Texas Rangers: Wrigley Field
|Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss his opinion on Wrigley Field as a baseball venue, what he thought of Lance Berkman's comments about the historical park and his take on the Rangers early in the season. |
If the Rangers are indeed washed out Thursday, it means left fielder David Murphy will have four straight days without getting a game in (the Rangers had a scheduled off day on Monday and Murphy sat Tuesday).
“(It) shouldn’t (affect him, as long as) he gets in the cage and continues to swing,” Washington said. “At this point, all the at-bats you had in spring training and the 50 or 60 you have in the regular season (help). Those that can’t hit, it might affect them, they will continue to not hit. Those that can hit … it’s mind over matter. You want to keep playing, but you’re not. You go in the cage and you continue to swing the bat and just keep the repetition going. When you’re able to get back on the field, then you’ll see where you are. You certainly don’t want to be sitting around during a rain delay.”
Washington said that the only work the players have gotten done over the past 24 hours is hitting in the cages. Wrigley Field has limited facilities for the players -- both the home and road teams -- so there weren’t many options since the field was unusable. Pitching coach Mike Maddux ran the pitchers and had them "use their arms."
Berkman gets a break: Washington did find a positive spin for one of his players. Lance Berkman was not expected to start any of the games in Chicago. Washington also admitted that Berkman was unable to get loose in the cold weather of Tuesday night’s game to be a pinch-hitting option.
“This could be a blessing in disguise for him as we move further on into the season,” Washington said. “He got a break, not because we wanted to give him a break, but because it worked out that way. We don’t have too many nagging injuries, I know those guys want to play, but it could be a blessing in disguise. We’re being challenged, sometimes over the course of a year, this happens. Believe me, it’s gonna get to the point where we’re gonna wish we had some days off. So you just take it in stride.”
Sizing up the competition: Washington discussed the team’s next opponent, the Seattle Mariners, saying that he felt they’re undoubtedly an improved team from last year’s last place 75-87 squad.
“They got some experience in that lineup to supply for their offense,” Washington said. “They’ve always played tight ballgames, they’ve always pitched, they’ve always played defense. They are improved. The only thing I see them lacking is some speed. But they certainly got some guys in that lineup that can hurt you and that have hurt people before. They’re no different than some teams.”
Seattle, 6-10 on the season, is tied with three teams for seventh in runs scored (56) and is 14th in batting average (.220) in the AL, and although their pitching is usually strong, they’ve allowing the sixth most runs per game (4.56) in the league.
Washington said no team had really separated themselves from the pack early on except for the 12-4 Oakland Athletics.
“Right now everything they’re doing is working,” Washington said. “They’re putting all kinds of runs on the board, they’re offense is lighting it up, the pitchers are doing a good job. They’re playing extremely well. At some point everyone else is going to catch up, as well.”
Oakland currently leads the league in numerous offensive categories, including runs (96), runs per game (6.00), OBP (.354), OPS (.818) and home runs (20), while the pitching has been solid, posting a 3.55 team ERA.
With heavy storms throughout the evening, numerous reports of flooding in the area have filtered in Thursday morning. By 9:45 a.m. CT, there was still a steady rainfall with the field and bullpen at Wrigley covered and rain water pooling in certain parts of the warning track.
According to weather services, heavier storms are expected to come around 11 a.m. Media has been informed that the teams will wait as long as needed to get the game in to avoid any scheduling headaches that may occur due to a pair of rainouts. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m.
CHICAGO -- The Texas Rangers' Derek Holland was just another in a growing list of lefty starters to dominate the Chicago Cubs' lineup. Holland tossed seven innings of two-hit, shutout baseball, striking out six and walking none. The Cubs entered the night hitting .159/.229/.239 against left-handed starters on the season.
Benevolent breeze: The wind in Wrigley can be fickle, blowing out one night and in the next. On Tuesday, as good as both starters were, there's no doubt they were aided by a solid inward breeze that seemed to knock down many hard line drives. Numerous balls that sounded good off the bat died in the air well before reaching the warning track.
