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You’re Minnesota.

A couple months ago I wrote a report that I called “You’re Chicago,” and yesterday’s getaway game in Minnesota made me think of it.

It’s easy to look at Texas 6, Minnesota 5 through Rangers-colored lenses and celebrate a team really needing a win battling out of the corner to take it, but imagine you’re a Twins fan.

As of July 17, you were 50-40 and holding down home field advantage for the Wild Card Game.  

Since then, no team in baseball has had a worse record than your 7-16 — and that’s even with two wins to start the Rangers series.

You have a chance to sweep Texas, with Cleveland coming in next, giving you the chance to build momentum before a huge 10-day roadie in New York, Baltimore, and Tampa.

After a big comeback win on Tuesday despite being down, 2-0, in the eighth, and then spanking the Rangers, 11-1, on Wednesday, you jump on emergency call-up Chi Chi Gonzalez, who’d been knocked around by AAA hitters at a .303 clip since his return to Round Rock a month ago, in the bottom of the second.  The Rangers are basically without an available long man, so when you rack up 10 bases in the space of five hitters (homer-single-single-double-double) off the rookie and had a 4-0 lead after recording only four outs, things look pretty good.

Twenty-five Gonzalez pitches in, and you’re licking your chops at the prospect of Adam Rosales having to face Miguel Sano and everyone else twice.

And then?

Gonzalez lasts another 4.1 innings, and doesn’t allow another hit.  And in the meantime, Ervin Santana can’t hold the big, early lead, as Mitch Moreland hammers a two-run blast in the fourth and, after a run-scoring Prince Fielder single in the fifth, Moreland doubled\s in a pair to turn the game all the way around, giving Texas a 5-4 lead.

Aaron Hicks singles in a run off Keone Kela in the sixth, but Shane Robinson gets greedy, trying unsuccessfully to score from first on the play when Delino DeShields lazies the ball back to the infield.  Tie game.  Home game.  Deep breath.

What looks like a serious Rangers threat in the seventh dies quickly.  After DeShields works a 3-0 count, Santana fills the count but ultimately surrenders a single to right, and on the next pitch Shin-Soo Choo shoots a ball safely to right field as well.  DeShields cuts the bag at second and sprints for third, and the big boys are due to come up.

But Eddie Rosario fires a tremendous strike to third, cutting DeShields down, and three pitches later Fielder bounces into an easy 6-4-3 to end an inning that seemed to be on the verge of blowing up.

Then the Rangers take a lead in the eighth, with Moreland (on National Lefthanders Day) again in the middle of things.  After Adrian Beltre and Moreland singles put men on the corners, Elvis Andrus of all people drives a Casey Fien pitch deep enough to center field to bring Beltre home, the seventh pitch of an at-bat that started out 0-2.  

Still, you’re facing a beleaguered Texas bullpen, and if you can so much as get one man on in the eighth or ninth, Joe Mauer will hit.  Get two men on in that space, and Sano bats.  Three, and Trevor Plouffe, who’d homered to start the scoring in that big four-run second, would get a chance, if Minnesota hadn’t walked off by then.

But instead, Jake Diekman — in spite of starting three straight hitters off with ball one and getting drilled in the hip by the first hitter he faced — and Shawn Tolleson each retire the Twins in order.  


Minnesota won the series, but half an hour into that one a series sweep looked like every bit of a foregone conclusion.  Five hits (and four runs) in the space of five batters off Chi Chi Gonzalez . . . and then no hits off the rookie by the remaining 18 Twins hitters he’d face.

And though the Indians visit next, the Twins draw Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco on the front and back end of that three-gamer.

Say what you will about the way Texas competed to salvage a game and how good and seemingly necessary that win was, but if you’re Minnesota, that’s just a brutal loss for a team that had shown signs of regaining its footing after a lengthy skid.

As for Texas, the club now returns home, where it’s won seven of eight.  Tampa Bay is here for three, after which it’s Seattle, and when we convene on Monday for Newberg Report Night (latest auction/raffle update), it will apparently be Cole Hamels back on the mound, as long as his intervening side session goes without incident.

Texas played .633 baseball in May.  If the club plays at that clip over the remaining month and a half, it will finish with 87 wins.

And a possible playoff berth.

The Rangers go into this weekend series half a game behind Minnesota in the Wild Card chase, and while the way Tuesday in particular went, Texas fans have the right to feel like an opportunity to pass the Twins was absolutely squandered, Minnesota fans certainly have to wonder how it is that their team didn’t put further distance between itself and the Rangers, and leap over Baltimore into a tie with the Rays on the doorstep of the second Wild Card spot.  

