Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:42 am
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Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:37 am
ST. LOUIS -- The innings added up. The innings caught up to them.
We don't know for sure if that's the answer for what happened to the Rangers bullpen, but it seems like a reasonable guess.
We do know the results.
In six American League Championship Series games against the Tigers, the Ranger relievers were basically unhittable, with a 1.32 ERA.
In seven World Series games against the Cardinals, the Ranger relievers were basically unwatchable, with a 7.43 ERA.
"The bullpen won the ALCS," general manager Jon Daniels said. "Then they struggled here."
The bullpen pitched too much in the first two rounds, because the starters didn't pitch enough. To be fair, the Cardinals had the same problem . . . and maybe that's why their bullpen leaked a little at the end, as well.
You could see it happening. I wrote about it when the Rangers lost Game 3. Mike Adams admitted then that fatigue could be setting in, especially with ALCS difference-maker Alexi Ogando (who would end up allowing 14 baserunners in just 2 2/3 World Series innings).
When it was over, Adams said he wasn't sure.
"You never know," he said. "I'm not sure you can say that's why we weren't as effective.
"The bullpen had a good run. We just didn't pitch as well [in the World Series] as we did in the last series."
You've got to think the workload had something to do with it. But it's not like they could have done much to lighten that load, short of risking an ALCS loss by forcing more innings from their rotation.
"You're aware of it," Daniels said. "But at that point, there's not much you can do about it."
He had tried. He was as active as any GM in seeking bullpen help in midseason trades, adding Adams, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez. But Adams seemed to run out of gas, Uehara was a complete bust in the postseason (three appearances, three home runs), and Gonzalez was only mildly effective.
And the bullpen that beat the Tigers never made it to the World Series.
The bullpen that won the ALCS basically lost the World Series.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:49 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 1:59 pm
ST. LOUIS -- Remember when the Rangers traded for Koji Uehara?
He cost them two players (Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter) in a deal with the Orioles, and he was supposed to be a big July addition to their bullpen.
Three months later, he's off the World Series roster. The Rangers announced two roster moves Wednesday morning, adding reliever Mark Lowe and third catcher Matt Treanor, and removing Uehara and fellow Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama. The moves were expected, but still interesting.
Uehara appeared three times in the first two rounds of the playoffs, allowing almost as many home runs (three) as he got outs (four). The Rangers replaced him with Lowe, who has been out since Sept. 20 with a strained left hamstring.
Treanor was on the roster for the Division Series, but not for the American League Championship Series. The reasoning then was that the Tigers were starting all right-handers, making it less likely that manager Ron Washington would use backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba as a designated hitter (and thus lessening the need for a third catcher). As it turned out, Torrealba was the Rangers' DH for one of the games in Detroit.
The Cardinals have one left-handed starter, Jaime Garcia, but as of now he's scheduled to start Game 2, which will be played at Busch Stadium, without a DH.
The Cardinals also announced two expected roster moves Wednesday, adding Skip Schumaker, who missed the National League Championship Series with an oblique injury, and Jake Westbrook, who gives them some cover as a long reliever. Adron Chambers and Kyle McClellan were dropped from the roster.
With Uehara and Tateyama off the roster, this will be the second straight World Series with no Japanese players. In fact, if there's a Japanese player who makes news this week, it's more likely to be Yu Darvish, who could be one of the top pitchers available this winter (and who the Rangers may end up pursuing through the posting system).
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:42 pm
BOSTON -- Friday in the Boston Globe, columnist Dan Shaughnessy called Red Sox-Yankees the "overdue dream ALCS matchup."
Spend enough time in this part of the country, especially during Red Sox-Yankees week, and you can get sucked into believing that an all-AL East ALCS is not only overdue and dream, but also inevitable.
Until the Rangers come to town and remind you that they are the defending American League champions.
Friday's reminder was a loud one, with three home runs and a 10-0 win over the Red Sox.
Yes, there is another AL team capable of going to the World Series, and it's the same team that went there last year.
The Rangers themselves would rather not talk about it, because unlike the Yankees and Red Sox they're not yet close to guaranteeing their spot in the playoffs. Their 3 1/2-game lead over the Angels, entering play Friday, gives them the most tenuous hold of any of the eight teams currently in playoff position.
"I don't think that far ahead, because there are no guarantees in this game," manager Ron Washington said. "We haven't won anything yet."
But while winning the West is not an insignificant issue, it's reasonable to assume that the Rangers will hold off the Angels. It's also reasonable to think that they could pose a real threat to the Red Sox and/or the Yankees.
The lineup is basically the one that eliminated the Yankees last October, with Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba in place of Vladimir Guerrero and Bengie Molina.
Yes, but Cliff Lee is gone.
Yes, he is. But the Rangers' rotation is deeper than you think, and the Rangers have strengthened their bullpen so much that they can limit the outs they need from those starters.
"You make the best of what you have," pitching coach Mike Maddux said Friday. "And I like what we have."
The Rangers made the best midseason move in baseball last year when they traded for Lee. They made the best series of midseason moves this year with their deals for relievers Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez, as colleague Scott Miller detailed a few weeks back.
With strong lineups all around the American League -- and rotation questions all around, too -- this year's AL playoffs could well be decided by the bullpens. The Rangers, who read the trade market well, could be in as good position as anyone.
The challenge for Maddux and Washington is to keep their starters from getting too worn down before October begins.
C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis both pitched through October last year, and you wonder about how that will affect them. Alexi Ogando is a converted reliever who has already pitched more than twice as many innings this year as he did all of last year.
Derek Holland, who beat the Red Sox by throwing seven shutout innings and allowing just two hits Friday night, has pitched more innings than he did a year ago.
