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Joseph's Rangers observations: June 29

Rangers vs. Tigers

Credit: Getty Images

David Murphy has helped keep the Rangers' offense afloat during Josh Hamilton's month-long slump... against right-handed pitchers, anyway. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

by JOSEPH URSERY

WFAA Sports Blogger

Posted on June 29, 2012 at 9:37 AM

  • Yu Darvish and Roy Oswalt pitched the two last games of the Detroit series, and each gave a different view of why a certain pitching stat that may be favored by the mainstream has its defenciencies; Yu with Quality starts and Roy with pitcher wins.

    Darvish pitched 7 innings, striking out ten while walking one, allowing four hits and four runs to score, all earned. Since he allowed four runs, the start is not designated as a 'quality start'. I've said before, QS is an ok statistic, but it has very little real quantitative usage because the guidelines for it are too rigid. 

    Darvish's start was a fantastic one, given that he held a very hot, very high quality opponent to those four runs (the lowest amount they scored this series) in a blazing hot day, while saving the bullpen that had been gutted the night before.

    Meanwhile, Oswalt, pitching the next day, goes six innings, allows thirteen hits, walks two, strikes out six, giving up five runs. That's not a terrible day of work, and if this offense is working right (it did, last night), that's good enough for the Rangers to win (and they did). 

    However, there's no appreciable way to say Oswalt's start was nearly as good as Yu's; he walked more, struck out less, allowed more hits, pitched one fewer inning. But both games are marked as wins, which means that stat treats the two games the exact same. That's a problem, and that's only one of dozens of problems with pitcher wins.
     
  • That said, Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish are tied for the AL lead in pitcher wins, so that's pretty cool.
     
  • I told a friend, when the Yu posting was announced, that he was a Terminator. I didn't know how right I was, because there's no way an actual human throws 113 pitches in 103 degree heat and doesn't sweat.  Robotics are the only logical explanation.
     
  • I thought after the Padres series there were signs of Josh Hamilton breaking out of the funk he's been in, but those evaporated (if they really ever existed) over the last week. I don't want to break down how brutal it has been, partially because that makes me sad and partially because Jamey Newberg did a better job of it today than I could have, but when you're about to argue that Josh should be signed for any amount of money, remember this stretch as much as you remember his insane run in May.
     
  • Speaking of insane months, check out David Murphy's numbers for the month of June. He's had a 205 wRC+, which is actually higher than the combined wRC+'s he put up in the April and May (96 and 105, respectively). His OPS is this month is 1.129, compared to two months of sub-800 OPS's. 

    Ron Washington has been able to use him more selectively as a platoon player this year than he has been able to in the past(only 29 PAs vs LHP), which helps Murphy a lot. He's still not likely to ever hit lefties well enough to earn a starter's paycheck, but my feeling has always been that he's going to get a starter's paycheck, anyway, likely starting next year in his last year of arbitration.

    For a left-handed outfielder that likely won't need platoon protection, consider Leonys Martin. Over his career in the minors (still a short sample, you'll note) he has put up an 823 OPS against lefties (1.009 vs righties). If he's ready (I think he is, but I wish I could say I'm certain) and the performance he's given the team while he's been up is real (I think it is but... you know) then the Josh Hamilton contract thought process gets a little simpler, because he won't be playing center here. 
     
  • I mentioned last week I liked the idea of getting Kevin Youkilis, who was shipped out from Red to White Sox this week for a return of Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart (it shoudl be noted that the Red Sox also shipped out cash to help offset his contract). Given that the likely Rangers' version of that trade would have been Julio Borbon and Mike Kirkman (valuating Lillibridge as a replacement level outfielder/pinch runner, which is about what you can expect from Borbon, and Stewart as a replacement level longman/spot starter, with maybe a slightly higher ceiling if everything falls together), you have to assume that JD simply passed on getting in on the bidding. 

    Youkilis wouldn't have been a starter here (unless someone else got hurt, or he just came out of the chute in a Rangers uniform blazing), but he still could have offered the team flexibility and a quality (theoretically) right-handed bat.
     
  • I'll just go ahead and say it; despite the fact he's been pretty bad this year, Kevin Youkilis is still a far better hitter than Michael Young. Are you happy now?

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