Hunter, and stuff.

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The entirety of last
Thursday’s report read:

 

=================================

Since
2008, Texas has a 3-10 record in Boston. 

 

And
an 0-9 record in Detroit.

 

Time
to see what this Rangers team is made of.

=================================

 

Answer: Two series wins, and five wins in six games at the
moment, the lone loss coming on a night when Cliff Lee gave up two runs on six
hits and one walk (remember that it was intentional when his season walk
numbers are referenced) in nine innings and was one out away from a victory.

 

Unbelievable. 

 

But getting closer, each series, to believable.

 

A few quick things:

 

1.     
Tommy Hunter is now 7-0, the first Rangers starting pitcher
to begin a season with that record.

 

a.       Only
twice in Hunter’s starts did he not win. 
On June 16, he left in third with a strained hip flexor, having allowed
one run (which actually didn’t come across until he’d already exited).  In fact, it’s the only one of Hunter’s nine appearances
that wasn’t a quality start (though Texas ended up winning the game).  And on July 8, he went six-plus innings against
Baltimore, leaving a 4-2 lead in the hands of the bullpen (one of Hunter’s
runners came across with Alexi Ogando on the mound).

 

b.      Only
twice in Hunter’s nine starts has Josh Hamilton not homered: (1) on July 3, a
3-1 Rangers win over the White Sox in which no Texas hitter managed an extra-base
hit off John Danks and three Chicago relievers; and (2) on July 15, a 7-2
Rangers win over Boston in which Hamilton doubled three times.

 

c.       Almost
as freaky: Since Hunter has joined the active roster, Hamilton has 13 home runs
. . . seven coming in Hunter starts. 

 

d.      Hunter’s
next start: Newberg Report Night, this Sunday.

 

2.     
Two interesting AAA role changes in the last week: (1)
righthander Tanner Scheppers has moved from the Oklahoma City rotation back to
the bullpen and (2) hitter Mitch Moreland has moved from the outfield back to
first base. 

 

Said Assistant GM Thad
Levine of the Scheppers transition: “With our current pitching depth and our
goal for Tanner for innings pitched this year, we feel that he can make the
most impact as bullpen depth for the major league team as we try to best
position ourselves for playing meaningful games in September and beyond.”  Scheppers, who struggled in six RedHawks
starts (5.84 ERA, .330 opponents’ average, 19 strikeouts and eight walks in
24.2 innings), gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in two relief innings
last night, fanning none.  His arrival in
Texas isn’t imminent, but it’s clearly in the plans.

 

Just don’t expect it
to be as soon as Newberg Report Night, like last year’s surprise call-up of Neftali
Feliz that was announced just as Jon Daniels completed his Q&A with us.

 

As for Moreland, who
played his first 82 games of the season in left or right field, we speculated even
before Chris Davis’s return struggles
that the trade of Justin Smoak could
prompt a Moreland move back to first base.  It has. 
In his five games since the transition, Moerland is hitting
.294/.391/.471, right in line with his overall .286/.369/.475 line.  (Of course, Davis hit .354/.403/.555 in Oklahoma
City this season.)  Moreland’s monthly
OPS numbers: .668, .824, .880, .989.  And
since April, he has almost as many walks (38) as strikeouts (39).

 

Last night’s solid Davis
game notwithstanding, I expect another first baseman added to the roster in the
next 10 days, but it won’t be Moreland, a fellow left-handed hitter.  The Rangers are going to get another
right-handed bat in here, and it will be a veteran who can play first (Ty
Wigginton, Mike Lowell, Jorge Cantu, Wes Helms, Xavier Nady).  If Davis can build off last night’s effort,
he won’t necessarily be replaced in the lineup, but he’ll likely give up some
meaningful at-bats.

 

Still, Moreland is on the
radar.

 

3.     
Baltimore
Sun
reporter Jeff Zrebiec speculates that the Orioles could
accept a middle infielder like Joaquin Arias or Leury Garcia or Luis Sardinas for
Wigginton.  I doubt the Rangers would
make Sardinas available in a deal like that. 
Texas is also on the hunt for a left-handed reliever, according to Ed Price
of AOL FanHouse.

 

4.     
An addition to the auction list for our event on Sunday: A
visit to Chuck Morgan’s control room and booth during that night’s game.

 

5.     
Justin Smoak (.267/.267/.500) has struck out in nearly half
his Seattle at-bats (14 of 30).  Maybe
more astounding: zero walks.

 

6.     
Josh Lueke has made two relief appearances for Seattle’s AA West
Tenn club: 3.1 scoreless innings, two hits, no walks, six strikeouts.  Thirty of his 36 pitches have gone for
strikes.  Blake Beavan’s first start for
the same club: five runs on six hits and one walk in four innings, three
strikeouts.  Michael Main has a 7.84 ERA
in three AA starts for the Giants, with seven walks and four strikeouts in 10.1
innings.

 

7.     
Jarrod Saltalamacchia has thrown out six of 51 would-be AAA base-stealers. 

 

8.     
Dear Cowboys Fan:  Save
me a spot.  I’m gonna be running late
this year.

 

And feel free to stay
a while.

 

 

===========================================================

 

To join the free Newberg Report mailing list so you can get
e-mail deliveries of every edition of the newsletter, daily minor league game recaps,
and frequent Newberg Report News Flashes, go to
www.newbergreport.com
and click the “Mailing List” link on the top menu bar.

 

 

(c) Jamey Newberg

http://www.newbergreport.com

Twitter 
@newbergreport

 

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