Despite yet another miserable start from Robinson Tejeda, the Rangers keep on rolling.
Tejeda went just 4.1 innings on Tuesday night, giving up three earned runs on four hits and six walks. Incredibly enough, Tejeda surrendered just one run through the first four innings to Oakland, before leading off the bottom of the 5th inning with a Shannon Stewart walk and a Jack Cust home run. With Texas well out of contention, expect to see the Rangers stick with Tejeda as he tries to work through his ever growing problems on the mound.
Even though Tejeda was lousy, the bullpen stepped up yet again with a brilliant night of work. Willie Eyre had a run charged to his ledger in the 6th inning after C.J. Wilson allowed an inherited runner to score, but Wilson and Ron Mahay combined to shut out Oakland for the final four innings of the game.
The A's finally scored more than three runs in a game for the first time since July 2nd, but that doesn't do you much good when your pitching staff gives up 11 runs. Every single Ranger in Monday night's starting lineup reached base at least once; Michael Young led the way with a monster 5 for 5, two double night, while Kenny Lofton went 3 for 5 with a walk and a triple. Mark Teixeira went just 0 for 1, but with four walks. Very impressive.
Evan Grant has his latest edition of the DMN Rangers newsletter out, with Grant echoing Ken Rosenthal's thoughts from yesterday on why contending teams aren't beating down the Rangers' door for Mark Teixeira. He also fields questions on Jamey Wright, divisional realignment (which is never going to happen), Torii Hunter's possible future as a Ranger, and much more. Excellent stuff as always, and definitely worth checking out.
T.R. Sullivan writes that trade talks concerning Mark Teixeira have increased considerably during the last few days, with the Red Sox, Angels, Braves, and Yankees showing the most interest. Ron Mahay, Joaquin Benoit, Brad Wilkerson and Jamey Wright are also drawing interest, in addition to the familiar names of Lofton, Otsuka and Gagne.
Sullivan also notes that Marlon Byrd will start in center field on Wednesday afternoon for Texas, in what appears to be an early audition for the center field job in case Lofton is dealt. That's something I definitely expect to happen.
MLB.com's Drew Davidson has a real nice article out on Frisco's Eric Hurley, while Marlon Byrd has a great "Player Perspectives" piece on his road to becoming a key player for the Rangers in 2007. This paragraph from Byrd, in particular, seems to contrast just a bit with Teixeira's comments last week:
Having played for three different teams the past three years, I would love to find a more permanent home here in Texas. I love playing here. I think we do have a very good team and our manager, Ron Washington, has unbelievable energy. We have a smart and young GM and we have an owner who really wants to win. With the talent we have, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
On the minor league front, Edinson Volquez has been promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma after going 8-1 with a 3.55 ERA at Frisco. The most encouraging sign here is that Volquez only walked 19 in 58.1 innings, while striking out 62. Assistant GM Thad Levine is not ruling out the possibility of Edinson pitching in the majors this year, although that doesn't seem like the greatest idea.
Single-A Bakersfield's Chris Davis went 1 for 5 with a double to extend his California League hitting streak to 35 games, tying the previous record set by Brent Gates in 1992. The Blaze won easily, 15-3. Congratulations to Chris on his remarkable achievement, and hopefully he can make the record his own with one more hit on Wednesday.
The red-hot Kevin Millwood will look to lead the Rangers to a sweep on Wednesday afternoon against Oakland's Lenny DiNardo.
Keep those good times rollin', Kevin.
Wednesday, July 18th Game Preview
Texas Rangers (41-52) at Oakland Athletics (44-50)
Kevin Millwood (6-7, 5.77 ERA) vs. Lenny DiNardo (3-6, 2.78 ERA)
2:35 PM CST in Oakland, California (McAfee Coliseum)
TV: KDFW/Ch. 4| Radio: KRLD 1080 AM