Texas Rangers: Scott Feldman
CHICAGO -- The Texas Rangers followed up their three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox by being dominated by a struggling Chicago Cubs team, 9-2. The Rangers fell to 20-12 on the season.
|Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox, if Yu Darvish has been even better than expected and what moves we could see the club make before the trade deadline. |
Tepesch struggles: Tepesch had his worst outing in the big leagues, lasting only four innings, giving up six hits and six runs (five earned), striking out four and walking four. It was the two-out damage in the fourth that really burned Tepesch and the Rangers, as he failed to retire Feldman with two down and two out in the inning.
Feldman dominates: Not only did Feldman deliver the key hit at the plate, he delivered his second consecutive dominant performance on the mound. Feldman followed up his complete game last week against the San Diego Padres with seven shutout innings against the Rangers. Feldman, who had spent his previous eight seasons in the big leagues with Texas, allowed only two hits and one walk, while striking out three and allowing no runs to shut down his former team.
Offense a no-show: The Rangers managed only two runs, both of which didn't come until the ninth, when the team already found themselves in a 9-0 hole. The offense has been inconsistent this season, putting up 4.42 runs per game, good for eighth in the AL. While that’s not a terrible ranking, it’s a far cry from what they had done the past three seasons, ranking first, third and fourth in 2012, 2011 and 2010, respectively. It’s still early and the Rangers are loaded with talented hitters, but manager Ron Washington surely would love to see his veteran bats pick up the slack when a youngster like Tepesch or Justin Grimm inevitably hit road bumps.
Up next: The Rangers start a two-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night. A pair of rookies take the mound as Justin Grimm (2-1, 2.28) and Wily Peralta (2-2, 6.00) face off. First pitch at Miller Park is at 7:10 p.m. CT.
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Elvis Andrus
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Mitch Moreland
C Geovany Soto
LF David Murphy
CF Leonys Martin
P Nick Tepesch
CF David DeJesus
SS Starlin Castro
1B Anthony Rizzo
LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Nate Schierholtz
C Welington Castillo
3B Luis Valbuena
2B Darwin Barney
P Scott Feldman
|Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Rangers' sweep of the Red Sox, if Yu Darvish has been even better than expected and what moves we could see the club make before the trade deadline. |
Feldman (2-3, 3.34): Feldman, a 30th-round draft pick who came up in the Rangers' farm system, won 37 games in seven seasons with Texas. ... He signed with the Cubs as a free agent in the offseason after the Rangers decided to part ways with the 30-year-old right-hander. ... Feldman was 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA last year for the Rangers, starting 21 games and pitching in relief eight times. ... Feldman will makes his third home start for the Cubs. ... He pitched his first career complete game in the Cubs' 6-2 victory over San Diego on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. He allowed two runs on two home runs -- three hits allowed in all -- and had a career-high 12 strikeouts. Feldman had six consecutive strikeouts in the third and fourth innings and retired 18 straight Padres before Carlos Quentin reached on an error with two outs in the seventh inning. ... Feldman hasn't had very good defense behind him as seven of his 18 runs allowed have been unearned. ... Right-handed batters are hitting .182 against him.
Hitters: There's no history. Feldman spent his entire career with the Rangers before this season. Tepesch is making his first start against the Cubs and sixth career start overall.
The club also announced that they have reinstated pitcher Neftali Feliz from the 60-day disabled list and purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Justin Miller from Triple-A Round Rock.
Just because the club declined options on Feldman and Tateyama doesn't mean they can't sign both players. But it does mean that both become free agents now.
Feldman signed his original deal prior to the 2010 season, after he won 17 games in 2009 and was the club's Opening Day starter in 2010. But Feldman was never able to replicate that season. A knee injury that required surgery limited his 2010 and 2011 seasons. He did have some success in a long relief role, but was not able to keep a rotation spot. So after two seasons and $11.5 million, the club wasn't going to spend $9.25 million to keep him.
Some additional information on all four players from the club's release:
Feldman, 29, has spent his entire career in the Texas organization since he was selected in the 30th round of the 2003 June draft. He was 6-11 with a 5.09 ERA (70 ER/123.2 IP) in 29 games/21 starts for Texas in 2012. In his major league career, Feldman has gone 39-44 with a 4.81 ERA over 204 games/101 starts.
Tateyama, 36, has gone 3-0 with a 5.75 ERA (39 ER/61.0 IP) over 53 relief appearances with Texas the past two seasons, his only major league action after a 12-year professional career in Japan. He had 3 stints with the Rangers in 2012, allowing 17 earned runs in 17.0 innings.
Feliz, 24, had season-ending “Tommy John” ligament transplant surgery performed on his right elbow by Rangers Team Physician Dr. Keith Meister at the Medical Center of Arlington on August 1. He was originally placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 19 and transferred to the 60-day disabled list on June 16. He was a part of the club’s Opening Day rotation, going 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA (15 ER/42.2 IP) in 8 games/7 starts.
