Ron Washington isn't ready to say his team is the best in the bigs, and a chat with Jose Altuve.
Ian Kinsler is not a sabermetrician, but he is a heckuva baseball player and a logical enough guy. So, it only seemed natural to ask the All-Star second baseman if he thinks his Rangers are the best team in baseball.
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Yu Darvish makes his first big-league start, while Ian Kinsler signs an extension.
The Monday Takeaway
When Yu Darvish walked back to the Rangers’ dugout after the top of the first inning of his major-league debut, things were looking bleak for both the pitcher and his team. Darvish had allowed seven Mariners to reach base and four of them to cross the plate while throwing 42 pitches and putting Texas in an early hole.
The righty settled down after that, coughing up just one more run in the second inning, and needing only 68 pitches to complete the final 4 2/3 innings of his 5 2/3-inning debut. The four walks, hit batter, and wild pitch on Darvish’s line are a bit worrisome, but some of his early wildness can be chalked up to rookie jitters. And once the Rangers’ offense kicked into gear against Mariners starter Hector Noesi, Darvish grew more comfortable, riding 11 runs of support to his first stateside victory.
Catching up with the surgeries on and recoveries of Nick Markakis, Alex Rodriguez, Ian Kinsler, Jason Castro, Al Alburquerque, and other players.
Before long, spring training will be upon us, and we’ll be able to watch live baseball games again. Rounding up the usual injury suspects has been fun, and we’ll go into detail about several other injuries before putting the series on hold. However, injury news doesn’t stop being made at the end of the World Series, and since our last injury roundup, more than a few injuries have come to light. Therefore, we interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this important news.
Reviewing the best and worst first-half position players on each team.
In the numerical sense, the halfway point of the season arrived about a week ago. However, the All-Star break marks the arbitrary end point of the first half, bringing a few days of festivities and vacations to the forefront. That period of inactivity in games that matter offers a window into the frozen stats for each team, allowing us to see who is leading the charge and who is failing the team so far.
In order to determine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, I’ll enlist the aid of the Wins Above Replacement metric. Next time, we’ll cover the pitchers, but for today, it’s all about the position players.
It's a series that will feature superb pitching staffs, and one team will come away with a long-awaited title.
In baseball as in literature, archetypes tend to be formulaic, proof that fiction falls short of reality when it comes to the power to describe any one thing in shorthand. The need, indeed one of the great benefits of the human mind is to identify patterns, and to peg things that fall within those patterns, or to re-evaluate the pattern as a whole to create some new rubric, some new way of explaining things. Take our current post-season slate: instead of a much-anticipated rematch between the Evil Empire and the Phillies' a-bornin' senior-circuit dynasty, last week we got the pleasure of witnessing imperial ambitions utterly overthrown in both leagues.
The Rangers and Rays' LDS outcome involves no home wins and a repeated bit of dominance.
Like a proper pint of Ben & Jerry's, history gets made in all sorts of flavors. A Rangers post-season series win is new and exciting, and Cliff Lee's feats as far as LDS strikeout records are indisputable numerical facts. But at the end of Tuesday night's anti-climactic shutdown of the American League's best team by the AL's best pitcher, you got left with some obvious questions: Why 162 games, if it all just gets burned away in a subsequent quintet of contests? Will Andrew Friedman's brand of poopadoodle wind up amounting to that much better than Billy Beane's? Does home-field advantage really just not matter quite so much after all?
The 2006 class is a tough one to beat among a strong recent group of rookie classes.
Earlier this week, the folks at Beloit College released their annual MindsetList, a document designed to explain the cultural differences between the incoming class of college freshmen and the older faculty hired to teach them. The idea is to highlight the small and large ways the world has changed in the last 20 years by mentioning things that were true during the life span of oldsters that were never true for those under 20, e.g., the existence of things like a telephone cord, a country called Czechoslovakia, and a baseball commissioner not named Bud. For me, a man who fervently hopes Jamie Moyer comes back next spring to ensure I won’t have to face being older than every major-league ballplayer, this is always a time to reflect on youth and age, both in life and in baseball—especially so this year, since the current Mindset List includes a reference to the term Annus Horribilus, which I happened to use in last year’s BP Annual, but which I now know dates me almost as much as saying “23 Skidoo.”