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The Jays ride into the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the stompin' grounds of our very own Mick Doherty (and, according to Mapquest, three and a half hours from the stompin' grounds of our very own Scott Lucas). The Rangers come into play with an absolutely reeling bullpen, as even ace reliever Francisco Cordero has proven mortal this season after gagging two leads to the rival Angels.

The Fightin' Jays would do well to press on with their offensive patience and persistence, because there are lots of ways to get on base against the Rangers' staff. The downside, of course, is that the Jays' pitching staff travels from a forgiving Oakland outfield to a windy Arlington bandbox. The bottom third of the order, presumed to be the weak link in a powerful Rangers lineup, has actually swung the bats very well in the early going.

It should be four shootouts at Ameriquest Field. Can the Jays win yet another series?

On to the Advance Scout!

* General: The bottom of the order has gotten off to a hot start, keeping the Rangers' offence rolling in the early going. But some dreadful relief pitching has kept Texas below .500 ... The pen has blown five saves already this season, frittering away a five-run lead on Sunday and a four-run lead on Monday ... Ameriquest Field plays "The Natural" when Rangers go yard ... The grounds crew has been instructed to let the infield grass grow long to help the club's beleaguered pitching staff. The grass was cut razor-close to benefit the slugging Rangers of the late '90s ... Johnny Oates' #26 will be retired in August ... Carlos Almanzar is on the bereavement list after the tragic deaths of his mother and brother in the Dominican Republic ... Frank Francisco is not required to be in court this week as his assault trial continues, so he's off to a rehab assignment ... The most popular new concession item? The "Big Dog," a half-pound hot dog slathered with onions and retailing for $8.50 (all figures U.S.). Only in Texas ...

* Hank Blalock: Will drive anything offspeed if you leave it up ... Hangers are virtually guaranteed to wind up in the rightfield seats ... Balanced weight transfer and can muscle balls the other way despite his pull tendencies ... Can fool him if you throw the pitch he's not sitting on ... Can get him to chase pitches that break down and out of the strike zone ...

* Richard Hidalgo: Another pull-happy Ranger ... Good plate coverage and can reach out and pull outside pitches ... Will swing away on the first pitch ... Good power and can drive even low hangers out of the park ... Will chase fastballs up and out of the zone ... Work him away to coax a roll-over, then up ...

* Pedro Astacio: Not the most movement on his splitter, but he spotted it well in his excellent season debut ... Likes to work inside on hitters' fists ... Good tailing action on his two-seam fastball ... Works very quickly ... Tempts hitters with two-strike high heat ...

* Michael Young: The ex-Jay farmhand (sigh) is very good at going with outside pitches and using the whole field ... Surprising speed and will challenge even good throwing arms from the outfield ... Good two-strike hitter in that he can lay off breaking pitches out of the zone, and catch up to fastballs ... Has struck out just twice in 40 plate appearances ... You can nibble with him, since he doesn't like to take pitches anywhere in the strike zone ... He's hit .336 with runners in scoring position since 2003. The only big-leaguers with higher RISP batting averages: Some guys named Helton, Bonds, Pudge, Pujols, Sheff, Abreu and Manny -- and that's it ...

* Alfonso Soriano: High-risk, high-reward hitter with three homers, nine Ks and a .304 OBP so far ... Long swing but a legitimate power threat at the top of the lineup ... Loves fastballs up in the zone ... Doesn't often drive the ball the other way, but is capable of doing so ... Lefties can throw him cutters in on his fists and jam him ... Everyone in baseball knows he'll chase breaking pitches down and out of the zone ... Sometimes makes throws he shouldn't make as a relay man ...

* Francisco Cordero: In this, the Season of the Blown Save, Cordero has been no exception ... His problem has been leaving his forkball way, way too far up in the zone ... Both saves have been blown by key hits by Darin Erstad ... Ordinarily, his forkball has good late movement ... Always works from the stretch ... Likes to work lefthanded hitters away ...

* Brian Shouse: Comes with a straight sidearm delivery ... Not an overpowering fastball ... Has not shown good command of his slider so far this year ... Throws kind of a slurve to lefthanded hitters that is effective in coaxing groundballs ... Works righties away and dares them to try and pull it ...

* Doug Brocail: Relies on movement rather than speed ... Runs a two-seam fastball in on righties, and throws a curve that breaks away ... Control of his fastball has been really shaky, so he's been throwing curves early in the count ... Likes to throw 12-to-6 curve to righthanded hitters ...

* Mark Teixeira: Very strong hitter that will drive pitches over the plate and punch pitches that he doesn't connect on ... Off to a slow start this season, and has been regularly fooled by changeups ... Strongly prefers fastballs ... A natural third baseman, his defence at first base is progressing nicely ...

* Rod Barajas: Long, violent swing but can hurt you if you throw him a high fastball ... Decent wheels for a catcher ... Not a pull hitter ... Will chase breaking pitches away, and doesn't hit them well generally ...

* Ryan Drese: That K rate is not a misprint ... Tries to coax grounders with a two-seam fastball away to lefthanded hitters ... Easy delivery and he doesn't throw hard ...