Miller, 25, did not pitch this season after having successful surgery to repair a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on April 18. The surgery was performed by Rangers Team Physician Dr. Keith Meister at the Medical Center of Arlington. The Rangers placed Miller on unconditional release waivers on April 23 and re-signed him to a minor league contract on April 30. Miller has gone 14-6 with a 2.84 ERA over 118 games in the minor leagues, all as a reliever. He was the Rangers 2011 Minor League Reliever of the Year.
|Ron Washington joins Ben and Skin to talk about all the questions surrounding the Rangers heading into the offseason. |
First, let's start with what we know. Yu Darvish, under contract for five more years, is the unquestioned No. 1 starter in this rotation. And the Rangers certainly hope he stays healthy and productive and fronts this rotation for a long time. Darvish was consistent and impressive in his final eight starts, including a great performance under playoff pressure.
Matt Harrison had the most consistent season of any starter, making the All-Star team and taking a huge step forward mentally. He attacked hitters and didn't allow bad innings or bad games impact him negatively. He learned from his mistakes and gained some confidence.
Derek Holland did not have the season the Rangers -- or Holland -- expected. I've listed him as the club's No. 3 pitcher, but where he falls in the rotation may depend on what kind of offseason work the club does on the rotation. Holland dealt with a stomach virus in June and then went on the DL with left shoulder fatigue. He ended up going 12-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 29 games (27 starts) with 145 strikeouts and 52 walks. He did finish the season a bit better, going 5-0 with a 3.88 ERA in his final 10 starts. But Holland is the first to admit that he took a step in the wrong direction this year and needs to bounce back. He's under contract for the long-term, so I expect the club to be patient with him.
But after Holland, how do things shape up? Ryan Dempster finished the year in the rotation, but is now a free agent. He'd like to return to Texas and I could see that, but only under the right kind of deal. Dempster has quality stuff, but his splits in 2012 with Texas were telling. He pitched well against non-contending teams (Minnesota, Cleveland (twice), Kansas City, Boston and Seattle), going 6-0 with a 1.88 ERA in six starts. But against teams in the hunt for the postseason (Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, Baltimore, Oakland), he was 1-3 with a 9.09 ERA in six starts. He's a funny guy who keeps the clubhouse light and he could provide some nice depth. But his value had to be hurt by those splits.
Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Getty ImagesAfter a standout rookie campaign, Yu Darvish enters 2013 as the unquestioned No. 1 starter.
There are internal candidates. Alexi Ogando could be one and that's a question we'll get into later. Martin Perez came up and made some starts down the stretch. He hasn't lived up to the potential, but is still young and could get a shot in spring training. Justin Grimm had a memorable debut, but also struggled at times coming straight up from Double-A. Robbie Ross could still be a starter long-term, but that may not happen in 2013. We'll see. Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz could prove to be nice additions at the midpoint of the season, but they can't be factored into the rotation as spring training begins.
So this is an area that must be addressed this offseason. The Rangers could look at potential free agents. They could, perhaps, try to go after another big name (Zack Greinke, anyone?). But with Darvish showing his stuff in the final two months of the season, they don't have to do that. The key is depth. They have to find some more arms so that they've got the ability to compete for some of those final rotation spots.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers' offense couldn't convert in the key situations -- a recent problem for this club -- and the Baltimore Orioles did, winning yet another close game (no one was better in close games than Baltimore this season) by a 5-1 score. Texas couldn't take advantage of a tremendous performance by Yu Darvish and the AL will have a new representative in the World Series.
What it means: The Rangers' season is over after a late-season collapse. A club that led the AL West by five games with nine to go (and four with six to go) dropped eight of its last 10 to lose the division to the A's and the AL wild-card game to the Orioles. They led the AL West for all but three days in 2012 and won't play in the ALDS. ... Baltimore will head home to host the New York Yankees for the first two games of the ALDS.
Offense disappears: As has been the case the final few weeks of the season, the Rangers offense didn't deliver in key situations. The fourth inning was a prime example. Nelson Cruz and Michael Young had back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on the corners. But the Rangers couldn't get the runner home from third with less than two outs. Mike Napoli struck out and then Geovany Soto had a check-swing strike on a 3-2 pitch. ... Give Joe Saunders credit for wiggling out of trouble, but the reality is that Texas had multiple chances -- the Rangers put a batter on base in the first five innings and managed just one run, which scored on a double play.
Hamilton gets booed: Josh Hamilton, perhaps playing in a Rangers uniform for the final time, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, a double play and a roller to the mound. The final strikeout came with a runner at second and two outs in the eighth. Hamilton saw eight pitches -- all strikes -- in the four at-bats. It ended Hamilton's rough stretch the past few weeks and a terrible last few days for him. He dropped a routine fly ball in shallow center field Wednesday in the division-deciding game and then couldn't deliver on Friday.
