Welcome to The Bullpen, a weekly collection of Rangers thoughts from Greg Tepper. Let him know what you think on Twitter, and please be gentle.
It’s the May 3rd, 2017 edition of The Bullpen, the reason a Houston-based writer thinks that Rougned Odor “looks like ISIS.”
Cole Hamels’ late scratch on Tuesday due to tightness in his oblique is obviously troubling on its face. Any time your best pitcher isn’t able to go, that’s a big problem, why am I explaining this to you, you are smart, this is clear.
What’s even more troubling is how rarely Hamels is injured, which could have some truly long-lasting and harrowing repercussions.
Since breaking into the league in 2006 with the Phillies, Hamels has been one of the most durable pitchers in baseball — his 2,247 innings are the fourth-most in baseball in that span, behind only Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander and former Ranger James Shields.
You think of CC Sabathia as reliable, right? Hamels has made 13 more starts than him since 2006.
Jon Lester takes the ball every fifth day, right? Hamels has faced 763 more batters than him since 2006.
Put another way: Hamels is almost never hurt, which is what makes this a particularly niggling development. For all the things that Hamels has accomplished in his career, battling through injuries isn’t one of them.
Now, this could be a case of a little stiffness, nothing to worry about. By the time you’re reading this, everything could be hunky-dory.
But if it’s not, it could be an even bigger concern than it appears. [Editor's note: Nothing is hunky-dory and Cole Hamels will miss the next eight weeks.]
22.9%— The percentage of the Rangers’ plate appearances that end in a strikeout. I know it seems like it’s the highest in baseball history, but believe it or not, it’s 7th in baseball and not even the highest in the AL West (Oakland is sitting at 24.4%).
31.6% — The percentage of pitches out of the strike zone that Texas is swinging at, the fourth-highest in baseball. Want to know why it seems like the Rangers are striking out a ton? There’s your answer.
10,159 — The total runs the Rangers have scored at Globe Life Park in Arlington since it was opened in 1994, which comes out to about 5.4 runs per game.
Forgotten Ranger of the Week
Hey! Remember Jason Jones? The Rangers took the outfielder in the 13th round of the 1999 draft out of Kennesaw State, and he worked his way slowly through the minor leagues. He got called up in the dreadful 2003 season and made his Major League debut on July 23, going 1-for-3 and getting his first career hit with a line drive single to center off Scot Shields.
He would appear in 39 more games that season and notch 22 more hits. He never saw the Majors again, though he did get inducted in the Peach Belt Conference Hall of Fame. He now lives in Smyrna, Georgia.
Arbitrary Top 5
The Top 5 Texas Rangers pitchers in career starts of at least 6 innings, allowing one or fewer run, and getting no decision (basically: guys who pitched well enough to win and didn’t get diddly):
t-5: Kenny Rogers, Phil Ortega and Charlie Hough (7)
4: Derek Holland (8)
t-2: Colby Lewis (9)
t-2: Roger Pavlik (9)
1: Nolan Ryan (10)
Ballpark Food of the Week
Chicken-fried corn on the cob. Someone looked at a perfectly wholesome vegetable and said, “Yeah, let’s ruin it with fat.” You can find this proof that death is inevitable outside Section 41.
Former Ranger Watch
Corner infielder Brandon Snyder saw action in 40 games during the 2012 season, logging a more-than-respectable .755 OPS during his time with the club. His reward: a release in spring training. He was picked up by the Red Sox, where he played in 27 games with much less success (.572 OPS) and was released…only to be signed again by the Red Sox 17 days later.
He toiled in the minors, got released, signed with the Orioles, toiled in the minors, got released, then signed with the Braves where he finally reemerged, playing in 37 games for the woeful Atlantas. Then he was released, and signed with the Nationals.
You can currently see him plying his craft with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, where he’s teammates with former Rangers Joey Butler, Neal Cotts and Joe Nathan, who is still in the league at the age of 138 years.
Unrelated YouTube Video of the Week
Here is the music video for Smashmouth’s “All Star”, except every lyric has been replaced with “somebody.”
Elvis Andrus Twitter Emoji Watch
Elvis Andrus loves emojis, so we’ll keep track of them by drawing a Tweet at random and counting the emojis.
Had a great time signing for the best fans in baseball 👍🏽😛✌🏼⚾️🙏🏾🙈 La pase muy bien hoy firmando… https://t.co/QY5GQ2wwHE— Elvis Andrus (@ElvisandrusSS1) January 28, 2017
Elvis has been very quite on Twitter lately, which is potentially a huge problem for this section of the column, so we dug back through the archives to find this Tweet from Rangers Fan Fest. It’s troubling that he referred to Rangers fans as “the best fans in baseball” because St. Louis is going to burn his house down, but in any case: Elvis Andrus used six emojis here: a thumbs up, a smiley face with the tongue sticking out, a peace sign, a baseball, praying hands, and a monkey covering its eyes.
Through four weeks, the Elvis Andrus Emoji Count is at 15, averaging 3.75 emojis per sampled Tweet.
Words of Wisdom from Jose Canseco
Every week, we’ll close out The Bullpen by taking time to enjoy the thoughts of former Ranger Jose Canseco, because we have so much he can teach us.
“I will try tickling my arm and looking at the ceiling I'll let you know if it works” — Jose Canseco, via Twitter
See you next week in The Bullpen!
Make sure to follow Greg on Twitter @Tepper. He's currently on hiatus but you know tweet absence makes the social heart grow fonder.