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A hearty thanks is in order for John Gizzi, who came through with an Advance Scout pinch-hitting appearance that would have made even Rance Mulliniks proud. Since Gitz ratted me out, I might as well admit to being in Las Vegas for the entire Jays winning streak. For many, many reasons, as much as I support "taking one for the team," I should let you know now that I would not be amenable to suggestions that I head back to Sin City until the Jays lose. On the bright side, our entire party did manage to avoid ill-advised marriages.

So the Jays have turned things around with pitching and defence. It should be all too fresh in the Jay hurlers' minds, though, that the Rangers lineup can put up a lot of crooked numbers (sometimes, sadly, even with a straight number preceding it). The formula for beating Texas has been simple: Keep the ball in the park, and be patient with their pitching. It's just a matter of executing the formula against A-Rod, Palmeiro, Blalock, and the rejuvenated Gonzalez and Everett.

At least the Jays snapped their multi-year, 10-game losing streak against Texas last Thursday. The most notable memory from the Metroplex for Jays fans, I think, is Nolan Ryan's last no-hitter on a muggy night at Arlington Stadium. I think Joe Carter's "TOROTNO" jersey might also have been infamously donned in Texas.

Doc has his work cut out for him as he tries to cut back his gopher balls. Blow in, sweet winds of Texas. Blow in.

On to the Advance Scout!

* Who knows what lineup Showalter will trot out against the Jays? On Saturday, Michael Young led off and Carl Everett was inserted into the 6-hole ...
* Rafael Palmeiro has been stuck on 498 since his bomb on Thursday against the Doctor ... Michael Young on the, um, pharmaceutical pitchman: "Rafael is just incredible. He's finally starting to get the accolades. He's a Hall of Famer." ...
* Raffy was beaned on the elbow in Saturday's game ... He was limited to pinch-hitting on Sunday but should be ready to go tonight ...
* The Rangers have overtaken the Yankees for the league lead in home runs, and Juan Gonzalez (11), Everett (10) and A-Rod (10) are a nifty 1-2-3 in the league in home runs ... Juan Gone split Player of the Week honours with Barry Zito ...
* Say what you will about the much-maligned single, but the Rangers could have used one on Friday. Texas hit leadoff doubles in the fifth and sixth and failed to cash either in before losing 6-5 ...
* Showalter on the lack of timely hits: "What sticks in my craw is twice we had a man on second and none out and we didn't push them across ... We didn't even come close and it bit us tonight" ... The Rangers have scored 52% of their runs on the long ball ...
* Showalter was bitterly disappointed with a mere 3-3 over the six-game road trip to Toronto and Cleveland ...
* But he won't speak ill of A-Rod, especially after his game-winning double on Saturday: "Alex is as advertised...A lot of people shirk responsibility, he puts it on his shoulders" ... He's all over the leader board and sits at 344/429/664 ... Moreover, he's 16-for-30 (.533) in his last seven games ... The slacker did, however, commit his first error on Saturday ... He also got nailed at third base by Omar Vizquel on Sunday after attempting to take third on a grounder to short ...
* Saturday was the Rangers' first late-inning come-from-behind victory all season ... They're 1-11 when trailing after six ... Embarrassingly, that includes 0-1 against the Red Sox, although they pulled to within 5-4 from 5-1 against the Committee ...
* Juan Gone and A-Rod are tied for third in the league in RBI with 26, and Everett has 25 ...
* Recently-recalled Joaquin Benoit, the Jays' likely opponent tomorrow, had a lively fastball on Friday night ...
* Ugueth Urbina, oft-mentioned trade bait on Batter's Box, bounced back from a wild outing on Friday with a tidy save on Saturday ...
* The Rangers went homerless on Saturday and Sunday after going on a torrid 15-homer-in-5-games streak ... Look out, Doc: Texas has not gone three games without a home run all year ...
* Jay Powell returned Saturday from vertigo conditions, but the only thing spinning was his curveball: He earned the win in relief ...
* The Rangers released cagey veteran Rudy Seanez on Saturday, who was in AAA anyway at the time ...
* Meanwhile, poster boy for "potential," Jamey Wright, has joined the fold, with Herbert Perry getting a rehab assignment ... Showalter on Wright's potential: "We just think there are some mechanical things we can smooth out" ...
* Doug Glanville, sidelined with a hamstring injury, has regained full range of motion ...
* Poor Chan Ho Park is making a fastball-only extended spring training start tomorrow night. It's to see if he has any velocity left ...
* Kevin Mench reported to AAA last night ...
* Despite scoring 5.46 runs per game, the sad-sack Ranger pitching staff has yielded 6.2 runs per game ... Starters' ERA is at a ghastly 6.29, better only than the Rays and Reds ...
* Colby Lewis cites his need to keep his four-seam fastball down as the key to avoiding another walloping by Blue Jay bats tonight ...
* Canada's own Jeff Zimmerman is throwing at about 85% off the mound right now, but has yet to start throwing sliders. He hopes to make a rehab stint shortly after the All-Star Break ...