Controversial decision: Manager Ron Washington decided to pull Darvish with two outs and a runner at second base in a 2-1 game in the seventh inning (Darvish was at 91 pitches). Washington elected to go with the lefty-lefty matchup with Nate McLouth coming up. He decided on Derek Holland, who threw 50 pitches Wednesday in Oakland and struggled. Holland threw a wild pitch to put Ryan Flaherty at third and then gave up a single to left to McLouth to give the Orioles a critical insurance run. ... Koji Uehara, who has held lefties to a .188 average this season and has been very good against them since coming back from the disabled list, didn't pitch until the eighth, where he struck out the side. That included left-handed hitters Chris Davis and Matt Wieters.
Darvish dazzles: The 26-year-old was phenomenal, proving he could handle the big-game pressure. He gave up three runs (one was unearned and another scored when Holland gave up the two-out single) on five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. His slider was a tremendous out pitch as he got most of his strikeouts on the pitch, which just drops out of the zone on hitters. ... Darvish got nothing from his offense and hung in, putting up zeroes and at least giving the Rangers a chance to do something.
Double plays: The Rangers took themselves out of three innings with double plays Friday. And even the inning they scored was shortened because of a double play by Hamilton that scored the run, but allowed Saunders to keep it a one-run game. ... After Craig Gentry got on first because of an error by first baseman Mark Reynolds, Ian Kinsler hit into a double play to clear the bases. ... Kinsler got a one-out single in the fifth and Andrus hit into a double play.
Can I get an interpreter?: When Darvish started stretching his neck in the sixth, Soto went to the mound to check on him and looked to the dugout. That brought out assistant athletic trainer Kevin Harmon, Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux. Joe Furukawa, Darvish's interpreter, tried to come out and was initially sent back by the umpires. But he was allowed onto the field after the umpires conferred. MLB has a rule that allows interpreters to come to the field in case of injuries.
Very early (unearned) run: It took the Orioles just four pitches to get the lead. Michael Young tried to backhand a ground ball to first by McLouth and couldn't get a handle on it. Moments after the error, McLouth stole second easily. He scored when J.J. Hardy hit a ground-ball single up the middle that scored McLouth for the game's first run. ... Darvish then got out of the inning without allowing any further damage, striking out two batters along the way (Davis and Wieters) on sliders.
Rangers tie it quickly: Texas seemed to have an opportunity for a big first inning. Kinsler walked and Elvis Andrus singled on a hit-and-run to put runners at the corners with no outs. Hamilton hit into a double play, which scored the run. But it also kept the Rangers from having a better chance at scoring more runs. Still, the club managed to tie it right away thanks to the top two guys in the lineup.
Great catch: Kinsler had a nice defensive play in the second. Jim Thome smoked a ball on a line between first and second. Kinsler quickly jumped and snagged it to his left. It was a quick-reflex play that prevented a run.
Hanging in: Credit Saunders for his grit and manager Buck Showalter for his decision to start the veteran. Despite numbers that did not seem favorable at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Showalter went with Saunders anyway and it paid off. Saunders put a runner on in each of his first five innings, but allowed just the lone run in the first. He did a great job of getting out of trouble and getting the Rangers to chase pitches outside of the zone.
Two more: Baltimore turned a 3-1 game into a 5-1 game in the top of the ninth, getting two runs off Rangers closer Joe Nathan. The Orioles scored them with a big one-out single from Manny Machado and a sac fly from McLouth.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers couldn't hold a 5-2 lead Wednesday -- or a four-game lead with six games to play -- and watched as the Oakland A's won the AL West, snatching the division from them on the final day.
Josh Hamilton's error was the game's most memorable play as he trotted in to catch what appeared to be a routine, lazy fly ball but ended up overrunning it as it glanced off his glove. That broke a 5-5 tie and the A's were on their way from there.
Some quick thoughts (more to come from the clubhouse shortly):
What it means: The Rangers will play Friday in Arlington against the Orioles in the AL wild-card game at 7:37 p.m. CT.
Hamilton has big error: Hamilton inexplicably missed a shallow fly ball by Yoenis Cespedes that would have ended the fourth inning with the score still tied. He appeared to see the ball, coming in toward it. But it looked as if he overran it, and the ball glanced off the top of his glove. The error allowed two runs to score, breaking a 5-5 tie and putting the A's ahead by two. ... In between innings, television cameras caught manager Ron Washington having a lively conversation with Hamilton.
Dempster out early: The Rangers starter lasted just three innings, coming out of the game four batters into the fourth. Dempster gave up a leadoff walk -- usually costly -- and three straight hits as the A's closed the gap to 5-3. He didn't record an out and was taken out in favor of Derek Holland.
Fourth inning the difference: After Dempster struggled early in the inning, Holland couldn't get out of the jam. Coco Crisp hit a two-run double that was inches inside the right-field line to tie the score. Holland appeared ready to keep it tied, but Hamilton's error changed all of that.
