Future Fantasy Stars

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
10:08
PM CT


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Eric Karabell breaks down which players from the Futures Game you can expect to make a big impact in the coming seasons, such as Kris Bryant and Joey Gallo.

Getting starters to pitch deeper a priority

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
7:17
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- High on the Texas Rangers’ second-half agenda is getting starting pitchers to go deeper into games.

Spot starter Scott Baker gave the Rangers only four innings in Sunday’s 10-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

If one of the team’s five starters has a short outing, a solid bullpen could possibly make up the extra innings. But when all the starters fail to go less than seven innings -- as has been the case in an eight-game Texas losing streak -- the bullpen becomes overly taxed.

“We have to figure out a way to get our starting pitches to go deeper in ballgames,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington said afterward. “Get ahead and make pitches. That’s what they have to do.’’

Because, as Washington points out, in the American League there are many quality hitters that “every time you make a mistake, they make you pay.’’

Over the four-day All-Star break, Washington’s message is for the players to enjoy themselves, get away and then get ready to go in the second half.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus, encouraged by the Rangers' more aggressive play in the Angels series, expects a much better second half from the team.

“The whole team needs a break to clear our mind and enjoy family time,’’ Andrus said. “Then come back for the second half. After three or four days, we’ll realize we can come back and play the right way. I know we can play a lot better. I believe in myself and in my teammates.’’

Joey Gallo, U.S. beat World

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
7:15
PM CT
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Joey Gallo let loose his powerful left-handed swing on a too-good-to-pass-up pitch over the plate, producing a soaring two-run homer to give his team the lead for good.

The real damage was done during batting practice, though, before the All-Star Futures Game. One of Gallo's head-turning drives in warm-ups whacked the top of the windshield of a promotional pickup truck parked on the concourse beyond right field.

The glass shattered.

Soon, if Gallo continues his trajectory toward the Texas Rangers, the 20-year-old third baseman will be able to make his mark on the majors.

Gallo was picked as the MVP of the annual showcase for baseball's best minor leaguers, for his long ball in the sixth inning that sent the U.S. team to a 3-2 victory over the World squad Sunday afternoon.

"This one's definitely the most memorable," said Gallo, the assumed successor for four-time All-Star Adrian Beltre with the Rangers.

Gallo, currently with Double-A Frisco, has 31 homers and 73 RBIs in 85 games this season. This one-out drive on a 2-0 pitch from Houston Astros right-hander Michael Feliz was estimated at 419 feet.

"Good pitch for him. This guy has really good power," Feliz said.

That was evident before the game. Gallo, who grew up in Las Vegas, had his parents here to watch. His mother sent him a picture of her posing next to the damaged vehicle. He got an even better message after hitting the real home run, from offseason workout partner Troy Tulowitzki, the captain of the National League team for Monday night's Home Run Derby.

"He was telling me I should hit for him," Gallo said. "I was like, 'Aw, I wish I could, man. That'd be a lot of fun.' Obviously I can't do that."

Someday.

Gallo followed a two-run homer in the top of the sixth by Javier Baez against Washington Nationals


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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Mike Trout doubled twice and drove in four runs as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 10-7 Sunday and took a five-game winning streak into the All-Star break.

Texas lost its eighth in a row and has the worst record in the majors.

Trout, who will start the All-Star game in the AL outfield, sent three runs home with a two-out double in the second inning, and broke a 4-all tie with a double in the fourth.

The Angels, a major league-best 26-9 since June 6, swept a four-game series against Texas for the first time in their history.

Tyler Skaggs (5-5) got the win and Joe Smith posted his 15th save in 19 opportunities.

Alex Rios drove in three runs for Texas.


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Rapid Reaction: Angels 10, Rangers 7

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
5:58
PM CT
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The All-Star break can't arrive fast enough for the Texas Rangers.

The Los Angeles Angels defeated Texas 10-7 on a searing 98-degree Sunday afternoon in front of 34,750 at Globe Life Stadium to complete a four-game series sweep.

The Rangers have lost eight straight and 22 of their last 25, so a four-day break couldn‘t hurt.

Mike Trout had a pair of doubles and drove in four runs to lead the Angels' attack.

