Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:42 am
This entry has been removed by the administrator.
This message has been removed by the administrator.
Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:37 am
ST. LOUIS -- The innings added up. The innings caught up to them.
We don't know for sure if that's the answer for what happened to the Rangers bullpen, but it seems like a reasonable guess.
We do know the results.
In six American League Championship Series games against the Tigers, the Ranger relievers were basically unhittable, with a 1.32 ERA.
In seven World Series games against the Cardinals, the Ranger relievers were basically unwatchable, with a 7.43 ERA.
"The bullpen won the ALCS," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Then they struggled here."
The bullpen pitched too much in the first two rounds, because the starters didn't pitch enough. To be fair, the Cardinals had the same problem . . . and maybe that's why their bullpen leaked a little at the end, as well.
You could see it happening. I wrote about it when the Rangers lost Game 3. Mike Adams admitted then that fatigue could be setting in, especially with ALCS difference-maker Alexi Ogando (who would end up allowing 14 baserunners in just 2 2/3 World Series innings).
When it was over, Adams said he wasn't sure.
"You never know," he said. "I'm not sure you can say that's why we weren't as effective.
"The bullpen had a good run. We just didn't pitch as well [in the World Series] as we did in the last series."
You've got to think the workload had something to do with it. But it's not like they could have done much to lighten that load, short of risking an ALCS loss by forcing more innings from their rotation.
"You're aware of it," Daniels said. "But at that point, there's not much you can do about it."
He had tried. He was as active as any GM in seeking bullpen help in midseason trades, adding Adams, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez. But Adams seemed to run out of gas, Uehara was a complete bust in the postseason (three appearances, three home runs), and Gonzalez was only mildly effective.
And the bullpen that beat the Tigers never made it to the World Series.
The bullpen that won the ALCS basically lost the World Series.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 6:27 pm
ST. LOUIS -- Will Chris Carpenter start for the Cardinals if the World Series goes to Game 7?
I'm not sure about that, but I do know that Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and the rest of the strong Rangers bullpen is better rested and more prepared now that a rainout delayed Game 6 by a day.
"That's a huge advantage for us," Adams said Wednesday. "It can only help us. We've pitched a lot, and now [on Thursday], we'll be fully rested.
"Any day of rest, we'll take it."
And more rest for the talented but heavily worked Rangers pen makes the rainout a slight advantage for Texas, no matter whether it puts Carpenter in play for Game 7 or not.
The Rangers will also have starters Derek Holland and C.J. Wilson available out of the bullpen for Thursday's rescheduled Game 6, as well as for a Game 7, if needed, on Friday. Manager Ron Washington repeated Wednesday, for the third straight day, that Matt Harrison will remain his Game 7 starter.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, for the third straight day, was mum on his Game 7 plans. He said he discussed it with pitching coach Dave Duncan, but that they opted not to make a decision until after Game 6.
"[They'll] want a probable," La Russa said. "Bob Gibson's here, so we'll send Bob."
With the schedule pushed back a day, Carpenter becomes a possibility, but the Cardinals ace would be starting on three days' rest. He has started on short rest just once in his career, in Game 2 of this year's Division Series against the Phillies, and he allowed four runs in three innings.
The recent history of starters used on short rest isn't good.
"I was told by Carp he'd be ready to go," La Russa said.
It's possible that La Russa could stick with Game 3 starter Kyle Lohse as his starter for a Game 7, with Carpenter available at the first sign of trouble. By doing it that way, he could shorten the innings Carpenter would be asked to throw on short rest.
La Russa said Wednesday that he expects Game 4 starter Edwin Jackson to be available in the bullpen for Game 6. As for Carpenter's availability out of the bullpen Thursday, La Russa hedged.
"No chance," he said, before pausing and then adding, "little chance."
La Russa said that in his opinion, the rainout won't be a factor in who wins the World Series.
"I don't think it adds anything to our competitive chances, or theirs," he said.
