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ALDS Rangers vs. Rays Open Thread: We’re Ready for Moore


Tampa Bay Rays:

Matt Moore 1-0, 9.1 IP, 14.46 K/9, 2.89 ERA, 2.17 FIP, 1.85 xFIP, 0.4 fWAR

Sean Rodriguez, SS

B.J. Upton, CF

Evan Longoria, 3B

Ben Zobrist, 2B

Johnny Damon, DH

Kelly Shoppach, C

Casey Kotchman, 1B

Desmond Jennings, LF

Matt Joyce, RF

Texas Rangers:

C.J. Wilson: 16-7, 223.1 IP, 8.30 K/9, 3.60 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 5.9 fWAR

Ian Kinsler, 2B

Elvis Andrus, SS

Josh Hamilton, CF

Michael Young, 1B

Adrian Beltre, 3B

Mike Napoli, C

Nelson Cruz, RF

Yorvit Torrealba, DH

Craig Gentry, LF

Changeups and Screwballs: A Southpaw’s Perspective for 9/14/11

–  Congrats to Tim Wakefield on his 200th win.  Dude is 45 (2nd oldest pitcher to ever record 200 wins btw) and throws a flippin’ knuckleball.  That tells you a lot about the guy.

–  Was J.P. Howell actually crying in the dugout after giving up that dinger to Matt Weiters?  I wonder what Jimmy Dugan would have said to him.

–  Does anybody else think that Charlie Furbush might have been a beaver trapper in some previous life?  And was Doug Fister a former Gonzo style actor?  Where does Seattle find these names?

–  I am not sure which one of these home runs got out of the yard faster, but I would have been getting out of the way of both Ryan Braun’s walk-off and Josh Hamilton’s laser. (Unless I had a glove of course…but I am no longer 7-years-old and when I go to games my hands hold beer.)

–  Speaking of homeruns, I am unsure of which homerun swing is more fun to watch…that of a fat kid named Prince, or the swing of a miniature named Dustin?  Either way, I love watching these two guys take hacks.

–  I loved watching Gerardo Parra drop trou (short for trousers you morons) and squeeze out a Clevland Steamer all over a Hong-Chih Kuo’s fastball after getting buzzed.  And I appreciated not only his massive pimping of that homerun, but that he looked at Kuo and grabbed his nuts after the up and in pitch…classic.

–  Troy Patton got the 1st win of his big league career last night.  Congrats buddy.  I was fortunate enough to be teammates with Troy at the 2003 Tournament of Stars and watched him mow through hitters like a riding lawnmower.  Congrats Troy, it’s about time you got that W.

–  Does Rick Ankiel ever look back on his past and think, “Why did I ever waste time trying to pitch?”  Probably not, but I think that after watching him throw out yet another runner last night.

–  And to close out this edition of Changeups and Screwballs, the way he has done 600 times for the Yankees, is Mariano Rivera.  He’s closed out every last game with one team, and one pitch.  Congrats, Mariano.

Minor League Links: Bauer, Odorizzi, Viciedo and Nimmo

Currently ripping through Minor League hitters, Trevor Bauer is on the fast track to the Show.  The best pitcher in college baseball in 2011, Bauer features three plus pitches (fastball, curve and changeup) and possesses the ability to work deep into games.  The third-overall selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bauer fanned 17 hitters and allowed just seven hits over nine innings at High-A Visalia before he was promoted to Double-A Mobile.  There it has been more of the same: two starts, eight hits and 17 strikeouts in 10 innings.  With the mechanics, repertoire and competitiveness that draw comparisons to Tim Lincecum, Kevin Goldstein wonders if Bauer is “The Next Freak?” (*Baseball Prospectus subscription required)

Considering that Bauer was considering the most Big-League-ready pitcher in this year’s draft, and given his rapid ascent through the Minors, many baseball writers and scouts believe that the right-hander is poised for a September call-up.  Over at Fangraphs, Jack Moore argues that Bauer can make an immediate impact and that the Diamondbacks should call him up.

In a recent installment of “9 Innings,” Greg Schaum of Pine Tar Press sat down with Royals’ pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi to pick his brain.  Odorizzi discusses the adjustments he’s had to make between levels, emotions associated with being traded, and his workout routine in the off-season and between starts.

My favorite MiLB writer, John Sickels, continued to review his pre-season Top 20 organizational prospects by reflecting on the White Sox farm system.  Suffice it to say, my favorite team’s system is depleted and pretty unimpressive.

Speaking of the White Sox, with Carlos Quentin’s shoulder injury—not to mention his inability to play with even the slightest amount of pain—Larry from South Side Sox writes that “It’s Still Time for Viciedo,” who, in my opinion, should have been recalled well over a month ago.

One of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s MLB Draft is Brandon Nimmo, who was selected by the Mets in the 13th-round to become the first-ever first-round selection out of Wyoming.  Coming from a high school that lacked a baseball team, Nimmo established himself as a top-prospect thanks to a remarkable season for his American Legion team.  With a projectable frame and great, raw athleticism, Mets 360 wonders if Nimmo is the next Josh Hamilton.

*Golden Sombrero update: On Monday night, Nimmo fanned in all four at-bats and is now 3-for-15 (all singles) in his budding, professional career.

Golden Sombrero: Josh Hamilton

Bottom 1: Josh Hamilton struck out swinging against Jon Niese

Bottom 4: Hamilton struck out swinging against Niese

Bottom 5: Hamilton struck out swinging against Niese

Bottom 7: Hamilton struck out on a foul tip against Bobby Parnell

Final Line: 0-for-4, 4 K

Notes: I can’t help but consider that Hamilton mixed in this sombrero last Saturday solely to support his claim that people with blue eyes don’t see as well during the day. Well played, Mauer.

Total 2011 Sombreros: 57

Jose Bautista: The Best Hitter in the American League

Robinson Cano, Evan Longoria, Joe Mauer, Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera, etc.  There are a lot of talented hitters in the AL right now.  I would take Bautista over any of them, at least if the only criteria was offensive production.  Obviously what a guy like Longoria can bring to the defensive side of the game probably trumps the difference between he and any other AL stud, so I still think he’s the most valuable player in that league, but personally I would greatly prefer Jose Bautista to any other hitter.  Here’s why.