Texas Rangers: Scott Feldman

The Texas Rangers return home for a nine-game homestand, starting tonight with three games against the Baltimore Orioles. A look at some things to watch during the series:

  • [+] EnlargeNelson Cruz
    Bob Levey/Getty ImagesNelson Cruz's status for the series with the Rangers is unclear after he was hit by a pitch Sunday.
    Nelson Cruz. His return to Texas is the big storyline of the series. But when might he play? Scott Feldman hit Cruz in the hand Sunday and he came out in the third inning. X-rays were negative, but Cruz didn't know if he'd be able to hold a bat and swing it in time for Tuesday's game. But you would think at some point he'll play and when he does, it will be interesting to see him back in Arlington.
  • Offensive momentum. Texas created a little of it during the recent road trip, scoring runs in bunches. The Rangers turned a one-run inning into two- or three-run frames, taking leads at crucial junctures in Detroit and Minnesota. But can they sustain it at home? Texas is hitting .280 as a team away from Arlington, but just .249 at home. The Rangers are scoring 3.8 runs per game at home and 4.5 on the road. To have a successful series and homestand, they must start hitting at Globe Life Park.
  • Alex Rios. The right fielder has been terrific with the bat, hitting .391 on the trip. He leads the team in RBIs. The Rangers will need him to post a solid June, starting with this series against the Orioles.
  • Colby Lewis. The veteran right-hander has been up and down of late. He gave up two runs in 5⅔ innings in Detroit (though he had five walks) in a blowout win. But Lewis surrendered five earned runs on nine hits in 5⅔ innings in a loss in Washington. He's expected to pitch twice on this homestand, so the Rangers need the Lewis who keeps his team in games, not the one who can give up early hits and runs and force Texas to play from behind.
  • Former Rangers. There are a slew of them on this Orioles team. Besides Cruz, manager Buck Showalter (a former manager of the year in Texas) brings some other familiar faces with him. Tommy Hunter is on the 15-day disabled list. But Darren O'Day will be available in the bullpen and, of course, Chris Davis will be at first base.

Is there an Opening Day starter curse?

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
12:02
PM CT
There's lots of talk about curses these days with the Texas Rangers. Some of you have mentioned that the rash of injuries have come after Nolan Ryan's exit and Ian Kinsler's comments that he hopes the club goes 0-162.

But what if there's another curse of sorts at play when it comes to starting pitchers? With Yu Darvish out with neck stiffness and headed back to Dallas to chat with Dr. Drew Dossett, a neck and back specialist, it only adds to the list of Opening Day starters who have had rough luck for the Rangers the past few seasons.

SportsNation

Which injury will prove most costly for the Rangers?

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Discuss (Total votes: 8,106)

Matt Harrison got the start last year on a Sunday night in Houston and gave up six runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Astros. Harrison struggled in his next start, ended up having two back surgeries and missed the rest of the season. Harrison had back tightness earlier this spring that put him behind, but he's ramping up for the season and appears to be making good progress.

It was Colby Lewis' turn in 2012 and he was on his way to another solid season and, likely, a nice multiyear contract when he tore a flexor tendon in his elbow in July and was lost for the entire season. Lewis tried to come back last year and wasn't able to get to the big leagues when his velocity never materialized. He's had a good spring and is hoping to find his way into the rotation this year.

Back in 2010, Scott Feldman took the mound for the opener after posting a career-high 17 wins the previous season. Feldman's sinker, his best pitch, just wasn't as effective and he ended up losing his rotation job. He also dealt with injuries that season and was on the DL in late August and early September. He needed microfracture surgery on his knee right after the season. Feldman is now in Houston.

The only pitcher who escaped struggles or injuries after starting on Opening Day recently was C.J. Wilson, who started in 2011 and went on to go 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA in his final season in Texas. He signed a contract with the Los Angeles Angels at the winter meetings in Dallas a few months after the season.

So has the Opening Day starter curse struck a little early this year with Darvish's issues? Or is Darvish avoiding the fate of some of these others by not actually making that first start? Only time will tell.

But this spring training has been unlike any that I can remember with all the injuries. The club should know more about Darvish's condition Wednesday or Thursday and what it means for his start to the season.

