Found June 25, 2013 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
Los Angeles Angels
It's amazing the difference seven days can make in a 162-game baseball season. The Rangers appeared to be falling to the wayside as a playoff contender after dropping six straight games to the Indians and Blue Jays.
In fact, it was the Rangers who helped jump-start the Blue Jays' 11-game winning streak that was finally snapped by the Rays on Monday. But the Rangers managed to take 3-of-4 games against the A's and swept the best team in baseball, the Cardinals, at Busch Stadium over the weekend.
Rangers manager Ron Washington admitted his team could've been "buried" during that difficult stretch, but that's not what happened. They once again sit atop the A.L. West standings with a half-game lead over an A's team that just dropped two of three games to the Mariners. I believe the team basically gave general manager Jon Daniels his marching orders over the past week. The Rangers are going to stay in this race until the end, and it's up to Daniels and his staff to trade for either a frontline starting pitcher or a corner outfielder with some pop.
The Rangers' offense stabilized over the past seven games thanks in part to the return of second baseman Ian Kinsler. After briefly hitting Kinsler third in the order, Washington moved him back to the leadoff spot. His presence has calmed shortstop Elvis Andrus, who went into one of the worst slumps of his career during Kinsler's absence. Right fielder Nelson Cruz has taken Lance Berkman's spot at No. 3 in the order, and he may never give it up. He leads the Rangers in both home runs (19) and RBIs (55). Berkman is having trouble with his back and knees, which shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.
Of course, you can't bring up Cruz's name without thinking about the Biogenesis investigation hanging over his head. There were indications last week that Major League Baseball wanted to move quickly in order to avoid having suspected players participate in the All-Star game. But that's not the read Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan is getting from Bud Selig.
"We realize that the players' association has to be brought in and any other investigations and then they're going to have to do interviews with the players they suspect, so I think it's going to be a long drawn-out affair," Ryan told us Monday on KESN-FM 103.3 . "I don't really expect, as had been rumored from ESPN, that they might do something right after the All-Star break."
The Rangers should still be proactive in shopping for a corner fielder, but perhaps the situation isn't as dire as we'd thought. And this might be a good time to discuss a long-term contract with Cruz. Even if he has to serve a 50-game suspension, the Rangers shouldn't be in a hurry to distance from him. Cruz has been an extremely productive player who's excelled in the playoffs. It's not like there's anyone in the minor-league pipeline ready to take his place next season. Mike Olt's bounced back nicely from a vision problem that forced him to leave Triple-A Round Rock temporarily, but it's too early to say he'd be the definite replacement for Cruz.
Cruz could play right field for another year or two and then spend the rest of his career as a designated hitter. And he's such a beloved player that a 50-game suspension isn't going to alienate him from teammates. The A's were so upset with starting pither Bartolo Colon's suspension that they didn't waste any time bringing him back for another season.
The Rangers found out the hard way not to place their trust in building through free agency. They've done a good job signing core players such as Kinsler and Andrus to long-term extensions. And based on his production this season, you have to also consider Cruz a core player.
It's easy to become enamored with young players such as Leonys Martin and Jurickson Profar. But neither of those players will ever have the power that Cruz brings to the order. The Rangers can live without Josh Hamilton's monster numbers because he was such a drain on his teammates and fans. That's not the case with Cruz.
It's a good sign that Ryan, who knows MLB commissioner Bud Selig very well, doesn't sound worried about losing Cruz anytime soon. The Rangers went in the tank without Kinsler, and losing Cruz might have a similar impact on this team.
"I don't know that there's a time frame that MLB dealing with," Ryan said. "I know that they are in a fact-finding mode right now, so we'll just have to wait and see how that plays out. But do I worry about losing Nellie here shortly? No, I don't. I really think he'll be with us and we'll just have to see where that goes."
We saw how Josh Hamilton faded during a contract season. Well, Cruz is dealing with even more distractions than Hamilton hadand he's flourishing.
Now's the time to start negotiating with him on a new deal.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Texas Rangers are in New York for a series against the Yankees, and starting pitcher Derek Holland participated in some off-day activities that did not go as planned:
Off to enjoy a sweet lol concert of the counting crows. Should be a good time
— Derek Holland (@Dutch_Oven45) June 24, 2013
Did u know that u can get kicked out of a concert for 1 standing up and enjoying the...