The chance was there to put Texas away Thursday afternoon behind a veteran pitcher whose offense had put a rookie hurler on the ropes, with little in the way of inning-eating help behind him, and it didn’t happen, and if you’re the Twins — a team that hasn’t been anywhere near the playoffs in five years and that hasn’t won a playoff game in 11 years or a playoff series in 13 — Texas 6, Minnesota 5 is one that really has to hurt.


Home teams went 15-0 for the first time in the history of Major League Baseball yesterday, which is a pretty cool thing to think about until you land back on the part that Texas was one of those road teams, and shouldn’t have lost.

Bullpen losses are always tough to take.  Gotta wash that one off.

Cole Hamels’s first three scheduled turns through the Rangers rotation:

* No-decision
* Loss
* Scratch

The lefthander is reportedly dealing with a left groin issue that surfaced during Friday’s start in Seattle.  The club is hoping to avoid a DL stint by skipping his start tomorrow.

A quick check back at recent Rangers history reminds us that Cliff Lee earned the win in two of his first 11 Texas starts, that the team went 3-8 in those games, and that seven times in that stretch the lefty allowed between four and eight runs.

Now, this isn’t really apples to apples, as the Rangers were just half a game out of a playoff spot when they acquired Lee and had just one team (Oakland) to catch.  Hamels will need to fare better than Lee did in his own first couple months as a Ranger if this club is going to play 162+.  

Yes, going into these last two games the Rangers had fared this way over their previous 10:

Hamels start
Hamels start

But this club needs Hamels on the mound if it’s got any real chance at the post-season this year.

It’s not clear when Hamels will make his next start.  There’s been some suggestion he could throw a side on Saturday and face the Mariners again on Tuesday, but I suppose there’s a chance it could happen instead on Monday, when we’ll be on hand for Newberg Report Night.

You can still register today to attend.  Both Upper Reserved seats and luxury suite spots are still available.  Click here for details on the eventwhich as always will include a 90-minute pregame Q&A with Jon Daniels.  The latest update on the auction/raffle prize list is here.

(You can also still participate in the Support the Newberg Report program if you’d like.)

In the meantime, Nick Martinez against Mike Pelfrey tonight, and someone (Chi Chi Gonzalez [on six days’ rest] or Anthony Ranaudo [on five]?) tomorrow afternoon to wrap up the series in Minnesota.  

Gotta win one of these two.  At least.

Doubt there’s ever been a day when the road team went 15-0, but let’s not be responsible for screwing that possibility up.

Today’s Newberg Report Night update.

Six new items added yesterday to the auction and raffle prize list for Newberg Report Night, which is this coming Monday (August 17) at Globe Life Park:

* Studio sit-in followed including lunch run with BAD Radio (Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket)    
* Package of three one-hour baseball lessons with former Rangers great Bump Wills 
* Autographed 11×17 photo of four players shown on 2015 Newberg Report book cover (see below) — signed by all four players (Gallo, Mazara, Alfaro, Williams)
* Autographed Terrance Williams (Dallas Cowboys) rookie card  
* Three sets of Four Founder’s Club tickets to upcoming RoughRiders games
* Apple TV device 

And there could be more.  Here’s the complete list, as of this moment:

* Lunch with Eric Nadel and Brad Sham 
* Booth visit: Rangers radio broadcast
* Booth visit: Rangers TV broadcast
* Tom Grieve will join your fantasy football league
* All-access, behind-the-scenes home game experience with Rangers field reporter Emily Jones
* Behind-the-scenes/studio experience with Rangers pre-/postgame host Dana Larson
* RoughRiders experience package: includes watching BP on the field, clubhouse visit, behind-the-scenes tour, meeting the coaching staff and Chuck Greenberg, pregame first pitch, watching game from a suite (available in 2016 if mutually convenient date for 2015 difficult to find)
* Studio sit-in followed by dinner with Ben and Skin (105.3 The Fan)
* Studio sit-in (including show prep and tour of the station) with Norm Hitzges (Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket)
*  Studio sit-in followed including lunch run with BAD Radio (Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket)     
* Lunch with Grubes 
* Package of three one-hour baseball lessons with former Rangers great Bump Wills 
* Two dozen signed Nolan Ryan baseballs (24 separate winners) 
* Autographed 11×17 photo of four players shown on 2015 Newberg Report book cover (see below) — signed by all four players (Gallo, Mazara, Alfaro, Williams)
* Autographed Orel Hershiser photo, framed and matted
* Autographed Francisco Cordero photo, framed and matted 
* Autographed Thomas Diamond-Edinson Volquez-Eric Hurley photo, framed and matted
* Autographed Terrance Williams (Dallas Cowboys) rookie card  
* Four seats in section directly behind home plate for future Rangers game
* Three sets of Four Founder’s Club tickets to upcoming RoughRiders games
* $30 gift card to Nick’s Sports Cards & Memorabilia 
* Framed and matted Mike Modano retirement ceremony photos and game ticket
* Apple TV device 

If you are planning to attend but haven’t yet signed up, I have a favor to ask: Please sign up today if you can.  Ideally I’d like to order the game tickets from the Rangers tomorrow (both Upper Reserved and luxury suites). 