Rangers predictions for the Super Bowl

February, 2, 2014
Feb 2
9:00
AM CT
It's become an annual tradition here at ESPN Dallas. We ask as many Texas Rangers players (some former ones too), broadcasters and front office folks who they are picking for the Super Bowl. Get ready for lots of Russell Wilson talk after the Rangers selected him in the Rule-5 draft in December. Here we go:

FORMER AND CURRENT PLAYERS

Tanner Scheppers: Seattle 28, Denver 24
Comment: "Cuz Wilson is a Ranger. And cuz Sherman is the best corner in the game."

Colby Lewis: Broncos by 10
Comment: "Omaha!!!!"

Mike Napoli: Denver 27, Seattle 21
Comment: "Peyton MVP."

Joe Nathan: Seattle 27, Denver 24
Comment: "Just think Seattle's D is going to do just enough to hold off Peyton."

Mark McLemore: Denver 28, Seattle 17
Comment: "Peyton Manning is on a mission and won't stop until he wins this Super Bowl!!"

Kevin Mench: Denver 28, Seattle 20
Comment: "Tamme has huge day. Peyton goes out on top."

Derek Holland: Denver 34, Seattle 31
Comment: "Game-winning drive by Peyton Manning and also MVP. Should be a good game all the way."

Jason Frasor: Seattle 27, Denver 23

Scott Feldman: Denver 31, Seattle 28
Comment: "Beast mode will go off cuz he's from Bay Area, but in the end Peyton will prevail."

Michael Choice: Denver 14, Seattle 10
Comment: "Broncos win a defensive game."

FRONT OFFICE, BROADCASTERS

Jon Daniels, president of baseball operations, GM: Seattle 24, Denver 20
Comment: "Russell Wilson is the MVP. Does commercial: 'I'm going to Surprise, Arizona!'"

Ron Washington, manager: Denver 35, Seattle 21
Comment: "I think Denver with have a ton of weapons. If Peyton's receivers can get any separation, he will hit them. Even though it is against the best defense! Seattle offense is not very high flying."

Jamie Reed, senior director of medical operations: Seattle 31, Denver 27
Comment: "Love the whole Peyton thing, but Russell Wilson might be one of the best people that has ever put on a sports uniform. And the best D usually wins these games. Besides that, I grew up a huge Baltimore Colts fan, so I can never root for Elway."

Alex Vispoli, play-by-play voice for Frisco RoughRiders: Seattle 31, Denver 23
Comment: "Under-the-radar Russell Wilson hasn't said much of note the last few weeks. No one will be able to stop talking about him come Sunday night."

Greg Smith, special assistant, major league scout: Denver 35, Seattle 21
Comment: "Who can stop Mr. Manning?"

Don Welke, senior special assistant to GM and scouting: Seattle 20, Denver 14
Comment: "Excellent defense wins it."

Josh Boyd, director, professional scouting: Seattle 31, Denver 17
Comment: "I have to go with DangerRuss and the Seahawks defense finding a way to contain Denver's weapons in an easy Seattle win. I got Percy Harvin coming up big. John Schneider trade of the year!"

Mike Maddux, pitching coach: Denver 24, Seattle 20
Comment: "Peyton Manning's experience will lead the way to victory."

Nolan Ryan, Hall of Famer: Seattle 24, Denver 23
Comment: "That's not who I want to win. Go Denver!!"

Matt Hicks, radio broadcaster: Denver 24, Seattle 20
Comment: "Manning and destiny meet on the big stage. Plus, my wife is a huge Manning fan and I'm all for family harmony at the Super Bowl." (Smart man)

Emily Jones, TV broadcaster: Denver 34, Seattle 27
Comment: "Led by a stable of Red Raiders, the Broncos take advantage of ideal New York weather conditions and a lethargic Super Bowl crowd to deliver the Lombardi Trophy back to the Mile High City. The vaunted Denver O Line -- two-fifths of which played at Texas Tech -- doesn't give up a single sack, and Peyton Manning and Wes Welker -- another Red Raider -- team up for a new Super Bowl record. Guns up Broncos!!!"

Jake Krug, special assignment crosschecker: Seattle 27, Denver 24

Kevin Harmon, head athletic trainer: Denver 33, Seattle 24

John Blake, Executive VP communications: Denver 27, Seattle 20
Comment: "Broncos have slightly better passing game."

