Sunday, August 3, 2008


Baseball is My Boyfriend has been invited to join a new network of sports blogs, My Team Rivals. I hope you will all bookmark the new site and continue your readership, as it has been much-appreciated.

The new address is:

Rangers outhit and outpitched by Blue Jays

The Bluejays had more errors than the Rangers in Saturday night's game, but they still managed to win the game. I guess it's karma for the Rangers' 5-error win earlier this week.

Scott Feldman was supposed to go to the bullpen after the All-Star Break to give his arm a break. But with injuries, the Rangers have no other option than to keep marching Feldman out there every five days. Fortunately, Scott has something in him that keeps him going. He churned out a mostly-quality start in Saturday night's triple-digit temperatures. The first inning got a bit ugly, with his own throwing error as he attempted to nail a runner at second. But he dug out of that and kept his team in the game through the 5th inning.

The offense was a bit sporadic. Yes, I think that's the best word for it, although the strike zone was atrocious and inconsistent. Still, the Rangers were sat down in order in three different innings. One of them was a bit unconventional, however, as Travis Metcalf was picked off first after reaching on an error in the 7th. Michael Young and Ian Kinsler were a combined 0 for 8. Frank Catalanotto, Josh Hamilton, David Murphy and Gerald Laird were the only ones who managed hits off the Bluejay pitching staff. Ham, Murph and Laird each had two, and Murphy drew one of just two walks of the evening.

The Rangers had a 3-2 lead going into the 6th inning. Feldman quickly surrendered hits to Marco Scutaro and Alex Rios and a walk to Overbay. He was saved a bit by a tremendous throw from Josh Hamilton to nail Scutaro at third after Rios' single, although Rios advanced to second. With one out and runners at first and second, Ron Washington decided to pull Feldman and bring in Jamey Wright. At this point, Feldman was up to 93 pitches, which was probably a stretch for that right arm, but one ground ball would have gotten him out of the mess. And Matt Stairs was coming up next. But, I'm not paid to make the decisions, Wash is. For some reason, he found Stairs to be a huge threat (even though he was 0 for 2 at this point) and told Wright to intenntionally walk Stairs to get to Barajas. Barajas has a history of popping up, but his batting average was higher than Stairs'. As you can tell, Wash's decision backfired and Barajas doubled in Overbay and Rios. Scott Rolen was up next, and he drove in Stairs. Brad Wilkerson grounded out to end the inning, but the damage had been done.

Gerald Laird got one run back in the bottom of the 6th. Josh Hamilton was hit by a pitch and scored on Laird's double. That was the end of the Rangers' offensive threat, although they tried to get the rally going again in the 7th and 9th, getting the lead-off hitter on base in each case, but they were unable to bring him around.

KISS: Gerald Laird and Josh Rupe. Laird was 2 for 4 with one RBI and one run scored. He also caught Alex Rios trying to steal in the 2nd inning. Meanwhile, Rupe threw three scoreless innings and notched three Ks after Wright's meltdown.

MISS: Michael Young was 0 for 4 with three Ks. I appreciate him trying to play through his fractured finger, but if it's only hurting the team, then maybe he should take those five to seven days off.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Hunter debuts, Wilson sinks...pitching staff fired

Quite a night for the Rangers pitching corps.

Tommy Hunter became the 7th rookie pitcher to debut for the Rangers. He got a bit roughed up, but I liked what he was throwing out there. He'll be fine with a little more time.

C.J. Wilson came into a tied game in the 9th and gave up two runs. This has become characteristic of C.J. as of late, and while many think he should be demoted from the closer role, I'm not ready to give up on him yet. He's going to go through bad streaks and take some lumps. That's part of LEARNING the role. And I bet no one's harder on C.J. about these outings than C.J. himself.

Of course, I still think much of our pitching problem rests on the shoulders of the coaches...but now they're gone. After the game, Texas fired bullpen coach Dom Chiti and pitching coach Mark Connor. I could not be more surprised. I'm also a bit relieved. I do not honestly believe our pitchers are as bad as their numbers imply. And at one time this season, we had NINE pitchers on the disabled list. Someone has to be accountable for that. Andy Hawkins and Jim Colborn are the replacements. I've been impressed with Hawkins' work in OKC (particularly with how he handled Kam last year) but I'm unfamiliar with Colborn. Still, I'm anxious for a change. Anything has to be better than what we've been doing.