A few observations:

So close: Rangers starter Scott Baker was a strike away from getting out of a long second inning, but Trout’s soft fly fell in a perfect spot for a three-run double. Left fielder Jake Smolinski made a diving attempt at the kind of catch he made twice on Saturday evening, but didn’t arrive in time to get his glove under the ball. Chris Iannetta caught the Rangers by surprise when he didn’t stop at third and scored easily.

After the Rangers tied the game in the third, the Angels came right back at Baker with a go-head run in the fourth on consecutive doubles by Kole Calhoun -- again off the glove of a diving Smolensk -- and Trout.

In his fourth start of the season, Baker was charged with five runs on nine hits in four innings.

Top spot: Daniel Robertson, inserted in the leadoff spot against a lefty, responded with two hits and scored a run. He finished 2-for-3, lifted for pinch hitter Leonys Martin in the seventh.

Bullpen blues: The Angels tacked on runs against all four Texas relievers.

Shawn Tolleson was roughed up for two runs in the fifth when the Angels increased their lead to 7-4. In his previous seven innings combined, the product of Allen High School had allowed just one run. Of the past 12 games in which Tolleson appeared, the Rangers have lost 11. But he has not been involved in a decision.

Neftali Feliz gave up a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by the heavily booed Hamilton. Feliz and Tolleson walked their first batter and both scored.
When left-hander Ryan Feierabend made his Rangers debut in the seventh, he became the team’s 30th pitcher of the season, tying a club record. Feierabend needed two pitches to get the final out in that frame. An inning later, he surrendered a run when Martin couldn’t track down Albert Pujols drive to the warning track. It was scored an RBI double.

Neal Cotts, working the ninth, was touched for an RBI single by Chris Iannetta.

Timely hitting: With the Rangers down 4-1 and desperately seeking clutch hits, Alex Rios came through with a two-strike double to right field, driving in two runs in the third inning. Rios finished with two hits and three RBIs.

Not on the head: No secret that Adrian Beltre doesn’t enjoy pats on the head. So that’s exactly why Pujols, after reaching third base in the first inning, gave Beltre a head pat when the two spoke briefly. Beltre countered with a quick chop to Pujols body, all done in fun of course.

Fundamentals: The Rangers displayed solid situational hitting. In the first inning, Elvis Andrus hit behind the runner, advancing Robertson to third ahead of Alex Rios' sacrifice fly to center. Beltre rolled over on a ground ball to second base to score Andrus from third base in the third. As a pinch hitter, Martin put a ball in play to first base to allow Rougned Odor to score from third and cut the Angels' lead to 8-7.

Defensive gems: Chris Gimenez, making only his second start of the season at first base, reacted quickly to his right to snare Kole Calhoun's bases-loaded liner in the second inning…Beltre made a nice over-the-shoulder snag of a Hamilton looper to save a run in the eighth.

Up next: After the All-Star break and an off-day on Thursday, the Rangers will begin a seven-game, seven-day road trip Friday evening at Toronto. After three games with the Blue Jays, the Rangers head to New York for four with the Yankees before returning home again on July 25 for a homestand against Oakland and the Yankees.

Beltre's attitude impresses Washington

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
2:10
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Manager Ron Washington says the No. 1 positive for the Texas Rangers so far is the way third baseman Adrian Beltre “continues to be a pro.’’

Because, Washington said, when a team is struggling like the Rangers are right now -- a seven-game losing streak and 21 defeats in the last 24 games -- it is very easy for a player to let down mentally.

“A big-time pro never lets down, no matter how bad the situation,’’ Washington said. “You hope it rubs off on other players.’’

Beltre and Yu Darvish will represent the Rangers in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

First, however, the Rangers will finish off what has been a disastrous seven-game homestand. First pitch against the Angels is 2:05 at Globe Life Park.

In comparing Darvish’s first half to his previous two seasons as a Ranger, Washington said he sees a pitcher who is more relaxed with a better idea of what he has to do.

“His communication is better,’’ Washington said.

Lineup moves: Shin-Soo Choo is not in the lineup today. The Rangers stacked their lineup with right-handed hitters against Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs. Second baseman Rougned Odor is Texas only left-handed hitting starter.