"I'm not concerned," Washington said. "But of course we're looking at it. There is some drawback to these young guys not being there before, but it is also something they have to experience. Every starting staff in baseball that makes it to the postseason, consistently, they have to go through it before they figure it out.
"So we're going through it."
Wilson said Friday he feels better physically than he did entering September a year ago, saying he "refined" his workouts and has seen the effect.
Privately, the Rangers hope that they can create some distance between themselves and the Angels soon, in part because it would enable them to give their starters (and even some of their position players) extra rest before October.
Publicly, they say they don't expect the Angels to go away.
But the Rangers also believe that they're more ready for what's ahead, this month and probably next, than they were a year ago.
"Last year, we were constantly talking about staying focused," Michael Young said. "This year, there's no need to talk about it, because we know. We just know it."
They know that, and they know they're good.
And if everyone in the Northeast (and a bunch of people elsewhere) want to assume that this year is all about the Red Sox and Yankees, the Rangers aren't going to worry about it.
"That doesn't bother us at all," Young said. "It's a great rivalry (Yankees-Red Sox). I think if you go to our part of the country, I think you'd find that a lot of people are talking about us."
Win again in October, they'll have people talking everywhere.
Posted on: July 31, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 5:26 pm
The Yankees always get what they want, right?
The Yankees and Red Sox get everything. The rich get richer.
Except when they don't.
In a week where the Nationals briefly acted as buyers (sending minor leaguers to the Reds for bench player Jonny Gomes), and where the Indians and the Pirates were both buyers, the Yankees were . . . silent?
And the Red Sox were . . . not silent, but they didn't really get what they wanted.
That's not to say that the Yankees are in trouble, or that the Red Sox are. That's not to say that the Yankees have suddenly become cheap, or that the Red Sox have, either.
Just don't say they always get what they want, or even what they need.
The Red Sox came closer, with their deadline-beating three-team deal for Erik Bedard. Bedard was awful in his Friday night showcase, but he was very good earlier in the season.
But with Monday's news about Clay Buchholz -- CSN New England reported that he has a stress fracture in his back, and could be out for the year -- the Sox were more determined to add a starter than the Yankees were. In fact, CSNNE's Sean McAdam wrote, the Sox actually wanted to add two starters, and settled for one possibly healthy one (Bedard).
The Yankees were much more content to stick with what they have. But should they have been.
The Red Sox are at least solid atop their rotation, with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.
And . . .
That's it, really. The Yankees can rely on CC Sabathia.
They don't have a true No. 2. They have Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon as amazing surprises. They have A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes as amazing enigmas. They have Ivan Nova and perhaps Manuel Banuelos as talented but really untested kids.
But who starts Game 2?
Now you understand why Cliff Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies last December was so potentially devastating to the Yankees.
They were left taking a chance that a top starter would be available on the July market. They were left trying to decide if Ubaldo Jimenez or Hiroki Kuroda (who, in the end, refused to consider any trade) would fit.
"If those are the two guys, I would live with what I have," one rival scout said in the middle of last week. "And then hope that A.J. pitches better, which he probably won't."
Did the Yankees go wrong at the deadline? Only if they don't win.
Check back at the end of September, or sometime in October.
On to 3 to Watch:
1. Sabathia pitched like a true ace in July (with a 0.92 ERA in five starts). Now that they passed up on trading for help, they sure as heck need him to pitch like an ace the rest of the way, starting in Yankees at White Sox, Monday night (8:10 ET) at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox have every bit as big a need for Jake Peavy to pitch well, and more than that for him to stay healthy. The White Sox traded away Edwin Jackson, which gave them bullpen help (in Jason Frasor) and some payroll relief, but it left them with little rotation protection, in case the fragile Peavy gets hurt again.
2. The Tigers' acquisition of Doug Fister understandably got far less attention than the Indians' trade for Jimenez. But Fister serves almost as important a role for the Tigers as Jimenez does for the Indians. The Tigers are 4-16 when they've used a fifth starter, which means that even if Fister is decent, starting in Rangers at Tigers, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Comerica Park, he'll be a huge improvement. The Rangers explored adding a starter, too, but settled for making significant bullpen upgrades with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.
3. The Indians announced Monday that Jimenez won't make his Cleveland debut until Friday in Texas. But Bedard will make his Boston debut a night earlier, in Indians at Red Sox, Thursday night (7:10 ET) at Fenway Park. That series, between one of the American League's true powers and a team that wants to be thought of the same way, sure became a lot more interesting with what the Indians did Saturday night. By Thursday, the Red Sox should know for sure about Buchholz, and maybe Thursday's game will give them some idea whether Bedard will really help.
Posted on: July 30, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2011 5:56 pm
The Rangers have agreed to a deal to acquire reliever Koji Uehara from the Orioles, sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.
Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter will go to the Orioles in the deal, which is awaiting approval because of the money involved ($2 million going to the Rangers, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com).
The 36-year-old Uehara has a 1.72 ERA this year, and he has been one of the most sought-after relievers on the July market. Uehara has held opponents to a .152 batting average and .477 OPS.
The Rangers had also been talking to the Padres about closer Heath Bell, and Texas is one of the final three teams pursuing starter Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers. The Rangers It wasn't immediately clear whether Texas would continue to try for Bell, or whether the Rangers would turn their attention to adding a starter.
According to sources, the Rangers were not aggressively going after Kuroda earlier in the day Saturday.
Davis, an infielder, has gone back and forth between the Rangers and their Triple-A team this season. He is hitting .250 in 77 big-league at-bats. Hunter, a right-hander who won 13 games last season, has pitched out of the bullpen for the Rangers this year.
The Uehara trade was first reported by the Baltimore Sun.