Monday Morning Manager…the Return of the King

Josh Hamilton will be in the lineup tonight against the White Sox. So will Nelson Cruz.

They will be in a lineup for a first-place team. All right, they are one game over .500 but they are still in first place. They have a better record than any other team in the division and there is no other requirement for being in first place.

Philadelphia was rough until Matt Harrison turned in his finest performance ever for the Rangers against the Phillies. Ever. Now the starting rotation is right again. The lineup should be right again.

All should be right with the world.

Time for everybody to get back to work, including those who had to take off for two weeks to tend to personal business.

1. How much of an impact will Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz have on the Rangers lineup?

2. Is the bullpen still a concern and should the Rangers start thinking about trading for help?

3. Is the A.L. West really this weak or is there one team that you think will emerge from the pack.

4. Do you think the rotation is settled again?

5. What would you do about the catching situation at this point?

14 Comments

1. Having hamilton and nellie back should increase the offense, in a week or so.
2. The bullpen is still in flux. I keep thinking about Hollands shutout and feliz blowing it. Hopefully he can right his ship as he did yesterday
3. The AL west is actually pretty strong. This division is always one of the toughest in baseball.
4. The starters are looking like they did the first 3 weeks of the season. Turned that corner.
5. I am a little concerend about Napoli. Yorvit is doing a great job behind the plate, which is what we got him for

1. Even if Hamilton and Cruz don’t produce at the plate, just having them back boosts the teams self-confidence in my opinion.
2. I agree with Mark, right now when I think about our bullpen I cringe. Holland lost a shut out because of them, we have lost other games because of them. Perhaps we should be looking to trade. Hopefully Neftali will be back to his previous state soon.
3. It’s still early in the year, I’ll admit I haven’t kept up with the other ALW teams very well this year, but if they’ve had an up and down season like us, who knows who will shine by the end of the season. It’s only May.
4. The starters are making me smile. I’m not 100% convinced though. I’ll need a couple more stable starts from each before I jump for joy that it all worked out.
5. I’m not really concerned about the catchers when they are behind the plate, when they are at bat however is another story. Let’s work with them, perhaps change their swings a bit, they have got to start producing. I’d like to see Teagarden get a start or two and see if he can produce at bat in the majors like he was doing at RR.

1. I think it will be an immediate impact on the offense. They both were looking pretty good against decent pitching in Round Rock. Hamilton/Cruz sounds a lot better than Gentry/Chavez.
2. I think Lowe has it figured out, but I’m worried about our aging lefties. If there were to be a trade, late inning bullpen help is where I would start.
3. The other three teams in the division have way too much pitching to think they are not good teams. I would not be surprised if all 4 teams end up over .500.
4. I like the rotation as is, but if we can get a solid starter, I wouldn’t mind moving Holland or Harrison to the bullpen to get some help from the left side.
5. I wouldn’t change anything. Yorvit should get the majority of starts and Napoli is the backup, right handed 1st baseman.

1. Their presence will significantly impact the lineup. Look for Kinsler, Beltre and Davis to heat up soon (especially Davis).

2. The bullpen is our biggest concern. Felix is not healthy enough to throw off speed pitches and our bullpen is not good enough to give Feliz any more time off. We need to look outside of the organization for help (possibly PIT’s Joel Hanrahan or CHC’s Carlos Marmol).

3. The AL West is awful. The Mariners have 3 SP’s pitching out of their mind and they are in last place, because they can’t produce runs. Oakland and Los Angeles are in the same boat. In the last week the Rangers look like they have the same problem. I still expect the Rangers to gradually run away with the division, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

4. The rotation is fine. If there is a star like Josh Johnson, Zack Greinke or Matt Garza available at the deadline we have to pull the plug. Other than that, leave it as is.

5. We signed Napoli for his offense and Torrealba for it’s defense. At the moment, Napoli can’t hit but is playing great defense. Torrealba still can’t hit, and look lazy behind the plate. I would give Napoli the majority of the starts and hope that the presence of Cruz and Hamilton will allow him to hit like he did at the beginning of the year.