Choo is batting .152 with 11 strikeouts over his last eight games, a stretch that has seen his average drop to .244. Daniel Robertson will hit in Choo’s normal leadoff spot. Adam Rosales will handle the designated hitter role.

Home field disadvantage: At Globe Life Park, the Rangers have lost seven straight and are 9-26 in their last 35 after starting the season 9-3. The Rangers record for consecutive home losses is nine in 1990 at Arlington Stadium. The Rangers have won only one of their last 12 series and split three.

Extra bases: Smolinski keeps impressing

July, 13, 2014
Jul 13
10:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jake Smolinski only a couple of days ago was worried about playing defense in early innings because at this time of year, the sun is directly in the eyes of the left fielder.

Smolinski, one of the newest Rangers, looked as if he had been playing left field in Globe Life Park all of his career with two spectacular diving catches in Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

[+] EnlargeJake Smolinski
Jim Cowsert/USA TODAY SportsJake Smolinski raises his glove after one of two diving catches he pulled off against the Angels on Saturday.
He took a hit away from Josh Hamilton in the second inning, racing in and to his left with a dive. An inning later, he victimized Albert Pujols with an even more impressive play. Smolinski raced to his left and made a headlong dive, plucking the ball off the grass.

"When he hit it, I thought I had a shot," Smolinski said of the catch on Pujols' hit. "Right before the ball arrived, I told myself I'm going to give it all I've got and if I miss it, so what."

The Angels had the bases loaded at the time and instead of scoring two or three, Los Angeles had to settle for one on a sacrifice fly.

For Smolinski, it is the latest chapter in a whirlwind of a first week in the majors. Even after going 0-for-3 on Saturday, his batting average is .471. In his first four major league starts, he went 8-for-12, a Rangers club record. Five of the hits came in succession.

He batted .267 this season at Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock before being promoted Monday.

"I'm not worried about the numbers," Smolinski said. "It's a small sample. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

He said he has noticed several differences about the big leagues compared to the minors.

"The pressure of the game is much more," he said. “The crowds are a lot bigger than I'm used to. The atmosphere is different."

The Rangers host the Angels in their final game before the All-Star break at 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Globe Life Park.

Mikolas can't limit damage in defeat

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
11:17
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers played some great defense behind Miles Mikolas.

And that's a big reason why the 25-year-old right-hander wore a long face in the clubhouse after the Rangers' 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"When guys are giving it up for me with everything they have, it makes this hurt worse," Mikolas said.

[+] EnlargeMiles Mikolas
Rick Yeatts/Getty ImagesMiles Mikolas was upset at himself for not being able to keep the Rangers in the game after he pitched five strong innings.
Left fielder Jake Smolinski, for example, made two diving catches that could end up on the season highlight reel.

For five innings, Mikolas limited the dangerous Angels lineup to four hits and an unearned run.

"It was kind of like my first start in Baltimore," Mikolas said. "Five strong innings, but they don't cut the line off there. I've got to do a better job. I wasn't tired."

His pitch count was only at 84 when he departed.

In Baltimore, Mikolas was relieved with one out in the sixth and the Rangers leading 4-1. He gave up only three hits, but left with runners on base. Both eventually scored and he was charged with three runs.

Mikolas' low pitch count influenced Rangers manager Ron Washington to stay with him this time in the sixth.

"Miles did a good job today," Washington said. "He was facing pretty good hitters, give them credit. But he's got to figure out a way to limit the damage. We can't rely on four innings from the bullpen all the time."

The Rangers were clinging to a 2-1 lead when Albert Pujols opened the Angels' sixth with a single to right. With the Rangers' infield in at double-play depth, Josh Hamilton's looper cleared Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor for another single.

"Those were two changeups that I got up," Mikolas said. "If the ball is down to Hamilton, maybe he hits into a double play."

Howie Kendrick and David Freese had RBI hits. Hank Conger broke it open with a two-run double. Washington went to his bullpen when Mikolas walked Collin Cowgill.

Ending the losing streak, now at seven games, is on the minds of all the pitchers. Mikolas is no exception.

"Every pitcher wants to be the guy to get that win," Mikolas said.

Not so clutch: The Rangers were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. That comes after going 0-for-6 on Friday.