Price points are $40 and $200.  Click here for full details on the eventwhich as always will include a 90-minute fan Q&A with Jon Daniels.

Title sponsors are David Gamble of SFMG Wealth Advisors and David & Valda McClanahan of Freeman Toyota, and raffle and auction proceeds will benefit the family of Julie McGraw, wife of Rangers scout Gary McGraw.


Newberg Report Night update.

Quick update on the auction and raffle prize list for Newberg Report Night, which is one week from tonight at Globe Life Park (Monday, August 17).

* Lunch with Eric Nadel and Brad Sham 

* Booth visit: Rangers radio broadcast

* Booth visit: Rangers TV broadcast

* Tom Grieve will join your fantasy football league

* All-access, behind-the-scenes home game experience with Rangers field reporter Emily Jones

* Behind-the-scenes/studio experience with Rangers pre-/postgame host Dana Larson

* RoughRiders experience package: includes watching BP on the field, clubhouse visit, behind-the-scenes tour, meeting the coaching staff and Chuck Greenberg, pregame first pitch, watching game from a suite (available in 2016 if mutually convenient date for 2015 difficult to find)

* Studio sit-in followed by dinner with Ben and Skin (105.3 The Fan)

* Studio sit-in (including show prep and tour of the station) with Norm Hitzges (Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket)

* Lunch with Grubes 

* Two dozen signed Nolan Ryan baseballs (24 separate winners) 

* Autographed Orel Hershiser photo, framed and matted

* Autographed Francisco Cordero photo, framed and matted 

* Autographed Thomas Diamond-Edinson Volquez-Eric Hurley photo, framed and matted

* Four seats in section directly behind home plate for future Rangers game

* $30 gift card to Nick’s Sports Cards & Memorabilia 

* Framed and matted Mike Modano retirement ceremony photos and game ticket

There will be more.  Stay tuned.  But don’t wait too much longer to sign up.

As of now there are plenty of spots available for the event, which starts in the Hall of Fame Theater and includes either an Upper Reserved ticket to the Rangers-Mariners game or a ticket to a luxury suite.  

Click here for full details on the event.


Shake it off.

It was a game that felt lost for so much of it, even though at no time during the daytime contest (so shifted because of a Taylor Swift concert (?!!)) did Seattle have a lead.  

It felt that way because of all those outs on the bases.  Because of a coughed up opportunity for a shutdown inning in the fourth, marked by a couple crazy cheap base hits.  Because of a couple sloppy errors.  Because of a series of replay results that — after last night’s mess — felt like a never-ending pile-on with a couple gut punches mixed in.  

But Texas shook all of it off (I promise: I had to look up Taylor Swift song titles.  Really.  I promise.) and won the game, drawing to within 4.5 games of the division lead, the closest the club has been in six weeks, and just three back in the Wild Card chase.  

Man, that was a tense, often frustrating baseball game, but that made the finish exponentially more awesome.

As the Rangers and Mariners went to the 11th, after 18 of the game’s 20 half-innings had gone scoreless (each club scored three times in the fourth), I tweeted: “Two-run inning, right here.” 

I was never so happy to be so incredibly wrong.

Four Mariners relievers had put zeroes up in the game — including rookies David Rollins and Mayckol Guaipe, who came into the day with ERA’s of 9.28 and 9.95 — when fellow rookie Rob Rasmussen, who has been traded five times in three years (once for Carlos Lee and once for Michael Young and once for Mark Lowe), entered and surrendered single-single-single-single-single-double before getting pulled, after which former Ranger draftee and later two-time Ranger camper Joe Beimel was greeted by single-lineout-homer before retiring two more to end the carnage.

Meanwhile, three Rangers relievers put up zeroes of their own: Sam Dyson going walk, groundout, groundout, groundout; Jake Diekman facing the Kyle Seager-Nelson Cruz-Robinson Cano gauntlet and going groundout, strikeout, E-4, flyout, and then striking out the side on 12 pitches in the 10th; and Shawn Tolleson, surviving what seemed sure to be a fatal Ryan Strausborger error to lead off the 11th by striking out Mike Zunino and Seager, intentionally walking Cruz and Cano (I liked the gutsiness of the moves — making Jesus Montero beat you rather than Cruz or Cano, and ensuring that Cano wouldn’t hit in the 11th if you got out of the 10th), and freezing Montero for strike three to end that frame.