Wasted chance in seventh: Beltre singled and Nelson Cruz doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs in the seventh against right-hander Ryan Cook, who was pitching in his fifth consecutive game. Cook got Michael Young to ground out and struck out David Murphy and Mike Napoli to end the threat. It was another disappointing offensive inning for the Rangers, who haven't consistently delivered the big hit.
Beltre ties it: With the Rangers down 1-0, Adrian Beltre hit an RBI single to score Ian Kinsler from third. It was particularly noteworthy in that Kinsler was at third with less than two outs, a situation that has been a problem for the Rangers in recent weeks.
Big inning: That third inning was a huge one for Texas. They got five runs, starting with that Beltre RBI. They did it by doing what the game asked. They just put balls in play, got some good fortune, and took advantage of Oakland's mistakes.
Taking advantage: Still in the top of the third, Mike Napoli hit a popup that should have been the final out. But it appeared that A's third baseman Josh Donaldson didn't see the ball, forcing catcher George Kottaras to try to make the play. The ball sailed a bit and he missed it, and it dropped in fair territory. That put runners at the corners for Geovany Soto, who got a single up the middle to score another run. That hit ended an 0-for-16 skid for him.
A's score first: Oakland got the first run of the game, scoring off Dempster in the first inning thanks to three straight hits with one out, including an RBI double by Brandon Moss. ... Dempster did a good job of keeping the A's to one run, though. He had runners at second and third with one out and managed to wiggle out of it, getting Josh Reddick to pop up in foul ground and striking out Josh Donaldson on a nice slider that dropped out of the zone.
Pouring it on: The A's scored four in the eighth inning, with all the runs charged to Alexi Ogando. The reliever just didn't have it and the A's were relentless. One of the runs was unearned when Kinsler couldn't get a full handle on a ground ball as he tried to shove it to second to start a double play.
Tidbits: The A's announced a sellout crowd of 36,067 for Wednesday's game. That included 1,000 standing-room only tickets. ... The A's came back from at least a four-run deficit six times in 2012, including Wednesday. ... The A's added a run in the eighth on a solo shot by Derek Norris.
Up next: The Rangers will play in Friday's AL wild-card game against the Orioles in Arlington at 7:37 p.m. CT on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. Yu Darvish will get the start.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The AL West is now officially up for grabs with one game left in the 2012 season. Oakland's 3-1 win over the Rangers pulled the A's into a tie with Texas with game No. 162 on tap for Wednesday afternoon. It's the first time since April 9 that the Rangers haven't had sole possession of first place in the AL West.
The Ranger bats have disappeared recently and the club has lost six of its last eight and eight of its last 12. That slump, combined with Oakland's five-game winning streak and victories in eight of their last 10, has pulled the A's even after the Rangers had a four-game lead after last Thursday's win over Oakland. Some quick thoughts on this game (more to come from the clubhouse):
What it means: The Rangers and A's will face each other Wednesday with the winner claiming the AL West crown and the loser playing in the AL wild-card game Friday. ... The loss also means that the Rangers need a combination of things to happen to claim the No. 1 seed. But to simplify it, if the Rangers win and the Yankees win or Baltimore loses, Texas will face the Tigers in the ALDS. If they lose, they'll face either the Orioles or the Yankees depending on what happens Wednesday. That game could be played in Arlington if Baltimore loses tomorrow. Stay tuned on the blog for more explaining all of this.
Double plays hurt: Once again, the Rangers couldn't produce enough runs to get a win. They managed just one -- on a Josh Hamilton double in the third. They had a few chances to create something, but double plays hurt. Elvis Andrus walked to lead off the sixth, but Hamilton hit into a double play to erase him. Michael Young's infield hit in the sixth didn't matter as Mike Napoli hit into a double play. In the fourth, Nelson Cruz got on thanks to an error and didn't get to second as Young hit into a twin-killing.
Early chance squandered: Adrian Beltre hit the first pitch he saw in the second for a double off the wall in left-center. But he never scored. Cruz grounded out and Beltre couldn't move over. Young got some good fortune when a high chop went off starter Travis Blackley's glove for an infield hit. But then they had some bad luck when Napoli's line drive -- and it was hit hard -- went right into the glove of third baseman Josh Donaldson, who reacted quickly. Geovany Soto then struck out looking on a great curveball.
Costly Cruz error: Cruz charged a single by Derek Norris with runners at second and third and no outs in the fifth, but bobbled the ball as he tried to get a handle on it to make a throw. That allowed Brandon Moss to score easily. With Cruz's arm, it's possible he might have had a play at the plate had he come up with it cleanly. And it's also possible that Moss scores anyway. But the bobble meant he had no chance to get him. That second run was the go-ahead run in the game.
Hamilton drives one in: With two outs and Ian Kinsler at first base, Hamilton was nowhere near two off-speed pitches and fell behind 0-2. But on a third breaking pitch (curve) that Blackley hung, Hamilton timed it right and hit it to the wall in right-center for a double. Kinsler kept running and when second baseman Adam Rosales dropped the relay throw, allowing Kinsler to score without a play at the plate. Had he not dropped it, it probably would have been close. But credit the Rangers for getting aggressive and forcing the A's to make a play, which they didn't.