If the Cardinals win Game 6, Washington will no doubt face another round of questions on starting Holland, who was brilliant in the Rangers' 4-0 Game 4 win. Don't expect Washington to make a change, though.
"Harrison is my seventh game pitcher," he said emphatically. "I am not changing the things we've done all year. That's why we're here."
Washington knows that as good as Holland looked on Sunday night, the 25-year-old left-hander's season was marked by inconsistency. Remember, this is a guy who threw a four-hit shutout on July 30 in Toronto, then followed it up five days later by getting knocked out in the second inning against the Indians.
Besides, Washington believes that the best thing a manager can do is to show his players a consistent front, and not be seen to be uncertain or panicky. He chose Harrison before the World Series began to start Games 3 and 7, and he won't change because Holland outpitched Harrison the first time around.
The Rangers players don't expect him to.
"Harry's been a massive part of our team," Michael Young said Wednesday. "He's earned it. But that's getting ahead of ourselves."
Up three games to two in the Series, the Rangers would obviously prefer that there isn't a Game 7.
They also would have preferred that Game 6 wasn't rained out. But if there's any advantage that comes from the rainout, I'm saying it goes to Texas -- Carpenter or no Carpenter.
Posted on: October 24, 2011 1:57 am
ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Mike Adams was determined.
The Rangers reliever was going to make it to the Cowboys game Sunday, even if he was going to have to leave before the first quarter ended.
"The Cowboys are one of my biggest passions," Adams said, pointing to the Miles Austin Cowboys jersey hanging from his locker and the Cowboys helmet sitting on top of it.
Sunday, it wasn't going to be easy, even though Cowboys Stadium is just down the block from Rangers Ballpark.
The Cowboys kicked off at 3:15 local time. Rangers batting practice for Game 4 of the World Series began exactly one hour later.
"I have responsibilities over here," Adams said.
And he had no idea that Sunday would be the easiest night of the postseason for the Rangers bullpen.
Starter Derek Holland pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings. Adams warmed up in the eighth, but never got in the game. Closer Neftali Feliz finished up by getting the final two outs.
"That helped the bullpen tremendously," Adams said. "It took a lot of heat off us, I guess."
It was a good night for the Rangers, who beat the Cardinals 4-0 to even up the World Series. And a good day for the Cowboys, who beat the Rams 34-7 to even their record at 3-3.
Adams comes by his Cowboys passion naturally. He grew up in Sinton, Tex., near Corpus Christi. He wears his Cowboys jersey proudly, and he says he wore it to Petco Park on July 31, the day the Padres ended up trading him to the Rangers.
And he said he has already lined up tickets to three more Cowboys games once the World Series is over.
He won't be leaving those games early. Turns out, he didn't really need to leave early Sunday, either.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 8:09 pm
ST. LOUIS -- The Rangers have never played a game in Busch Stadium.
Many of the Cardinals have never seen Rangers Ballpark.
This is a World Series like few others since baseball went to interleague play in 1997. These teams really don't know each other, and they don't know each other's ballparks.
The Cardinals and Rangers have met just once in the regular season, in a three-game series in Texas in 2004. The winning pitchers in that series: Jeff Suppan, Ryan Drese and Woody Williams.
"It's weird that we've never played them," said Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman, who said he had never even been to St. Louis before the Rangers arrived in town Tuesday.
Some Cardinals players were quizzing Lance Berkman about what it's like to play at Rangers Ballpark. Berkman played there regularly when he was with the Astros, and also last year with the Yankees.
Think of Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, Berkman told them.
"It's a good hitters' park," Berkman said. "That's well-documented."
Rangers pitchers were asking teammate Mike Adams how Busch Stadium plays.
"I personally think it plays pretty fair," said Adams, who spent much of his career in the National League.
And what about the idea that Rangers Ballpark is like Cincinnati?
"Very much so," Adams said. "Cincinnati is pretty much one of the biggest jokes in baseball. And Texas can play like that, too."