I fully expect Davis to heat up now that he’s in triple A.

1: I’m hopeful that they make a huge impact. I think at worst they take the pressure off some of the other guys (Kinsler) who can now relax and not try for the evasive none-on 5-run homer.
2. Yes. Yes.
3. The Rangers are that team that will emerge. Oakland was counting on their pitching being that much better than Texas to cover up the hitting differences. Texas’ pitching is far too good for that to happen.
4. As settled as a Rangers rotation can be. Holland is still going to be a little to up and down for comfort.
5. With Cruz/Hamilton back, and the struggles at the plate of the overall team, I think you have to give Napoli a chance to take the bulk of the reps. He’s been better than advertised behind the plate, while Torrealba – not so much.

1. Josh and Nelly will have a huge impact on the lineup. They make the lineup significantly deeper and gives guys like MY and Beltre more protection. We saw MY get intentionally walked last week. I’m curious on how Wash will make out his batting order tonight, but I’d suspect that we will see something similar to the start of the season.

2. The Rangers are in a tough position because the price for bullpen arms is extremely high, and you don’t want to mortgage the farm system in a trade for a bullpen peice. The Rangers will probably end up making a trade at some point and Chris Davis is a likely trade chip. The bullpen has to be addressed, but the team will need to act smart when addressing it. At the same time, the Rangers can’t keep pushing their young kids up to the big leagues before they are ready and have them suffer a setback in their development because of it.

3. The Rangers are still the team to most likely seperate itself from the rest of the AL West. As of this weekend, the Rangers had more players on the DL than any other club in baseball with 10 players on the active DL. The Rangers weren’t just missing 10 players, they were missing their MVP and their boomstick. The AL West will be competitive and there is more competitive balance this year in the AL than any other year in recent memory. It’s truely remarkable the parity in the league.

4. The rotation has been settled. Pitchers are going to have bad starts, but overall the starting rotation has been way more than we could have hoped for. Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison are back on track. Ogando has been unreal and it’s almost impossible to even consider moving him to the bullpen at this point.

5. Can’t fault the catching situation when the starters are throwing such good games. I’ll take a below .200 hitter and have my starters go 7+ quality innings

1. They should have an immense impact over the long term. Hopefully they can both stay healthy
2. Yes. It may be easier to pry away a difference making reliever at the deadline when teams are realizing they’re out of contention, but O’Day should be back by then. Tanner Scheppers, and/or Neil Ramirez could be a factor by that time as well. Scott Feldman could be back soon. I’m all for exploring trade options until then, but a move made out of panic isn’t advisable.
3. I don’t think it’s this weak. There will be more than 1 team above .500 by season’s end.
4. As settled as I can remember it. The club has used one spot starter almost 8 weeks into the season, 4/5 rotation members have good ERA’s and Holland, after a rough patch has looked much better his last 2 times out.
5. I’m comfortable with it. Napoli has been scuffling lately and his batting average is unsightly, but his on base % and slugging are on par with his career numbers. I like the way Torrealba works with the staff. I think they’ll both come around offensively. The Rangers catching is batting .221 on balls put in play and that’s a trend that is unlikely to continue over the long term. Plus, even with these offensive struggles to this point, they’re still more productive than the catchers from last season, their defense has been good, overall, and, most importantly, they seem to be handling the staff well.

