It’s sorta remarkable. C.J. Wilson started only 11 of the 25 Angels he faced with first-pitch strikes, threw only 62.5 percent of his 104 pitches for strikes, had his shortest outing of the season, his worst walk rate of the season, and had a couple extra unearned runs tacked onto his ledger, and yet the Rangers came out on top, something this team does for that starter with more frequency than anyone else in baseball. Texas has now won 30 Wilson starts (and lost only 12) since the beginning of the 2010 season, outpacing the 28 games that the Phillies, Rays, and Yankees have won when Roy Halladay, David Price, and C.C. Sabathia start.
Texas starters have an ERA of 3.33 over the last 16 games, but only four wins. Effectiveness goes beyond run prevention, and especially given the state of the bullpen, the 16.5 pitches per inning that Wilson, Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland, and Matt Harrison have thrown in that stretch is too high a number.
Ogando, incidentally, is the only pitcher in baseball to record as many as six starts of at least six innings in which he allowed two runs or fewer on five hits or fewer. He’s made seven starts and has yet to depart with his team behind.
This Thursday night in Frisco, Scott Feldman will make the start, Josh Hamilton will play his second rehab game for the RoughRiders, and Nelson Cruz will play his third. Hamilton and Cruz should leave Leonys Martin with a “See ya later” at that point, with Hamilton heading to Round Rock for three games beginning Friday and Cruz possibly joining the Rangers that day in Philadelphia. The timetable isn’t as clear for Feldman, who gave up one Corpus Christi run on two hits in five innings Saturday night (but threw only 61 percent of his 75 pitches for strikes) and reportedly won’t be considered for a return to the big club until he gets in some AAA work with Round Rock as well.
If Feldman’s cutter is back, with the way the right side of the bullpen is configured right now, . . . well, we’ve already talked about that.
Myrtle Beach lefthander Robbie Erlin is on Baseball America’s Hot Sheet for the third straight week, landing at number six on the list this time. He leads all of minor league baseball comfortably in both opponents’ average (.119) and WHIP (walks + hits per inning: 0.52). I’m betting he gets to Frisco before Martin departs.
An MRI confirmed that Julio Borbon didn’t tear his hamstring, and he’s hopeful that the inflammation will subside to the point that he can return to action early in June.
The Rangers have committed more errors (36) than any other team.
That’s twice as many as the Angels.
The Cubs outrighted Thomas Diamond off the 40-man roster and to AAA. I believe it was his second outright, meaning he had the right to decline the assignment and take immediate free agency, but he pitched in relief for AAA Iowa yesterday and so it appears he chose not to leave.
Arizona released Ron Mahay.
BA’s first mock draft has Texas taking Cleveland high school catcher Blake Swihart with pick number 33 at the end of the first round. The publication projected TCU lefthander Matt Purke to go immediately before that pick, to Tampa Bay at number 32.
(Three weeks ago, BA suggested Miami-Dade Junior College outfielder Brian Goodwin could figure in for the Rangers at 33.)
BA’s Jim Callis believes Martin would have gone in the top half of the first round had he been eligible for this draft.
Texas doesn’t play the Angels for another two months (and in fact, there’s no AL West opponent on the schedule for nearly that long). They face off in Los Angeles beginning July 19, a week after the All-Star Game and with trading season on the front burner. That will be the first of 13 head-to-head meetings between the two teams in the second half, culminating with three in Los Angeles to finish the regular season.
Following this weekend’s series win against the Angels, Texas sits a half-game back in the AL West. Strangely, I have less confidence in what the division standings will look like when the Rangers and Angels tee it up again in July than I do when number 162 is in the books. Major reinforcements are coming – and there will be more by July 31 – and even today, given everything that’s gone on over the first six weeks, I think we have the better team.