Apr 192012
 

The Rangers are now 10-2 after last night’s 6-3 win over the Boston Red Sox.  The club improved its road record to 5-0.  Mike Napoli is currently occupying a stratosphere of manliness accessible only to a select few.  He recorded three hits Wednesday, driving in four runs with a 2-run home run and a 2-run double.  In approximately twenty-seven hours of work in Beantown, Napoli totaled three home runs and eight RBI.  Derek Holland rolled through seven innings, Alexi Ogando was nails, and Joe Nathan and the defense had an uneven ninth inning, though Brandon Snyder made a nice play on a Jarrod Saltalamacchia liner to end the game.  The victory moved the Rangers six games ahead of the California Angels, against whom Bartolo Colon delivered eight scoreless innings and, during one stretch, thirty-eight consecutive strikes.  Mike DiGiovanna reports that the Angels look listless, notes that Albert Pujols has not homered this season and has not walked in the last nine games, and has this head-scratcher of a quote from Torii Hunter:

“I know it’s only 12 games, but we can’t keep saying that, because there’s a way to lose, and we’re not losing the right way. If you’re going to lose, you’ve got to lose battling.”

The Mavs moved closer to a playoff spot with last night’s 117-110 victory against the Rockets.

 Posted by at 12:26 pm
Apr 182012
 

The Rangers’ third through seventh hitters in the lineup combined to hit six home runs last night in an 18-3 rout of Boston.  Mike Napoli led the way with two dingers.  Josh Hamilton continues to have little regard for the safety of paying customers in outfield bleacher seats, hitting a bomb that Tom Grieve described as the longest ball he had ever seen hit to right field at Fenway Park.  Colby Lewis cruised through seven innings, settling down after  finding himself in a 2-0 hole when Dustin Pedroia, the second batter he faced, hit a 2-run, pop-fly home run over the Green Monster.  Koji and Lowe mopped up.

John Blake reported on Twitter that Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish will trade spots in the rotation.

Mike DiGiovanna (California Angels beat writer for the LA Times) notes that the Angels will not have a 2012 draft pick until the 3rd round due to the free agent signings of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. The Rangers will receive the #39 and #83 overall pick from the Angels as compensation for the Wilson signing, per Gerry Fraley.

To close out baseball news, courtesy of Jamey Newberg’s Twitter feed, this profile of Mariners blogger extraordinaire/WSJ writer/MLB Network analyst/leukemia fighter Dave Cameron is worth a click.

The Dallas Mavericks presumably will square off in a professional basketball contest within the next few days.  Currently, I have no information on that game.

The 2012 schedule for the Dallas Cowboys has been released.

 Posted by at 6:30 am
Apr 172012
 

The Rangers were off yesterday.  Awaiting them for a two-game series beginning today are the Boston Red Sox, fresh off a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays and a dust-up between new manager Bobby Valentine and two veteran stars.  The Red Sox enter the series with a 4-6 record, good for last in the AL East.  The Rangers have the best record in the American League at 8-2.  It’s Lewis vs. Lester tonight, followed by Holland vs. Beckett tomorrow.

Joseph Ursery posted his thoughts at wfaa.com on the wild WPA swing in the 8th inning of Sunday’s victory in Minnesota, the significance of the sweep at Target Field, Matt Harrison’s nasty stuff, Rougned Odor, Robbie Ross, and Yu Darvish.  Richard Durrett has picked up on the Josh Hamilton first-pitch-swinging phenomenon, and reports that Hamilton leads the majors in first-pitch-swing percentage at 64%.

The Mavs visited the Jazz last night.  While driving home from my workout, I flipped on KESN 103.3 FM and heard Chuck Cooperstein say that the Jazz had not scored in field goal in over four minutes.  Then, he reported that the Jazz still led 32-31.  This was not encouraging.  I hope things improved, but since I finished writing this before the game was over, I couldn’t tell you for sure.  Please go here to find out.

Apropos of nothing, as a person who is constantly assessing and re-assessing his career path, and as a parent with a child about to enter kindergarten, I thoroughly enjoyed Matthew Crawford’s article entitled “The Case for Working With Your Hands.”

 Posted by at 6:30 am
Apr 162012
 

The Rangers are 8-2.  Robbie Ross is 2-0.  The Angels are now 3-6, and 4.5 games back.  The Mariners and A’s are both closer in the standings, and it’s early, but it’s still sweet.  Josh, for all of his free-swinging tendencies discussed in yesterday’s post, continues to mash.  Here’s the game-winner from yesterday’s 4-3 win (on the first pitch he saw from Glen Perkins, of course) to complete the sweep in Minnesota.  Note the presence of an Adrian Beltre “OH SH*T!” in the background.  Note also that the fan who caught the home run ball appears to have divided loyalties (see 0:38 in the video).