Moving on, August is off to a fine start. July ended a bit shaky and with quite a bit of disappointment. But it's a new month, and the Rangers aren't completely out of the playoff race. They're somewhat in the wild card, but I am afraid to let myself believe in that. There are still too many games to play and too many teams to pass. But it's nice that these games aren't completely meaningless.

Tonight's game, as I mentioned, was roller coaster. A lot of them have been lately. The first inning was definitely an omen of things to come -- pitchers' obstruction (when Davis pushed Hunter into the runner trying to get to first) and catcher's interference. I'm not sure there were any other weird plays we could have seen. There was another error later on, and the Rangers dug themselves into a 6-0 hole in four innings.

Bottom four, Catalanotto hits an unlikely double to left. Young grounds out. But have no fear, Josh Hamilton is here. He jacks a two-run shot to center field (and the kid who retrieves the ball ends up on SportsCenter). That's all they would get that inning, but the rally began percolating again in the fifth. With one out, Vazquez and Kinsler each singled and then Catalanotto pushed Vaz around with a single of his own. Young doubled to score Kinsler, but Cat got stuck at third. Ham struck out and the Blue Jays intentionally walked Byrd to get to Murphy. Mistake. Murphy singled to center, bringing Cat and Young across the plate. But then Byrd killed the rally by getting caught in a rundown between second and third.

The game was deadlocked at 6 runs a piece until the 9th. C.J. Wilson enters the game and Blue Jays' Alex Rios immediately singles to third, and Vazquez got hurt on the play. Overbay flies out, but then Lind triples and Rios scores the go-ahead run. Mench gets a sac hit and then Barajas flies out.

Good thing the Rangers have the best offense in baseball. C.J. needed them to bail him out. Kins quickly grounds out, but then Salty (pinch hitting for Cat) walks and Young singles. Boggs doubles to left center and Salty scores, but Young has to hold at third. AGAIN, the Blue Jays walk Byrd to get to Murphy. You'd think they learned their lesson. But no. Murph sneaks one by the third baseman and gets the walk-off win.

KISS: Murphy, Murphy, Murphy. 4th outfielder or not, I'm just glad he's in a Rangers uni. The rookie was 3-4 tonight with 4 RBI. He now has 71 RBI on the season. If THAT'S what we get from our 4th outfielder, I'll take it.

MISS: C.J. Wilson. He gave up two runs and still got the win. Something is just not right in C.J.'s head. I have no doubt he'll get it together, but it needs to be sooner rather than later. I think I'm in the minority of people who want him to finish this season as our closer.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

No sweep for you

A few weeks ago, the Rangers were allergic to the .500 line, but they quickly got over that. Their aversion to sweeps is hanging around though. Today, they fell two runs short of sweeping the A's in Oakland. It would have been a great way to get that first sweep -- being a division rival. But, alas, we still won two out of three, and the offense (which seemed to be missing in Minnesota and Chicago) returned.

During this series, the Rangers marched out three very different pitchers -- the fiery veteran Vicente Padilla, the freshfaced rookie Matt Harrison and the slightly more seasoned rookie Eric Hurley. Padilla put up zeroes in his first two innings of work on Friday, but then was mugged for five runs in the third. But, the 5-0 mystical score (and a feral cat which made its way onto the field) sparked a five-run fourth for the Rangers. The Texas bats added one more run in the 7th and then, for good measure, tacked on eight in the top of the ninth en route to a 14-6 win. On Saturday, Matt Harrison did not have his best stuff. He was a bit shaky, but he held his own out there and just kept plowing through it. He was spotted a 3-0 lead in the second, and he gave up three runs of his own before exiting the game three innings later. When he left, the score was 6-3, and he was on track for his second win. Rupe and Madrigal made sure he got it. Today, Eric Hurley returned from DL and looked sharp in the first two batters. Then, it got a bit rough, and Hurley left the game just two innings in, having given up six runs on four hits (including two homers) and two walks. Thank goodness for Dustin Nippert, Jamey Wright and CJ Wilson, who held the A's scoreless for the next seven frames. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done, and, despite a four-run 5th inning, they could not overtake the lead.

The following are my awards for the series, not just today's game...

KISS: Josh Rupe and Dustin Nippert. These two have been workhorses in the bullpen, stepping in when the starter was maxed out and keeping the game in check or within reach. The long relief guy is probably the most thankless job in the bullpen, but I'm sure glad these two are willing to take it.

MISS: It's gotta be poor Eric Hurley. I really wanted him to bounce back from the DL and have a quality outing, if nothing else. Hopefully he will get it together in time for his next start.