They seemed to be significant last year.
Bring back Pedro Strop
The Angels have a bloated payroll and the Athletics don’t have enough money to put together a good offense. Seattle just doesn’t have any offense.
Guess we don’t have to worry what will happen when Tommy Hunter gets back.
Quit overexposing Napoli and he’ll be fine

1. I think having Josh and Nellie in the lineup should will help other guys see better pitches to hit. Especially with Josh back, I think this will make everybody else relax and then I think the offense will look like the one that started the season 9 – 1.
2. yes, I am still conrcerned about the bullpen. I think that is the one thing that is still a glaring problem on this team. Now I do not know who is availble but yes they need to start looking to get the bullpen stablized.
3. I still think that the Rangers are the best overall team in the AL west take that however you want. And they have some key pieces that have been out for a while and are coming back. I think each of the other teams will go through slumps because of there lack of offense and hopefully with our lineup getting healthy and the way we have been pitching here lately. I think the Rangers are ready to go on a good winning streak soon.
4. I see no reason to tinker with the rotation right now. It is just fine right now. We can talk about this again when we have pitchers getting back and healthy that would be an upgrade over Holland or Harrison. But I think it would be a mistake to take Ogando out of the rotation he has been the Rangers best pitcher so far this season. I thnk the Rangers have found a diamond in the rough with Ogando.
5. I think that our catching sitaution is better than last year. I do not know if any people agree with my assessment. Now, neither guys are hitting but I think Napoli is just in a slump he will pull out of it and get his usual numbers. But really they are no worse off than they were last year if you ask me. I think both have done a good job of catching just not offensively.

1. Their impact will be somewhat gradual–both hitters need time to adjust to major league pitching, and opposing pitchers need to learn to be scared of them again.

2. I think the jury is still out on the bullpen. With Eppley being swapped for Tateyama, it is clear that Rangers management feels that Pedro Strop still has not recovered his stuff. I’m hoping that yesterday against the Phillies means that Feliz has turned the corner. At this point, hawking for trades is a bad idea because of the steep price. I’m intrigued by the idea of getting Matt Capps from Minnesota, but not at the expense of trading a guy like Martin Perez.

3. The Angels and Rangers are both dealing with some massive underachievement right now. Seattle and Oakland are both as weak as their records suggest, but Texas and Anaheim shouldn’t be.

4. Settled? Yes. Settled down? No. Hopefully Harrison’s rough patch is over, but I’m not holding my breath. Holland is only ever one bad inning away from a blowout. Ogando has been eye-opening, for sure. C.J. and Colby appear to have recaptured some of their magic. Honestly, for those three pitchers on the DL, they are fighting for two spots in the rotation… and it looks like Webb is going to get left out in the cold.

5. From what I understand, the ERA for our pitchers is lower when Napoli is catching than with Torrealba. The thing that concerns me about Napoli is his average, but we new that going in. Torrealba doesn’t seem to be that outstanding behind the plate……or beside it for that matter. I think my opinions on the catching would be stronger if we had seen more of Teagarden during his last stint with the Rangers.

1. Not much of one for another week to 10 days. I wouldn’t be surprised to see pitchers challenge them more on the homestead. That said, their presence alone makes everyone else more comfortable and everyone on the other team a little more wary.
2. Yes and yes. I wish we could have got Chris Davis a little more playing time because I think he’ll be a key piece in a deal.
3. The Rangers will begin pulling away if they can ever get (and stay) healthy. The rest of the division is only a few power bats away from being right there with us however.
4. I never thought it was unsettled.
5. Everyone lauds Torrealba’s defense but the guy shows no desire to go down and block a ball. I’d like to see his number of past balls/wild pitches compared to Treanor’s with the same pitchers last year. He shows no effort and its cost us several runs this year (including the game winner last week).

First off, Torrealba hasn’t allowed a PB all season. Secondly, what is and should be lauded is Torrealba’s handling of the staff and pitch calling. That’s why he was signed and it’s been as advertised. I don’t remember hearing glowing remarks about the other areas of his defense game.

I’m only going to comment on the following:
2) Bullpen is a concern….Better without Tucker, SAtrop and Eppley. Let’s see what Tateyama does before we panic. Too much reliance on the 40 year olds but I understand why Ron Washington does that.
3) Oakland is a concern because of it’s pitching. I think we’ll heat it up a bit now with our 3 injured guys back.
5.) Catching if fine. I think Ron Washington really wanted to keep Teagarden up so that he had some flexability. Defense is great! Both just need to heat up the hitting

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