Mike Grouse, professional scout: Seattle 23, Denver 16
Comment: "I will be the worst. Spending every weekend with my daughter, I was only able to catch a few Chiefs games. Big Peyton Manning fan, but Seattle defense looks unbeatable if they score enough."

Brad Holman, pitching coach Triple-A Round Rock: Denver 28, Seattle 10
Comment: "Peyton Manning goes out with a Super Bowl win and retires."

Chuck Morgan, Public Address announcer: Denver 31, Seattle 29
Comment: "Moreno, Welker and Thomas led my Hillbillies to their second straight scoreboard league title, so I have to go with the Broncos."

Karin Morris, VP community outreach and foundation director: Seattle 24, Denver 21
Comment: "Not sure it will happen, but have to go with former Badgers QB (and current member of Rangers organization)."

Dennis Klein, head groundskeeper: Seattle 24, Denver 21
Comment: "Manning is not going to be able to sit in the pocket and survey his targets like he did in the New England game. Seattle controls the click and Hauschka nails one at the buzzer for the W."

Jay Miller, executive VP, Rangers enterprises, customer service and sales: Seattle 21, Denver 17
Comment: "I am a Peyton Manning fan, but I like the Seahawks to win it."

Neil Leibman, chairman, ownership committee: Seattle 24, Denver 14
Comment: "Russell Wilson a Texas Rangers MVP."

Matt Klotsche, manager, amateur scouting: Seattle 24, Denver 21
Comment: "Seattle D stops Peyton in the chilly weather."

Matt Vinnola director, baseball operations: Denver 31, Seattle 27
Comment: "With Elway, it would have been 56-27."

Tom Grieve, broadcaster: Denver 23, Seattle 13

Jim Colburn, senior adviser, Pacific Rim operations: Seattle 31, Denver 28
Comment: "A surprise score. Seattle pick-6 wins it."

Kellie Fischer, executive VP and CFO: Seattle 24, Denver 21
Comment: "I predict Ranger Russell Wilson's Seahawks win it."

Kurt Deichert, TV production: Seattle 27, Denver 24
Comment: "Everyone wants sentimental favorite Peyton Manning to beat bad boys Richard Sherman and Marshawn Lynch, but it's young Rangers farmhand Russell Wilson who steals the day."

Josh Frasier, bullpen catcher: Denver 27, Seattle 13
Comment: "Manning is too good this year."

Kip Fagg, director, amateur scouting: Seattle 42, Denver 10
Comment: "Big Seahawk fan. No question Seahawks win."

Steve Busby, TV announcer: Denver 27, Seattle 24
Comment: "Turnovers could flip the score, but Manning will make fewer mistakes than Seattle -- I think."

Mike Peasley, radio pre- and post-game host: Denver 24, Seattle 17
Comment: "Give Peyton two weeks to prepare and he'll exploit any defense. This is his year."

Todd Walther, advance scout: Seattle 24, Denver 20
Comment: "Coin flip, but I'll go with the elite defense. Most compelling matchup in years."

John Rhadigan, TV broadcaster: Seattle 24, Denver 22
Comment: "I am rooting for Peyton and the Broncos, but believe that Seattle defense will prevail."

Adam Lewkowicz, advance scout: Seattle 28, Denver 21
Comment: "Ball control and defense wins championships."

Joey Prebynski, assistant, advance scout: Seattle 20, Denver 17
Comment: "Physical play of Seattle secondary and aggressive pass rush slows down Denver offense and Russell Wilson leads fourth-quarter drive to win the game late."

Chris Lyngos, travel director: Denver 30, Seattle 23

Mike Daly, senior director, minor league operations: Seattle 24, Denver 17
Comment: "Texas Ranger infielder Russell Wilson takes the Lombardi Trophy over from former New York Yankee outfielder John Elway."

Bobby Crook, amateur scout: Seattle 27, Denver 24
Comment: "It's hard to pick against Peyton Manning, but Seattle's defense is that good."

Thad Levine, assistant GM: Denver 27, Seattle 23

Dr. Keith Meister, team physician: Seattle 28, Denver 24
Comment: "As much as I'd like to see Peyton win another Super Bowl, defense wins championships."