Even some Rangers who have plenty of experience in the National League haven't ever played in the current Busch Stadium. Adrian Beltre came up with the Dodgers, but his last game in St. Louis was in 2004, two years before the current park opened.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:21 pm
ST. LOUIS -- When the Rangers played in Detroit in early April 2009, the game-time temperatures were in the low 50s.
"Super super cold," Elvis Andrus remembers.
When the Rangers open the World Series Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, the temperature is expected to be in the high 40s.
For a Venezuelan-born shortstop and his Texas teammates, super super cold.
"It's super cold already for me," Andrus said Tuesday, when the Rangers worked out in preparation for the World Series. "I don't like weather like that. But I'll put baby oil and red hot on my legs."
This week is much colder than last week in St. Louis, but you could say it's just normal World Series weather. The game-time temperatures for the three Cardinals home games in the 2006 World Series were 43, 53 and 47 degrees. Game-time temperatures were in the 40s for the 1987 World Series in St. Louis, too.
"I'm wearing everything," Rangers reliever Mike Adams said. "Leggings, long sleeves, a beanie, up until the time I get loose."
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:42 pm
BOSTON -- Friday in the Boston Globe, columnist Dan Shaughnessy called Red Sox-Yankees the "overdue dream ALCS matchup."
Spend enough time in this part of the country, especially during Red Sox-Yankees week, and you can get sucked into believing that an all-AL East ALCS is not only overdue and dream, but also inevitable.
Until the Rangers come to town and remind you that they are the defending American League champions.
Friday's reminder was a loud one, with three home runs and a 10-0 win over the Red Sox.
Yes, there is another AL team capable of going to the World Series, and it's the same team that went there last year.
The Rangers themselves would rather not talk about it, because unlike the Yankees and Red Sox they're not yet close to guaranteeing their spot in the playoffs. Their 3 1/2-game lead over the Angels, entering play Friday, gives them the most tenuous hold of any of the eight teams currently in playoff position.
"I don't think that far ahead, because there are no guarantees in this game," manager Ron Washington said. "We haven't won anything yet."
But while winning the West is not an insignificant issue, it's reasonable to assume that the Rangers will hold off the Angels. It's also reasonable to think that they could pose a real threat to the Red Sox and/or the Yankees.
The lineup is basically the one that eliminated the Yankees last October, with Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba in place of Vladimir Guerrero and Bengie Molina.
Yes, but Cliff Lee is gone.
Yes, he is. But the Rangers' rotation is deeper than you think, and the Rangers have strengthened their bullpen so much that they can limit the outs they need from those starters.
"You make the best of what you have," pitching coach Mike Maddux said Friday. "And I like what we have."
The Rangers made the best midseason move in baseball last year when they traded for Lee. They made the best series of midseason moves this year with their deals for relievers Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez, as colleague Scott Miller detailed a few weeks back.
With strong lineups all around the American League -- and rotation questions all around, too -- this year's AL playoffs could well be decided by the bullpens. The Rangers, who read the trade market well, could be in as good position as anyone.
The challenge for Maddux and Washington is to keep their starters from getting too worn down before October begins.
C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis both pitched through October last year, and you wonder about how that will affect them. Alexi Ogando is a converted reliever who has already pitched more than twice as many innings this year as he did all of last year.
Derek Holland, who beat the Red Sox by throwing seven shutout innings and allowing just two hits Friday night, has pitched more innings than he did a year ago.
"I'm not concerned," Washington said. "But of course we're looking at it. There is some drawback to these young guys not being there before, but it is also something they have to experience. Every starting staff in baseball that makes it to the postseason, consistently, they have to go through it before they figure it out.
"So we're going through it."
Wilson said Friday he feels better physically than he did entering September a year ago, saying he "refined" his workouts and has seen the effect.
Privately, the Rangers hope that they can create some distance between themselves and the Angels soon, in part because it would enable them to give their starters (and even some of their position players) extra rest before October.
Publicly, they say they don't expect the Angels to go away.
