Random thoughts.

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Strike three to Jose Lopez was not the best pitch Frankie
Francisco has thrown in 2009, but it was close.

 

Strike three to Ichiro two batters earlier was the best pitch Francisco has thrown this
year.

 

Does Derek Holland seem to get squeezed by the umpire a lot
more than he should?

 

I’ve thought for a couple months that this club’s key roster
need was a power righthander for the eighth inning.  Man, it would have been nice to have that guy
tonight.

 

Not an unrelated point: Neftali Feliz pitched on July 5,
July 7, and July 9, representing the first two times since his shift to the Oklahoma City bullpen
that he’s been asked to pitch on one day’s rest.  In those three games, he’s allowed one hit
and no walks in four innings, fanning five.

 

He was slated to pitch tonight, and if he had passed the consecutive-day
test, a big decision might have been imminent. 
But Feliz is slated to pitch two innings in the Futures Game on Sunday,
and so the Rangers opted not to use him tonight.  The back-to-back assignment should come next
week.

 

Scott Feldman, MUTRIHOF.

 

They would have been lost in the details had Seattle come
back to win again, but the Franklin Gutierrez foul pop-up that Hank Blalock and
Ian Kinsler didn’t catch in the first inning and the Lopez flare to shallow left
that dropped between Marlon Byrd and Omar Vizquel in the eighth would have been
crucial “plays unmade” that would have figured in heavily.

 

Nice job tonight at the plate by Kinsler, whose slump has
been the strangest one I’ve ever seen.

 

It sure seems like Ichiro bats every inning.

 

I’m worried about Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

 

Michael Young had 100 hits at the midway point of the
season.  Six more in the four games
since, and he’s right on pace to start a new streak of 200-hit seasons.

 

Say what you will about how deserving Nelson Cruz is of his
All-Star Game appointment, but it’s worth noting that this is a player who was
designated for assignment 15 months ago and went unclaimed by 29 clubs, and now
he’s headed to St. Louis next week because, once Torii Hunter had to pull out
due to injury, it was Cruz who had the next-most votes of any AL outfielder -
not fan votes, but player votes.  That means
a lot.

 

Cruz will also participate in the Home Run Derby.  Josh Hamilton, thankfully, will not.

 

I love how Hamilton
is shortening up and driving the ball up the middle.  If there’s one thing his return to the lineup
can actually do in wholesale fashion, it’s to remind everyone else that there’s
a better way.  Blalock seems to be
subscribing lately.

 

The two obviously notable aspects of Chris Davis’s first
four games since his demotion to AAA:

 

1. He’s hitting .467/.526/.867.

 

2. He hasn’t played first base yet (but is expected to once
in Oklahoma City’s
Saturday doubleheader).  Three games at
third base so far, one at DH.

 

But this is just as meaningful:

 

Game One: Single to center, flyout to left, groundout to
second (with two runners on and nobody out in what was then a 1-0 deficit:
hitting to the right side was the right baseball play), groundout to second.  No strikeouts.  Not pull-happy.

 

Game Two: Triple to left center, flyout to left, single to
center, double to right, and – needing a home run for the cycle in the eighth
inning of a game that the RedHawks led, 12-2 – works a walk.  No strikeouts.  Love the patience and control in the final
at-bat, contrary to the overanxiousness and lack of rhythm he had in Arlington.  Love the use – again – of all fields.

 

Game Three: Strikeout, home run to right, strikeout,
strikeout, intentional walk.  Not a great
night.

 

Game Four: Line drive single to center, line drive single to
left, RBI sacrifice fly to deep right to tie the game in the fifth inning, hit
by pitch, strikeout.  More use of all
fields.

 

I’m liking how this is going.

 

Dayn Perry of Fox Sports makes Ron Washington his AL Manager
of the Year at the season’s midpoint. 
Don Wakamatsu is his runner-up.

 

Of the four or five starting pitchers I proposed trying to
trade for last summer, two hadn’t really established themselves as reliable
winners: Kansas City righthander Zack Greinke and San Francisco lefthander
Jonathan Sanchez (my September 1 idea: Eric Hurley, Marcus Lemon, Manny Pina,
and Byrd for Sanchez and Sergio Romo).

 

While Greinke has been one of baseball’s best pitchers in
2009, Sanchez had pitched himself out of the Giants’ rotation late in June, getting
his first start in 18 days tonight.

 

So much for getting San
Francisco to part with him now.  An eighth-inning error tonight by third
baseman Jose Uribe was all that kept Sanchez’s 9-0-0-0-0-11 no-hitter from
perfection.

 

Remember when Jeff Zimmerman pitched two innings against the
rookie-level Rangers on June 22, in what was the Kid Mariners’ second game of
the Arizona League season?  He hasn’t
pitched since.  That doesn’t sound good.

 

Spokane
lefthander Robbie Ross tonight: five shutout innings (with five strikeouts to extend
his Northwest League-leading total to 39, in just 25.1 innings) – and eight
groundouts to go along with one flyout.

 

Three more runs driven in tonight for Frisco outfielder-first
baseman Mitch Moreland, extending his RBI streak to 11 straight games.

 

Does anyone know of any baseball camps in the Dallas area this summer that
are open to five-year-olds?

 

These West Coast trips (particularly when Texas is in the hunt) take years off my
life.  Six straight 9 p.m. starts?  There’s no way I’m not going to watch every
pitch, but man, it takes a toll. 

 

Winning three of the first five helps a lot.

 

Good night.

 

 

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

 

2 Comments

“These West Coast trips (particularly when Texas is in the hunt) take years off my life. Six straight 9 p.m. starts? There’s no way I’m not going to watch every pitch, but man, it takes a toll. ”

I know what you mean…
Why the worry about Salty?

JN:
the only baseball camp for 5 year olds is in the backyard playing catch with mom, dad, brother, sister or friend. lots of time for camps in future years.

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