Probable Batting Orders
* Note: Lefties Mark Hendrickson and Doug Davis are not scheduled to start for the Jays this series.

vs. RH

4 Young
5 Blalock
6 Rodriguez
3 Palmeiro
9 Gonzalez
7 Everett
DH Sierra/Lamb
8 Christenson
2 Diaz

Pitching Probables

Tuesday: RH Lewis vs. Halladay
Wednesday: RH Benoit vs. Sturtze
Thursday: RH Drese/Van Poppel vs. Lidle

Bullpen Usage

Long: Dickey R, Powell R
Short: Shouse L, Yan R
Setup: Cordero R, Fultz L
Closer: Urbina R
Advance Scout: Rangers, May 6-8 | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Scott Lucas - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#102573) #
Allow me to offer my thoughts:

The Ranger roster is quite different than when Toronto hosted Texas last week. Since last Tuesday, the Rangers have added Gerald Laird, Donnie Sadler, Mike Lamb, Joaquin Benoit, Jay Powell, and Todd Van Poppel to the roster, while eradicating Chan Ho Park, Doug Davis, Erasmo Ramirez, Rosman Garcia, Todd Greene, and Kevin Mench.

After some early-season ugliness, the bullpen has quietly become a team strength. The current bullpen has an ERA of 3.79 and 90 strikeouts in 95 innings. Esteban Yan is awful, a yawn-worthy event to most informed fans, while the unlikely trio of Aaron Fultz, R.A. Dickey and Brian Shouse has an aggregate ERA of 2.04.

Toronto will face the indomitable force of Colby Lewis, Joaquin Benoit, and Ryan Drese or Todd Van Poppel. Collectively, they have an ERA of 6.70 and WHIP of 2.02. Merry Christmas, Mr. Delgado. Happy Birthday, Mr. Wells. (Aside: The current staff ďaceĒ is John Thomson.)

Last Thursday, Colby Lewis finally offered the kind of wretched performance Iíd been predicting for a while based upon his woeful peripherals (not that being correct gives me any pleasure.) Lewis averages five innings per start and has never allowed fewer than eight baserunners in any of them. His opponents are batting .298/.414/.529 against him. Lest I sound too gloomy, I really do think Lewis will become an effective starter. But not by tonight.

Joaquin Benoitís career has approximated Lewis: very effective in AAA but very, very inconsistent in the Majors. Benoit, however, is two years older than Lewis and no longer holds the promise that Lewis offers. Benoit has walked 62 and struck out 69 in 95 career innings. Heís a flyball pitcher but does not surrender too many homers.

Drese is even less effective than Lewis at keeping runners off bases. His only hope is to apportion them at perfect intervals to minimize the damage, as he did against the Jays last week. Drese has allowed an outrageous 41 baserunners in 15.1 innings, and opponents are batting .362/.482/.536 against him.

I canít bring myself to say anything about TVP.

With Torontoís all-righty rotation, eight Rangers could play every game: Diaz, Palmeiro, Young, Rodriguez, Blalock, Everett, Christenson, and Gonzalez. Sierra probably will DH twice, Teixeira once. The best pinch hitter is Mike Lamb; the other benchers are catcher Gerald Laird, non-entity Donnie Sadler, and the non-starter among Teixeira and Sierra.

Through 16 home dates, Texas is batting .284/.356/.509 and averaging 5.8 runs per game. The Ballpark has been neutral so far but typically inflates scoring by about 10-15%.

