Date: Thursday, October 4th, 2016
Rangers Record: 0-0
Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
Starters: Marco Estrada (0-0, 0.00) vs. Cole Hamels (0.00)
“Nah, it’s the playoffs. You don’t need *more* emotion. You use what you have. They’re going to try to beat us, we’re going to try to beat them. That’s the bottom line” - Adrian Beltre
“I’ve been chewing my gum like this since 7:30 this morning.” - Me, chewing gum like it is my prey.
It’s here. The matchup that has felt like baseball destiny since as far back as, ohhhh almost 365 days ago, and certainly since May is here. The Rangers and the Blue Jays are once again facing off in the ALDS. The memories of last year are still fresh in the minds of Rangers fans, and the memories of May are fresher yet in the minds of Blue Jays fans. There is a sprinkling of genuine antipathy spread evenly over the field, and spreading all the way up to the uppermost seat in the third deck. It’s a good old-fashioned rivalry, and while there is never a shortage of motivation to win a playoff series, you get the distinct feeling that each team would like nothing more than to be the reason the other goes home as soon as possible.
Today’s Daily will be a bit of a series preview, along with some quotes and videos from the workout day and the media day here at Globe Life Park this week.
Welcome to the October 6th Baseball Texas Daily!
Dawes has an older album (which I love) and a newer album (which is on my list of records to listen to as soon as I have time) but today’s music rec is their 2015 release, “All Your Favorite Bands”. Dawes has a knack for writing lyrics so brilliant that they land hard on the first listen, but save a few subtleties for your fourth, fifth or tenth listen. Consummate lyricists, and one of my favorite bands.
(Spotify, Apple Music, Website)
Occasionally these recommendations come from Rangers players, broadcasters, or other people around the team (here’s a complete list). If there’s a player or person you’d like Levi to ask for a music recommendation, shoot him an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or a tweet here.
1. The Rangers announced their postseason roster, which is good, since there’s a game in just a few hours. Settled and answered are the questions on the 8 man bullpen (No! Seven!) and Shin-Soo Choo (Yes! He’s in the lineup and hitting 9th) Beyond that, here are the notable additions/omissions:
Derek Holland did not make the roster. “It’s always challenging,” Jeff Banister said of the decision. “When you’ve got a guy who’s been very instrumental in all the (Rangers) playoffs.” “I don’t think the decision was whether it was Claudio OR Holland, as much as it would have been Holland AND Claudio AND Diekman. If there would have been an 8th reliever situation, it probably comes down to Holland. Holland will still dress and travel with the team, and be available as a bullpen arm, should someone be injured.
A.J. Griffin will also travel and dress with the team, but Banister said they plan to keep him stretched out as an injury replacement, should a starter go down.
Delino DeShields was the Rangers’ leadoff hitter in last year’s ALDS. This year, he didn’t even make the roster. Of course, last year, the Rangers didn’t have Beltran, Gomez, Mazara, or Desmond as outfield options. Banister discussed this as perhaps the hardest decision to make. “We felt it was necessary to have Hoying on the team in a defensive-type situation, a baserunning situation.” He admitted that DeShields was a faster runner, but also said that “A base-stealing option is kind of a one-shot deal, and there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get that opportunity. The defensive side of it, though, is an entire inning, or multiple innings. The ratio of opportunity is better on the defensive side. So we picked a guy that we felt comfortable with on the bases, being able to score from first on a double, being able to score from second on a single, make good decisions on the basepaths, has the ability to steal a base, if necessary, but has shown and proved that he can play right field and give us solid defense.”
Tanner Scheppers also pitched well after returning from his knee injury, but did not make the postseason roster. Scheppers, too, will travel with the team and dress for games, as will Brett Nicholas and Hanser Alberto. Prince Fielder has also been cleared by MLB to dress / travel with the team.
Joey Gallo is headed to Arizona. He will join Nick Martinez, Andrew Faulkner, and Dario Alvarez, who went yesterday, and
2. With the roster finally set, it should be noted that over half of the players were not on last year’s ALDS roster.
Gone: Yovani Gallardo, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Derek Holland, Ross Ohlendorf, Shawn Tolleson, Hanser Alberto, Prince Fielder, Mike Napoli, Chris Gimenez, Delino DeShields, Josh Hamilton, Drew Stubbs, Will Venable.