Todd Slavinsky, director of baseball information services: Seattle 24, Denver 21
Comment: "Marshawn Lynch runs for more than 100 yards and a pair of TDs."

Gil Kim, director international scouting: Denver 21, Seattle 17
Comment: "Solid Seattle defense trumped by a vintage Manning performance. Post-game interviews reveal Manning's reluctant, but honest prediction of a decade's worth of Vanderbilt-over-Tennessee dominance."

AL West: Possible Cano deal ripple effects

December, 6, 2013
12/06/13
11:15
AM CT
It turns out it that when it rains in Seattle, sometimes the color is green. The Mariners joined the high-priced AL West by agreeing to terms on a 10-year, $240 million contract with free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano, according to ESPN.com's Enrique Rojas. A few thoughts on what this means for the division and the Texas Rangers:

* It signals that the Mariners are going all-in now to attempt to compete. Cano by himself will certainly add interest and value to the franchise, but does he add enough wins to make them competitive? Probably not. That's why it's a perplexing decision by Seattle, who must believe that Cano will help with attendance and that he's the first step in many that need to happen for them to compete with Oakland and Texas consistently. And that's why it wouldn't be surprising to see the Mariners continue to spend -- or look to make some trades -- in an effort to upgrade now. Maybe they look at Shin-Soo Choo or perhaps a deal for David Price. But don't make the mistake of thinking this is it for the Mariners. If you're spending this much money on Cano, you've got to get more pieces around him.

* Man, you've got to love the AL West. Big spenders, GMs not afraid to make trades and some rivalries that should just get better.

* This puts the New York Yankees in the market for other free agents that interest the Rangers, namely Choo and Carlos Beltran. So it adds one more team with some money into the mix as the Rangers attempt to upgrade their lineup.

* It also means one more big name is off the board before anybody boards a flight to Orlando for the Winter Meetings. It puts Beltran and Choo at center stage in terms of free agents and Price as the biggest trade piece. But unlike the last few years, many of the names we thought we'd be discussing in the lobby are already signed.

* Will this mean a rush to get deals done with Beltran and Choo for fear of them coming off the board? We'll see.

* One more bit of AL West news: Scott Feldman is back in the division. And for more proof that salaries just keep climbing, Feldman got three years and $30 million from the Houston Astros, according to reports.

Wash: Davis-Uehara trade win-win

July, 8, 2013
7/08/13
6:22
PM CT
BALTIMORE, Md. -- The Rangers will see some old friends during this four-game series with the Orioles at Camden Yards. Tommy Hunter, Scott Feldman and Darren O'Day all played with Texas earlier in their careers, but there’s one player the Rangers may remember better than most.

PODCAST
Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the addition of Manny Ramirez.

Listen Listen
Chris Davis came to Baltimore with Hunter in the July 30, 2011 deal for Orioles reliever Koji Uehara and cash. Davis hit 42 homers in 266 games with the Rangers but never broke through.

He played parts of four seasons with the Rangers, but everything changed when Davis came to Baltimore. Last year, Davis belted 33 homers and had 85 RBIs in 139 games. He’s got the same numbers already this year after only 88 games -- and earned an All-Star berth.

Rangers manager Ron Washington didn’t sound all that surprised with the success Davis has found with the Orioles.

“Right now, that guy is really, really, really swinging the bat,” Washington said. “I know who this Chris Davis is -- that’s the Chris Davis that was in Triple-A, kicking ass. He didn’t show up until he came to Baltimore. He just finally figured it out.”

Washington said the Rangers needed to make that move two years ago to get Uehara, who helped their bullpen push the team to a World Series berth.

“We ended up going to the World Series, and it took Chris a couple years here to find himself,” Washington said. “This year, he found it. If we’d have kept him for six years, we’d have had that Chris Davis, but we needed to get the pieces [Baltimore] gave to us, and Chris Davis was in it. Baltimore won that one. We did, too, because ... Uehara did a good job for us too.”

Choices: Washington and the Rangers still haven’t decided on Wednesday’s starter for the third game of this series, but he said it’s going to be either Josh Lindblom or Ross Wolf.

