Changing it up. 170 comments


Cole Hamels pitched a complete game in every sense of the word.

 

A 96-pitch complete game 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Last night, Cole Hamels pitched like the Cole Hamels the Rangers traded for. Even better, in fact. It was his best game of the season, a season that has been up and down and interrupted by injury.

After the game, he explained what the difference was.

His changeup.

He said this is the first time in a year and a half he has felt good about his changeup. This is from a pitcher who built his career on his devastating changeup. It’s like Eric Clapton saying he hasn’t been happy with his guitar playing for a while.

A year and a half ago was, coincidentally, the last complete game Hamels pitched. You may remember that game. It was the last regular season game of the 2015 season, the most important Rangers game of that season.

The Rangers were in fourth place in the AL West, and falling fast under new manager Jeff Banister. Nothing was working. His bullpen kept blowing up on him. His offense wasn’t clicking.

Then the front office traded for Cole Hamels. Then the Rangers’ fortunes turned. They caught fire, caught the Angels and the Astros, and hit first place. Then, with two weeks left in the season, they hit a brick wall.

They arrived at the final two games of the season two games up on Houston and three up on Los Anaheim. Win Game 161 and it’s all over.

The Rangers were running out of steam. Their starters were gassed. Their bullpen was overtaxed. So by the fifth inning of that game, in panic mode, Banister started a steady parade of relievers. Colby Lewis started, wasn’t effective, and by the time the ninth inning came around, Texas had already used six pitchers out of the bullpen to hold on to a 10-6 lead.

He was burning through relief pitchers like a teenager burns through birthday money from grandma.

He couldn’t help himself. He brought in his exhausted, overworked closer Shawn Tolleson with a four-run lead in a non-save situation.

Boom.

It took three relief pitchers in the top of the ninth inning to give up five runs and blow the game, setting up what was looking like another Rangers collapse.

So, they limped to the final game of 2015 with a one-game lead over Houston.

Cole Hamels took the ball, put the team on his shoulders, and made the threadbare bullpen inconsequential with a complete game gem, and single-handedly won the Manager of the Year award.

That was October 4, 2015. That was Cole Hamels’s last complete game. Until last night.

There may be no other significance between that game and this one. This one isn’t propelling his team to the post-season. This one isn’t winning his manager any awards.

But it’s nice to remember what Cole Hamels can do when he is very very good.

After all, the Rangers have only three starters under contract for next year: Martin Perez, A.J. Griffin, and Cole Hamels. So, really two. And A.J. Griffin is so injury prone.

They are desperately going to need this Cole Hamels next season. He is all they have.

*****

Of note:

1. In a very unusual move, the Texas Rangers ran a full-page ad in a Japanese newspaper thanking Yu Darvish for his years of excellence with the team. Hey, wait a minute, I wonder if they realized Shoehie Otani might see that?

*****
TODAY’S GAME:

Nick Martinez (3-4, 5.07) vs. Jose Berrios (9-5, 3.57)
Game time: 1:10

How the Rangers hit against Berrios.
How the Twins hit against Martinez.

 

 

  • FlappingGums

    Really good article Midol!! I’m a Cole Hamels fan and was even when he was with the Phillies! I was very much in favor of us getting Cole to wear the Rangers uniform (even tho we gave up a lot for him). Last night’s game was a prime Cole Hamels game!! Hopefully today will be a prime Nick Martinez game! It will/would be great to win a series! 😀

  • FlappingGums

    GAME TIME TODAY is EARLY!!! Game time is 1:10, Rangers Live will start at 12:30.

  • Rowdy Yates

    In the after game presser Banister said the “extra run” the Rangers got taking the score from 2-1 to 3-1 was a “difference maker” allowing them to be “more flexible” in sticking with Hamels. I don’t remember the rest of the presser because I think my brain exploded. A 3-1 score rather than a 2-1 score was the difference in bringing in or not bringing in a relief pitcher for Cole Hamels? Bani … Brocail …. it’s time you fellas moved on. PLEASE.

    • dearmidol

      Amazing. He will never learn.

    • WhoKnowscs

      3-1 to 4-1

      • Rowdy Yates

        Typos … the bane of genius and idoicy and Rowdy’s aging fingers and brain.

    • elkaba

      This is why I can’t watch the post game show this year. I get too mad at the asinine statements Banister makes. I’m used to managers saying overly PR-type things, like Wash’s famous, “Do what the game asks you to do,” but I just can’t stomach Banister’s misplaced ideas about the game being dictated from the bench and over-managed.

