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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Rangers’

vs. Derek Holland PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 10 0.600 0.600 0.900 0 1
Nick Swisher RF 8 0.143 0.250 0.143 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 9 0.222 0.222 0.556 1 2
Alex Rodriguez 3B 8 0.333 0.500 0.500 0 0
Robinson Cano 2B 7 0.286 0.286 0.429 0 0
Andruw Jones LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jorge Posada DH 6 0.333 0.333 0.833 1 4
Curtis Granderson CF 3 0.000 0.667 0.000 0 0
Gustavo Molina C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 51 0.326 0.392 0.565 2 7
             
vs. Freddy Garcia PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Ian Kinsler 2B 11 0.100 0.182 0.100 0 0
Elvis Andrus SS 7 0.167 0.167 0.167 0 0
Michael Young DH 43 0.293 0.279 0.341 0 3
Adrian Beltre 3B 31 0.214 0.290 0.214 0 4
Nelson Cruz RF 2 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 0
David Murphy LF 6 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Yorvit Torrealba C 5 0.200 0.200 0.400 0 2
Mitch Moreland 1B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Julio Borbon CF 5 0.400 0.400 0.800 0 0
Total 110 0.233 0.268 0.282 0 9

 

Yankees vs. Rangers    
Season: 2011 Season: 2010 Season: 2009 All-Time
TEX: 1-0 TIED: 4-4 NYY: 5-4 NYY: 357-249
       
  Last 10 Home vs. LHP
Yankees 5-5 6-3 1-2
  Last 10 Away vs. RHP
Rangers  7-3 4-3 8-2

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Normally, a field full of Mariano Riveras would be a Yankees fan’s dream, but on a night when baseball honored Jackie Robinson by having every player wear number 42, the team’s series opener against the Texas Rangers turned out to be a nightmare.

Elvis Andrus turns one of the Rangers’ six double plays (Photo: AP)

Uniform numbers weren’t the only thing that had the Yankees seeing double. The team also tied an American League record by hitting into six double plays. Each time the Yankees seemed poised to break through against Matt Harrison, he was able to induce a groundball and escape the jam. Over eight innings, Harrison limited the Bronx Bombers to only two runs, pushing his record to 3-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.23. In his three starts this season, the lefty has thrown at least seven innings and surrendering only one earned run each time.

Strong pitching has been a hallmark of the Rangers’ early success. Not only does the Texas staff lead the majors with a 2.50 ERA, but the rotation has turned in nine quality starts in 13 attempts. The Yankees, however, haven’t been as fortunate. In the team’s first 12 games, only one starter has thrown as many as seven innings, while five games have featured a starter who was unable to go more than five. As a result, the Yankees rank near the bottom of the league with only four quality starts.

On a day when the Yankees put Phil Hughes on the 15 day DL with a “dead arm”, Ivan Nova compounded the Yankees’ starting rotation concerns by failing to make it out of the fifth inning for the second consecutive start. In fairness to Nova, the weather was miserable at the Stadium, which might explain why the lanky right hander struggled so much with his fastball command. Whatever the reason, Nova walked a career high five batters before taking an early shower.

Ivan Nova, Inning by Inning

  G IP ER ERA PA OPS
1st inning 10 10 1 0.90 40 0.568
2nd inning 10 10 1 0.90 39 0.328
3rd inning 10 10 7 6.30 44 0.741
4th inning 10 10 7 6.30 41 0.706
5th inning 10 7 2/3 14 16.43 48 1.206
6th inning 5 3 2/3 2 4.91 17 0.828
7th inning 1 1 0 0.00 5 0.800
8th inning 2 2 0 0.00 9 0.476
9th inning 2 2 0 0.00 9 0.819
Ext inning 1  1/3 1 27.00 3 2.500

Note: OPS does not include last night’s game.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

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Yesterday was a big news day for closers. Unfortunately for the Oakland Athletics, the headliner was Andrew Bailey, who exited his spring outing against the Indians in obvious pain and now has a planned visit with Dr. James Andrews. Another closer who made waves was the Texas Rangers’ Neftali Feliz, but injury wasn’t the culprit. Rather, Feliz gave reporters something to write about when he reversed an earlier decision by stating that he would now prefer to be a starter.

Considering the Rangers’ other starting rotation candidates, it’s probably a good thing Feliz had a change of heart. Cliff Lee’s offseason flight to the Phillies was widely regarded as a blow to the New York Yankees, but in reality, the most significant impact was to the Rangers. Not only does Texas now need to round out three slots in the rotation, but the team must also depend upon the continued resurgence of CJ Wilson and Colby Lewis at the top. In other words, if Feliz returns to being a closer, there might not be many games to save.