After the super-lengthy top of the 11th, Jeff Banister sent Tolleson back out to close things out — a surprising decision given his 26-pitch 10th (19 if you discount the intentional wide ones), the eight-run lead, and the opportunity to get Luke Jackson out there for his debut under little pressure — and it took Tolleson another 22 pitches to finish.  He wasn’t going to pitch Sunday afternoon regardless. 

Or Monday, since Texas doesn’t play.

It was a career-high pitch count for Tolleson, but I trust he’ll shake that off, too.  

I thought Jon Daniels had a great game today.  Aside from the solid start out of Martin Perez, scouted and signed and developed just as the organization was renewing its presence internationally, the bullpen allowed one hit (the game’s penultimate batter) while punching out nine of 21 batters faced over five scoreless innings.  

Those relievers: Dyson (acquired last week for Tomas Telis and Cody Ege), Diekman (a trade tack-on by the seller, evoking memories of Daniels’s Cruz acquisition in 2006), and Tolleson (a waiver claim).

Rule 5 pick Delino DeShields had three hits and drove in two runs.

The former 16th-round pick Strausborger singled and drew two walks.  

Mitch Moreland, whom Daniels has refused repeatedly to sell low on, improved his pinch-hitting line to 5 for 7 and added another hit in the 11th.  He sits at .294/.346/.508 for the season.

Josh Hamilton, whom the Angels are paying tens of millions to be a Ranger, singled twice and drove in two runs.

Prince Fielder raised his season line to .324/.390/.501 with a homer and double, and he owns a share of the big league lead in multi-hit games with Ian Kinsler, the player he was traded for.

Rougned Odor, who assumed second base duties in Kinsler’s absence, improved to .352/.385/.588 (180 plate appearances) since returning from his early May demotion to AAA with a three-hit effort today. 

And journeyman Chris Gimenez, who has changed teams via minor league free agency or waivers a thousand times, doubled twice to raise his Rangers line to .375/.412/.750, which in tandem with Bobby Wilson’s .455/.455/.636 should be viewed through the seriously-small-sample-size filter but which should nonetheless make you wonder what happens when Carlos Corporan is ready to return.  (Robinson Chirinos is in no danger.)

Gimenez and Wilson have come up big over and over in this stretch of time when the Rangers’ two catchers have been down.  Credit to the Rangers’ scouting folks and to Daniels.

And though Banister will draw questions about his use of Tolleson today, I count his arrival as another huge move for Daniels.  He entrusted his roster to Ron Washington after nobody had given him that chance in 15 years of coaching.  That worked.  He then entrusted the club to Banister, who had 22 years of coaching experience without a big league managerial opportunity.

This is working.

I could not feel any better about the direction of this team, on the field or in the front office.

There’s probably another Taylor Swift song title (is there one called “Win the Damn Series”?) that I could shoehorn in to finish this one, but I’m not going to find out because I’m not going to Google “Taylor Swift” again.


Home cooking.

The compound featured an element of embarrassment and one of catalysis, or maybe it was just baseball cycle at work, and not the Adrian Beltre variety.

On Tuesday the Rangers were battered at home (21-5, Yankees).  On Wednesday, the front office delivered Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman.  

Since then, Texas has played eight games and won seven, all in Arlington, and shouldn’t have lost the one.  

It’s the first feeling of Castle Doctrine this team has provided all season, and as long as baseball’s best road club doesn’t reverse its fortunes the way it has at home, this race is on.

The bullpen remains a vulnerability — and how would these last eight have gone without Diekman (a tack-on by the seller) and Sam Dyson (why would Miami trade a guy with that kind of stuff for a backup catcher and minor league left-handed specialist?) — but here comes Luke Jackson, an intriguing addition to a bullpen sorely lacking in swing-and-miss, and maybe Tanner Scheppers gets a quick turn with either Brad Holman (Round Rock) or Jeff Andrews (Frisco) to work some mechanical things out before he returns.

And maybe Nick Martinez joins the bullpen once Derek Holland makes his sometime-in-August return.  Unless the Rangers opt to deploy Holland in relief himself, at first.

Yes, Nick Williams (7 for 13 with two homers and two doubles and two walks and one strikeout) and Jake Thompson (7-6-1-1-0-1) and Jerad Eickhoff (6-6-1-1-1-7) have gotten off to very good starts in the Phillies system, even if Alec Asher’s debut (6-9-4-4-3-2) wasn’t as sparkling, but that’s a good thing the way I look at it, not just because I’m a fan of those guys and want them to do well, but also because a reputation of mirage development is the last thing you want your team to have.  You want other clubs to covet your prospects and believe in your development process.  