"Tonight we had several chances to drive in a run and we didn't do it," Washington said.

Odor, the 20-year-old rookie, produced the only hit with a runner in scoring position, an RBI double in the second inning.

Soto apology: Rangers catcher Geovany Soto apologized to his teammates in a team meeting before Saturday's game. Soto was arrested Wednesday night on a charge of marijuana possession in Grapevine.

Sunday's starter: The Rangers announced after the game that right-hander Scott Baker (0-2, 5.84 ERA) will start in Sunday's 2:05 p.m. CT game against the Angels at Globe Life Park. It will be his fourth start of the season. He is 0-2 with a 5.94 ERA as a starter.
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Howie Kendrick celebrated his 31st birthday with three hits, including an RBI single during a four-run sixth inning as the Los Angeles Angels sent the Texas Rangers to their seventh straight loss, 5-2 on Saturday night.

Kendrick's third single tied it at 2 in the sixth. The Angels chased Miles Mikolas (0-2) and pulled away for their ninth win in 10 games.

The Rangers have dropped 21 of 24.

Jered Weaver (10-6) went seven innings, giving up two runs and four hits. He left his last start because of tightness in his lower back.

Joe Smith got his 14th save in 18 chances.

Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill left the game with blood pouring from the bridge of his nose after he was struck in the face by a pitch when he squared to bunt in the eighth. The Angels said he got stitches and was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.


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Angels' Collin Cowgill struck in face

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
9:52
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Los Angeles Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill was struck in the face by a ball after he squared to bunt in Saturday night's 5-2 win at Texas.

Blood was pouring from the bridge of Cowgill's nose after being struck in the eighth inning. He immediately put his hand over his face and started walking toward the Angels dugout.

The Angels said Cowgill got stitches on his nose and was then taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

The pitch by Matt West went over the bat and appeared to hit Cowgill flush on the face. It wasn't clear if the ball tipped off the bat before hitting Cowgill.

Efren Navarro finished the at-bat for Cowgill and drew a walk.


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Rapid Reaction: Angels 5, Rangers 2

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
9:50
PM CT
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers are playing better, but their losing streak continues to grow.

The Los Angeles Angels used the pitching of Jered Weaver and a four-run outburst in the sixth inning to deal Texas a 5-2 defeat Saturday night at Globe Life Park.

The loss was the seventh in succession for the Rangers and their 21st in 24 games.

A few observations:

Great for 5: Rangers starter Miles Mikolas did not look like a pitcher with a 12.46 ERA. That was his ERA when he took the mound for his third career start. Even though he seemed to tire somewhat in a rough sixth inning that skewed his pitching line, the Rangers have to be thrilled that the 25-year-old limited the Angels to one run (unearned) and four hits through five.

The night turned sour for Mikolas in the sixth. Howie Kendrick tied the score by rolling a single to right and David Freese put the Angels ahead on a base hit. Hank Conger made it 5-2, grounding a two-run double between Carlos Pena and the first-base bag.

Just five days earlier, Houston clubbed Mikolas for 12 hits and nine earned runs.

Ground under repair: Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor is a busy guy when he comes to the plate. He scrapes the dirt in the batter's box to get it just right, then draws a couple of lines in the sand with the handle of his bat before settling into his ready position. The routine worked nicely in the second inning when the 20-year-old spanked an RBI double, the key hit for a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Odor picked up another hit, a leadoff single in the seventh.

Defensive gems: Leonys Martin banged into the center-field wall chasing down Kole Calhoun's deep drive to start the game. ... Left fielder Jake Smolinski battled the sun in the second to make a diving catch on Josh Hamilton's liner in the alley. ... Smolinski made an even better play in the third, laying out at full stretch to snag Albert Pujols' bid for extra bases with three men on base. Pujols had to settle for a sacrifice fly. ... Elvis Andrus gloved a tricky hop and Odor made a nice turn on an eighth-inning double play.

Streak ends: Adrian Beltre, the American League's leading batter, saw his 15-game hitting streak come to an end after going 0-for-3. Beltre contributed a productive out in the third when his infield out moved Alex Rios to third base with one out. He drew a walk in the fifth.