Kinsler struggling: Coming into the game, Kinsler had one hit in his last 18 at-bats. And he didn't get a hit Tuesday. He is batting .199 (27-136) in his last 32 games. ... Kinsler is a different hitter on the road than at home -- with 70 points separating the two numbers coming in. He was hitting just .223 on the road before Tuesday and couldn't get a hit. ... Kinsler's last hit with a runner in scoring position was Aug. 31. He is 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position since Aug. 15.
Harrison's night: Matt Harrison came out with a quality start, but was unable to hold a 1-0 lead. He gave up three straight hits to start the fifth and two runs, which gave the A's the lead. ... With two outs and no one on (and after Harrison got Yoenis Cespedes on a pickoff/caught stealing), Jonny Gomes tagged a solo shot to give the A's an insurance run. ... Harrison finished with three runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts, but got the loss.
Blackley better: Blackley gave up five runs in the first inning in a loss to Texas last week and lasted just that lone inning. But on Tuesday, he was impressive, going six innings and giving up just the one run on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Tidbits: The Rangers' bullpen did what it could to keep it close. Alexi Ogando pitched a scoreless seventh, Michael Kirkman got both left-handed batters he faced in the eighth and Roy Oswalt struck out Cespedes to end the eighth. ... The A's announced 30,660 as the attendance with a 12,000 walkup.
Up next: RHP Ryan Dempster (12-8, 3.18 ERA in NL/AL) pitches for the Rangers against RHP A.J. Griffin (7-1, 2.71 ERA) of the A's at 2:37 p.m. CT in the final regular-season game of 2012.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Angels got four runs off Rangers starter Ryan Dempster and then added more off the Texas bullpen in a 7-4 win. Jered Weaver had another solid start, giving up just two runs in seven innings for his fourth straight win over Texas.
What it means: The loss means the Rangers didn't reduce the magic number on their own tonight. They'll wait and see if it goes down from three if the A's lose. ... In the race for the No. 1 seed in the AL, the Rangers' loss combined with the Yankees' win means Texas is one game up on New York. Baltimore also won, so the Rangers are two games up on them.
Dempster falls to Angels again: Dempster has struggled against the Angels since getting traded to the Rangers on July 31. He gave up four runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings Friday, which was his best start against them in 2012. ... In three starts, Dempster has a 11.19 ERA and an 0-2 mark. He had allowed 13 earned runs in his previous eight innings against the Halos. ... He gave up two solo home runs and issued four walks. He also had seven strikeouts and couldn't get through the sixth. It was a 4-1 game when he left.
Dempster splits vs. contenders/non-contenders: Dempster has made five starts against teams contending for playoff spots (once against the Yankees and Orioles, three against the Angels). In those starts, he's 1-3 with an 8.46 ERA (against just the Angels and Yankees, the ERA is 11.44). He's started in six other games for Texas (vs. Boston, Minnesota, Cleveland twice, Kansas City and Seattle), all wins, and has a 2.32 ERA.
Weaver shuts the door: The Angels' ace got his fourth straight win over Texas. Nelson Cruz was the only Ranger able to drive in runs off him in seven innings. Weaver gave up five hits and had five strikeouts with two walks. ... All five of Weaver's strikeouts came in his final three innings.
Leadoff homer: One night after Ian Kinsler led off the game for the Rangers with a homer, Mike Trout did the trick for the Angels. It was Trout's fifth leadoff home run this season and his 29th long ball of 2012. ... He also scored his 125th run on the homer, a new Angels' season record. ... He is one homer and three stolen bases away from becoming just the third 30/50 player in MLB history. The others: Eric Davis and Barry Bonds. ... Mark Trumbo had 29 homers in 2011, second-most by a rookie in Angels history. Tim Salmon had 31 in 1993.
Another solo shot: The No. 9 hitter, Chris Iannetta, hit a one-out solo homer off Dempster in the third. It was Iannetta's ninth home run of the season. He's hit two homers against Texas this year.
Great catch over the fans: Rangers fans didn't exactly make an effort to keep Alberto Callaspo from getting a foul ball in the seats near third base. Still, Callaspo did a terrific job of catching it, leaning over and snagged it for an out on Ian Kinsler in the third.
Over 100: Josh Hamilton and Kinsler both have more than 100 runs scored this season. Kinsler is at 102 and Hamilton got to 101 after hitting a double and then scoring on Nelson Cruz's sac fly.
Overaggressive: Adrian Beltre tried to get to second after a throw came home following his single. But Iannetta made a good throw to get Beltre. So instead of runners on the corners and no outs, it was a runner at third (Hamilton) and one out. Cruz got the run home with a sac fly, but the out hurt the club's chances to get more.