  • WhoKnowscs

    FYI: Clapton has nerve damage in his hands(pain ,paralysis. muscle weakness, etc.) now that prevents regular guitar playing.

    • Rowdy Yates

      Yep it’s been a long term debilitating process that’s destroying a great guitar player’s ability to perform. “My Father’s Eyes” is my favorite of his many great songs.

      • WhoKnowscs

        I like Edge of Darkness.

    • Nathan Whitten

      Although nowhere near the guitarist Clapton is, the best songwriter ever, Dylan, has the same issue. But he’s still on the road, playing a bad keyboard that’s turned down, performing those hundreds of classic songs with his versatile band–never the same way twice.

      Age will get us all.

  • azrangerfan

    Ridiculous! If it were truly about thanking Yu over and above the $100M + thank yous they have already paid, then why didn’t they post the ad in the LA times so that Yu would see it? I see the move being very bush league.

  • azrangerfan

    I am very tired of Banny and Brocail. Tired of LRLRL lineups. Why not put the best hitters in the slots where they belong? Tired of seeing Brocail go to the mound every time a pitcher gets into a jamb. It gives me the feeling they expect every pitcher every inning to not have any issues. It’s baseball. The lineup structure and the way the pitching staff has been handled is enough for me to send them both packing. The way this team has been overmanaged I wouldn’t be surprised to see a time out called the next time Odor makes an error so they can go out and hold his hand for a few minutes.

    • WhoKnowscs

      That would actually be funny if they thought they needed to run out to give Odor reassurance for an error, but only once in a “good grief” sort of way. But yeah I’m tired on the predictability, the rigid stubbornness, and the asinine “not take players into consideration” decision making. Please get rid of these two.

      I actually heard Banny use the phrase, for Cashner’s start the other day, “He let his pitch count get away from him.” So there you have it! Pitch Count and in yesterday’s case “That extra Run” are the only factors in Banny’s decision making process. Not “How the pitcher is actually doing.”

      • azrangerfan

        Yep it’s still just baseball. Metrics are fine if and when they are used to help support the players you have, not when the players are being used to support the metrics. Banny has gone overboard and uses the players to support his metrics forgetting about who the best players are for the situation.

        • elkaba

          It’s enough to drive a real baseball fan crazy.

      • Gregor_S

        Not only does he not factor in “how the pitcher is actually doing,” he also doesn’t consider how the BP and in particular the relievers he plans to bring in are likely to do, based on their recent performance. Even if the starter is having a hiccup or two he’s usually better than our BP has been.

        By the way, you commented yesterday that maybe Willie Calhoun could play 2B instead of LF and I see they played him at second last night. He played there almost his entire time with the Dodgers but they apparently thought he lacked the quick reaction times for the position. He’s slow in general and also supposedly has a weak arm. But I’m glad the Rangers are at least looking at him there. Even though Odor is faster and has a better arm he doesn’t get to many balls that aren’t hit almost directly to him, so Calhoun may not be much worse. And he’s a better hitter: just as much power (both HRs and doubles), higher BA, good OBP, and far fewer strikeouts.

        I’m sure Calhoun will be a regular next year. Too good a hitter not to be and JD has a big stake in his success. Assuming they won’t trade Odor (which I doubt JD would even consider), they could put Calhoun at 2nd and Odor in LF. Either one of them would have to learn LF if they’re put there. And you’d be weak at both 2nd and LF regardless of whether Odor is at 2nd and Calhoun is in LF or vice versa. Not ideal by any stretch but will be interesting to see what develops.

    • elkaba

      Exactly.

    • Rowdy Yates

      Just a continuation of the previous regime. Shoulder Squeeze couldn’t have gotten thru a perfect game without at least one trip to mound. The only time I enjoyed seeing him out there was when Hamels was pitching and he’d turn away from Maddux as his hand came out to squeeze his shoulder. After several attempts Maddux stopped trying!

  • azrangerfan

    There are really only two, maybe three players I really want to make sure have an AB in the first inning. Choo, EA and AB. So why aren’t they hitting !=2=3 in the lineup. Oh nevermind I forgot that would be a LRR batting order. What was I thinking?

  • wetfeet

    Still around still checking in but like today see nothing I care to comment on. Later

    • azrangerfan

      Wet how are you? I know you are just like me, a diehard Ranger fan. You have to admit that this has been a very hard year to watch.

      • elkaba

        No kidding!

      • wetfeet

        Yep some games are hard to watch, still having some health issue but they are getting better. Maybe when the health issues get better I will feel more like posting.

