros play Game 2 of the Silver Boot series at Minute Maid Park. Derek Holland takes on Lucas Harrell at 6:15 p.m.
Nathan has gone three innings over the last three games with five strikeouts, posting a 0.71 ERA. He is tied for fourth in the AL with eight saves.
"I haven't talked to him yet, but if there's a closing situation, you will see Nathan," Rangers manager Ron Washington said before the game.
Washington said reliever Mike Adams is not available to pitch. He's thrown 11 pitches the last two days, including six Thursday in taking the loss to the Oakland A's.
Washington said Koji Uehara will replace Adams out of the bullpen in the late innings. Uehara extended his scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings with a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday night vs. Kansas City. He hasn't allowed a run since giving up a home run April 21 at Detroit. He leads AL pitchers with a 15-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Michael Young, baring a sudden change, will play all three games in this NL park.
Young is slumping.
He's hitless in his last 11 at bats and went .148 on the just completed seven-game homestand.
Washington said it's not a hard decision to keep Young in the lineup and play first base despite what Mitch Moreland is doing.
Moreland hit .429 over the last seven games, with eight RBIs and three home runs.
"I'm not taking Michael out of the lineup," Washington said. Later he said, "he's going to come out of this. He just doesn't look very comfortable and that happens, and sometimes you can't find that spot in that box to get comfortable. It's like most things, when you're talking about a tremendous guy that has a great eye-hand coordination. It could happen today."
Starter Derek Holland said he had one bullpen session this week and feels good about his start Saturday night against Lucas Harrell. Holland said he couldn't remember how many pitches he threw in the session but didn't work on anything specifically.
Nolan Ryan and Josh Hamilton were sought after people by the Houston media.
Ryan said he's happy to see the Astros playing much better than last year and follows them every game.
Hamilton said it was good to have a day off and even noted, "I slept in a little bit and I came in and I relaxed a little bit and didn't have to rush and get a routine in."
On his 16-game hitting streak ending after he came in as a pinch-hitter Thursday: "I didn't know what type of hitting streak I was on."
Hamilton said Nathan informed him the streak was over.
"Whatever, show up and play," Hamilton said.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.