Baker's Wrigley return: During Jeff Baker's tenure with the Cubs, he was usually placed in the lineup when facing a lefty starter. And when that happened, he often produced. Baker filled in for the struggling David Murphy in left field and delivered once again, going 2-for-3 against Cubs starter Travis Wood, including an RBI double that opened the scoring on the evening.
Beltre's bat warming up: The majority of the Rangers' bats have been struggling through the first 13 games of the season. Beltre came into the game with a .224/.283/.327 line, but delivered a key double in the fourth, which led to him scoring the first run of the game. Beltre then blasted a two-run homer in the seventh, giving the Rangers a nice four-run cushion.
Up Next: Rookie Justin Grimm makes his second start of the season for the Rangers, taking on Carlos Villanueva at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
“It’s one of those sad things that you don’t understand, you don’t know what would make people do something like that,” Lowe said. “If you look at it, the casualties could have been so much more when you think about how many people are down there at one point and you have two bombs going off within 20 seconds of one another.”
|David Murphy joins Galloway & Company to discuss his Boston ties and the tragedy at the marathon, playing at Wrigley Field and much more. |
“I don’t know how people can take out innocent people,” Washington said. “What message are they sending?”
Washington’s Rangers teams spent Patriots Day in Boston in 2008, 2010 and 2012, playing a game only in 2008. Washington said he spent the off days during the marathon walking around the finish line, in close proximity to where both bombs were detonated.
During his nearly eight seasons with the Red Sox, Lowe experienced many Patriots Day festivities in Boston and said it was always a special day.
“No one that I knew was impacted by it, but a lot of my friends do go down to the marathon,” Lowe said. “It’s always a sad situation when something like this happens. It was always -- and it’s still gonna be -- a great day that so many people in the city look forward to.”
It’s always a unique day because you play at 11 in the morning. But it’s one of those things that you always look forward to -- which sounds crazy because it’s 11 o’clock -- but just because the city is abuzz and there are so many people in one area. There’s 27,000 people that run, on top of all the fans and the 35,000 at Fenway. You know it’s going to be hectic, you know there’s going to be traffic, but you look forward to it. Starting at 8 a.m., the bars are packed and it continues all day long.”
Murphy gets a day off: David Murhpy has struggled early this season, posting a .160 batting average. Washington decided to give him Tuesday off with lefty Travis Wood on the mound for the Cubs. With Monday a scheduled off day, Washington was able to shoehorn an extra day of rest in for Murphy.
“(I’m) trying to get them all a break early here,” Washington said, denying that Murphy needed a mental break. “We’ve played 13 games, he’s been in every single one of them. Having a day off sitting in the hotel and running around Chicago ain’t the same as having a mental day off at the ball park. I just chose the day. It’s a lefty (on the mound for Chicago) so it works out perfectly.”
Washington managed to do the same with fellow lefty Mitch Moreland early in the season when the Rangers faced southpaw Jason Vargas following an off day. Washington emphasized that he has no concerns about Murphy’s struggles.
“He’s a battler,” Washington said. “He’s not the only one (who has struggled). We have a few guys who need to come around. It’s early in the year and two things happen: you get off good or you get off bad. He has a record showing that he knows how to recover and he’ll be back in there tomorrow.”
Soto unlikely to start in Wrigley return: Washington didn’t seem too eager to give former Cubs catcher Geovany Soto a start at his old stomping ground over the next three days.
“If for some reason we end up playing a doubleheader, he will,” Washington said, referring to the expected rain coming through Chicago on Wednesday and Thursday. “I can’t say he definitely (will play) if we don’t play a doubleheader.”
Berkman limited to pinch hitting: Washington also confirmed that Lance Berkman would not be starting any of the three games in Chicago, but would be available to pinch hit, with a caveat.
“He is available, but if he can’t loosen up, I’m not sending him out there,” Washington said. “It all depends if he can stay warm in the clubhouse and get loose.”
Berkman spent the bulk of his career with the former Cubs' division-mates Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals. With his lengthy stay with Cubs' rivals combined with the fact that he recently made some disheartening comments about Wrigley Field to the media, Berkman can expect to be booed heartily if he does make a plate appearance.
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