Texas pitcher Derek Holland has become a favorite of the MLB Fan Cave.
Last year when the Rangers made the trip to New York, Holland and then teammate Ryan Dempster did Harry Caray impersonations at the Fan Cave.
Holland made a return trip with the Rangers in New York, taking a new bit and a new teammate with him.
Holland and Justin Grimm donned outfits from "Dumb and Dumber...
Rangers Elvis Andrus has been having fun on the field trying to get under Adrian Beltre's skin on a near-constant basis this season from trying touch the third basemen's head (something Beltre can't stand) to attempting to get in the way of a routine play.
Well now, Beltre finally got his chance to turn the tables on Andrus for once.
During the ninth inning of Saturday...
The Texas Rangers had reportedly been in the market for a right-handed-hitting outfielder since the start of the season, and this was obviously before Craig Gentry -- who had been filling that role for the team -- went down with his hand injury. Gentry is expected to miss at least a month with his non-displaced fracture, and this is only expected to intensify Texas' search,...
The Texas Rangers have put outfielder Craig Gentry on the 15 day disabled list with a non-displaced fracture of his left hand and recalled outfielder Engel Beltre from Triple A Round Rock.
Gentry was hit in the hand by a Jarrod Parker pitch last Tuesday and hasn't played since then. An MRI Saturday revealed the fracture and the move is retroactive to Friday.
Gentry is hitting...
The Texas Rangers placed outfielder Craig Gentry on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Friday, with a non-displaced fracture of his left hand.
Outfielder Engel Beltre was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock in time for Sunday night's game against the Cardinals.
Gentry was hit by a pitch June 18 against Oakland and an MRI exam taken Saturday revealed the fracture. He'...
The Texas Rangers have placed outfielder Craig Gentry on the
disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his left hand. While he’ll hit
the 15-day DL, the Rangers don’t expect to have Gentry back for at least
another month as a result of his hand injury, according to T.R. Sullivan of
Gentry suffered the injury Tuesday when he was hit on the hand
Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.84 ERA) pitches for the first time in the Bronx with the Rangers in town to take on Hiroki Kuroda (7-5, 2.78 ERA) and the Bombers. Kuroda pitched well in his last start against his former team, giving up just two runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings. Over his last two starts, he has given up just four runs.
After Darvish went 8-1 in his first nine outings, the...
Ian Kinsler singled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning after the Rangers knocked 10-game winner Adam Wainwright out of the game, and Texas completed a soggy three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-1 victory Sunday night.
The finale of Texas' first visit to Busch Stadium since losing Games 6 and 7 of the 2011 World Series, and first time ever in the regular...
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Ian Kinsler singled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning after the Rangers knocked 10-game winner Adam Wainwright out of the game, and Texas completed a soggy, three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-1 victory Sunday night.
The finale of Texas' first visit to Busch Stadium since losing Games 6 and 7 of the 2011 World Series, and first time...
NEW YORK (AP) -- Ichiro Suzuki homered off Tanner Scheppers with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the New York Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Suzuki's drive to right-center was the Yankees' fourth home run of the game, three coming off Japanese ace Yu Darvish, and it helped New York improve to 4-3 on a homestand that ends after two...
Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers won a memorable duel when he squared off with Hiroki Kuroda and the New York Yankees for the first time.
More than a year later in the rematch - the 11th matchup between Japanese starting pitchers in major league history - it's Darvish trying to put the brakes on the longest winless stretch of his career Tuesday night in New York.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Nelson Cruz homered and the Texas Rangers got consecutive two-run doubles from Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski in an 8-5 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
Rangers rookie Justin Grimm pitched just well enough to beat Andy Pettitte, and the AL West leaders won for the seventh time in nine games following a six-game slide -- their longest of the...
Nelson Cruz homered and the Texas Rangers got consecutive two-run doubles from Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski in an 8-5 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
Rangers rookie Justin Grimm pitched just well enough to beat Andy Pettitte, and the AL West leaders won for the seventh time in nine games following a six-game slide - their longest of the season. Texas improved...