Blog Entry

Hamilton, Feliz injuries open AL West door

Posted on: April 23, 2011 9:12 pm
Edited on: April 24, 2011 12:00 am

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- First Josh Hamilton, now closer Neftali Feliz.

Guess life isn't going to be a tire swing all summer for the Texas Rangers, after all.

Not that the Rangers themselves ever expected to run away with the AL West, but when they were 9-1 and owned a four-game AL West lead on April 11, you sure heard some chatter in other quarters about the possibility.

Now, Hamilton is out for up to two months with a broken bone in his arm, and Saturday the Rangers disabled their closer with soreness in his shoulder before Saturday's game with Kansas City. Maybe Texas doesn't miss a beat, but if ever there was a time for an AL West rival to make an early-season move, this is it.

Question is, is anybody in a position to do so?

The Angels actually left Texas in first place on Wednesday night after taking two of three from the Rangers. But Boston devours Los Angeles like kids gobble Easter candy and, in winning the first three of a four-game weekend series -- the latest a 5-0 cakewalk on Saturday -- helped dump the Angels back into second place. The Red Sox have won 12 of their past 13 against the Angels, including nine of 10 in 2010.

Oakland ranks 13th in the AL in runs scored. Only Minnesota (57) had scored fewer than the Athletics (66), and Bob Geren's team needs to hit .500 (they were 9-11 before Saturday's game with Seattle) before worrying about passing the Angels and Texas.

The Angels had stabilized some after losing three of their first four, though Vernon Wells was still hitting just .183 with one homer and four RBI into Saturday night's game and the club's bullpen had walked an AL-high 41 batters -- five more than next-most Kansas City.

"Wells and Torii Hunter [.212, four homers, 12 RBI] have to start hitting," one veteran scout says. "Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger and their young kids aren't going to carry them all season."

This isn't exactly how Wells would prefer to introduce himself to Southern California fans, though the nine-year veteran isn't panicking.

"It's not my first time," Wells says of a slow start. "I've hit .180 for the month of April before."

Not quite, but close: .191 in April, 2005.

Meantime, the Angels still are not sure when slugger Kendrys Morales, out since surgery to repair a fractured leg last May, will return.

The All-Star combination of Jered Weaver and Dan Haren (9-1 combined with a 1.34 ERA) has kept the Angels moving forward even as the bullpen was so rough early that Mike Scioscia's club already has had to make some serious adjustments. The Angels have removed Fernando Rodney from the closer's spot in favor of Jordan Walden, and they dispatched Kevin Jepsen and Michael Kohn to Triple-A Salt Lake on April 10.

"Early, it was really hurting us, especially with Rodney, Kohn and Jepsen," Scioscia says. "Obviously, they've got to work on command issues to get where they need to be. It's not a good trend.

Angels pitchers have walked 17 batters in the first two of the four games against Boston, 10 by the bullpen.

"We have some power arms down there [in the bullpen], but power arms that should be able to command counts better than we've seen," Scioscia says. "It will work its way out as the season goes on."

The Rangers, no doubt, figure the same thing about their current spate of injuries. And the run-challenged Athletics, about crossing the plate. And Seattle ... well, let's not get carried away here.


Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:34 am

Hamilton, Feliz injuries open AL West door

I find some of the comments on these boards to be amusing, frustrating and sometimes really obtuse.
The fact is: There isn't any reason to even be writing these ridiculous reports after three weeks in the season.

But CBS pays the guy to write about baseball.

Folks, get a grip.

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: April 24, 2011 8:53 am

Hamilton, Feliz injuries open AL West door

As of 4/24/2011 the Rangers are tied for the 2nd best record in the American League and tied for the 4th best record in MLB!! 'nough said! HATERS!!!

Since: Nov 5, 2010
Posted on: April 24, 2011 3:56 am

Hamilton, Feliz injuries open AL West door

I think that anything can happen.

Since: Mar 28, 2011
Posted on: April 24, 2011 1:43 am

Hamilton, Feliz injuries open AL West door

wow, you're both stupid.

Since: Apr 10, 2011
Posted on: April 24, 2011 12:21 am

Hamilton, Feliz injuries open AL West door

I wouldn't say the AL West is an open door. In my opinion, it's just between the Rangers and the Angels. Oakland doesn't have enough offense to support it's pitching and Seattle is pretty much in the same boat there. I think the Angles will win the division this year, because they have both the pitching and hitting. That Weaver and Haren 1-2 punch might be the best in baseball going forward. The Rangers are still a relatively young team, so they will go through their struggles from time to time. They'll have to just limit their losses until Feliz and Hamilton get back to playing again.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: April 23, 2011 10:12 pm

Hamilton, Feliz injuries open AL West door

I have said it before and I will say it again. The Texas Rangers will not repeat as division champs. I just did not think that injuries would be the reason for it. I was thinking more of a serious regression of the Rangers' performance. Let's be honest here. We all knew that the Rangers were lucky to have won the division last year...given their history in the past 10 years. When they are leading the division they always seem to find a way to mess it up, but last year things worked out well for them....well almost! They got manhandled by a Giants team that did not have high paid super stars...just great pitching.....not even one Cliff Lee could counter. Perhaps if they had a few more half-decent pitchers then maybe the Rangers would have put up more of a fight. 
Who do I pick to win the division? Anyone but the Rangers. I'm an A's fan, but I have to say that the Angles are the team to beat until proven otherwise. The Rangers have never repeated as division champs in consecutive years and this year will not be any different. The A's SHOULD contend this year. But injuries always hurt them severely...and they still have not gotten any serious run producers. DeJesus, Willingham, Crisp, Matsui? Please! We need guys who are in their prime and can hit over 40 home runs. 

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