Texas Rangers’ 2011 Starting Rotation Candidates

Players ERA IP H R BB K
Neftali Feliz 1.00 9 6 1 4 9
Matt Harrison 1.00 9 5 1 2 5
Eric Hurley 1.00 9 4 1 2 5
Michael Kirkman 3.00 9 7 4 2 8
Colby Lewis 4.00 9 9 5 5 6
CJ Wilson 5.00 9 11 6 3 6
Tommy Hunter 8.31 8 2/3 15 11 1 10
David Bush 4.50 8 9 4 4 5
Derek Holland 1.80 5 5 1 0 6

Source: MLB.com

To the Rangers’ credit, the organization hasn’t tried to pigeon hole their hard throwing right hander into the role of closer just because he recorded 40 saves in his rookie season. On the other hand, it also hasn’t insisted that Feliz set his sights on the rotation just because doing so would satisfy a greater need. Instead, the club’s decision makers have correctly identified both roles as viable options and given proper deference to the right hander’s opinion. The same approach worked with Wilson, so why not try it again?

Your heart has to be in it. It matters what [Feliz] thinks because he is the one who has to do the job. We want him to be committed.” – Ron Washington, quoted by MLB.com

If the Yankees made one mistake in how they handled Joba Chamberlain, it was their failure to effectively communicate with him. Not only did Chamberlain seem to have little input into the role he would perform, but he also seemed to be in the dark regarding the implementation. There were many times when the “Joba Rules” were as much a mystery to the pitcher as the fans and reporters watching in the stands. Although that doesn’t necessarily excuse Chamberlain’s regression, it surely didn’t ease his development. (more…)

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(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

You don’t mess with Nolan Ryan, at least not in Texas. Today, former Rangers’ managing partner and CEO Chuck Greenberg learned that lesson the hard way.

I have great respect for the Texas Rangers franchise and am enormously proud of all we have accomplished together since August. Unfortunately, Nolan Ryan, the co-chairmen and I have somewhat different styles. While I am disappointed we did not work through our differences, I remain wholeheartedly committed to doing what’s right for the franchise.” – Chuck Greenberg, quoted by MLB.com, March 11, 2011

A showdown with Nolan Ryan prompted Chuck Greenberg’s resignation as CEO of the Texas Rangers.

Less than one year ago, Greenberg was an instrumental figure in the long, drawn out and often messy process that resulted in the sale of the Texas Rangers from the Hicks Sports Group to Rangers Baseball Express. Although Greenberg was the leading figure throughout the initial sale process and subsequent bankruptcy court-ordered auction, the name of the ownership group he put together pretty much said everything about where the future of the franchise was headed.

The initial plan was to have Nolan Ryan (the Express) focus on baseball operations, while Greenberg took care of the business side. At first, that formula seemed to be working well. In the couple of months they ran the team together, Greenberg scored a number of business successes, including a new lucrative cable TV contract, while Ryan oversaw a roster reconstruction that culminated in the franchise’s first trip to the World Series. Soon thereafter, however, it seems as if egos got in the way and the partnership fell apart.

According to an MLB.com report, the first sign of friction occurred when Greenberg injected himself into the team’s pursuit of Cliff Lee. Unhappy with the blurring the lines of their division of power, Ryan reportedly objected to Greenberg’s increased profile on the baseball side of operations, and that dispute resulted in the latter’s resignation.

Greenberg’s decision reportedly comes after weeks of attempted mediation. After that process failed, it seems as if Ryan laid down an ultimatum, thereby forcing the team’s two largest investors, Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, to make a choice. Davis is from Dallas and Simpson is from Ft. Worth. Needless to say, the New Jersey-born Greenberg probably didn’t stand a chance. If there was only going to be room for one sheriff on the Rangers, you can bet it wasn’t going to be the east coast lawyer.

Whether or not he was treated fairly, Yankees’ fans aren’t likely to have sympathy for Greenberg. After all, when he wasn’t criticizing the denizens of Yankee Stadium for being uncivilized, he was exulting in the role he played steering Cliff Lee to Philadelphia. It remains to be seen if those high-profile incidents contributed to Greenberg’s demise, but many in New York will undoubtedly enjoy the karma.

Greenberg and Ryan are going separate ways after attempts to reconcile their differences failed.

The friction between Ryan and Greenberg really isn’t that unique. In fact, a very similar situation occurred when George M. Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees from CBS back in 1973.