But the Rangers also believe that they're more ready for what's ahead, this month and probably next, than they were a year ago.
"Last year, we were constantly talking about staying focused," Michael Young said. "This year, there's no need to talk about it, because we know. We just know it."
They know that, and they know they're good.
And if everyone in the Northeast (and a bunch of people elsewhere) want to assume that this year is all about the Red Sox and Yankees, the Rangers aren't going to worry about it.
"That doesn't bother us at all," Young said. "It's a great rivalry (Yankees-Red Sox). I think if you go to our part of the country, I think you'd find that a lot of people are talking about us."
Win again in October, they'll have people talking everywhere.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 5:26 pm
The Yankees always get what they want, right?
The Yankees and Red Sox get everything. The rich get richer.
Except when they don't.
In a week where the Nationals briefly acted as buyers (sending minor leaguers to the Reds for bench player Jonny Gomes), and where the Indians and the Pirates were both buyers, the Yankees were . . . silent?
And the Red Sox were . . . not silent, but they didn't really get what they wanted.
That's not to say that the Yankees are in trouble, or that the Red Sox are. That's not to say that the Yankees have suddenly become cheap, or that the Red Sox have, either.
Just don't say they always get what they want, or even what they need.
The Red Sox came closer, with their deadline-beating three-team deal for Erik Bedard. Bedard was awful in his Friday night showcase, but he was very good earlier in the season.
But with Monday's news about Clay Buchholz -- CSN New England reported that he has a stress fracture in his back, and could be out for the year -- the Sox were more determined to add a starter than the Yankees were. In fact, CSNNE's Sean McAdam wrote, the Sox actually wanted to add two starters, and settled for one possibly healthy one (Bedard).
The Yankees were much more content to stick with what they have. But should they have been.
The Red Sox are at least solid atop their rotation, with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.
And . . .
That's it, really. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.
They don't have a true No. 2. They have Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon as amazing surprises. They have A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes as amazing enigmas. They have Ivan Nova and perhaps Manuel Banuelos as talented but really untested kids.
But who starts Game 2?
Now you understand why Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies last December was so potentially devastating to the Yankees.
They were left taking a chance that a top starter would be available on the July market. They were left trying to decide if Ubaldo Jimenez or Hiroki Kuroda (who, in the end, refused to consider any trade) would fit.
"If those are the two guys, I would live with what I have," one rival scout said in the middle of last week. "And then hope that A.J. pitches better, which he probably won't."
Did the Yankees go wrong at the deadline? Only if they don't win.
Check back at the end of September, or sometime in October.
On to 3 to Watch:
1. Sabathia pitched like a true ace in July (with a 0.92 ERA in five starts). Now that they passed up on trading for help, they sure as heck need him to pitch like an ace the rest of the way, starting in Yankees at White Sox, Monday night (8:10 ET) at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox have every bit as big a need for Jake Peavy to pitch well, and more than that for him to stay healthy. The White Sox traded away Edwin Jackson, which gave them bullpen help (in Jason Frasor) and some payroll relief, but it left them with little rotation protection, in case the fragile Peavy gets hurt again.
2. The Tigers' acquisition of Doug Fister understandably got far less attention than the Indians' trade for Jimenez. But Fister serves almost as important a role for the Tigers as Jimenez does for the Indians. The Tigers are 4-16 when they've used a fifth starter, which means that even if Fister is decent, starting in Rangers at Tigers, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Comerica Park, he'll be a huge improvement. The Rangers explored adding a starter, too, but settled for making significant bullpen upgrades with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.
3. The Indians announced Monday that Jimenez won't make his Cleveland debut until Friday in Texas. But Bedard will make his Boston debut a night earlier, in Indians at Red Sox, Thursday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. That series, between one of the American League's true powers and a team that wants to be thought of the same way, sure became a lot more interesting with what the Indians did Saturday night. By Thursday, the Red Sox should know for sure about Buchholz, and maybe Thursday's game will give them some idea whether Bedard will really help.