Last week, I predicted that Toronto would take two of three, and the opposite happened. So Iíll say the same thing.
_Jordan - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 03:30 PM EDT (#102574) #
The Rangers have two players who, I think it's fair to say, have strong chances at the Hall of Fame: Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro. Granting that you can never forecast a young player's HOF chances -- call it the Griffey Rule -- A-Rod's got 300 HRs and almost 1,500 hits, and he's just 27. Palmeiro will finish with 500 HRs and a lot of quietly productive seasons, the Eddie Murray of his generation. They also had Ivan Rodriguez last season, who will probably walk into the Hall of Fame five years after he retires. And they still have Juan Gonzalez, who has a legitimate shot at the Hall if he stays healthy and productive into his late 30s (which is not terribly likely, I'll allow).

So here's my question: what other teams besides the 2002 Rangers had four active players with reasonable Hall of Fame chances?
Mike D - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 03:55 PM EDT (#102575) #
Gosh, the Yankees have as many as seven with a legitimate shot: Giambi, Soriano (with "young" caveats), Jeter, Williams, Clemens, possibly Mussina and possibly Rivera.
_Spicol - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 04:00 PM EDT (#102576) #
I assume that you mean what other current teams?

The cross state Houston Astros have to be given some consideration. Biggio and Bagwell have good chances. With a couple more solid seasons, Jeff Kent should get significant votes. And while it is extremely early, both Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt have been fortunate enough to start their respective careers with big bangs.

The Yankees have a lock in Clemens, a guy well on the road to a HOF career in Bernie Williams and distinct possibilities in Giambi and Jeter, if the latter can stop his offensive slide. Mussina has an outside shot if he wins 20 or more eventually and ends up with 250 or so. Alfonso Soriano has a lot of work to do but seems headed in that direction.
Joe - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#102577) #
On the subjuct of teams with potential HOF I'd just like to throw in Oakland with Zito, Mulder, Chavez and in two very long reaches Tejada and Hudson. The biggest problem is that everyone is way to young to project what will happen later on but have done pretty decently the first few years, although winning a playoff series or two would definatly help.
_Mick - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 05:01 PM EDT (#102578) #
First, let me ask Mike a Rudy Seanez question: since when did "cagey" take on the alternate meaning "perpetually injured"? I bet, counting full seasons missed, the guy has been on the DL more in his career than not.

Teams with multiple potential Hall of Famers?

The Cubbies have two, in Sammy Sosa and Dusty Baker. And a load of young talent that could make a run under the Soriano exception mentioned above.

The Reds have Griffey and Larkin and (insert young player exception here).

The Red Sox have Pedro and Nomar and, of course, Jeremy Giambi.

Yankees: in addition to the above, let us not forget Joe Torre. And, frankly, George Steinbrenner probably deserves a place (and so does Charlie Finley).

The Braves have Maddux, possibly Smoltz, and the Jones boyz as outside sbots.

and I understand the D-Backs have a couple of pretty good starting pitchers who will get Hall consideration.
Mike D - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 05:06 PM EDT (#102579) #
It's laughable (in a sad way), but the Mets currently have Alomar, Piazza and Glavine.

I used "cagey" just to be nice. "Oft-injured" will have to do, since Seanez doesn't quite have the notoriety to truly be "much-maligned."

Ah, the sports vocabulary.
_Jurgen - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#102580) #
a guy well on the road to a HOF career in Bernie Williams

Jim Edmonds is going to be an interesting case, considering his relatively slow start in Anaheim and time lost to injuries. Williams has a 133 OPS+, while Edmonds is at 132 OPS+.

As for the rest of the Cards...

Again, Pujols is really really really young, but he's certainly headed on the right path. Scott Rolen's going to benefit from a relatively weak class at 3B. And while we're speculating, there's always Matt Morris.
_Jurgen - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 05:58 PM EDT (#102581) #
Granted, I guess Pujols isn't quite as young as they'd have you believe. It's his career that's still young.
Coach - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#102582) #
Welcome back, Mike. Next Jays losing streak, they should send you back to Vegas. Congratulations on being first to use "poor" and "Chan Ho Park" in the same sentence. Nice to know that Colby Lewis has a new plan; chuck-and-duck didn't work for him last week.