When the Yankees’ sale was made official on January 4, 1973, the AP headline read “Burke Heads Syndicate Buying New York Yankees”. Burke referred to Michael Burke, who served as Yankees President when the team was owned by CBS. At the time of the sale, Burke’s role as matchmaker between Steinbrenner and CBS head William Paley was vital. Some have even argued that Steinbrenner would not have been able to buy the Yankees without his intervention. This claim is supported by a story from Bill Madden’s recent book, “Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball”, in which Paley cited Burke’s continuation with the team as an important consideration of the deal.

“Mr. Paley. I can assure you we wouldn’t want to it any other way…I won’t have much time for baseball, so Mike’ll have to carry the load…He’s Mr. Yankee, and that’s a helluva asset for us”. – George M. Steinbrenner, quoted in “Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball”

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(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeU.)

In an effort to evaluate whether the Yankees and Rangers are setting themselves up for a fall by offering a long-term contract to Cliff Lee, many have invoked similar deals that were given to the likes of Barry Zito, Johan Santana, C.C. Sabathia, Mike Hampton, Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina. Even if all those pitchers were similar to Lee, it would still be foolish to draw any meaningful conclusion from such a small sample size.

There really is no point in comparing Lee to other pitchers who signed similar long-term contracts. At best it is an anecdotal pursuit. After all, the question we need to answer is whether Lee will be productive over the term of the proposed contract, and a better way to do that is by looking at every starter who pitched from 32 to 38 (the ages Lee would be under a seven-year contract).

Relative Performance of Starters, Ages 32 to 38, Since 1901

  Total ERA+ >= 100 ERA+ >= 120
Lefties 37 32 15
Righties 80 65 19

Note: Includes all pitchers who threw at least 1,000 innings between the ages of 32 and 38 and started at least 75% of their games.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Since 1901, 397 starters (75%-plus of all games in the rotation) pitched between the ages of 32 and 38. Of that total, 117, or 29%, pitched at least 1,000 innings, of which 83% had an ERA+ of 100 or higher and 29% had an ERA+ of at least 120. Among lefties, the percentage of starters with an ERA+ of 120 or better jumps to 41%.

Based on the data above, it seems that if a starting pitcher is able to stay healthy, he’ll likely be at least league average during his age 32 to 38 seasons. And, if he is a lefty, there is close to an even chance that he’ll be well above average. Looked at in this light, the key question regarding Cliff Lee is whether he will stay healthy over the length of a seven-year deal. Although he has suffered from minor abdominal and back issues during his career, Lee has managed to pitch at least 200 innings in five of the last six seasons (in 2007, he was sent to the minor leagues). The ace lefty also has a reputation for being in good condition and a tireless worker, so there is no reason to think complacency or a premature break down will develop. In other words, Lee fits the profile of a pitcher who should continue to log innings as he progresses deeper into his career. And, once you come to that conclusion, it becomes much more likely that he’ll justify a six- or seven-year contract.

Listed below for further comparison are the top-20 left handed pitchers who meet the criteria referenced above. After his soon-to-be new contract expires, will Lee’s name be added to this list? That remains to be seen, but soon we’ll know whether its the Yankees or Rangers that are sure going to hope so.

Top-20 Left Handed Starters, Ages 32-38, Since 1901

Player From To IP Age GS ERA+
Randy Johnson 1996 2002 1548.2 32-38 210 176
Lefty Grove 1932 1938 1628.1 32-38 183 149
Harry Brecheen 1947 1953 1191 32-38 157 131
Steve Carlton 1977 1983 1854.2 32-38 242 130
Warren Spahn 1953 1959 1929 32-38 240 127
Whitey Ford 1959 1965 1695.2 32-38 243 125
Carl Hubbell 1935 1941 1579.2 32-38 191 125
Thornton Lee 1939 1945 1308 32-38 159 125
Tom Glavine 1998 2004 1544 32-38 239 124
Al Leiter 1998 2004 1360 32-38 213 124
Preacher Roe 1948 1954 1277.1 32-38 173 124
Eppa Rixey 1923 1929 1779.2 32-38 221 123
Eddie Plank 1908 1914 1704.2 32-38 205 123
Tommy John 1976 1981 1322.1 33-38 184 123
Eddie Lopat 1950 1955 1104.1 32-37 148 121
Jamie Moyer 1995 2001 1291 32-38 194 115
Andy Pettitte 2004 2010 1262.2 32-38 203 115
Mike Cuellar 1969 1975 1921.1 32-38 264 114
Chuck Finley 1995 2001 1373.1 32-38 215 114
David Wells 1995 2001 1421.2 32-38 210 113

Note: Includes all left handed pitchers who threw at least 1,000 innings between the ages of 32 and 38 and started at least 75% of their games.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

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