“It’s between those two, “Washington said. “Just got to see if we need to use [them] before we do that. [We’ll] see how tonight’s game goes and then you’ll have that decision.”

Lindblom is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA. He’s started twice and pitched three times in relief. Wolf is 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA.

Washington said he’s got no qualms starting either pitcher. The starter will go against Wei-Yin Chen for the Orioles, making his return after close to two months on the disabled list due to a right oblique strain.

No celebration: Reliever Cory Burns didn't do anything crazy after getting his first major league win Sunday.

He threw one inning of scoreless relief in the win over Houston and earned the victory. Joe Nathan gave him the ball, and Burns also got a couple of other balls. His fiancee and family were in attendance.

But he just smiled when asked if there was a big celebration.

"Got on an airplane and came [to Baltimore]," he said. "As far as baseball's concerned, that day is over."

This and that: Washington said that Joakim Soria is available Monday after pitching Sunday and that the Rangers won't mind using him in back-to-back games. Soria made his first appearance since Sept. 11, 2011 on Sunday after missing 2012 following Tommy John surgery. ... The Rangers and Orioles play seven games this season, and all will be in the next two weeks. The Rangers have a 10-2 record again the Orioles in the last two seasons, but Baltimore won the wild-card playoff last year in Texas.

Lineups: Nelson Cruz gets break from field

July, 8, 2013
7/08/13
3:33
PM CT
The Rangers open a four-game series against the Orioles on Monday night with Derek Holland on the mound against ex-Ranger Scott Feldman, who is making his second start for Baltimore. Nelson Cruz is the DH for the Rangers, who get their first look of the season at ex-teammate Chris Davis, who has destroyed opposing pitching all year. Here are the lineups:

PODCAST
Rangers closer Joe Nathan joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss what it means to be selected to the All-Star Game again and how he feels about the Rangers heading into the All-Star break.

Listen Listen
RANGERS
2B Ian Kinsler
LF David Murphy
DH Nelson Cruz
3B Adrian Beltre
C A.J. Pierzynski
1B Mitch Moreland
SS Elvis Andrus
CF Engel Beltre
RF Leonys Martin

ORIOLES
RF Nick Markakis
3B Manny Machado
CF Adam Jones
1B Chris Davis
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
LF Nate McLouth
DH Brian Roberts
2B Alexi Casilla

The Week Ahead: Orioles, Tigers

July, 8, 2013
7/08/13
1:15
PM CT
The Rangers face two formidable offenses this week, led by the American League's top two Most Valuable Player candidates.

PODCAST
Rangers closer Joe Nathan joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss what it means to be selected to the All-Star Game again and how he feels about the Rangers heading into the All-Star break.

Listen Listen
First, it's Chris Davis and the Baltimore Orioles for four games Monday-Thursday at Camden Yards, and then a weekend series with Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in the final three games before a four-day All-Star Break.

Davis and Cabrera have combined for 61 home runs and 175 RBIs before the All-Star Break. Those are breathtaking numbers.

Here's what to watch for as the Rangers hit the road for seven games:

Baltimore momentum: If there's such thing as momentum from game to game in baseball, the Orioles should have it as they head into a four-game series with the Rangers. Baltimore rallied for a 2-1 victory at Yankee Stadium on Sunday as Adam Jones hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth off of baseball's all-time saves leader, Mariano Rivera. The victory pushed the O's (49-40) back in front of the Yankees (48-40) in the tightly-bunched AL East, both behind front-runner Boston. Jones' homer snapped Rivera's streak of 41 straight save opportunities converted at home going back to 2010.

PODCAST
Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the addition of Manny Ramirez.

Listen Listen
Seeing old friends: Buck Showalter, Chris Davis, Scott Feldman, Tommy Hunter. Yes, the Orioles are the Rangers East. Davis has been the big story with a major league-leading 33 home runs in his breakout season. He was the leading vote-getter for the AL All-Star team. Feldman was recently traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Orioles. He pitched seven shutout innings against the Rangers earlier this season for the Cubs and allowed a run in six innings in his first start for Baltimore since coming over in the trade. Hunter has pitched brilliantly out of the Orioles' bullpen with a 3-2 record and a 2.09 ERA. And Showalter has done what he does best -- turn on a young team into a World Series contender.

