Winning baseball.

Ian, and that veteran eight-pitch at-bat that kept the game
alive. 

 

Marlon, legging out a two-out, run-scoring infield hit in
the eighth that nobody will remember, and spectacularly chasing down a Nick
Markakis foul ball down the left line that we all will.

 

Salty, banging out three hits and making two great plays
with his footwork and throwing arm from behind the plate.

 

Elvis, whose play with two outs in the bottom of the eighth
(putting the modifier “infield” in front of the word “single”) to keep the score
at 4-3 has never been made by another Rangers shortstop.

 

Frankie, six pitches, five strikes.  Go to your room.

 

And then there was Slick, who made a Gold Glove play at
third in the seventh (which, with Chris Davis’s excellent help, cost Adam Jones
a hit), jumped on Jim Johnson’s first pitch in the eighth for a one-out single to
right center (he’d seen Johnson once before in his life – 11 days ago, when he
battled the big righty for six pitches before singling to right) before coming
around to score on Byrd’s hustle single, and who did in the ninth what we’re growing
accustomed in 2009 to seeing him do in the ninth. 

 

He’s a winner.

 

Get this: the last three years, Young has averaged 394.5
feet in true distance on his dozen home runs per season, and 103.4 miles per
hour off the bat.  He bottomed out last
year at 384.9 and 102.1, playing much of the year with a broken finger on each
hand.

 

This year?

 

I don’t have data on last night’s game-winner, his third
ninth-inning bomb in five games (each in a game decided by one run), but entering
the game Young had averaged 429.8 feet of true distance on his four 2009 home
runs, and 108.6 miles per hour coming off the bat. 

 

No Ranger averages more distance (Cruz 422.2, Davis 409.7,
Kinsler 405, Hamilton 394). 

 

Only Cruz generates more fence-clearing velocity (109.3). 

 

Not one of Young’s
12 homers in 2007 and 2008 had as much true distance as he’s averaging this year, and not one of his 2008
shots had as much velocity as his typical 2009 blast.

 

Two and a half weeks into the season, and already eight
bullpen adjustments have been made.  In
the space of nine days: Warner Madrigal optioned, Willie Eyre activated.  Josh Rupe designated for assignment, Derek
Holland purchased.  Scott Feldman shifted
to the rotation, Darren O’Day claimed off waivers.  Eyre placed on the disabled list, Luis
Mendoza recalled.

 

There will be more changes, too.  For one, Kris Benson should return from the
disabled list in a couple weeks, which presumably means Feldman will return to
the pen.  Dustin Nippert should factor in
once his rib cage strain heals.  

 

At some point (but probably not before he’s tested on
consecutive days), Thomas Diamond figures to get a shot.  Beau Vaughan
(11 scoreless AAA innings, three singles, four unintentional walks, 12 strikeouts)
has been unconscious. 

 

The sale of Kason Gabbard back to Boston may have been prompted in part because
A.J. Murray, throwing from a newly lowered slot, is looking very good in Frisco
(one run on four hits and two walks in 7.1 innings, six strikeouts, 3.00 G/F).  Guillermo Moscoso’s spot on the 40-man roster
gives him an edge on some others if he overcomes his rough start this week and
returns to his solid bullpen form. 

 

Madrigal will be back eventually.  Pedro Strop is fascinating. 

 

Neftali Feliz?  Not soon,
but maybe this summer.

 

(Tap the brakes on Frisco’s Jumbo Diaz, off of whom the Texas
League is hitting .348, scoring five runs in five innings.)

 

C.J. Wilson, after retiring Luke Scott last night on a
grounder to second to start the bottom of the eighth in what was a one-run game,
walked the .116-hitting Gregg Zaun, ceded the double play possibility by
putting a pitch in the dirt on a 1-2 pitch to .111- hitting Luis Montanez
(allowing Zaun to move to second), got .189- hitting Cesar Izturis to ground
into the hole (where Andrus made the remarkable play to keep it from getting into
left field), and finally retired Brian Roberts on a routine fly to left.

 

No scoreboard damage was done – in fact, Wilson vultured the win – but the mercurial lefthander
just isn’t right.  He’s throwing 55
percent of his pitches for strikes.  His landing
point seems a little out of sync.

 

He has an option remaining. 
Surely the organization wouldn’t risk the impact an assignment to AAA
might have on the lefthander’s psyche. 
Right?

 

Right?

 

Since my suggestion on August 27 that we offer Kansas City a package of Saltalamacchia (whom Royals
general manager Dayton Moore goes back with to their mutual Atlanta days), Eric Hurley or Matt Harrison
(ditto on the Moore/Braves thing), John Mayberry Jr. (Royals connection) or Nelson
Cruz, Joaquin Arias, and one of Zach Phillips/Carlos Pimentel/Miguel De Los
Santos/Geuris Grullon/Julio Santana/Matt Nevarez, all for Zack Greinke and
Ramon Ramirez – prompting dozens of derisive emails (my favorite of which was: “Why?? 
Why do you want him so bad?  Why
can’t we go get someone who has proven to be a blue chip major league pitcher?”
)
– Greinke is 8-1, 1.16, with 68 strikeouts and 13 walks in 62 innings, and an
opposing batting average of .201.

 

His scoreless streak, dating back to September 18, was
snapped last night at 38 innings – but by an unearned run.  He’s at 43 innings and counting since he last
permitted an earned run.

 

In that exact same span of time, Francisco has a spotless
ERA as well.  Nineteen innings, seven
hits (.108 opponents’ average), five walks, 25 strikeouts, two wins, and eight
saves in eight opportunities.  He’s money
in the ninth.

 

Like the third baseman.

 

 

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

1 Comment

I went to Frisco @ Corpus Christi today. It was a windy day, even for here. Gusts must have been in the 30 mph range. Today is the 5th anniversary of my Dad’s passing. I took my 3 1/2 yr old.
I watch Marcus Lemon leg out an infield single in the 1st, followed by a Justin Smoak homer.
Omar Poveda pitched pretty well. Here is a new guy I haven’t heard of, Guildemar (I think) Rodriguez at SS. He made an outstanding play to double up a baserunner early on by jumping what looked like 3 feet in the air to snare a sharp liner over his head and gun a laser to J. Smoak. Overall good game, I got an autograph from AJ Murray and Marcus Lemon.

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