Cody Ege fanning six in his first 3.1 frames for the Marlins’ AA affiliate?  Good.

In the meantime, I’m plenty good with Diekman’s four hitless appearances and one single allowed in the other, and with Dyson’s two saves in four appearances, dicey as they were.  The sink and run and the velo and the zero walks and the five remaining years of control — yes, please.

As for Hamels, there was plenty to dig in spite of the clunky 7.2-8-5-5-1-6 line in his debut, and I can’t wait to see the encore against Hisashi Iwakuma tonight.

Maybe Jackson debuts tonight late, bringing high 90s and a hammer curve that generated 54 strikeouts (17 walks) in 37.2 AAA innings (.187/.278/.266) since his conversion to relief. 

We’ll need to exercise a little patience on Leonys Martin and Joey Gallo returning to the big club, but a combined five home runs last night (not a typo) is encouraging.  With Martin (who added two singles and a walk to his two Thursday bombs) in particular, if he can make half the adjustments that Rougned Odor made when he played his way into a demotion in May, we’re in business.

Chi Chi Gonzalez needed a lot less than three Gallo homers and Martin’s two, holding New Orleans to one run last night on eight singles and a walk in seven frames.  He’ll be back at some point.

If Williams were a right-handed hitter, maybe the Rangers wouldn’t have been willing to move him at all, but Lewis Brinson hits from the right side, plays a legitimate center field (actually an understatement), and since his promotion to Frisco that basically coincided with Williams’s departure, he’s hit in six of seven games (.393/.367/.679 in 30 plate appearances) — with multiple hits in five of those — and reportedly sent his home run last night approximately 2,000 feet while 10 Republican hopefuls beat up on each other and shortly before Jon Stewart left the air to the interestingly chosen tune of “Born to Run.” 

Williams has a chance to be a frontline two-phase outfielder in the big leagues.  So does Brinson, who hit .337/.416/.628 in the often misleading California League.  And Brinson, again, hits right-handed.  And plays a lockdown center.


(Psst: Attend Newberg Report Night.)

(Psst: Support the Newberg Report.)

It’s Cole Hamels Day.  The Rangers are back on the road, where they’ve been fantastic all year, and a week away from a return back home, where they’re suddenly playing strong baseball.

The fear that Rangers baseball would give way to Oxnard, as used to regularly happen a decade ago and earlier, is gone.  We’ve got ourselves a pennant race, and you can be sure that the Astros and Angels and Blue Jays and Orioles and Twins and Rays and Tigers are keeping close tabs on Texas, in spite of a record one game over .500 heading into tonight’s game, which marks the two-thirds point of the season.  A very good road team has suddenly become a force at home as well.

It’s Cole Hamels Day.  Let’s go.  

Date set for Newberg Report Night at Globe Life Park.

That’s four wins in a row and seven of eight — all but the squandered Cole Hamels start — and Texas now sits five games back in the West and two back in the Wild Card chase.  We’ve got ourselves a race.

Off-day today, Hamels tomorrow to kick off a trip to Seattle and Minnesota.  But let’s talk real quick about when the Rangers return home, where they’re suddenly playing like good teams should.

We’re now ready to start taking reservations for the 11th Annual Newberg Report Night at Globe Life Park, which will be on Monday, August 17, the opener of the Rangers’ series with Seattle.  This year our event will benefit the family of Julie McGraw, the wife of Rangers scout Gary McGraw.  You can read more about Julie here.

Newberg Report Night will include our usual extensive pre-game program in the Hall of Fame Theater, featuring a roundtable Q&A with the Newberg Report’s own Scott Lucas and local minor league junkie Michael Tepid, followed by our annual Q&A session with Rangers GM Jon Daniels, plus our yearly memorabilia raffle/auction, conducted by local professional auctioneer Bret Richards.

There are several different price point options to attend:

•    $40 per person: Admission to all the pre-game events plus an Upper Reserved game ticket (parking not included)

•    $200 per personAdmission to all the pre-game events plus a Luxury Suite ticket (parking and catering not included)

•    $20 per person: Upper Reserved game ticket only (that is, no admission to the pre-game events)

•    $175 per person: Suite ticket only (no admission to the pre-game events)

•    For those who already have tickets to the ballgame: Admission to the pre-game events without a game ticket costs the same as it would if you bought a game ticket: $40 per person

We typically have from 250 to 350 people attend this event every year.  Once we reach Hall of Fame Theater capacity, we’ll have to close registration (though we can continue to sell spots for the game only).  Many years we’ve sold the event out in less than 24 hours, and while I wouldn’t necessarily expect the same sort of rush since we’re having to hold the event on a weekday this year, I can’t promise it won’t sell out that quickly, and I would strongly recommend that you make your reservations as soon as you know you’ll be attending.

