April 18, 2011: Monday Morning Manager

So we know now that Alexi Ogando is not infallible as a starter. We already knew that the Rangers bullpen is quite fallible. 

So the Rangers are back home tied for first place with the Angels at 10-5 and a nice 10-game homestand sitting in front of them. Ervin Santana and C.J. Wilson will start it off on Monday night at the Ballpark in Arlington when the Angels arrive.

Some points to ponder… 

1. How concerned are you about the bullpen, especially in the eighth inning? 

2. What pitcher should be dropped when Colby Lewis comes back? 

3. Is it a coincidence that the Rangers lost four of five without Josh Hamilton in the lineup? 

4. What do you make of the struggles of Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus at the top of the lineup? 

5. Does Chris Davis need to be sitting on the Rangers bench rather than playing every day at Round Rock?


1. The bullpen anchored by two guys older than …well lets be nice…I think we have a problem. I think Rhodes and Oliver have lost a step and I think they’re overworked. I almost died when Stoop came in. While Dave Bush was unscored on he sure didn’t look overpowering….I think we have a problem
2. We better make sure there’s nothing wrong with CJ before we drop someone…did you note how few fastballs he threw last outing. He either had no confidence in it, was hurt or had a mental affliction that told him 75 mph curve balls were unhittable by MLB hitters. I think he’s hurt. But to answer your question Kirkman.

3. We’ll be lucky to be 500 without Josh. He protects the whole lineup. And by the way I think the new hitting coach should go back to basics rather than “drive”…seems like the averaes are a bit low and the strikeouts high.
4. See answer above.
5. Not to be cruel but Chris Davis can go home to Longview for all I care. If they can get someone for him they should.

All valid questions, but none of them are as relevant why do we start a center fielder who can’t hit and has no arm.

1) Yes I am VERY concerned about the bullpen. If the Rangers are going with more young guys, why do they have Oliver and Rhodes? I think they would be better off with Kirkman out there than either one of these guys. I was actually glad Wash brought in Strop last night, I think he could turn into a great 8th inning guy if he can control his pitches a bit better.
2) I am sure they’ll send Kirkman back to AAA but I would send Mark Lowe to AAA.
3) No coincidence, losing Josh will hurt them big time. When is he ever going to make it through a whole season?
4) Ian and Elvis will be OK, as Chris said, I’m more concerned about Borbon.
5) I am torn about Davis-I think he should play so other teams can see him play if the Rangers are going to try to trade him later in the season. But, I hate to lose Davis, too (anyone remember Travis Hafner?).

1. Bullpens are a year to year proposition, the Rangers have been very fortunate the last 2 years the bullpen has been reliable. This year, not so much. If the Rangers are serious about Neftali Feliz moving into the rotation, then why don’t they start using him for 6,7,8 out saves? He’s going to have to be “stretched out” sometime if he’s going to be a starter. I love the way Jamey Newberg and many other are blaming Julio Borobon for the losses – maybe if the bullpen wouldn’t put men on base, then CF wouldn’t be an issue. Does everyone really think moving David Murphy to CF and putting Mitch Moreland in RF is going to give the Rangers the kind of OF defense they need? Does everyone really think bringing up Endy Chavez is a better alternative – there’s a reason he hasn’t a a major league job for quite a while. If the offense was hitting and the bullpen was saving games – Julio Borbon would be a non-issue. But things aren’t going well, so let’s pick one player to blame it all on – when this lousy road trip has truly been a team effort.
2. Not sure at this point a pitcher should be dropped when Colby returns – maybe time to send Chris Davis back to AAA since he’s just sitting around.
3. Maybe
4. Let’s see, it’s 15 games into a 162 game season, check back with me when we are at game 50 and if they are still struggling then we’ll talk.
5. See my answer to #2

1. Still establishing roles, sure it’s a bit late for that but the talent is mostly there. Trust Wash. Trust Maddux. These guys didn’t get stupid overnight.

2. Lowe, in my opinion should go back down and work on his command so that he can begin to be trusted when needed in hi leverage situations.

3. More likely the cumulative effect of having your 9-1-2 hitters all under .200. Makes for a dearth of baserunners, and consequently, scoring opportunities.

4. IDK, maybe pitchers are watching video and pitching them differently than early on? If so, I expect they will adjust accordingly.

