Tag:Texas Rangers
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:20 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Beltre lands in World Series after 14 years

ST. LOUIS -- Adrian Beltre has played a long time for a guy who has never reached the World Series.

A long, long, long time.

"You got that right," Beltre says. "It took me 14 years. But I'm here, man."

Beltre's 1,959 regular-season games are the third-most among active players for a guy who has never set foot in the Fall Classic, trailing only Bobby Abreu (2,247) and Miguel Tejada (2,118).

But as that great baseball man, Branch Rickey, once said, luck is the residue of design. And Beltre's splashdown in St. Louis for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday is more design than luck.

When he signed a five-year, $80 million deal last winter to play third base in Texas, he had plenty of other options. One was with the Los Angeles Angels, though, as he told me this spring, he spurned them because he thought the Rangers had a better team and, as such, a better chance to go to the World Series.

Beyond the Angels, Beltre had a few other options as well. Oakland. Baltimore.

"If it was the money, I'd be somewhere else," he said. "Money wasn't my main issue. I could have had more money [elsewhere] or I could have stayed home in L.A.

"It was a hard decision to come here, but it's been the best one."

Beltre was everything the Rangers were hoping for. He played Gold Glove defense. He hit .296 with a .331 on-base percentage. He slammed 32 homers and collected 105 RBI in 124 games. Only a hamstring injury slowed him late in the year.

Now that he's back strong, the Rangers' lineup is as dangerous and deep as there is in the game. Their second consecutive World Series appearance proves that.

Beltre said he never felt pressure in Texas because he was surrounded by so much talent, guys like Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli.

"I came here, but I wasn't the guy," says Beltre, who played exceedingly well in Boston in 2010 before signing with Texas. "I was just one of the guys.

"It's different when they bring you in to be the guy."

Asked about the Red Sox's meltdown and ongoing drama, Beltre quipped: "Why? What happened to the Red Sox? I don't watch TV."
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:00 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 10:22 am
 

Cards' Rhodes: 'I know our bullpen is better'

They've been serious underdogs since, oh, at least August. So why should now be any different as the Cardinals get set to tee it up with the Texas Rangers in the World Series.

Except, one thing that might be worth remembering: Last time the Cardinals were here, in 2006, the Tigers were supposed to maul them. Next thing anyone knew, David Eckstein was hoisting the MVP trophy.

Is NLCS MVP David Freese the new Eckstein?

In their 18th World Series in club history, the Cardinals are about to tangle with a Texas team that has not lost consecutive games in nearly two months. The Rangers have played 40 games since their last back-to-back losses, when they dropped three in a row at home against the Red Sox from Aug. 23-25.

Of course, they're also about to tussle with a Texas team that ripped through Detroit in the AL Championship Series without obtaining a win from a starting pitcher. Sound familiar? Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter earned the Game 3 win despite only going five innings, and the St. Louis bullpen earned the other three wins.

The Airborne Rangers surely will be favored in the World Series, given that behemoth AL lineup and a bullpen in which Alexi Ogando qualifies as a lethal weapon.

"It's going to be very interesting," Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal said moments after his team eliminated Milwaukee in the NLCS. "We've got to keep playing the way we do. We've got to keep playing good defense and getting a hit when we need it."

"The Rangers are scary," third baseman David Freese said. "They're a scary team. They've been doing it all along the last few years. You look at that lineup, you look at that staff, that's going to be a battle. And I think we're a team that can match up with them a little bit. They're confident. We're confident."

As the champagne sprayed, Manager Tony La Russa said he had not had time to give much thought to Texas, other than him and pitching coach Dave Duncan quietly sneaking a conversation Saturday night about which way to set up the Cardinals' rotation. La Russa said they had one plan for if the Cardinals won in Game 6 on Sunday -- the plan that presumably will be put into motion -- and another plan for if the Brewers extended them to Game 7 on Monday.

Being that ace Chris Carpenter was set to start Game 7 ... surely, he'll now get the ball for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night in St. Louis.

"Texas has an unbelievable team," reliever Octavio Dotel said. "They have great players. They have great hitters, great pitchers, a great bullpen.

"What is going to happen, I don't know. We've got to go game by game, one by one, and see what happens. Not try to win it all in one game."

Dotel talked about Texas' "great right-handed hitters", mentioning Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young.

The Cardinals will go from the very familiar against the Brewers (both in the NL Central, they faced each other 18 times this season) to the totally unknown against the Rangers (they did not face each other in interleague play this year).