100 RBIs: Beltre hit a two-run homer in the eighth, giving him 100 RBIs for the season. That's the third straight season Beltre has had at least 100 RBIs. It was also his 36th home run.
Koji K: Koji Uehara has now retired 20 straight batters, getting all three he faced in the ninth Friday. He has retired 12 of those batters via the strikeout.
|Rangers play-by-play voice Eric Nadel looks ahead to the Rangers' potential playoff opponents, the health of the bullpen and more. |
Boomstick: Nelson Cruz hit his 23rd home run, a solo shot, and now has 88 RBIs on the season, a career-high (one better than 2011). ... The homer ended a streak of 21 games without one. ... That was Cruz's second home run this season off Weaver. He hit a grand slam off Weaver on May 13. ... Cruz may be heating up. He was 2-for-3 on Thursday with a double and an RBI and had two more hits Friday with two RBIs. ... Cruz was thrown out at second base trying to turn a single into a double and stayed down briefly after he was tagged. He got up after manager Ron Washington and the trainer checked on him and stayed in the game. He was holding his back a bit.
Up next: LHP Derek Holland (11-6, 4.50 ERA) goes up against the Angels and RHP Ervin Santana (9-12, 4.93 ERA) at 3:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox. Join us for a live in-game chat.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers took an early lead and held on as the A's tried to rally, winning 9-7 in front of 43,796 on Thursday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers reduce the magic number to three and are four games up on the A's in the AL West, which is what the standings looked like when Oakland arrived Monday. ... It also means they'll stay at least one game in front of the New York Yankees for best record in the American League.
Leadoff homer: Ian Kinsler started the bottom of the first with a home run, pounding a 90-mph fastball over the left-field wall to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead. It was Kinsler's seventh leadoff homer of the season, the most in the majors. The home run tied Kinsler's club-record of seven leadoff long balls in a season (he did it in 2009 and 2011 as well). ... The homer made up for Kinsler's mistake in the field in the first; he made a high throw to first on a double play attempt. It was a throw he normally makes with no problem.
Michael Young had a clutch at-bat, a two-out single to score Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz to put the Rangers up 3-0. ... Mike Napoli followed with a two-run homer to right-center. It was his 21st home run and ended an 0-for-11 skid with six strikeouts on this homestand. He does have four home runs in 10 starts since being activated from the DL.
Hits with RISP: For the past six games, the Rangers were struggling with runners in scoring position (they were 3-for-20 in the first three games of the Oakland series and on a 1-for-25 streak coming into the series). But they came through when it counted Thursday. They had two at-bats with runners in scoring position in the first and got a single and a home run to drive in four runs. Texas was 3-for-3 with RISP through the first two innings.
Two-out runs: The Rangers had five of them, including four in the first inning. Josh Hamilton added another two-out RBI when he doubled home Elvis Andrus in the the second. It was his 125th RBI of the season.
|Rangers pitcher Ryan Dempster quells fans from panicking after back-to-back losses to the rival A's, the mindset of the team heading into the postseason, how he's fit into the clubhouse since the trade and more. |
Adams' odd line: Mike Adams gave up three home runs in two-third of an inning, surrendering solo shots to Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick in the eighth. He mixed in two strikeouts as well. Adams hadn't allowed a home run since May 1, when Toronto's Brett Lawrie hit one. It pulled the A's within two runs.
Koji Ks e'm: With no one on and two outs, manager Ron Washington went to Koji Uehara. The A's pinch-hit left-handed catcher George Kottaras, who struck out on a splitter. Uehara has now held left-handed hitters to a .197 batting average with 18 strikeouts in 61 at-bats.
Up next: The Los Angeles Angels come to town for a three-game set. Ryan Dempster will go up against Jered Weaver. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and TXA21.
|Rangers pitcher Ryan Dempster quells fans from panicking after back-to-back losses to the rival A's, the mindset of the team heading into the postseason, how he's fit into the clubhouse since the trade and more. |
At this point, Ryan Dempster is penciled in as the starter. But Darvish's stiff neck has felt better every day. Darvish tossed on Wednesday and he was out on the field throwing prior to Thursday's game.
Darvish was scheduled to pitch Tuesday and was pulled because of a neck tightness. He has been receiving treatment and has been steadily better. If Darvish is healthy, the club could decide to insert him in the rotation on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels. If not, he'd pitch on his regular day, which is Sunday.
* David Murphy was given the day off today. Washington said he's been looking to get Murphy a day off and with a day game after a night game and lefty Travis Blackley on the mound, he felt Thursday was a good day to do it. Craig Gentry is in center field with Josh Hamilton shifting to left.
"This is the most I've played," Murphy said. "Everybody is worn down a little bit. I think it catches up with everybody at some point."
Murphy acknowledged that he's been in a bit of a rough patch. He's 1-for-12 on the homestand and is batting .231 in his last 20 games.
"You can see him slowing down a little bit," Washington said. "I thought today would be the perfect day. He'll be back in tomorrow."
