Weekends With Toby: What A Difference A Week Makes

Last week we were moaning about the fact the Rangers missed an opportunity to go 8 games up on the Angels after a walk-off win by LAA.  This week we’re moaning because the Rangers could drop into a tie for the division lead with the Angels by the end of Friday night.  Toby’s worried, very worried. 

The Heat Is On The Pitching Staff 

Everybody is talking about the Rangers young pitching and how they are holding up over the course of their first full seasons as starters. Darren Oliver and C.J. Wilson both made the same point before Friday’s game. 

At this point of the season, you have to be more of a pitcher. You can’t just physically overpower hitters and rely on the fastball. They said that before Alexi Ogando gave up four home runs all on fastballs in the Rangers 6-0 loss to the Orioles on Friday night. 

So it may be that Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Ogando just have to pitch smarter as the season heads into the final month. 

But as far as fatigue, you still have to take into consideration the weather. This summer has been brutal and that’s why you saw low attendance for the Red Sox game. It’s August. Everybody has been dealing with this heat all summer and it’s pretty clear that people are just sick and tired of dealing with it. 

Toby’s Honor Roll 

1. Round Rock Express – They have already wrapped up a division title and still have a chance to finish with the best overall record in Triple A 

2. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – They are bringing their A game to Arlington 

3. Jeff Guinn – Old friend from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has become a renown national author of non-fiction. Two books to look for from him: one is the Last Gunfight, the true story of the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral. The other is Go Down Together, the real story of Bonnie and Clyde. Both are highly recommended.

Toby’s Puppies:  See you September?  Last week we mentioned Beau Jones, here are a couple of other potential September Rangers we might see. 

RHP Mark Hamburger (AAA Round Rock – acquired from Twins in trade for Everyday Eddie Guardado)  — aside from a name that the local beat writers will have a field day with, for July and August he’s been an very effective reliever:  31 1/3 IP, 22 Hits, 8 BB, 21 K, 1.72 ERA. 

OF Lenoys Martin (AAA Round Rock – not drafted, free agent signing) After a tearing it up at AA Frisco (.348 BA/1.007 OPS) the recent Cuban defector  has struggled a bit at AAA (.264 BA/ .629 OPS) he could be a candidate for a cup of coffee this September as a pinch runner. 

Toby Barks:  RIP Mike Flanigan.  One of Toby’s favorite Flanigan quotes (describing  the  Orioles pitching staff): “[Jim] Palmer is Cy Old, [Steve] Stone is Cy Present and Storm [Davis] is Cy Future. When you get hurt, you become Cy-bex. When you’re done, you become Cy-onara.” 

Birthdays:  Go ahead try and pronounce their names, and then wish them a Happy Birthday this week:  former Met RHP Bartome Fortunato turns 38,  Red Sox IF Arquimedez  Poza is also 38 and Cards RHP Marc Rzepczynski is 26.  He went from managing the Red Sox in the very memorable 1975 World Series to managing the less than memorable 1980 Rangers (64-98) for 66 games – Darrell Johnson was born August 25, 1928. 

He was here and then he was gone – Cliff Lee celebrates No. 33 this week.  He’s still here, but we wish his glove was here too (just kidding, sort of) Elvis Andrus turns  23 this week.  His brother has all the stats and the fame, but he is the true miracle worker – by finally “getting some pitching” out of the Rangers – Mike Maddux celebrates the big 50. 

A few HOFer’s have birthdays this week:  Rollie  Fingers and his mustache will be 65.  He’s still a force to be reckoned with – Frank Robinson is 75.  In Toby’s opinion, he was indeed “the greatest hitter ever” – Teddy Ballgame – Ted Williams was born August 30, 1918. 

Birthday of the Week:  for most of the 80’s he was “Lone Star” on some awful Ranger teams, watching him play 3B was always a treat, and it was great to see him at the Rangers HOF weekend earlier this month:  Buddy Bell is 60 years old this week.

Toby’s Reading List:  Let’s lighten things up a bit. 

Cardinals OF Matt Holliday says:  I can’t hear you, I have a moth in my ear.

Milwaukee Minor League OF Logan Schafer says:  The skipper is always telling us to use our head out there.

Grant Brisbee at the SBN website skewers the weekly MLB “power rankings” with interesting, often amusing, criteria of his own. Last week he ranked the teams by the most interesting player who only hit one HR for each MLB team.  I’d have to challenge him on his pick for the Rangers – what about Bud Harrelson? He played 87 games for the 1980 Rangers and hit just 1 HR, which turned out to be the last one of his 7 HR career.

Last Call

You’re not going to win every game, things aren’t going to go right every single night. We’re going to have a lead late, and we’re going to lose games. That’s just the nature of baseball. You’re going to win games late. We don’t stick on one loss or one win. That’s the great thing about baseball. We play another game basically every day. Tonight’s the most important game, and after tomorrow will be.”  —  Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler

I see a couple of the guys are tired. Mentally, we’re kind of tired. We have to find a way to come tomorrow with energy. It’s going to be a good series. It was a good series the last time we played, and it’s going to be a good series here. Mentally, physically, we have to get prepared and ready for the series. Obviously we’re still in first place and that’s the main thing. We’ve got to forget about this past series against Boston and move on and try to win the series against Anaheim.”  — Rangers Catcher Yorvit Torrealba

A Worried Woof! Woof! — Toby


For the first time this season I begin to doubt that we can do it. I hope the team doesn’t feel this way. Implicit in the teams approach to starting pitching….extend them out in the beginning of the season…no 100 pitch count rule…is the fact that the starters will have thrown quite a few innings by this point. The bulk of the staff is young and I think it’s fading…gone to reliance on the fastball perhaps because the breaking stuff and the off speed stuff isn’t as sharp or can’t be controlled. We haven’t had this problem recently because in some years we threw as many as 26 pitchers out there. One thing is certain the guys will have to rebound against the Angels or fade into 2nd place.

The team’s approach was necessary early. Remember how awful this bullpen was early on? This team is in first place and they always seem to rise up when they need to. The bullpen is better now. It will be a fight, but I am confident our Rangers will win the fight. People have been fearing the Angels all year. Fear them when they take over first. Until then, they should fear the Rangers. (I know, I know. That’s about as “homer” as it gets! That’s how homers go.)

I heard worrying about us when we had 10 left with the Angels. After 5 of those 10? Rangers 4 wins – 1 loss. I think more pressure is on the Angels. It is probably why they keep making so many crucial errors. Not happy with the bullpen tonight, but the game was in the bag. This Rangers team seems to always rise to the occasion. Wait until we see what happens tomorrow……

I agree Rodney nice first part of the game last night…yucky last part. Here are some numbers:
2010/2011 innings

Wilson 204/181
Lewis 174/165

Ogando 41/ 151
Harrison 78/ 153
Holland 57/165

To be fair Holland had 138 innings in 2009. The sky’s not falling. Just something to think about. It’s really the price we pay for having healthy starter this year.

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