Kids are welcome.

Here’s what we tentatively have planned (the details tend to get better as we get closer to the event):


3:00     Doors open

We’ll gather in the Hall of Fame Theater.  You’ll get your game tickets once you enter the front lobby of the Hall of Fame — no need to go to Will Call or anywhere else.

You’ll have the opportunity in the lobby to make a donation to our designated charitable cause, which this year will be the Julie McGraw Rehabilitation Fund.  You may donate any amount; for every $10 you donate, you will get one ticket for a memorabilia raffle we’ll have during the event.

As usual, I would recommend getting there as early as you can in order to get a good spot in the auditorium.  Some of you will have to stand — the theater capacity includes not only the room’s 235 permanent seats but also extra folding chairs (not pictured below) and standing room.


HOF Theater


3:30     Roundtable Q&A featuring Scott Lucas and Michael Tepid 

As the theater fills up, Scott and Michael will field your questions on Rangers prospects.  These are really smart baseball guys with an 80-grade sense of humor (maybe 70 in Tepid’s case), and were fantastic last year.  Should be fun.


4:30     Raffle/auction, charitable presentation

As we’ve always done, we use this event to raise money for charitable efforts, including through your purchase of raffle tickets that day.  For every $10 you donate, you will get one ticket for the raffle.  Whoever makes the largest donation at the event will get his or her choice of any of the prizes.  The remaining prizes will be raffled off.

We’ll then also have a few special items to put up for a quick live auction, presided over by award-winning local auctioneer Bret Richards.  If you have anything you’d like to donate to the event to be raffled or auctioned off to raise money for the McGraw family, please let me know as soon as possible.

After the auction we’ll make a quick charitable presentation.


5:00     Jon Daniels Q&A

While it’s not possible this far out to guarantee his availability, Rangers GM Jon Daniels is expected to join us, as he has the 10 previous Newberg Report Nights, for a lengthy Q&A session.  The fact that the event is shortly after the trade deadline activity that brought Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, and Sam Dyson to Texas makes the possibilities even cooler, and if you’ve ever been to one of our events, you know how extraordinarily open and honest JD is with his answers.  This is a really unique opportunity, one of my favorite days on the baseball calendar every year — and as JD has told us in the past, one of his as well.

Jon is expected to arrive around 5:00 and take your questions in the theater for about an hour and 30 minutes.


6:30     To the game

At about 6:30, we’ll conclude in the theater and head to the seats/suites for the 7:05 first pitch.  (Again, you’ll pick your game tickets up just inside the Hall of Fame entrance when you arrive.)


Please sign up and pay as soon as you know you’ll be coming.  Spots are first come, first served — your spot is only locked in once I receive payment — and again, in recent years we’ve sold out in less than 24 hours.

The cost, once again, is $40 (pre-game plus Upper Reserved ticket) or $200 (pre-game plus suite ticket), and you can pay in one of two ways:


•           You can order by credit card through PayPal by going to, selecting the “Send money” option, and typing in where you are prompted for the e-mail account.  (Make sure to specify what types of tickets and in what quantity.)

•           Or you can send a check or money order, payable to “Jamey Newberg,” to:

Jamey Newberg
Vincent Lopez Serafino Jenevein, P.C.
1601 Elm Street, Suite 4100
Dallas, TX 75201

If you’re paying by check, I’d recommend mailing it right away so the event doesn’t close before your payment arrives.

If you’re buying multiple tickets, I don’t need to know every attendee’s name, but if you’re paying separately from someone you want to sit with for the game (whether in seats or a suite), let me know their names in an email or in a note with your payment (PayPal or check).  The suites hold 20 people each, so if you have a group (of anywhere between two of you and 20 of you), just let me know so I can be sure to put you together in the same suite . . . but you can certainly buy one suite ticket as well.


One last thing: Just like the last two years, we’re opening up sponsorship opportunities for the event.  There are $500 and $1,000 sponsorship levels, both of which include two suite tickets and an autographed Bound Edition (year of your choice).  At the $500 and $1,000 levels you will get mentions in all event-related email; at the $1,000 level you will also get mentions in Twitter blasts and in the 2016 Bound Edition.

If you or your business might be interested, give me a shout.


Let me know if you have questions.  And let’s raise a lot for Julie and her family.