"Throw strikes," reliever Jason Motte said. "You've gotta get ahead of guys. Mix and match. I've seen those guys play. If you go 2 and 1 or 3 and 1 [in the count], it's going to be a long series."

The one man who might know the most about both of these teams is Cardinals reliever Arthur Rhodes. Practically a senior citizen now in baseball years (he's 41), Rhodes started the season with the Rangers, where he went 3-3 with a 4.81 ERA in 32 games, before Texas released him on Aug. 8. St. Louis signed him three days later.

Used strictly as a left-handed specialist, Rhodes was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA for the Cards, working only 8 2/3 innings in 19 games.

"Those are my friends," Rhodes said of the Rangers. "But I've still got my team right here. I love St. Louis. These are my boys.

"We'll do our thing. We match up good with them. We have a similar lineup, but I know our bullpen is better than theirs."

Said Freese: "I definitely have been watching the ALCS, for sure. And that's been some good ball over there. That's a dynamite team, and we definitely have to be ready for them."
Posted on: October 4, 2011 6:04 pm
 

Rangers looking like anything but one-hit wonders


Here's the thing about the Texas Rangers as the champagne sprayed Tuesday in Tampa Bay: Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli, the Rangers early stars this October, were elsewhere when Texas made its first foray to a World Series last October.

And as the Rangers move on and prepare to meet either the Detroit Tigers or the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series, those two are just the latest examples of Texas' power both on the field and off.

Lots of people assumed the Rangers were done last winter when they couldn't retain Cliff Lee. But general manager Jon Daniels and his staff were creative enough to fill in the cracks of a very good core and the Rangers so far haven't missed a beat.

I don't know whether C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Derek Holland and the rest will provide enough pitching to slip past the Yankees or the Tigers and push the Rangers to their second consecutive World Series.

But I do know that under club president Nolan Ryan, Daniels and beyond, the Rangers never for a moment spent one time feeling sorry for themselves losing to San Francisco last fall. They never for a moment wasted time looking in the rear view mirror.

"The reality is, there are a lot of teams that have gotten there once," Daniels told me in March as the Rangers limbered up in Arizona. "That doesn't take anything away from it, but that's not our goal.

"First of all, we want to win it. And second of all, we don't want to be a one-hit wonder. And we need to prove that."

As the Rangers climb the charts again in 2011, they look far more long-term than one-hit wonder.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 10:36 pm
 

Holland off, but Rangers bats not

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- This had all of the earmarks of a Texas disaster.

Starter Derek Holland fought his command from the start, laboring through a 29-pitch first inning. He was lucky to hold Tampa Bay to one run.

Then he surrendered a two-run home run to Matt Joyce in the fourth, and it got real quiet real fast at The Ballpark in Arlington.

Then, what raw rookie Matt Moore did for Tampa Bay on Friday became even more impressive: Texas hammered James Shields for five runs in the fourth and never looked back, pounding its way to an 8-6 win. And in evening this Division Series at 1-1, the Rangers served notice of why they're so lethal.

Did Moore really shut out this crew for seven innings in Game 1?

Did anybody really think the Rangers were going to stay silent in this thing?

The Rangers love Holland, and with good reason. Just 24, he mixes a low-90s fastball with a curve that dips into the low 70s and a slider somewhere in-between, Holland finished the regular season by going 10-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his final 15 starts beginning July 7.

What Holland did Saturday on a day on which he wasn't sharp was keep the Rangers close.

Then the Texas lineup did the rest, from Mike Napoli's two-run, game-tying single in the fourth to Ian Kinsler's two-run double in the sixth to Mitch Moreland's exclamation point of a home run in the eighth.

By the end, believe it or not, Texas had won its first home game in Division Series history. Before Saturday, the Rangers were 0-7. They were 0-1 in this series.

No more.
Posted on: September 30, 2011 8:10 pm
 

Rays carry season-end momentum into Game 1 win

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Who needs a triple play when you've got the left arm of the brilliant Matt Moore?

Who needs to bother worrying about needing to storm back from a 7-0 deficit when you've got a kid like him?

This time, the Tampa Bay Rays found another improbable avenue to victory: Making just the second big league start of his career, Moore led them there. He was brilliant in pitching seven shutout innings during Tampa Bay's 9-0 Game 1 Division Series romp over the stunned Rangers.