5. He’s depth. As such he’s where the clubs primary need is for now.

1. We have two veterans in the bullpen that are very good at hitting their spots, but that one pitch they do miss is usually costly. The Rangers need to establish a power arm to go along with Feliz for the back end of the rotation. Strop can be a valid threat, but his control is too erratic at the moment.
2. Mark Lowe should be demoted to AAA to get his composure back. Kirkman is a good pitcher and may be a good addition to the pen. * When Tommy comes back i don’t believe anyone should be taken out of the rotation for him to replace. All the new arms we added in Harrison, Holland, and Ogando have much better stuff than Tommy.
3. Josh Hamilton is a great presence in the line-up, but this is just coincidence. The Rangers have been known to struggle on the road, and they despise cold weather. Add in the wind factor and it was dreadful condition they are not used to. The Rangers are way too deep to keep struggling like this. Hamilton being out had no effect about the fact that Cruz hasn’t been able to get the bat even close to the ball the last couple of games, and same for Kinsler and Andrus.
4. During this 10 game home stand they will get their feel back. Kinsler, Andrus, and Cruz will all snap out of their funk. The warm weather is what they are comfortable in, and the ball carries better. So expect Cruz and Kinsler to start their power surge back up again, and Andrus will start hitting his doubles in the gap again
5. The Rangers need to have him playing in Round Rock right now. Then as soon as possible trade him away for a good center fielder. Andrew McCutchen would be a GREAT addition to the Rangers. He is a great ballplayer and fun to watch, also he has a lot of power for his size and of course speed

Before I get to the questions, let me just say this one thing. The Rangers lost 2 of the games on walk-offs in the 9th and one of them by one run that came in the 8th. Considering they were on the road for these and in some pretty brutal baseball weather, I’m not too concerned about where they’re at right now.

1. I’m a little concerned. I would feel better if Wash would go ahead and pull a guy when he’s not getting it done. Rhodes should’ve been pulled pretty quickly in the 8th in that final game against the Yankees in such a close game. But I need to see some more before I’ll feel too concerned.

2. Gotta go with Mark Lowe on that one.

3. I think it’s a coincidence. As I said, they lost three of those five by one run. That’s the kind of game that can go any way at any time. Plus when you factor in the road and the awful weather and they’re still sitting there a few runs away from a 7-2 road trip – that’s coincidence. The awful announcers for the Sunday night game said that the game could’ve gone different if Hamilton were healthy because he may have been able to throw out one of the runs that scored from center, but apparently they don’t pay attention to baseball and think Hamilton still plays center for us.

4. I think Ian and Elvis are both just slumping a bit at the same time. That happens. They’ll be okay. I’m more concerned about Elvis because his OBP is pretty low, but Kinsler is still sitting at .323 despite his struggles.

5. Chris Davis needs to become some help for the bullpen. Time to trade that guy and get a few pieces back for the big league squad. I think the Rangers are convinced he’s a quadruple-A player, so let’s let another team figure that out.

1. A little, but I trust the Rangers braintrust to figure that one out. We are only 2 weeks into the season and we are 10-5. I like what Bobby V. said. Let’s see where these guys are after 50 games.
2. I’m in on dropping Mark Lowe too. He seems useless.
3. It is a coincidence. The Rangers have been in all of those games.
4. Kinsler will work it out. I’m not sure about Andrus. What kind of hitter is he really? Regardless, there is a lot of flexibility on this team so pieces can be rearranged in the batting order to find the right mix.
5. If Chris Davis is up here, he needs to play some. If not, why is he here? Insurance? That is not very trustworthy insurance……until he proves otherwise. And we won’t find that out unless he plays here. It may come at the expense of Borbon and that is probably why it hasn’t happened yet. Wash is really putting a lot of trust on Borbon. Borbon needs to start justifying that trust on the field.

Thanks TR. Nice goin’. All you gotta do is post a pic of Johnny O to get me all warm and fuzzy.

Funny, I see a lot of Oates in Ron Washington. Sort of a players manager, we’ll keep everything in-house, but DON’T CROSS ME.

1. How concerned are you about the bullpen, especially in the eighth inning?
Deeply. They’re almost as old as I am.

2. What pitcher should be dropped when Colby Lewis comes back?
Lowe. (Duh)

3. Is it a coincidence that the Rangers lost four of five without Josh Hamilton in the lineup?
Maybe it had more to do with playing in miserable, cold weather.

4. What do you make of the struggles of Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus at the top of the lineup?
The lads will come around. Not worried.

5. Does Chris Davis need to be sitting on the Rangers bench rather than playing every day at Round Rock?
Chris Davis needs to be sitting on some other team’s bench. Most frustrating Ranger since Blalock.

1. Really concerned (for now). When the Rangers get some of those starters healthy, then Ogando can fill that role and everything else will fall into place perfectly.

2. Anybody with options left

3. Yes. We would have won a few more of those games had the bullpen been more effective.

4. Elvis will rebound, no worries. Although Kinsler has the tools to hit leadoff, but he seems to be more effective at the plate when he’s batting 5th or 6th. Therefore, I’m concerned about Kinsler hitting leadoff, but not concerned if he were to be dropped in the order.

5. he should be in Round Rock learning pitch selection.

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