Notes . . . and Supporting the Newberg Report.

Adrian Beltre is the first player since 1933 to hit for the cycle three times.

Rangers hitters have four of the last eight cycles in the big leagues.

Awesome, but not as important as Beltre’s club winning five of its last six, the lone aberration being the Cole Hamels start that Texas should have taken as well.

And, as Gil LeBreton (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) points out, ever since the Rangers dropped to a season-low eight games under .500 on May 3, they have a 44-37 record — while Houston is 42-40.  

Beltre’s fifth-inning homer got me off the couch, but so did this tweet from ESPN analyst and recent Rangers managerial candidate Alex Cora: “The Rangers might be two games from the second wild card at the end of the night and just traded for an ace.”  

They are.

And they did.

Mark your calendars, at least in pencil: We are planning to hold Newberg Report Night at the ballpark on Monday night, August 17.  That’s just two weeks from now.  As always, I expect we’ll have Jon Daniels for a pregame Q&A in the Hall of Fame theater, and I’ll announce our chosen charitable effort in the next couple days.  Texas hosts Seattle that night.

More details on our event very soon.

And thanks to those of you who have responded with “honor system” contributions for the Newberg Report team.  If you’re interesting in participating, here are the details:


As you know, the content on the Newberg Report website and newsletter is free of charge and always has been.  It’s never been a subscription-based product and I don’t want it to be, because that might mean some of you would drop out of the audience, which I don’t want. 

Once a year, in August, we announce an “honor system” program, for you to respond to, or not respond to, as you wish.  I’ll share your contributions with folks who put significant time and talent and energy into the Newberg Report — including Scott Lucas, Eleanor Czajka, Norma & George & Ryan Wolfson, Don Titus, Ed Coffin, Devin Pike, and Marty Yawnick — to help improve the product, some of whom do so every day.  Without their efforts, the newsletter and website and book and our events wouldn’t be what they are today, and probably wouldn’t even exist. 

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My favorite Martin.

Mike Leake was really good, throwing all his pitches for strikes, keeping the ball on the ground, and seemingly finding another gear when Texas mounted its few threats.  He hung one looping curve middle-middle to Josh Hamilton, with two outs in the scoreless sixth — the first home run Leake had allowed in 41 innings — but otherwise the 27-year-old looked like an outstanding trade pickup in his Giants debut, half a day after his new teammates had spoiled the debut of the Rangers’ own trade deadline strike.

But Martin Perez was better.

While Leake needed 93 pitches to get through 6.1 innings on a furnace day in Arlington, Perez needed only 80 to get all but the final two outs, which Sam Dyson collected on one Hunter Pence swing of the bat — an expertly turned bases-loaded 6-4-3 that featured a tremendous Elvis Andrus feed and crazy pop time on Rougned Odor’s pivot to retire Pence by a quarter step on what was a slow bouncer that otherwise would have tied the game.  

Only 80 pitches — the lowest pitch count for a big leaguer recording 25 outs in more than six years (Kansas City’s Luke Hochevar on June 12, 2009) — an 80-grade 76 percent of which were strikes, a number that would stand out even from a pitcher not returning from Tommy John.  

Of the 28 Giants Perez faced, he started 25 off with a strike.  (The three he offered ball one to each ended the at-bat by grounding out.)

The only base hit he allowed before the Angel Pagan double that chased him in the ninth was a fifth-inning infield single in the 5.5 hole that Andrus nearly prevented with a strike to Odor at second — and that at-bat would have never happened if Odor hadn’t made a clumsy two-out error the previous at-bat, letting his throw from short right sail high on Brandon Belt’s two-out grounder.

Despite the Odor error that extended his inning by two hitters, Perez needed only 11 pitches (rather than five) in that San Francisco fifth, an elite number that nonetheless was the most he’d thrown in an inning all day at that point.  In the first four frames, Perez threw five, 10, nine, and 10 pitches, and after his 11-pitch fifth, he followed it with just nine deliveries in the sixth, and as brilliant as that is from a pitching and defense standpoint, it can’t be discounted on a day as hot as Sunday afternoon was that it had to have an impact on Leake, whose time in the dugout between innings to recover and regenerate was consistently abbreviated.

Leake, who walks a little more than two batters per nine innings this season and for his career, issued ball one to start the third.  Then three straight balls to start the fourth.  Ball one to start the fifth.  

And three straight balls to start the sixth.  He then threw four consecutive strikes, recording two outs and yielding a Mitch Moreland single to center, before going ball one to Hamilton, then strike one, then ball two, then the mistake curve he left up and out over the plate, which Hamilton waited on long enough to keep fair, well over the fence in right.  