Kevin Mench reported to AAA last night

Like the announcement of Jeff Tam's departure, CBS Sportsline prematurely broke this story a week ago. Based on that news flash, I cut Mench in the BBFL April 27, but the actual move came six days later. Sometimes, information travels too fast.
Gitz - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 07:23 PM EDT (#102583) #
I don't know if the A's have even one FHOF on their team. Chavez, for all his potential, has yet to significantly improve much beyond his counting numbers. Of course, the guy's 25-years-old, but I'd like to see a huge year from him soon before I call him a FHOF. He absolutely must figure out to hit left-handers at even a respectable rate, or else he'll waste 100 or so at-bats a year.

Zito and Mulder have a long way to go. Pitchers are a fragile lot, and I think it's fair to wait until Zito, Mulder or any of the numerous young studs in the bigs have reached the age of 30 before we talk about their HOF chances.

Tejada and Hudson? Don't see it, but I see it more in Hudson if he can stay healthy.

And call this another one of my wacky predictions, but I think Alfonso Soriano is not only a lock for the HOF, but we'll also be talking about him in a way similar to the way we talk about Sosa. Over-aggressive style or not, Soriano's ceiling is virtually unlimited. And if he develops some more plate discipline, as Sosa has? Wow.
_Jurgen - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#102584) #
I think Alfonso Soriano is not only a lock for the HOF, but we'll also be talking about him in a way similar to the way we talk about Sosa

Do people really talk about Sosa the way they do about McGuire and Bonds?

I know it's crazy, but Sosa doesn't seem to have the same aura those guys do.
_Mick - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 09:38 PM EDT (#102585) #
Wrigley Field, bottom of the first. Two outs, nobody on, Cubs already trail 7-0. Sosa steps to the plate and ...
1 - hush, palpable, just a split second
2 - wild applause
3 - constant buzz throughout the at-bat.

If it's bottom nine, 3-1, Cubs down two, bases loaded, take that up exponentially.

Apologies to Big Mac, but not only is Sosa wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better an all-around ballplayer, but he has got it ALL over "Big Mac" in the aura department.
_Jurgen - Tuesday, May 06 2003 @ 11:54 PM EDT (#102586) #
Apologies to Big Mac, but not only is Sosa wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better an all-around ballplayer, but he has got it ALL over "Big Mac" in the aura department.

Sosa 1998 .327 EQA, 140 EQR, 157 RC, 160 OPS+
McGwire 1998 .384 EQA, 164 EQR, 179 RC, 217 OPS+

Sosa 1999 .312 EQA, 124 EQR, 145 RC, 141 OPS+
McGwire 1999 .347 EQA, 135 EQR, 154 RC, 178 OPS+

Wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better?

Moving to the next decade.

Sosa 2000 .331 EQA, 124 EQR, 156 RC, 169 OPS+
Bonds 2000 .362 EQA, 135 EQR, 145 RC, 191 OPS+

Sosa 2001 .367 EQA, 164 EQR, 187 RC, 201 OPS+
Bonds 2001 .428 EQA, 195 EQR, 209 RC, 262 OPS+

Sosa 2002 .333 EQA, 128 EQR. 131 RC, 160 OPS+
Bonds 2002 .455 EQA, 180 EQR, 185 RC, 275 OPS+

In all these categories, Sammy only comes out on top once, edging out Bonds in Runs Created in 2000.

Does any metric favour Sosa? Someone have their VORP scores and Win Shares?

Obviously, what's impressive is that we're comparing one player with two, but the fact that no matter how good Sammy gets there's always someone better hurts in the aura department.

But I think Gitz's original point has been proven, that Soriano is the kind of very impressive player that will routinely be called the best in the game (calling Joe Morgan) while others (yes, I'm talking about you, Alex) continue to have better stats.