* David Dellucci: Has been tremendously patient this year, walking nine times in his first six games ... Dellucci has been working hard to hit better against lefthanders this season to break out of his platoon status. This year, he's 1-for-2 against lefties with a home run and a walk ... His longball against Matt Thornton was his first homer off a southpaw since July 2003 ...

* R.A. Dickey: Still absurdly vulnerable to hanging his slider. Orlando Cabrera took him deep in extra innings this week ... Still, he relies on his breaking stuff for his out pitches ... Does not leave himself in good fielding position after his stretch delivery ... Suffered a severely inflamed triceps this week and was placed on the DL. Nick Regilio will take his place until Carlos Almanzar is ready to return to baseball ...

* Chad Allen: Waits nicely on offspeed pitches ... Likes the ball up, up, up in the zone ... Will spray the ball all over the field ...

* Kenny Rogers: The crafty Gambler throws a slow, slow curve with which he likes to backdoor righthanded hitters ... Only two strikeouts in his two starts, but both of those starts were against the contact-hitting Angels ... Will occasionally hang his curve ... Throws big, sweeping change that winds up out of the strike zone and down ... Doesn't have the gas he once did, but can sneak a fastball by hitters up after a steady diet of junk ... Durable and can go deep into games ...

* Chris Young: Played both baseball and basketball for Princeton ... Opponents are hitting .378 off the tall -- but thus far ineffective -- righty ...

Advance Scout: Rangers, April 14-17 | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Gitz - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 04:36 PM EDT (#111528) #
Wow, look at that spreadsheet! Awesome. Great stuff as always, Mike D.

And will someone PLEASE tell me why Chad Allen is in the major leagues?
Mick Doherty - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 04:46 PM EDT (#111529) #
Because he's from Duncanville and the Rangers always try to have at least one Metroplex native on the roster.

I have no idea if that's true, but how else can you explain Allen taking Ian Kinsler's roster spot?
King Ryan - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 05:04 PM EDT (#111531) #
Man, that is one ugly-ass bullpen.
robertdudek - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#111532) #
It's actually Laynce Nix's spot; Kinsler needs at least a half year of AAA, not to mention a position conversion. It would be stupid to bring him up and use him as a backup middle infielder.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#111533) #
Here are the 3-year platoon splits for Blalock and Teixeira:

.293/.352 vs. L
.367/.542 vs. R

.381/.560 vs. L
.337/.503 vs. R

It looks like Blalock alone is SS's man for the series. Chacin is going to a lot of practice throwing the cutter.
Lucas - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#111534) #
Some hastily compiled notes:

Texas has the highest OPS in the AL. Toronto is second. Itís not all the home park; Texas has play as many games in Seattle as Arlington. The Rangers also have the worst ERA in the AL. Just like the good olí days.

Chad Allen is not only on the roster, heís started three games. Odds are heíll start at least one game and possibly both against Torontoís lefties. Allen isnít really taking the spot of Kinsler, who isnít on the 40. Heís replacing the injured Greg Colbrunn, whoís hitting .278/.409/.278 in rehab at AAA. Texas might just dump Colbrunn despite already guaranteeing his $650,000 salary.

Buck Showalter likes to get everyone involved. For a while last year, he had enough platoons to insure that every position player started at least two games per week. This year, everyone but Sandy Alomar and Mark Derosa has started at least twice.

The mild controversy so far is David Dellucci stealing at-bats from Kevin Mench. Ranger fans thought that Mench finally had earned everyday status, but heís sat out three of the first nine games. Mench will start both games against lefties and probably one of two against the righties. Yes, Dellucci has been more patient and has worked on hitting lefties, but heís still David Dellucci. Most teams would be happy to have him as a fourth outfielder, but heís not everyday material.

Likewise, DH Adrian Gonzalez is a part-time player. He probably wonít start against the lefties. He and Mench have been in the lineup together exactly once.

Laynce Nix and Gerald Laird, both Opening Day starters in 2004, are toiling in Oklahoma. Laird essentially lost his job by resting his injured thumb instead of playing winter ball. Nix had a terrible spring and hasnít shown any progress in his batting eye.

Mahay and Brocail already have six appearances in nine games. Shouseís slider isnít sliding. Itís coming to the plate very flat. Regilio wonít pitch unless Tornto has a ten-run lead, and with Almanzarís return imminent, he might not last the weekend.

Another bad start or two by Young will find him switching places with Ricardo Rodriguez, who allowed three runs and no walks in a complete-game start in AAA.

Both Kinsler and DH-prospect Jason Botts have gotten off to slow starts in AAA. Meanwhile, Cody Ransom has three dingers in five games.

I maintain several databases of Ranger info if you're interested. 40-man roster, salaries, draft picks, depth charts, etc. Visit here and look for the links near the top right.
Lucas - Thursday, April 14 2005 @ 07:17 PM EDT (#111560) #
And, in fact, Mench is not playing tonight.
Advance Scout: Rangers, April 14-17 | 7 comments | Create New Account
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