In other Rangers-related notes, Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish may swap places in the rotation.

The Mavericks fell to the Lake Show on the road yesterday by the count of 112-108.  Apparently, there was some sort of officiating controversy, and I tuned into the end of OT just in time to Jason Terry’s game-tying layup get blocked by the tallest defender on the floor: the bottom of the rim.  That’s a tough one, JET.  When do the playoffs start, again?

Apropos of nothing, Axl Rose declined the invitation to be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame this past weekend.  Here is an awesome GQ profile of him from 2006.

 Posted by at 6:30 am
Apr 152012
 

Happy Titanic Day.

The Rangers improved to 7-2 with yesterday’s 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.  Robbie Ross vultured the win, his first in the major leagues, to improve to 1-0 on the season.  Yu Darvish allowed 13 baserunners in 5.2 innings, but allowed only two to score.  Had Adrian Beltre been playing third base, neither would have scored.  Joe Nathan created a mess in the 9th inning, then got out of it by displaying his best stuff of the season to this point.  While no save was awarded, we here at freelancedogs look down upon arbitrary statistics with scorn, and instead choose to focus on what will hopefully be a confidence-building outing for Mr. Nathan.  Oh, and Josh Hamilton did this.

Hamilton’s 2012 stat line thus far is both impressive and troubling.  He is batting .378 through the first 9 games, and has already hit a couple of signature Joshy bombs.  However, a basic drill-down into the numbers tells a different story.  Hamilton has yet to draw a walk this season, and because of a sacrifice fly, actually has a lower OBP (.368) than batting average.  He has swung at 66% of first pitches and 66% of total pitches seen, both well above his career averages.  His BABIP is an astonishing .393 (historical average is around .300).  A combination of history and common sense indicates that eventually, some of the balls Josh is putting in play will stop falling in for hits, and teams will feed Josh a steady diet of offspeed stuff low and away and let him flail.  My armchair psychology: due to the worry caused by his recent relapse, and based on his consistent chatter about his contract status throughout spring training, Josh is pressing pretty hard.  He will inevitably hit a statistical valley at some point this season.  I’m interested to see how he will handle it mentally and emotionally.  Then again, Josh defied all statistical conventions in his 2010 MVP campaign.  Perhaps we are about to witness history again.

Jonah Keri likes the Kinsler contract extension, but is leery of meeting Hamilton’s ask.

Neftali Feliz squares off against Liam Hendriks in today’s series finale in Minneapolis.

The Mavericks have won their last two games, which were the club’s first two wins of the season without Lamar Odom in the lineup!  The Tall Baller from the G will lead the Mavs into Staples Center today to face off against the Kobe-less Lakers, but let’s be honest: wake me up when/if the playoffs start for Dallas.

 Posted by at 8:10 am
Apr 122012
 

Well, that was disappointing.  Outstanding performance by Colby Lewis leads to a blown save by Joe Nathan.

I’m still not 100% on this move of Feliz to the rotation.  I understand there is tremendous upside, and that Feliz had a terrific first start.  I just wonder if Feliz will be better than Ogando as a starter.  I certainly hope he will be, and most of the experts believe so.

The next question is how long the leash will be on Nathan.  In 4 appearances he has 2 saves, a blown save, and 2 losses.  That does not instill confidence in an organization or a fan base.

Texas Rangers

4-2, 1st in the AL West, Magic Number: 156

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle Mariners 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 4 11 0
Texas Rangers 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 8 0
W: L Luetge | L: J Nathan | S:B League | Box | Recap

John Jaso finally got in the lineup for the Seattle Mariners, and came through with big hits off two of theTexas Rangers’ top relievers.

Jaso’s RBI single in the ninth inning capped a three-run rally off of new Texas closer Joe Nathan that pushed the Mariners past the two-time defending American League champions 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Today:  Game 7 vs. Mariners (4-3) | J Vargas (1-0) vs. D Holland (0-0) | 1:05 PM | FSSW | Preview

Dallas Mavericks

32-26, T6th in the West, Magic Number: 7

Tonight: Game 59 vs. Golden State | 9:30 PM | FSSW, TNT | Preview

Where We Live Today Sports is the freelancedogs daily wrap-up of Metroplex Sports, inspired by a classic Jerry Jones quote, which can be read here.

