Help in sight?

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Lefties killing us

And then Vlad gets some shut-eye

(Glad Rays light from left)


When you send your 4-5-6 hitters up against a bad team’s number
two reliever, down one run, it shouldn’t feel hopeless.  But with White Sox southpaw Matt Thornton on
the mound and injuries to Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz resulting in Texas having
Josh Hamilton (now .234/.300/.344 against lefthanders), David Murphy
(.238/.256/.310), and Justin Smoak (.056/.146/.139) in those slots, and the
bench without a legitimate right-handed-hitting threat, what followed
(four-pitch strikeout, five-pitch strikeout, four-pitch groundout) seemed almost


(Texas is reportedly among the teams that have contacted
Boston recently about Mike Lowell, who has asked to be traded – and who was nearly
sent to the Rangers for Max Ramirez in December.)


Tampa Bay is set to send righthanders Wade Davis, James
Shields, and Matt Garza to the hill for this weekend’s series in Arlington, and
the Rays go with only one lefty in the pen (the mediocre Randy Choate).  That’s good. 
But this lineup, just league-average even with Guerrero’s and Cruz’s
production, is a lot easier to gameplan without those two.  Guerrero is supposed to be good to go
sometime this series.  Hope he’s seeing
the ball well.


After these three with Tampa Bay, Seattle comes to town,
sending southpaw Cliff Lee to the mound Monday night.  Sometime in the first inning, as Lee faces the
top of the Rangers’ order, or minutes thereafter, Texas will be on the clock
for the first of its four first- and supplemental first-round picks in this
year’s amateur draft.  On Monday we
ran down a bunch of mock drafts projecting what the Rangers will do with the 15th
and 22nd picks, and since then there have been a few updated guesses:


Goldstein, Baseball Prospectus (June 3)
: Asher Wojchiechowski (RHP, The
Citadel) and Justin O’Conner (C, Cowan [In.] HS)


America (June 3: not really a mock but instead the musings of various BA draft
experts as to what they would do if in charge of the picks)
: Stetson Allie
(RHP, St. Edward [Oh.] HS) (pick made by editor John Manuel) and Nick
Castellanos (3B, Archbishop McCarthy [Fla.] HS) (pick made by assistant editor Conor
Glassey) (
mocks: May 28/executive editor Jim Callis: Bryce Brentz (OF, Middle Tennessee
State) and O’Conner; May 14/Callis: Brentz and Ball State second baseman
Kolbrin Vitek


Law, ESPN (May 31)
: Kellin Deglan (C, Langley (British Columbia) HS) and Kaleb
Cowart (3B/RHP, Cook County [Ga.] HS) (
previous mock, May 24: Brandon Workman
(RHP, University of Texas) and Deglan


Mayo, (June 2)
: Workman and O’Conner (
previous mock, May
26: Cowart (mock stopped at number 20)


Heyman, Sports Illustrated (June 2)
: Yasmani Grandal (C, University of
Miami) and Vitek


Jon Daniels said yesterday that most of the players Texas
likes at the unprotected number 15 pick, based strictly on talent, are not
signability risks.  He also said that the
Rangers are not limited to slot by MLB while the bankruptcy proceedings are
pending.  The club is bound instead by
its draft budget, which contains flexibility to go over slot.


For Scott Lucas’s sake, I hope Texas doesn’t pop Wojchiechowski
and Illinois high school righthander Mike Foltynewicz Monday night.


According to initial reports, Derek Holland doesn’t have
thoracic outlet syndrome.


The Rangers’ 9-5 win in Chicago on Wednesday was the club’s
first road win without a save all year.  Only
twice have they won a road game by as much as a four-run margin.  Crazy. 


Updating an incredible stat that T.R. Sullivan ran out there
earlier this week: number nine hitters are hitting .312 off Rangers pitching
this season.  No other spot in the lineup
is hitting over .289 against Texas.


According to MLB
, the best slider in baseball right now (in terms of “pitch value”)
belongs not to Carlos Marmol or Francisco Liriano or Clayton Kershaw, but to
Rangers righthander Colby Lewis.


There were rumors that the Rays considered designating
catcher Dioner Navarro for assignment once Kelly Shoppach was activated
yesterday, but instead the club placed shortstop Jason Bartlett on the disabled


ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that once Arizona catcher
Miguel Montero returns to action, the Diamondbacks could shop Chris Snyder,
with Texas a possible match (a sentiment shared by Baseball Prospectus’s John


Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports suggests Cleveland’s Russell
Branyan would be a better trade fit for Texas than Chicago’s Paul Konerko,
should the club seek a stopgap first baseman. 
Maybe, but I’d prefer a right-handed hitter.


Oakland designated righthander Edwar Ramirez for
assignment.  The San Angelo Colts of the independent
United League signed righthander Ezequiel Astacio.  The Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden
Baseball League signed lefthander Matt Perisho. 
The New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can-Am League traded infielder
Enrique Cruz to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic


R.A. Dickey has a 2.84 ERA in three Mets starts.  Kameron Loe has two scoreless appearances out
of the Milwaukee bullpen.  Casey Daigle
has two scoreless appearances out of the Houston bullpen.


And Joaquin Benoit is up to 12 scoreless appearances out of
the Rays pen.  Eleven dominant innings:
two hits, two walks, 15 strikeouts. 


We’ll probably see Benoit in a critical eighth-inning spot at
some point this weekend.


I hope it’s with Vladimir Guerrero at the plate.





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(c) Jamey Newberg



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