It was Leake’s sixth straight quality start, but Hamilton ensured it would be a loss.

arte hamilton check

There are so many good things about pitching efficiently and with tempo, and on a day like yesterday, Perez getting Leake back out of the dugout so quickly all day long may have been pretty big.  

Ever since Perez’s previous start, the 21-5 loss to New York that might have been the worst of the year, Texas has now won four of five against playoff-bound teams — the only loss in this last run through the rotation was the crusher in Cole Hamels’s start on Saturday, a game Texas should have won — and maybe the most encouraging part about that is this has happened at home, where the Rangers have been as ineffective this year as any team in baseball.  I’m not sure many clubs have any many home games remaining as Texas does.  Fun to think that might be turning into the kind of positive it should be.

The Angels lost yesterday — that’s six in a row and nine of 10 — and so did the Twins, bringing Texas a game closer to the two Wild Card teams.  Baltimore and Toronto still stand in the way, and Tampa Bay is virtually tied with Texas, but the Rangers now sit just three games out of a playoff spot.   

Houston arrives tonight for three, and while the Astros aren’t the team Texas is chasing, this is an opportunity series, even if it’s not necessarily a statement series.  

Perez got me thinking about next year — Cole and Yu and Martin and Derek, maybe Colby or Chi Chi in the fifth slot — but the really cool thing about these last five days the Rangers have put together is they should have us thinking about this year, and when it’s August that’s exactly where you want your head to be. 

August and everything after.

It’s August.

It’s the season’s final third, a new trading season with new rules, and, for Texas, a huge opportunity.

The Giants for two more.

Houston in for three.

Seattle away for three, and then three in Minnesota to face the Twins, who currently hold the second Wild Card spot that the Rangers are three games short of.

The Rays (virtually tied with Texas) here for three, then four in Detroit (currently half a game behind the Rangers), after which Texas hosts Toronto and Baltimore — each two games ahead of the Rangers in the Wild Card chase — for three each, getting us to August 30.

Texas plays 28 games in August.

Seventeen are at home.

That’s a massive opportunity, especially if the club has regained a little Castle Doctrine edge.  (The Rangers still have baseball’s fewest home wins . . . and most road wins.)

The bullpen now has Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson, and the rotation should have Derek Holland soon.

And will have Cole Hamels tonight.

Facing Giants righthander Chris Heston.

The last time a game featured a pair of starting pitchers who’d thrown no-hitters earlier that same season was 2010, when Arizona’s Edwin Jackson faced Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay on July 28, and Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza faced Oakland’s Dallas Braden on August 22.  

Hamels, who watched Halladay beat the Diamondbacks, 7-1, a day after his own start against that same club (in which he’d entrusted a 4-3 lead to the Phillies bullpen, only to see it squandered), was in his fifth year as a big league starting pitcher.

Chris Heston, San Francisco’s starter tonight, was in his first full pro season, in the midst of what would be a 5-13, 3.75 campaign for Low A Augusta.  

Since that day when Hamels watched Halladay and Jackson face off, he’s twice been on a Phillies club that finished with baseball’s top regular-season record.

In 2010, the Phillies won an MLB-best 97 games.  And then were eliminated in the NLCS by the Giants, who went on to face Texas in the World Series.

In 2011, the Phillies won an MLB-best 102 games.  And then were eliminated in the NLDS by the Wild Card Cardinals, who went on to face Texas in the World Series.

Cole Hamels was on baseball’s best team, at least by one measure, in 2010 and again in 2011, and, after going 2-1, 0.86 in those two post-seasons, with 25 strikeouts and three unintentional walks in 21 innings, sat at home watching the Rangers play in the World Series.  Twice.

Yesterday he told Rangers reporters: “This team is great, and I’m excited to be a part of it.  That’s all I want to do, to be a part of it with these guys and help them continue to win and get to the post-season and go from there.  I think that’s all I’m going to try to do tomorrow and the next couple days and every five days.  That’s what I do.”   

On Friday he attended a presser in Philadelphia and a presser in Texas and, in between, joined his new teammates outside the dugout, first to stand up to whatever it was that a struggling Madison Bumgarner was whining about and then to line up for handshakes, after a third straight Rangers win over a team holding down a playoff position.

Tonight Hamels shoots to make it four straight.

There’s a huge opportunity here, not just in seven hours but over the next two months as well.  

Having a newfound edge at home, and having Cole Hamels and a fortified bullpen in place, not to mention another frontline starter nearing his own return and a chance to grab a right-handed bat this month, could make things very interesting, as Hamels and his new teammates look to continue to win, and get to the post-season, and go from there. 


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