This week is my least favorite of the whole season -- trade deadline week. I know baseball is a business, and I know deals that are made are in the best interest of the team, but I am always a bit sad when a player leaves. I have enjoyed watching all of the players currently on the roster and honestly don't want any of them to leave. It will be interesting to see who is still wearing a Rangers uniform a week from now.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hamilton's big screen double?

I'm choosing to skip commentary on today's game for a topic that's much more entertaining -- who would play Josh Hamilton in the inevitable movie that will be made about his life someday.
Ever since Josh Hamilton burst onto the Rangers scene, there has been much talk about a biographical film. There's no doubt it would be a great story to tell, and I would definitely go see it. Several times.

Casting could be interesting though. I wasn't sure who I could see portraying Josh. Then, tonight, I broke out one of my favorite "mindless" movies, "Step Up," and it hit me.
Channing Tatum would be a great Josh Hamilton. Okay, so he's not his identical twin, and he'd definitely need to put on some muscle (and fake tattoos). But his voice is right. He carries himself right. He's athletic looking. (He's also pretty nice to look at.) I just think he'd be a great fit.
I could also see Kate Bosworth or Katherine Heigl as Katie Hamilton. Both of them are blond (key), have figures similar to Katie's and have that girl-next-door beauty/appeal. I could see either one as the supportive wife Katie has been through Josh's journey.
It'd be interesting to see who else would appear in Josh's movie. Would any of his Rangers teammates appear?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back to third

The Rangers looked like the April version of themselves tonight -- several failed opportunities with runners in scoring position (including a lead-off triple). Of course, the pitching didn't help much either. Mendoza was in an inning too long, and Nippert just couldn't shut it down either.

So, the Rangers are back in third place behind the A's. Maybe this is like that elusive .500 mark. We'll just keep flirting with it for weeks. At least we have something to flirt with, I guess. I'd like something to flirt with. Wait...that's another issue.

As with most games with the White Sox, I had to listen to DJ and Hawk. Ew. Maybe I'm a homer, but I absolutely think Josh and Tom are some of the best tv announcers in baseball (Eric and Victor are my radio choices). Hawk and DJ are just awful. They use stupid catch phrases, point out obvious things and are just plain annoying. I'm so glad tomorrow is the last game with the South Siders this season. I can't take much more "he gone" or "and you can put it on the boooooooard. yes!"

KISS: Chris Davis. Not only did he ensure there was no shut out (I don't want to give Buehrle that satisfaction), but he was 3 for 4 tonight and has raised his avg to .267. Nice to see that kind of production from 1B again.

MISS: Mendoza and Nippert. Luis surrendered six runs on nine hits and two walks. Dustin served up four runs on four hits and three walks. Each of them gave up a home run -- Luis' was a three-run shot to Swisher and Dustin's was a grand slam to Ramirez.

Hopefully the boys can bounce back tomorrow afternoon so they can be at least hold steady with Oakland going into the bay.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hello second place!

I hadn't planned to blog after tonight's game, but how can I not acknowledge the fact that my boys are now in second place in the AL West!! Not too shabby, especially considering the weekend they had in Minnesota. Oakland has lost six straight games, which helped the Rangers a little. We're still nine games behind the Angels, but hey ... I'll take it.

Nice homers from the two Hams tonight -- Josh Hamilton and Hank "Hammer" Blalock. White Sox fans may have clamored for Josh's autograph before the game, but I'm sure they weren't too thrilled to see his three-run bomb in the third. It's good to see Hank swinging the bat well again. He didn't look that awful in Minneapolis, honestly. He just failed to hit the ball to a gap in the Metrodome. Tonight, he unloaded a two-run shot.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia proved he WAS more than ready to return to the field (as he told me Sunday). He went 2 for 3 tonight with a walk and a run scored.

I'm starting to worry a bit about Ian Kinsler, who is 0-fer since the All-Star break. A day off seemed to help Josh Hamilton and I wonder if it wouldn't do the same for Kins.

KISS: Scott Feldman. He wasn't even supposed to start in the second half, but he pinch hit (pitched) for the hurting Hurley tonight and held the White Sox to just one run (a Quentin home run). He threw six innings and gave up four hits and three walks. I love this version of Feldman. Hopefully our rotation can get healthy again so he can ease up a bit and be ready to be a fixture in that rotation next season.

MISS: Milton Bradley, who was 0 for 5 with three Ks.