Observation dump.

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A handful of observations.

 

Frankie Francisco since August 22, three days before the
trade of Eddie Guardado to Minnesota
paved the way for him to take over as closer: 16.2 innings pitched, no earned
runs (one unearned), five hits (.088 opponents’ average), four walks, 27
strikeouts.

 

I absolutely love watching Elvis Andrus play baseball.

 

Josh Hamilton: .229/.283/.354, a strikeout every four
at-bats.

 

Edinson Volquez: 6.46 ERA, 13 walks in 15.1 innings, 57
percent strikes.

 

Texas
sits at 5-7.  The record was 5-7 after a
dozen games last year as well, and that was with Hamilton hitting .271/.327/.563 at the time, sporting
an .890 OPS that dwarfs his current .637 and striking out exactly half as often
as he is now.  I suppose that bodes well;
if the Rangers are at the same win-loss with Hamilton
completely out of sync, and with the division weaker than it was a year ago, there’s
obviously room for the team to be playing better if due to no other factor than
Hamilton
finding his rhythm.

 

A thought: Option David Murphy, recall Brandon Boggs?  Not because Murphy isn’t a big league player,
or because Boggs (.250/.438/.333) is tearing it up in Oklahoma City.  Instead, because Murphy isn’t going to get regular
at-bats right now with Marlon Byrd (.344/.344/.656) and even Andruw Jones
(.500/.650/1.000) locked in, and he could use a steady, daily dose of plate
appearances to break out of this.  Boggs would
be used no more often than Murphy has been, but would provide great defense
when he’s out there, and is a far better left-handed bat than right-handed
(.360/.431/.520 vs. .167/.167/.278 in AAA last year, .269/.457/.346 vs.
.200/.385/.300 so far this year), so in that sense he would give the club what
they’re looking to Murphy for right now.

 

I am sports sore today in a big way today.  It’s the best.  As old as I feel right now, 15 hours after
another early-morning doubleheader, the last time I felt that young playing ball,
Alec Baldwin was playing serious roles and Tom Hanks was doing comedies.

 

I think about team flights. 
How good the one to Detroit
must have felt after the sweep of the Indians. 
How rotten the flight back home must have been after the way Texas blew
a brilliant Kevin Millwood start with a bullpen meltdown in the eighth,
allowing the Tigers to sweep.  And how
good this one to Toronto
is going to feel.

 

You should read Grant
Schiller’s interview with Bakersfield lefthander Tim Murphy
.

 

Two weeks into a three-year contract, and Cubs outfielder Milton
Bradley has already lost playing time due to a right groin strain and a
two-game suspension for a run-in with a home plate umpire, after striking out
in his first Cubs at-bat at Wrigley Field.

 

Bradley is hitting .053/.308/.211.  He’s 1 for 19 (a solo home run) with five
walks and two hit-by-pitches.

 

Brad Wilkerson suited up for AAA Pawtucket and traveled to Buffalo for the Red Sox
affiliate’s season opener on April 9.  He
went 0 for 4 with a walk.  The next day,
he singled in five trips, fanning in three of his other at-bats.  When that game ended, he told manager Ron
Johnson that he was retiring.

 

In his age 26-27 season, Wilkerson hit 39 doubles, 32 home
runs, drew 106 walks, and scored 112 runs for Montreal. 
The idea that, just five years later, he would call it quits after playing
a game in Buffalo, New York, is sort of surreal.

 

Check out Scott Lucas’s fascinating
breakdown
of the youngest players in the four minor leagues in which the
Rangers have affiliates.  Texas has the youngest
player in the AAA Pacific Coast League (Neftali Feliz), the youngest position
player in the AA Texas League (Marcus Lemon, hitting a cool .545/.571/.727), the
second-youngest player in the High A California League (Engel Beltre), and the
youngest pitcher in the Low A South Atlantic League (Martin Perez). 

 

Travis Metcalf was hitting .261/.414/.522 for AAA Omaha when
Alex Gordon was placed on the disabled list with a cartilage tear in his hip
that will cost him up to three months, but rather than call Metcalf up, Kansas City instead moved
Mark Teahen in from right field to third base and recalled outfielder Mitch
Maier. 

 

Ben Harrison’s hot start at Oklahoma City (.333/.481/.619) has been
sidetracked by a hamstring injury that has forced him to the disabled
list. 

 

RedHawks right fielder Greg Golson (.355/.412/.452) had
three walks on April 16.  He has zero
walks in his other eight games.

 

Lehigh
Valley corner outfielder
John Mayberry Jr.: .206/.308/.441. 

 

Pssst.  Luis Mendoza has made two RedHawks starts:
five scoreless innings in the first, 5.1 scoreless innings in the second, both
two-hit jobs.  In those 10.1 innings, he’s
walked six (unacceptable) but fanned 13 (good grief).  And the 1.83 G/F suggests the sinker is in
full force.

 

When asked by D
Magazine
‘s Jeff Miller what it was like playing shortstop behind Derek
Holland when the two were teammates in Frisco, Andrus said: “Boring.  Nobody hits it to shortstop.  Strikeout or pop-up.”

 

I thought about Holland
today, even though the right situation for his big league debut hasn’t yet materialized.  I thought about what must have been going
through his mind as he and a half-dozen teammates and coaches watched Michael
Young’s shot off Kyle Farnsworth sail over the fence, between the two bullpens that
it connected, and as they immediately poured in from the home bullpen toward
the plate and the dugout to join the party. 

 

If it hadn’t fully sunk in yet for Holland that he’d made it to the big leagues,
that moment probably drove reality home.

 

As for Young, who had never hit a walkoff home run as a pro,
there’s a difference in the early going between what he produced in 2008
(.284/.339/.402), much of which he played with two broken fingers, and 2009
(.298/.389/.553).  His 12 homers last
year traveled an average distance of 385 feet, with an average speed off the
bat of 102.1 miles per hour, down from 405 and 104.7 in 2007. 

 

In 2009, through 47 at-bats, Young has three home runs, a
frequency four times greater than his last two seasons.  The first two shots traveled an average of 424
feet, at an average speed off the bat of 107.9 miles per hour.  Today’s will ratchet those two averages
higher.

 

But the 427 feet that Young’s blast off Farnsworth pierced was
just a prelude to the spectacular 360 feet that ended this way:

 

michael_walkoff_1.jpg

 

michael_walkoff_2.jpg

 

Love this Game.

 

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

 

1 Comment

John Danks 0.75 ERA 13 Strikeouts in 12 inningsBrandon McCarthy 4.61 ERA 12 Strikeouts in 11 innings.
I’m pulling for Brandon to make us forget Danks even if Danks is more suited to our ballpark than Brandon. When he’s on, McCarthy can be wicked. I’m hoping for that trade to become even.

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