        • azrangerfan

          I’m not on much either. Read all the post everyday, hard to comment when nearly all my thoughts are negative. Get well and come back. I enjoy reading your post.

      • dearmidol

        Good to hear from you, Wet.

  • elkaba

    Yes, Kevin, I think that full page thank you ad was for more than Yu. Rangers are quietly amassing international pool money. They’re up to like $3 mil.

  • Nathan Whitten

    The Rangers are clearly going to go after the young Japanese star. They have the money, they will have a new ballpark where heat is not a factor, so they could be players in this game. They were successful in getting Darvish, but it never really paid off, due to injuries and lack of run support. This guy is young enough to sign to a long contract–but that would be a big gamble. Darvish was a proven star. I have no information about Otani except that he can hit. That’s not why they would want him, but it sure would help the bench. It would be like having 26 players on your roster. I like that. It would be a major step in getting this team back in the thick of things. Yes, the ad was designed to breed good will. I’m glad that there was no acrimony in Darvish’s departure. It’s weird to see him in a Dodger uniform. He will not be their #4 starter–that is absurd. They will love him. But signing him long-term is dicey at his age. That’s why JD never really pursued it…so he could do something else.

    When will the bidding for Otani begin start?

    • Gregor_S

      I think they’ll definitely pursue Otani but they’ll probably have more competition than they had for Darvish. When Darvish became available Japanese pitchers were sort of out of fashion because of a couple of highly publicized flops, most notably the “gyroball” specialist the Red Sox signed, Dice-K (I forget his actual name). So while there were a few other bidders for Yu the Rangers were able to come out on top with a bid that wasn’t considered extravagant. Yu and then Tanaka have turned around the sentiment on Japanese pitchers so I think there will be a ton of interest in Otani.

      • Nathan Whitten

        Thanks, and I’ll bet you are right. Now that I think about it, there were only 4 or 5 teams, if that many, that bid on Yu. I fear that Texas will lose out to a NY or LA team…or maybe even Houston. There is the matter of the money being available for foreign players. Texas has it. JD has been stashing it away. I don’t know who else does.

        • dearmidol

          Otani wants to be a two-way player. He will go to the team that promises him that.

          • Gregor_S

            Right, and I think that gives the NL teams an edge. An AL team could theoretically let him DH on days he doesn’t pitch but I doubt any of them would. Too much risk of injury either at the plate or on the bases. In the NL he’s at least guaranteed to hit on the days he pitches. An AL team could guarantee that contractually but there would undoubtedly be some weasel language in the contract in case he doesn’t hit well. Also, while both NL and AL teams might let him pinch-hit in games he doesn’t start, the NL uses more pinch-hitters because it doesn’t have the DH.

          • elkaba

            Can’t see him going to an AL team really.

  • Rowdy Yates

    Guess FOX is grooming Leslie McCaslin to take Em’s place when she quits in the next yr or two. She seems very competent but I may have to switch to MLB package and watch my NL Cincinnati Reds instead when Emily’s gone. And they’re even worse than the Rangers.

  • Rowdy Yates

    Dodgers are 43-7 over their last 50 games. The best 50 game streak in 105 yrs. So much for the early prognostications the Astros would have the best record in MLB in years.

    • dearmidol

      It’s pretty amazing how good and how deep they are.

  • dearmidol

    Look at the batting averages in the starting lineup.

    A whole lot of low .200s.

  • TD30
    • dearmidol

      Thanks, as always.

      • TD30

        No problem. I enjoy it.
        I almost forgot today. I’m headed home now from the big XIT celebration in Dalhart, TX so I haven’t watched much baseball this weekend. We get to listen to Nadel on the radio while we drive.

        • elkaba

          Lucky you! 🙂

        • dearmidol

          That’s better.

    • wetfeet

      Came back just to see your colored lineup! Thanks as always🤗

  • elkaba

    If Elvis had bunted, Choo would have scored on the wild pitch… sigh.

  • Rowdy Yates

    Always great to see AB pad his HOF stats and give the Rangers a good lead at the same time.

  • dearmidol

    Yonder Alonzo was traded to the Mariners. That’s a good trade for Seattle as they battle for that Wild Card.

  • dearmidol

    Odor had it 3-0, struck out. The free swinger didn’t swing that time.

  • dearmidol

    Justin Verlander cleared waivers. So he can be traded to any team now. I predict the Astros.

  • dearmidol

    We need some runs for Nick Martinez.

  • TD30

    Gallo is on fire!!

  • dearmidol

    Wow.