* Washington said right now Martin Perez is starting next week. Perez lasted just two-thirds of an inning on Wednesday and the bullpen had to pick him up. Roy Oswalt came in and had two scoreless innings, but the veteran isn't sure how many pitches or innings he could go if he started next week. He's been down for a while and then pitched two of the last three games and admitted he was a bit gassed in the second inning of his appearance on Wednesday, so he might not be a viable option. Washington indicated the club was likely to keep Scott Feldman as the long man in the bullpen. We'll see if anything changes based on how the standings look this weekend.
* Washington is pleased he has his main bullpen pieces available today, though he's hoping Matt Harrison can pitch deep in the game. Joe Nathan, Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Robbie Ross and Alexi Ogando are all ready to go today if needed.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Martin Perez couldn't make it out of the first inning, the Texas Rangers fell behind early and could not catch up in an 9-3 loss to the Oakland A's. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers have lost two straight and the magic number remains at five to clinch the AL West. The A's close to three games behind the Rangers with one game remaining in the series. ... The Yankees won earlier Wednesday, making them just one game back of Texas for the best record in the AL.
Rough first: Perez gave up five runs on six hits and could only get two outs before he was taken out by manager Ron Washington. He left too many pitches up and didn't get much help from his outfield. Perez threw just 24 pitches in his outing. It was the shortest outing by a Rangers starter since Derek Holland lasted just two-thirds of an inning on July 2, 2011.
Outfield issues: It was not a good first inning for the Rangers outfielders Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton. Cruz misjudged a fly ball off the bat of Stephen Drew (an 0-2 pitch, in fact) and watched it short-hop the wall over his head for a double. Hamilton charged a single by Josh Donaldson and it bounced right by his glove, nearly rolling to the wall. It was scored a single and a two-base error and it allowed two runs to score. Two batters later, Hamilton didn't take the proper route to a fly ball and it went over his glove for a triple, scoring another run.
Oswalt pitches well: Roy Oswalt made a case to start Monday's game, when the fifth starter spot will be needed again (as long as he feels up to going four innings or so). He pitched 1 1/3 innings and after allowing two hits, was able to bear down and get three strikeouts to keep the A's off the board.
Chipping away: The Rangers immediately began to eat away at the A's 5-0 lead after the first. Texas got one run back in the bottom half of the inning, when Elvis Andrus hit a double off the Southwest Airlines sign in left-center to score Ian Kinsler. ... In the second, Texas loaded the bases as the Nos. 6-8 hitters got on (two singles and a walk by Mike Napoli). Mitch Moreland hit a ground ball to second and Napoli made a nice slide to help break up the double play attempt. The Rangers got a sacrifice fly from Andrus to close the gap to 5-3. But that's as close as the Rangers got.
Patience: Kinsler showed plenty of patience in his first two at-bats. He drew walks on both of them, but also fell behind in the count and worked starter Jarrod Parker for 17 pitches in those two walks. He added a third walk in the game in the ninth, seeing 10 pitches in that one.
Walk in the park: Wilmer Font walked the only two batters he faced in the third inning. One of those was Josh Reddick, who was in an 0-for-29 slump at the time. ... Tanner Scheppers came in after Font and, after striking out Derek Norris, walked Cliff Pennington before giving up a two-RBI single to Drew.
Eating up innings: After Washington used four pitchers in the first 3 2/3 innings, he asked Yoshinori Tateyama and Justin Grimm to go the rest of the way. Tateyama didn't give up a run in 2 1/3 innings and Grimm allowed one -- with two outs in the ninth.
Middle of the order: The Nos. 3-5 hitters did very little for the Rangers on Wednesday. The only one of the trio with a hit was Adrian Beltre, who singled with two outs in the fifth. Hamilton was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Cruz had a walk and was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
RISP issues: The Rangers were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. They are 3-for-20 with RISP in this series. They were on a 1-for-25 streak before that as well.
Up next: LHP Matt Harrison takes the mound in an attempt to split the series and reduce the magic number to three. LHP Travis Blackley toes the rubber for the A's. The game is at 1:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A home run by George Kottaras to lead off the 10th inning Tuesday was enough to give the Oakland A's a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers. The teams have split the first two games of the four-game series.
What it means: The loss keeps the Rangers' magic number at five and moves the A's back to four games behind the AL West leaders. It also keeps Oakland three games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild-card race. The Rays beat the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. The Los Angeles Angels were two back going into their late game with the Seattle Mariners.
Lowe surrenders homer: Mark Lowe's 93-mph fastball on a 3-2 count was sent into the seats in the Home Run Porch (394 feet away) in right by No. 9 hitter Kottaras to start the 10th inning. It was the sixth homer of the season for Kottaras and the fifth homer allowed by Lowe in 39 2/3 innings this season. ... Lowe has now given up six runs on six hits in his past 1 1/3 innings (three appearances) as he could not get through the 10th inning.