And suddenly, following the liftoff Moore gave them, the Rays have seized Texas' home-field advantage and, maybe even more impressive, carried their season-ending momentum straight into the playoffs after the emotional high of Wednesday night.

No other pitcher in major league history had started his team's first postseason game with just one big-league start under his belt. And Moore, 22, became the youngest AL pitcher to start Game 1 of the postseason since Oakland's Vida Blue in 1971.

The way he dominated one of the game's best lineups, you could have sworn that he cut his major-league teeth long ago. Same as his only other start, when he tamed the New York Yankees, shutting them out over five innings and fanning 11. Last pitcher that young to fan 10 or more Yankees in New York? Hal Newhouser of the Detroit Tigers in 1943.

This guy throws 97 m.p.h. with the ease of you and I playing catch. His curve is terrific. And manager Joe Maddon especially loves his changeup.

That's 17 strikeouts in 12 big-league innings so far against the Rangers and Yankees.
Posted on: September 24, 2011 12:40 am
 

Rangers back-to-back AL West champs

Cliff Who?

Maybe if they run into the Phillies in this year's World Series the guy will return to haunt them. But on a wild Friday when the Rangers became the third team in one night to clinch a division title, a budding dynasty continued to grow without Cliff Lee.

Yes, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis and Alexi Ogando helped prove there should be no doubting the Rangers' rotation. Adding Mike Napoli and Adrian Beltre to a core featuring Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Ian Kinsler was plenty.

And in the end, after beating Seattle 5-3 and then watching the Angels lose to Oakland 3-1, the Rangers proved it once and for all.

AL West champions for a second consecutive year, and that's not the autumn wind blowing in. It's a changing of the guard.

Where once the road to the AL West title led through Anaheim, that trail is now as dusty and abandoned as some of the old California gold mining spots. Where the Angels won five of six AL West titles between 2004 and 2009, the Rangers now have gone back-to-back for the first time since 1998-1999. Clmbing the charts with a bullet, and looking to finish with a better record than AL Central champ Detroit so they can open the playoffs at home on Friday.

Apparently, losing Lee didn't gut them as badly as just about everyone but the Rangers themselves thought it would. More impressively, Texas, 14-6 so far in September, is playing as well this month as it has all season.

Posted on: September 23, 2011 9:15 pm
 

Raindrops not falling on sleepy Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Sometimes, scoreboard watching turns into schedule watching.

That's where the Angels were Friday as they shrugged off not only a crushing loss in Toronto on Thursday night, but an overnight flight that didn't get them back to Southern California until after 3 a.m. Friday morning.

So when word came that one of the key teams the Angels are chasing -- Boston -- was rained out Friday in New York, Angels manager Mike Scioscia grinned.

"Can we not play today and play a double-header Sunday to match up?" Scioscia quipped.

Um, no.

"The last time I remember looking at my clock, it was 4:04 a.m.," Scioscia said.

But as he insisted, "the page was turned."

We'll see. The Angels were one loss and one Texas victory away from elimination in the AL West as they headed out to face Oakland to begin a weekend series on Friday. They were watching both the scoreboard ... and the schedule.
Posted on: August 24, 2011 12:35 am
 

Konerko sixth to 2,000 hits this season

ANAHEIM, Calif -- Highlights have been few and far between for the 2011 Chicago White Sox, but Paul Konerko put up one for the books when he cracked his 2,000th career hit in the eighth inning of Tuesday's series opener here.

The hit surely was especially meaningful to Konerko in that it was an RBI single against Ervin Santana that tied the game at 4-4 at a point in the season where the White Sox are desperate for every run, every win they can get. Konerko, a beloved figure on Chicago's South Side and widely respected throughout the game, becomes only the 13th player in club history to collect his 2,000th hit.

It's been a boom season for the 2,000-hit club: Konerko is the sixth man to join that club this summer. Previously this summer, Houston's Carlos Lee, San Francisco's Orlando Cabrera (then with the Indians), Cincinnati's Scott Rolen, St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Texas' Michael Young each collected his 2,000th hit.

The White Sox dugout immediately erupted in cheers, then most of the players began waving for the baseball as soon as the play concluded with Alejandro De Aza crossing the plate. With the game 4-4, White Sox manager removed Konerko, who was DHing, for pinch-runner Brent Lillibridge.

Konerko also is at 393 career homers and soon could become only the sixth active player with 400 homers and 2,000 hits, joining Pujols, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, Atlanta's Chipper Jones, Baltimore's Vladimir Guerrero and Minnesota's Jim Thome.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com