What's in a record?: The Rangers are 10-2 against Baltimore the past two seasons, including 5-2 at Camden Yards. But the Rangers lost the one game they really wanted, last year's AL wild-car game. Baltimore won the game in Arlington, 5-1, eliminating the Rangers from the postseason. Derek Holland, who will start Monday's series opener in Baltimore, pitched an inning in relief of Yu Darvish in that game.

That guy again: Speaking of AL MVP candidates, Miguel Cabrera is making another run at the Triple Crown after becoming the first to do it since 1967 last season. Ramirez leads the AL with a.368 batting average and 90 RBIs and is second to Davis with 28 home runs. Cabrera crushed the Rangers in their series in May in Arlington, going 9-for-16 with three home runs and six RBIs.

Scherzer's run at history: Tigers starter Max Scherzer will try to match Roger Clemens' 14-0 start to the 1986 season when he takes the mound Monday in Cleveland. If he gets it done, he'll go for 15-0 on Saturday against the Rangers. Only two pitchers in modern American League history have started a season with a 15-0 record -- Baltimore's Dave McNally in 1969 and Cleveland's Johnny Allen in 1937.

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Scott Feldman

July, 8, 2013
7/08/13
1:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers give the ball to Derek Holland in the first game of a seven-game, two-city road trip that begins at Baltimore's Camden Yards. Opposing Holland is former Rangers teammate Scott Feldman, acquired by the Orioles on July 2 from the Cubs. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. (CT) Monday on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM (Deportes 1540 AM).

PODCAST
Rangers closer Joe Nathan joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss what it means to be selected to the All-Star Game again and how he feels about the Rangers heading into the All-Star break.

Listen Listen
Holland (6-4, 3.13): The 26-year-old left-hander has won only once since May 31 but has pitched much better of late. ... Two starts back on June 27, Holland pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout of the Yankees in New York, becoming the first visiting lefty in 30 years to throw a shutout at Yankee Stadium while allowing no more than two hits (Seattle's Matt Young with a two-hitter on June 3, 1983). … In his last start, Holland limited Seattle to seven hits, two runs and matched his season-high for strikeouts with 10 in six innings but received no decision in a game the Rangers lost in 10 innings, 4-2. ... In nine road starts, Holland is 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA, the sixth-lowest road ERA in the AL. A major factor in his success on the road, Holland has allowed just one home run in 61 innings, compared to six home runs in 51 innings of work at home. ... After experiencing little success in 2009, Holland in the last three years is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA against the Orioles, and that includes no earned runs allowed at Camden Yards the last two seasons.

Feldman (7-6, 3.43): The 30-year-old right-hander makes his second start for Baltimore and his first at home since being acquired from the Cubs in a trade on Tuesday. ... In his debut for the O’s, Feldman limited the White Sox to two runs in six innings and received a no-decision in a game the Orioles went on to win 4-2. ... Feldman spent his first eight major league seasons with Texas, going 17-8 in 2009, but ran into injury problems. ... It will be Feldman’s second start against his old club. As a Cub facing the Rangers for the first time, Feldman blanked Texas on two hits for seven innings of a 9-2 win on May 6 at Wrigley Field. ... Feldman has lasted at least five innings in 14 consecutive starts, but after going 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in May, he dropped off to 2-2 with a 4.75 ERA in June. ... He has limited left-handed hitters to a .223 batting average.

Hitters: Adrian Beltre has accounted for all four RBIs Rangers hitters have off Feldman. ... Geovany Soto and Nelson Cruz are batting .333 against Feldman in limited at-bats. ... Five Orioles have batting averages over .300 against Holland, topped by the .375 mark of Danny Valencia. Nick Markakis is hitting .364 with a triple and three RBI against Holland.

Rapid Reaction: Cubs 9, Rangers 2

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
10:28
PM CT


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.

PODCAST
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.

Listen Listen
Big fourth dooms Rangers: The Cubs jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first, but it was a five-run fourth that sealed it for Chicago. The Cubs, having scored only 3.65 runs per game coming into Monday night -- 24th ranking in baseball -- managed to get to a normally strong Rangers pitching staff. The Cubs made two quick outs to start the fourth, but Nick Tepesch intentionally walked Darwin Barney following Luis Valbuena’s double to get to Cubs pitcher Scott Feldman. Feldman knocked in Valbuena with a single. David DeJesus followed with a walk, then Starlin Castro knocked in a pair with a single. Anthony Rizzo capped off the scoring with a two-run single to give the Cubs their highest scoring inning of the season.