Ogando bounces back: The fact that Alexi Ogando was able to bounce back from some rough outings could be key for the Rangers going forward. He came in with a 7.71 ERA in his past seven appearances and pitched two scoreless innings. He gave up one hit (a leadoff single to Stephen Drew in the eighth), but got three strikeouts in the eighth and ninth innings and kept the score tied. Ogando's slider was working as he got Yoenis Cespedes on the pitch in the eighth. And he fired a 99-mph fastball to get Brandon Moss looking for the second out of the eighth.
Spot start: Scott Feldman had to step in at the last minute for Yu Darvish, who was scratched with neck stiffness. It was Feldman's 21st start and he lasted four-plus innings (he faced one batter in the fifth), giving up two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. For a guy making a start no one expected, the Rangers will take it. He left with the game tied.
Strikeouts: Feldman has been piling up the strikeouts lately. He had five in three scoreless innings in Seattle on Friday and then carried that over to Tuesday with five in four innings. Feldman had his cutter and sinker working and utilized his curve as an out pitch on some of the strikeouts as well.
Early error equals runs: The Athletics' defense in this series has been dreadful at times, and that was apparent in the first inning. Right fielder Moss charged Josh Hamilton's single and the ball went right under his glove and rolled to the wall. That allowed Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, who had both singled, to score for a 2-0 lead. Hamilton was held up at third and he did not get an RBI on the hit because of the error. ... But with Hamilton at third and no outs, the Rangers didn't score him. Adrian Beltre popped up to first in foul ground, Nelson Cruz hit a dribbler out in front of the plate and Michael Young struck out.
Limiting damage: Feldman managed to avoid a big second inning despite two walks and a run-scoring double. After Daric Barton's RBI hit to right put runners at second and third, Feldman got Josh Donaldson and Kottaras to ground out following a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux.
Baserunning issues: The Rangers tried to get the running game going but ran into outs instead. Andrus was caught stealing as A's starter Tommy Milone caught him going too soon in the sixth after a leadoff single. In the eighth, Hamilton was caught as he went on the first move by the pitcher Sean Doolitte.
Tying homer: Oakland's Chris Carter mashed a hanging curve over the left-field wall in the fourth for a solo shot that tied the score at 2. The A's now have 98 home runs since the All-Star break, which leads the major leagues.
Kirkman Ks 'em: Rangers reliever Michael Kirkman hadn't pitched since Sept. 14, meaning he had 10 days off. But he didn't look rusty, getting the Nos. 1-3 hitters after Feldman was taken out of a 2-2 game following a leadoff single by Kottaras in the fifth. Kirkman then had three strikeouts and a walk in the sixth. Four strikeouts in two innings for Kirkman allowed the Rangers to stay right in the game.
Uehara solid again: Rangers reliever Koji Uehara continued his roll. He came in for the seventh inning and retired all three batters he faced, including two via strikeouts. The splitter has become a real weapon for Uehara.
Tidbits: A total of 43,874 were at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. They are at more than 3.2 million this year. ... Geovany Soto did a nice job blocking a slider in the dirt from Ogando in the eighth to keep Coco Crisp at third base. Ogando got out of the inning by getting Josh Reddick to line out.
Up next: Martin Perez (1-2, 3.78 ERA) takes the mound for the Rangers against Jarrod Parker (11-8, 3.40 ERA) of the A's at 7:05 p.m. CT on ESPN 103.3 FM, ESPN and FSSW.
The Rangers said Darvish felt the stiffness Tuesday morning, came in for treatment and still had stiffness. The date of his next start is yet to be determined.
The 26-year-old Darvish has a streak of seven straight quality starts and has posted a 3-0 mark with a 1.80 ERA in September.
More to come on ESPNDallas.com
Feldman came on to relieve rookie Martin Perez -- the left-hander who replaced Feldman in the rotation -- in the fifth inning of Friday's 6-3 loss to Seattle. The veteran added to his roller-coaster season with three brilliant innings against the Mariners. He struck out five and gave up just one hit, all the while giving the Rangers a chance for a comeback win.
"All you can ask out of your pitchers is to keep you around, and we were around," manager Ron Washington said after the loss. "We didn't get the win, but they kept us in the ballgame."
Feldman certainly did what was needed. He said his mindset doesn't change all that much when coming out of the bullpen: "You still have to get guys out either way."
The 29-year-old right-hander began the season as a reliever before moving into a starting role in mid-May. He proceeded to lose his first six starts, bounced back to win his next six decision and then lost five straight. He did not earn a decision in his final two starts.
His most recent start was a disaster. Feldman lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up six runs Sept. 15 against the Mariners. Washington decided to swap him with Perez, who made his fourth start Friday.
"Skip knows I want to be in the rotation," Feldman said. "But at this point in the season, I really think everybody in this room wants to win. So if they think it's better that I'm in the bullpen, what can I do about it except go in and try to get guys out?"
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Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
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Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.