Apr 112012
 

Yesterday was a big day for the Texas Rangers.  First, it was announced that Ian Kinsler has agreed to terms for a 5 year contract.  Then Neftali Feliz pitched as a starter for the first time in a Major League game, and he did not disappoint.  He threw 7 shutout innings, striking out 4 and only giving up 4 hits.  It’s a shame Chris forgot to start him in Fantasy Baseball last night.

I have to admit I’ve been skeptical about moving Feliz to the rotation, but I could not be more pleasantly surprised by his first outing.  I’m still curious to see how he does once we hit the dog days of summer.

Texas Rangers

4-1, 1st in the AL West, Magic Number: 157

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Seattle Mariners 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 2
Texas Rangers 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 7 0
 W: N Feliz | L: B Beavan | S: J Nathan | Box | Recap

Neftali Feliz still has the terrific fastball and the secondary pitches were there as well. Feliz proved for seven innings that he does have an effective changeup and slider.

But what stood out more than anything on Tuesday night was the way Feliz just stood on the mound while pitching the Rangers to a 1-0 victory over the Mariners at the Ballpark in Arlington.

“In control, totally,” manager Ron Washington said.

Today:  Game 6 vs. Mariners (3-3) | K Millwood (0-0) vs. C Lewis (1-0) | 7:05 PM | FSSW | Preview

Dallas Mavericks

32-26, 7th in the West

Final 1 2 3 4 T
Sacramento Kings 27 23 27 23 100
Dallas Mavericks 25 32 26 27 110
Box | Recap

A group effort by Shawn Marion and the Mavericks offset a great effort by DeMarcus Cousinsand gave Dallas a desperately needed 110-100 victory over the Sacramento Kings at the American Airlines Center on Tuesday.

Marion led six Mavericks in double figures with 10 points and 14 rebounds for his 10th double-double. Dirk Nowitzki added 15 points and eight boards and Delonte West had 13 points, while reserves Rodrigue Beaubois (15 points) and Jason Terry (13) fueled the Mavs’ 54-23 advantage in bench points.

Cousins contributed game highs of 25 points and 18 rebounds to go with a career-high six steals, three assists and two blocked shots. Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas each scored 16 for the Kings, who dropped their fifth straight game.

Next: Game 59 vs. Golden State | Thursday @ 9:30 PM | FSSW, TNT

Where We Live Today Sports is the freelancedogs daily wrap-up of Metroplex Sports, inspired by a classic Jerry Jones quote, which can be read here.

 Posted by at 6:30 am
Apr 092012
 

Per Mark Stein of ESPN:

Lamar Odom’s brief and bumpy ride with the Dallas Mavericks has come to an abrupt end.

The Mavericks and Odom spent Easter Sunday working out a parting, according to sources close to the situation, that frees the struggling Odom to leave the team immediately without actually being released.

“The Mavericks and I have mutually agreed that it’s in the best interest of both parties for me to step away from the team,” Odom said in a statement to ESPN.com. “I’m sorry that things didn’t work out better for both of us, but I wish the Mavs’ organization, my teammates and Dallas fans nothing but continued success in the defense of their championship.”

It’s been clear Odom is not a fit in Dallas, and the effort just hasn’t been there.  It’s disappointing, as I thought going into this season that things were going to hinge on the play of Odom.  Unfortunately, it has turned out to be true, and not in a good way.

Apr 092012
 

The Rangers took the first series of the season, beating the White Sox 5-0 last night.  2 nights ago the Rangers scored 3 runs on 10 hits.  Last night they scored 5 runs on 6 hits.  It certainly helps that 3 of those hits were home runs.  It just goes to show you that, sometimes, the scoreboard may not reward good play.  Luckily, it does more often than not, as these Rangers played well in each of their first 3 games.

Tonight is likely the most anticipated regular season game 4 in Texas Rangers’ history.  Yu Darvish will take the mound for his first Major League start, and people will be watching from around the world.  It’s time to see if he can live up to the hype.

Texas Rangers

2-1, 2nd in the AL West, Magic Number: 160

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago White Sox 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
Texas Rangers 0 0 1 2 0 2 0 0 X 5 6 0
W: M Harrison | L: G Floyd | Box | Recap

 Matt Harrison was the Rangers’ best pitcher in Spring Training and he carried that over into his first regular-season start. His mechanics are better, his command has been excellent and he has been sharp with all his pitches.

“I’m also seeing one more year of experience out of him and that’s always good,” said catcher Yorvit Torrealba. “Harrison was really working tonight.”