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.

Lineups: Geovany Soto starting at catcher

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
5:02
PM CT
A.J. Pierzynski is getting the day off, so Geovany Soto will start at catcher against his former team. David Murphy is in left field and Leonys Martin is in center for the Rangers, who are coming off a three-game sweep of the Red Sox. The Cubs have lost four straight games and will send former Ranger Scott Feldman to the mound against Nick Tepesch. The game is a makeup of a contest that was rained out April 17. Here are the lineups:


RANGERS

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

CUBS

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

Matchup: Nick Tepesch vs. Scott Feldman

May, 6, 2013
5/06/13
1:30
PM CT
The Rangers play their makeup game from an April 17 rainout at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on Monday night. Rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch will start for Texas against ex-Ranger right-hander Scott Feldman. First pitch at Wrigley is at 7:05 p.m. on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM (1540 AM in Spanish).

PODCAST
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.

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Tepesch (2-2, 3.54): Tepesch looks to bounce back after allowing five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings in a loss Wednesday night to the Chicago White Sox. Manager Ron Washington said that he stayed with Tepesch one batter too long in the start as the 24-year-old rookie allowed a two-run home run to left-handed hitter Alejandro De Aza in the seventh inning to put the Rangers behind 5-2. ... Tepesch issued a walk to White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez in the second inning, ending a streak of 20 1/3 innings and 85 batters faced without a walk. Tepesch ended up with two walks and four strikeouts and threw 109 pitches. ... Tepesch uses his sinker to get ground balls. He's third in the American League with a ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio of 2.50. ... This will be his first start against a National League opponent. ... Tepesch is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in two road starts. ... Tepesch is from Kansas City, Mo. and pitched for the Missouri Tigers.

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.
As expected, the Texas Rangers declined to pick up club options for right-handed pitchers Scott Feldman and Yoshinori Tateyama for the 2013 season. Feldman was due $9.25 million for a 2013 option. Instead, the team will pay him a $600,000 buyout. Tateyama had a $1 million option.

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.

Texas Ten: How does the rotation look?

October, 15, 2012
10/15/12
11:00
PM CT
Editor's Note: We'll spend the next two weeks taking a look at 10 questions that face the Texas Rangers this offseason as they prepare for the 2013 campaign. We call it our "Texas Ten."

PODCAST
Ron Washington joins Ben and Skin to talk about all the questions surrounding the Rangers heading into the offseason.

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Today's question: How does the starting rotation look?

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.

[+] EnlargeYu Darvish
Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Getty ImagesAfter a standout rookie campaign, Yu Darvish enters 2013 as the unquestioned No. 1 starter.
The fifth starter was a problem for this club. It seemed liked they just couldn't find anyone to handle that role. Scott Feldman was up and down, sliding at the wrong time. He has a club option for 2013, but that won't be exercised (not at $9.25 million; he does have a $600,000 buy out). That doesn't mean the club won't consider Feldman for depth. Roy Oswalt, signed to be a veteran that could eat innings, wasn't as productive as expected and ended up in the bullpen.

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.

Rapid Reaction: Orioles 5, Rangers 1

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
11:01
PM CT


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.

Rapid Reaction: A's 12, Rangers 5

October, 3, 2012
10/03/12
5:53
PM CT


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.

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Two-out production: After Beltre was thrown out on a fielder's choice in the top of the third, the Rangers had runners on the corners and two outs in a 1-1 game. But Michael Young doubled down the right-field line, hitting the chalk to stay fair. That gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead. He got the double after falling behind 0-2 and fouling off a few pitches. Then, with runners at second and third, Murphy singled to right on a 3-2 pitch, giving Texas a 4-1 lead.

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.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.323 15 56 54
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 15
RBIA. Beltre 56
RA. Beltre 54
OPSA. Beltre .887
WY. Darvish 10
ERAY. Darvish 2.90
SOY. Darvish 167