New: Tony Barnette, Matt Bush, Alex Claudio, Yu Darvish, Jeremy Jeffress, Jurickson Profar, Jonathan Lucroy Carlos Beltran, Ian Desmond, Carlos Gomez, Jared Hoying, Nomar Mazara, Ryan Rua.
This is an astonishingly better team.
Jeff Banister chuckled when that number was brought up, and tried to explain how there was such a turnover: “I think one, you’ve got a GM and a front office who are willing to make decisions to help our club out with winning players. And I think we’ve got a strong scouting system that finds young players, and development system that gets them ready, but also just you think about the core group of guys? That’s a strong core group of players. Confident, and they play well together. That gives me confidence, because I know that they’ve been in a number of battles together, and they understand what they’re going to get from each other.”
3. Here’s the pitching preview for today’s game. With the postseason upon us, we here at Baseball Texas are putting the whole team to use. As such, Chris Roland will be providing these game-by-game previews of the opposing starters. Take it away, Chris!
In the first game of the American League Division Series, the Rangers will face 33-year-old Right-Hander Marco Estrada. An All-Star this year, Estrada comes into the postseason with a record of 9-9 and sporting an ERA of 3.48 (good for 11th in the AL) in 29 games. Estrada got off to a strong start but has lost 3 of his last 4 decisions and 5 of his last 8 while seeing his ERA steadily climb since the beginning of June. His final start of the regular season was a relatively lackluster affair in which he went 5.0 innings, getting a no decision on September 30th against Boston. Estrada has good strikeout numbers, averaging nearly one per inning (8.4 per 9 innings, good for 14th in the AL) as well as a good hit rate, only averaging 6.4 hits per 9 innings pitched. The Rangers have hit .258 as a team off of him in their combined careers, and faced him twice in 2016 during the span of 2 weeks in May, going 1-1. Estrada got no decisions in each start, going 6 innings in both but giving up only two hits and one earned run in the second affair, which Toronto eventually won 3-1. Here’s a look at how the stats stack up:
4. Here are videos of Cole Hamels and Marco Estrada speaking to the media yesterday:
5. Don’t throw things on the field today. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Not even if Cowboy Joe West starts the game by preemptively ejecting Adrian Beltre and declares North Carolina Barbeque to be the definitive barbeque. Not even if he then proceeds to grab the mic from the National Anthem singer and sings one of his bad country songs, not even if Jose Bautista makes a cameo duet appearance and they end the song by smashing their bats like guitars and screaming “NASHVILLE COUNTRY IS BETTER THAN TEXAS COUNTRY”, not even then should you throw a single gum wrapper on the field. If your friend looks like he might throw something on the field, punch your friend in the stomach. If someone else throws something on the field, tackle them and hold them until security can apprehend them.
I know that you would never throw anything on the field. I know that 99% of Blue Jays fans would also never throw anything on the field. And to all of you, I say: thank you.
6. The Rangers honored Bobby Jones for 50 years in baseball yesterday by giving him a 1965 Mustang. Kate Morrison was here, and has a short write-up, along with video.
7. Speaking of Kate, she also writes for a few other publications, and she has her series preview up at Baseball Prospectus.
AL Wild Card - TORONTO 5, BALTIMORE 2
This is obviously old news by now, but the Blue Jays beat the Orioles 5-2 on Tuesday night when Buck Showalter opted not to let his star closer Zach Britton pitch in a tie game, on the road, with the winning run(s) on base. Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run home run, and that was the game.
NL Wild Card - SAN FRANCISCO 3, NEW YORK (METS) 0
Madison Bumgarner pitched another masterpiece, and so did Noah Syndergaard. Unfortunately for the Mets, Bumgarner lasted all nine innings, and Syndergaard exited after 7 innings. The Giants won 3-0, when Terry Collins opted to let his star closer Jeurys Familia pitch in a tie game, at home, with the winning run(s) on base. Conor Gillaspie hit a three-run home run, and that was the game.
The Giants advance to the NLDS, where they will face the Chicago Cubs, starting tomorrow night.
You can follow Levi Weaver on Twitter at @ThreeTwoEephus, or for fewer puns and more straight-forward Baseball News updates, you can follow us at @BaseballTX, or download the app and get in-game updates and notifications by clicking on the logo below!
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