Stock Report: Nick Tepesch up, schedule makers down
Nick Tepesch: What can you say about rookie right-hander Nick Tepesch. All he's done so far is throw strikes. He hasn't walked anyone since three free passes in the second inning of his debut April 9 against Tampa Bay. Since then he's gone 19 innings without a walk. He's reached double-digits in ground ball outs in his three starts other than the one last Saturday when Tepesch left in the second inning after getting hit on the wrist by a line drive.
Nelson Cruz: Cruz became the third player in Rangers history with three home runs in four days that were either 3-run homers or grand slams. Cruz had two 3-run homers against the Angels on Tuesday and Wednesday and a grand slam against Seattle on Sunday. Jeff Burroughs had three 3-run home runs April 29 and May 1-2, 1976. Larry Parrish had two grand slams and a 3-run homer in July 1982.
Big innings: The Rangers were the last team to score four or more runs in an inning. They're making up for it now. The latest outburst was Wednesday's 9-run fourth inning against the Angels. The Rangers went on to win 11-3. It was the most runs the Rangers have scored in a road inning since Aug. 22, 2007 in Baltimore when they scored 30 runs and won 30-3.
The schedule maker: The Rangers were forced to travel two time zones to Minneapolis because of a night game Wednesday night in Anaheim, arriving at their hotel at 6:30 a.m. It would have been kind of the Angels to play a day game, but the Halos protected their home gate with a night game instead. The Rangers responded by winning 2-1 Thursday night. Coaches and players have long said it's the second game after a morning arrival that impacts their energy the most.
Mitch Moreland: Mitch Moreland has seven hits in his last 23 at-bats as he rebounds from a tough start. But he's still struggling against left-handed pitching. Moreland has three hits in 27 at-bats with one RBI against lefties. A healthy Jeff Baker could take away playing time, starting Friday night against Twins left-hander Scott Diamond.
Joakim Soria: Soria's return to the big leagues after Tommy John surgery won't happen until June because of a strained pectoral muscle. The Rangers' bullpen has been stellar so far, but Soria is expected to be an important addition when he makes it back.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.