And I still say Sosa doesn't have the McGwire/Bonds aura.
Gitz - Wednesday, May 07 2003 @ 12:32 AM EDT (#102587) #
Well, having seen and Bonds and McGwire more often than most Canadians, I can say that, to a point, Mick is right. Until Bonds hit 73 home runs, the fans in SF didn't realize just how good Bonds was. I'm completely serious. They saw a talented, surly man, but they didn't see perhaps the best player of all time. The game didn't stop when Bonds came to the plate, there was no visible or audible reaction when BB stepped to the dish. His "aura" was nothing, at least in SF, until he broke McGwire's record. Even then, as I've said before on this board, the fans have not taken to him like Cubs fans have taken to Sosa. Maybe it's because Californians are more "reserved." Whatever the case, Bill Mueller and Robby Thompson and Rod Beck -- and certainly Will Clark -- were more popular than Bonds. I don't think there is a player in any Chicago team outside of Ernie Banks, Michael Jordan, Dick Butkus and Walter Payton who has been more popular than Sosa. That's an aura.

As for Big Mac, it was a little different than Bonds. When McGwire came to the dish, the stadium did stop. The 28 fans who were at the Coliseum got noticably quieter, knowing McGwire could hit a ball farther than they've ever seen. Personally I saw McGwire hit about a 600-ft foul home run. It was the hardest hit ball I've ever seen hit, a ball that never really got up but was halfway out of the playing field as soon as it hit the bat. The buzz it created -- and this was for a FOUL ball -- in the stadium was second to the buzz of Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series. (Yes, I was lucky enough to be at Chavez Ravine that night.) McGwire's rep took a beating after some comments he made during the 1994-1995 strike; A's fans were bitter about him being so outspoken when McGwire had played in 74 games total in 1993 and 1994, and the fans weren't too crushed when he was traded in 1997. I would have liked to have seen the reaction McGwire would have received had he gone to an AL team. I get the impression Giambi (Jason, not pot-head) was more popular, and certainly Jose Canseco, Rickey Henderson, Dwayne Murphy, Tony Armas, Shooty Babbitt, Mike Norris, Vida Blue, Reggie Jackson and a cast of other A's were more liked than McGwire. It should be noted that McGwire's best seasons came after he was traded, so there's no way of knowing how popular Big Mac would have been had he hit 70 bombs playing for the A's. It's still hard to believe all the A's could get for him was T.J. Mathews, Ryan Ludwick, and Blake Stein. Blake Stein!

So, all in all, I'd rank the unrankable "aura" this way:

1) Sosa
2) McGwire
3) Bonds

I'd rank the players this way:

1) Duh
2) Sosa
3) McGwire

As for personality, and personability, it goes like this:

1) Sosa
2) McGwire
3) Bonds

As for the importance of my opinion, I'd rank it as follows:

1) Non-existent
_Jurgen - Wednesday, May 07 2003 @ 01:11 AM EDT (#102588) #
They saw a talented, surly man, but they didn't see perhaps the best player of all time.

I can believe it, given Bonds didn't make the All Century Team.

I don't think there is a player in any Chicago team outside of Ernie Banks, Michael Jordan, Dick Butkus and Walter Payton who has been more popular than Sosa. That's an aura.

Maybe this is more a Boston thing, but could it be that Cubs fans so took to Sosa because he is the Best Second Best Player of the era?

But this brings us to another point... Should gauging the reaction of hometown fans be the way to judge aura? The reason Bonds and McGwire stand out for me is the buzz they seem to generate away home.

This might not prove much, but their intentional walks certainly suggest what opposing managers think of facing them:

1998 McGwire 28
1998 Sosa 14

1999 McGwire 21
1999 Sosa 8

2000 Bonds 22
2000 Sosa 19

2001 Bonds 35
2001 Sosa 37

2002 Bonds 68
2002 Sosa 15

Those 2001 numbers are ridiculous, until you realise that Bonds had Kent behind him whereas Sosa... had somebody in a baseball uniform. Sosa banged 64 dingers, and no one else on the team had 20. Man, I would have walked Sosa more.
_Jurgen - Wednesday, May 07 2003 @ 01:14 AM EDT (#102589) #
I remember Bonds definitely had an aura in the NLCS as a Pirate... and his performance went a long way to killing it.
_Mick - Wednesday, May 07 2003 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#102590) #
I can say that, to a point, Mick is right.

Man, those words just stick in your throat, don't they? (Or, in posting, in your carpal tunnel, I guess.) "To a point." C'mon, Gitz ... commit!
Advance Scout: Rangers, May 6-8 | 18 comments | Create New Account
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