Missed chances: The Rangers went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in Friday's 3-0 loss to the Angels. In the first inning against Weaver, the Rangers went 0-for-3 with the heart of the order, Rios, Beltre and Martin going down. Texas did the same in the third, going 0-for-3 after Rios' leadoff double.

Notes: Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill left the game after his fouled bunt attempt struck him in the face. He received stiches to his nose and was taken to a local hospital for further testing. ... Rangers pitching limited Mike Trout to one hit, a soft second-inning single. Trout homered in the first two games of the series.

Up next: The Rangers and Angels complete their four-game series in the final game before the All-Star break with the Angels' left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs being opposed by an as yet to be determined Rangers starter. Scott Baker and recently promoted Ryan Feierabend are the likely candidates. Starting time is 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Globe Life Park.

Rangers honor radio voice Eric Nadel

July, 12, 2014
Jul 12
6:11
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers are honoring their radio voice, Eric Nadel, in a pregame ceremony Saturday. Nadel is this year’s recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting excellence.

The presentation features video tributes and remarks from Brad Sham, a former partner and longtime Dallas Cowboys broadcaster. John Rhadigan of Fox Sports Southwest in the emcee.

Nadel, 63, began his association with the Rangers in 1979 and in 2006 announced he had signed a lifetime contract with the club, allowing him to remain on the broadcast team until he chooses to retire.

In recognition, the Rangers are presenting the first 15,000 fans to tonight's game Eric Nadel bobbleheads, complete with a recording of his call of the play that sent the Rangers to their first World Series.

Fox Sports Southwest will televise a 30-minute special honoring Nadel at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

More moves: Left-handed pitcher Ryan Feierabend is the latest to catch the shuttle from Triple-A Round Rock to Arlington. In 19 starts with Round Rock, Feierabend posted an 8-5 record with a 4.54 ERA in 113 innings with a 26/67 walk to strikeout ratio.

Left-handed reliever Aaron Poreda was optioned to Round Rock to make room for Feierabend on the 25-man roster. Feierabend, 28, was a third round draft choice of the Mariners in 2003. He made it to the big club for parts of the three seasons from 2006-2008. In 2009, he underwent Tommy John surgery. The Rangers signed him to a minor league contract prior to last season.

“I’ve got butterflies now," Feierabend said in the Rangers clubhouse. “But I’m excited. As a player you always hope you get that chance."

Rangers manager Ron Washington said the Rangers will not make a decision on a starting pitcher for Sunday’s game until after tonight’s game. Feierabend and Scott Baker are the leading candidates.

Class act: Washington revealed that Colby Lewis volunteered to go to the bullpen if he was needed leading up to the All-Star break.

“That’s a class act," Washington said. “That’s being a great teammate."

Lewis, the Rangers' starter on Thursday, had an outing that many pitchers, as Washington put it, would run away and hide from. But after allowing 13 runs on 13 hits, Lewis was back in the dugout for the final innings.

“It’s a lesson to a lot of young kids," Washington said.

Time to regroup: It is Washington’s opinion that the All-Star break could be helpful for veterans Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Alex Rios and Leonys Martin.

“Choo, with his competitive spirit, it might do him some good to get away," Washington said. “It should help Elvis, Rios and Martin, too. [Adrian] Beltre, he doesn’t get mentally taxed"

As for the younger players, “they don’t know what’s going on," he said.

Jake is back: Outfielder Jake Smolinski starts in left field tonight. Smolinski was hit on his left elbow by a Garrett Richards pitch in the second inning Friday and Washington took the decision out of Smolinski’s hands by removing him. The manager said he wanted Smolinski to get treatment immediately for his hot-hitting rookie so he would be ready for tonight’s game.

Rehab update: Rangers first baseman/outfielder Jim Adduci is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment for Double-A Frisco tonight. ... The club put on hold for a week the rehab assignment for outfielder Engel Beltre while they work with him to improve his first-step quickness. He’s had a problem getting a jump as a base-runner and getting out of the batter’s box, Washington said.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.337 13 51 51
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 13
RBIA. Beltre 51
RA. Beltre 51
OPSA. Beltre .917
WY. Darvish 8
ERAY. Darvish 2.97
SOY. Darvish 142