THE NEWBERG REPORT — May 14, 2008

Several things from Tuesday
night’s game:

1. In the second inning, he
walked.

In the fourth inning, he singled.

In the sixth inning, his sacrifice
fly gave Texas
a 3-2 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Partly because, in the seventh inning,
he did this:

vazquezdive.jpg

 

In the eighth inning, he singled
in a run to push the lead to 4-2.

He’s long had a reputation for
doing the little things that help teams win. 
Lately he’s getting in the habit of doing big things, too.

He’s a fundamentally reliable
defender who is hitting .344/.419/.516.

Ramon Vazquez is a Professional
Ballplayer.

2. The last time Texas won six series in a row was in 1999,
when the club took seven straight sets between July 15 and August 4.  It was the Rangers’ last playoff season.

3. December 22, 2007 Newberg
Report:

“I love the idea, as I’ve dreamed
repeatedly in this space for years, of having three center fielders patrolling
the Rangers Ballpark outfield together. 
Add the fact that the starting outfield could boast three plus arms — Hamilton is possibly a top 10 thrower in the game — and
all of a sudden Texas
has a chance to change the way opposing runners behave.  That’s a really good thing.”

hamiltoncatch.jpg

 

Take a sheet of paper
out and write down all the center fielders this franchise has had who would
have made the catch Hamilton gave us in the eighth – taking into account not
only the breathtaking snag but the fact that he beat the ball to the wall in
the first place – and for extra credit, jot down all of the ones who even think
about throwing to first to try and double up the runner, which Hamilton nearly
did. 

Underneath that, list
all the Rangers right fielders who would have made the grab that David Murphy pulled
off in the seventh. 

Then figure out another
way to use your blank sheet of paper.

4. Kason Gabbard deserved better,
but the pitch count got him.  Since his
brilliant season debut in Anaheim,
the lefthander has made five starts, all no-decisions, posting a 2.78 ERA.

5. Through five innings, the
Rangers had forced Felix Hernandez to throw nearly 50 percent more pitches than
Seattle had
coaxed out of Gabbard.  There are so many
good things about that. 

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News
notes that the Rangers are second in the league in on-base percentage and in
pitches seen per plate appearance.  Whether
we consciously appreciate that or not, it makes watching this team play
baseball a better experience.

6. Eddie Guardado: nine pitches,
nine strikes, first save.  Vintage stuff.  Eddie Money.

7. C.J. Wilson has a 2.25 ERA (three
hits in eight innings) in nine save opportunities.  It’s 8.31 (11 hits in 8.2 innings) in
non-save situations.  He’ll be fine.

8. Seattle looks really beaten down.

9. Pay attention to this.

According to Grant, precocious Frisco
catcher Max Ramirez (.379/.455/.677) is starting to take ground balls at first
base.

10. At the quarter point
of the season, Texas
is in third place in the AL West but is closer to first (four games) than
fourth (five games).

This has turned into a
team that, after finding ways to lose to start the season, is now regularly
finding ways to win.  Amazingly, if we
are able to hold serve this afternoon, we’ll have gotten back to .500.  Despite limping out of the gate this year much
as this club did in 2007, the Rangers have reached 20 wins 19 days earlier this
season than last.

These last four games of
the homestand could be pretty cool.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

1 Comment

No mention of Gerald Laird.This must be something that you overlooked, but he deserves to be mentioned for his recent play. From the way he went after Sexson last week to the way he busted his tail last night to get that double. He can bunt, he has speed, he can hit, and he has a good arm. It’s too bad that all the attention at the catcher position has gone to Saltalamacchia. Laird has had to prove himself over and over again. When will people realize he is a good catcher. It appears that this competition there has awakened something in him. Laird deserves to be the starting catcher. He is better than Salt right now.

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