The White Sox felt the same way. Harrison held them scoreless over six innings and three relievers finished the job, allowing the Rangers to earn their first shutout of the season with a 5-0 victory at Rangers Ballpark on Sunday night.

Today:  Game 4 vs. Mariners (3-1) | H Noesi (0-0) vs. Y Darvish (0-0) | 7:05 PM | FSSW | Preview

Dallas Mavericks

31-26, 7th in the West

Last Night: Did not play

Next: Game 58 vs. Memphis | Tuesday @ 7:30 PM | KTXA 21

Masters

Yesterday featured a double-eagle on 2, a Phil Mickelson collapse on 4, an irrelevant Tiger Woods, and a guy named Bubba winning his first major.  It doesn’t get much more interesting than that.

Watson Wins Masters in Playoff:

Sometimes 18 holes simply aren’t enough. Sometimes, the golf is so good, so riveting and so pure, that it deserves more for posterity if nothing else.

And when the 76th Masters was finally over on Sunday, the winner was a 33-year-old Floridian who went to school down the road from Augusta at the University of Georgia. He plays the game with unabashed power and a naturalness that would make Bobby Jones proud.

Bubba Watson watched Louis Oosthuizen hit one of the greatest shots ever struck at Augusta National Golf Club, withstood the sheer majesty and stunning consequence of it, then conquered the brilliant South African with some magnificent shotmaking of his own.

Where We Live Today Sports is the freelancedogs daily wrap-up of Metroplex Sports, inspired by a classic Jerry Jones quote, which can be read here.

Apr 082012
 

The Rangers lost their first game of the season yesterday.  I can’t put it any better than Robbie Griffin already did, so I’ll just quote him here:

…you aren’t going to score only three runs when more than a third of your balls in play are line drives, you have at least as many fly balls as ground balls, and you put 12 base runners on over the course of the game. You’re going to score more than 5+ runs in that case most of the time.

Say what you want about the result, I thought the Rangers played well enough last night, the bounces just didn’t go their way.  These things will work their way out in a 162 game season.  Now let’s go win the rubber game tonight.

Texas Rangers

1-1, Tied for 2nd in the AL West, Magic Number: 161

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Chicago White Sox 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 5 0
Texas Rangers 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 10 2
W: M Thornton | L: J Nathan | SV: H Santiago | Box | Recap

Rangers closer Joe Nathan was ahead 1-and-2 on Alex Rios. Nathan thought the White Sox outfielder would be looking for a slider or something offspeed and instead tried to get him with the fastball.

“If anything, I thought he would foul it off,” Nathan said. “But I still have to throw it in the right spot. He’s still a professional hitter and I’ve got to hit my spot. I thought he would have a little more defensive swing. That was not a defensive swing.”

No it was not. Rios smashed the 1-2 fastball over the center-field fence — just beyond the leaping reach of Josh Hamilton — for a home run to lead off the ninth inning that gave the White Sox a 4-3 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night.

Today:  Game 3 vs. White Sox (1-1) | G Floyd (0-0) vs. M Harrison (0-0) | 7:05 PM | ESPN | Preview

Dallas Mavericks

31-26, 7th in the West

Final 1 2 3 4 T
Dallas Mavericks 10 29 28 22 89
Memphis Grizzlies 29 21 22 22 94
Box | Recap

The Memphis Grizzlies landed a solid first-quarter shot on the Dallas Mavericks and dropped the defending NBA champs further down the Western Conference playoff ladder.

Rudy Gay scored 25 points, Zach Randolph added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and the Grizzlies built an early 20-point lead and held on to beat the Mavericks 94-89 on Saturday night.

In the tightly contested Western Conference, Memphis moved two games up in the race for fifth place on Dallas, which is in a three-way fight for sixth and barely holding on to a spot.

Next: Game 58 vs. Memphis | Tuesday @ 7:30 PM | KTXA 21

Masters

Couples and Dufner dropped off the lead, while Tiger pretty much stayed put.

Hanson, Mickelson Go Low to Lead Masters:

On Saturday, Sweden’s Peter Hanson staked his claim with a rousing 7-under-par 65 that has him alone at the top with a 9-under 207 total. Hanson shot 31 on the second nine, with five birdies on the final seven holes spurred on by Phil Mickelson’s heroics.

Three-time Masters champion Mickelson shot 66 and is one stroke behind. The 66 is one shot off Mickelson’s career best at Augusta National, in the first round of the 1996 Masters. Mickelson shot 30 on the second nine with an eagle and four birdies.

Where We Live Today Sports is the freelancedogs daily wrap-up of Metroplex Sports, inspired by a classic Jerry Jones quote, which can be read here.