This week I went to Spring Training and took notes on how the players performed. I went to 3 full Rangers games and took notes from every one of them.
After seeing them play, I don’t think Desi Relaford will make the team anymore. Instead, I think Jerry Hairston Jr. will take his spot.
Mariners @ Rangers, Tuesday March 6th:
For this game, I’ll provide a play-by-play analysis of the first three innings, to give a feel for what to expect in the season.
Top of the 1st: Jamey Wright pitching:
Jamey struck out Ichiro, and allowed no hits. He did allow a warning track fly ball, though.
Bottom of the 1st: Horacio Ramirez against:
Kenny Lofton: Lofton took three straight balls to start off the at-bat, all of them close. He then swung at two straight pitches, one of them foul, and he didn’t connect on the other one. The next pitch was a ball and he walked. The at-bat was seven pitches long.
Frank Catalanotto: Like Kenny, Frank took three straight balls to start off the count. He then grounded out, moving Lofton to 2nd.
Michael Young: Michael hit a grounder to the pitcher and Lofton was caught in between 2nd and 3rd. Lofton got out but Young got to second safely.
Sammy Sosa: He swung and missed at the first two pitches, fouled one off, then took a close ball. He then had a check swing on a pitch, which was called a ball, fouled one off, and was way in front of the curveball as he struck out on another 7-pitch at-bat.
Top of the 2nd: Jamey Wright against:
Richie Sexson: When the count was 1-1, Sexson hit a liner to right field where Cruz made a good play to get the out.
Ben Broussard: Jamey threw a good fastball on the corner to start the at-bat. The next pitch was outside. He ended up walking Broussard.
Bryan LaHair: Jamey threw two pitches on the outside corner after a ball to get the count to 1-2. Then with a 2-2 count, Bryan grounded to second for a probable double play but Ramon Vazquez made a bad throw to Young and there were runners on 2nd and 3rd.
Jamie Burke: With a 0-2 count, Jamie lined a ball to center for a single. 2-0 Mariners.
Oswaldo Navarro: A change-up in the dirt was the first pitch and the next pitch was fouled off. With a 1-2 count Navarro hit a grounder to Young for an out.
Rey Ordonez: A high chopper was hit on the first pitch. It was a close play but he was out after bad communication, when Blalock cut right in front of Young, who was almost to the ball, almost creating a collision.
Bottom of the 2nd: Horacio Ramirez against:
Hank Blalock: With a 2-2 count, Blalock grounded to third, for an out.
Nelson Cruz: Cruz got under the ball and flew out.
Jared Sandberg: Sandberg had a good eye and walked on four pitches.
Gerald Laird: After hitting a hard ball foul, he hit a soft grounder to 3rd, and a great play got a hustling Laird out.
Top of the 3rd: Akinori Otsuka against:
Ichiro: Ichiro fouled off the 1st and 3rd pitches and then grounded out to third. Blalock made a nice play to get him out.
Jeremy Reed: A great curveball was taken for the first strike. The next pitch was a fastball that was fouled off. Reed was fooled on the 3rd pitch and struck out.
Willie Bloomquist: The first two pitches were balls and the third pitch a strike. Then Bloomquist hit a grounder to third and Blalock got the out.
Bottom of the 3rd: Horacio Ramirez against:
Ramon Vazquez: Ramon took the first pitch, which was right down the middle, and he also took the second pitch, which was a strike. Then he hit a grounder to 2nd and got out.
Kenny Lofton: Kenny took the first three pitches and they were all balls, then grounded out to 2nd.
Frank Catalanotto: Frank fouled off the first pitch and then was robbed of a single by Rey Ordonez.
The Rangers pitchers struggled from this point on. The Rangers ended up losing the game 10-3.
Diamondbacks @ Rangers, Wednesday March 7th:
For this game, I took general notes for the whole game.
John Koronka: Koronka pitched great and really fooled the hitters. He had a good mix of speed and his curveball really broke well. He pitched three hitless innings to start the game.
Kameron Loe: Kameron pitched well, only allowing one unearned run on a Blalock error in three innings.
Freddy Guzman: Freddy dropped two balls, although they would have been great plays if he made the catches. Earlier in the game, Freddy really hustled and tripled. After that, he struck out.
Desi Relaford: Desi made an error on a very easy play. He also struck out, looking awful.
Francisco Cruceta: Francisco pitched awful and was hit very hard. He allowed one home run, allowed 4 earned runs, and hit a batter in two-thirds of an inning.
Sammy Sosa: Sammy hit a moon shot past the lawn seats. He went 2-for-3 on the day.
Gerald Laird: Gerald hit a homer to center that started a rally. When he got back in the dugout, his teammates ignored him as a joke, so Laird high-fived the air.
Brad Wilkerson: Brad struck out but went 2-for-3. On defense, he threw a strike to second to get an out.
Jose Vargas: Jose has a strange wind-up. It’s very jerky. He had poor control, walking one, giving up two hits, and giving up an earned run in two-thirds of an inning.
Victor Diaz: Victor swung too hard in his only at-bat, which resulted in a strike out.
Guillermo Quiroz: Guillermo struck out on three whiffs in his only at-bat.
Drew Meyer: Drew made a quick throw to second to get a quick start to a possible double play.
Mike Wood: Mike had a pretty good curveball and got ahead of hitters most of the time. He made great use of the corners.
Jerry Hairston: Jerry made a great defensive play but did not get the out.
Joaquin Arias: Joaquin didn’t play well as the DH, going 0-for-4.
The Rangers won 9-8.
Rangers @ A’s, Thursday March 8th.
For this game, I will give you some key statistics from the first 7 innings.
Strikeouts: Brad Wilkerson, Mark Teixeira (2), Hank Blalock, Kenny Lofton, Gerald Laird.
Grounded into double play: Mark Teixeira, Sammy Sosa
Caught-stealing: Gerald Laird
Walks: Frank Catalanotto, Hank Blalock, Gerald Laird, Marlon Byrd
Hits: Sammy Sosa (2), Michael Young, Gerald Laird, Ian Kinsler (2), Frank Catalanotto (2), Jason Botts, Ramon Vazquez, Chris Stewart, Matt Kata, Nelson Cruz
Doubles: Frank Catalanotto, Sammy Sosa
Triples: Nelson Cruz
RBI’s: Gerald Laird, Ramon Vazquez, Chris Stewart, Matt Kata, Nelson Cruz (2)
Runs: Sammy Sosa, Marlon Byrd, Jason Botts, Ramon Vazquez, Chris Stewart, Matt Kata
Hits allowed: Vicente Padilla (6), Franklyn German (3)
Walks committed: Vicente Padilla (1), Frank Francisco (1), Franklyn German (1)
Strike-outs: Vicente Padilla (1), Joaquin Benoit (1), Frank Francisco (1)
Errors: Jason Botts
Runs allowed: Vicente Padilla (3), Franklyn German (2)
Earned runs allowed: Vicente Padilla (3), Franklyn German (2)
Innings pitched: Vicente Padilla (3), Joaquin Benoit (2), Frank Francisco (1), Franklyn German (1)
The Rangers won 7-6.
Everybody was off-and-on, which is to be expected this early in spring training. The power numbers aren’t too great yet. The trip confirmed my picks of who would make the team, except for Jerry Hairston replacing Desi Relaford.
Come back next week for a day-by-day description of my Spring Training trip.