    • elkaba

      Just think what might have happened if…

  • TD30

    Nadel said that HR may have broke stat-cast as it hasn’t even registered any numbers yet on how far or fast that was 🙂

  • dearmidol

    Berrios doesn’t have it today.

  • dearmidol

    Three strikeouts for Berrios. He is on pace to strike out 27, and give up 45 runs.

  • dearmidol

    Hate to be a downer, but I have a feeling five runs aren’t going to be enough.

    • TD30

      I literally just said that to my husband!

      • dearmidol

        Ha.

      • FlappingGums

        Too funny! I just said the same thing to Mr. Flap!!

    • WhoKnowscs

      I guess we’ll need more homers. 2 more with 3 on should do.

    • FlappingGums

      Mentioned the same thing to Mr. Flap!!

  • WhoKnowscs

    Yonder Alonso was traded from A’s to Mariners.

    • dearmidol

      He’s having a great year.

  • grumpyderfsmagic8ball

    Nicks ball movin today.

    • elkaba

      He looks good to me.

  • Rowdy Yates

    Nick’s ‘stuff’ not looking as good as a few minutes ago.

  • WhoKnowscs

    New lineup Idea

    Choo
    Andrus
    Napoli
    Gallo
    Beltre
    Mazara
    Chirinos
    Gomez
    Odor

    • dearmidol

      Beltre fifth?

      • WhoKnowscs

        Just trying something different.

      • elkaba

        No!

    • possumrld

      Except I would bench Napoli and move Robinson into his spot, move move everyone behind Napoli up a notch in the batting order, and put Robinson batting 8th, and leave Odor last in the order.

  • starrangers
  • possumrld

    Nick Martinez – Martine Perez – Two peas in a pod…

    • WhoKnowscs

      Martin Martinez and Nick Perez.

      • possumrld

        lol!

  • Rowdy Yates

    5-0 lead …. POOF!

    • possumrld

      Second half of the “Martine… tandem”

  • possumrld

    Gotta sco’ mo’runs Rangers!

  • possumrld

    And now that the the Rangers are past the first 3 innings, they get busy making an average pitcher look like a Cy Young candidate.

    • dearmidol

      They tend to take the last few innings off.

  • possumrld

    That’s an easy out if Gallo is playing 1st base.

    • dearmidol

      I agree. He could have been out at first had that been fielded cleanly.

      • azrangerfan

        Nap needs to retire.. Over the hill

  • WhoKnowscs

    Homer coming.

    • possumrld

      “Grapefruit” and “Watermelon”, going on sale?

      • WhoKnowscs

        “Pineapples” cause more damage.

    • possumrld

      You were almost right there! One more out to go though!

  • dearmidol

    Why isn’t Austin Bibens-Dirkx starting over Nick Martinez? If you are sincerely trying to win, you have to go with the guy who wasn’t raised in the Rangers system over the guy who was.

    • possumrld

      Good question. ABD has certainly shown better than Marty since he has been up

      • dearmidol

        And better than Perez.

        • possumrld

          For sure. MP and NM, are interchangeable to me. Mutually ineffective.

  • possumrld

    Just put ’em on.

  • possumrld

    OK. Maybe there is yet hope…

  • possumrld

    Goin’ offline for awhile. Go Rangers!

  • dearmidol

    Ugh.

  • dearmidol

    Odor up in another rally killing situation.

    • possumrld

      And true to form.

    • azrangerfan

      Must have him in the 5 hole to keep the LRL thing going. What were you thinking. It’s a no brainer.

  • possumrld

    Odor stinks

  • azrangerfan

    safe in both cases

  • azrangerfan

    not sure either call can be overturned

    • GoRangers23

      I couldn’t see any of the replays. My husband has the closed captions on and the words went right over the part I needed to see. 😐

  • elkaba

    There must be a sign in the clubhouse somewhere that says, “NO SITUATIONAL HITTING EVER!”

  • dearmidol

    Let’s take advantage of this.

  • elkaba

    At least AB had the right idea…

    • dearmidol

      I thought that was through.

  • elkaba

    Bummer.

  • Gregor_S

    Twins played with a handicap — no Miguel Sano — but it seems everyone hits like Sano now. Only one of the 11 runs scored in the game didn’t come on a HR.

    Meanwhile the Rangers played the same game they’ve played about 70 times this year. Score early, give up the lead, and don’t come back. I’ve never seen such consistency.

  • CoMentor_Rounding3rd

    You know I just noticed Claudio’s already at 59 2/3 innings.

    He doesn’t throw hard so maybe there’s less wear and tear, but I don’t think the Rangers should push him too hard down the stretch or they may end up with another burnt out “surprise” next year, like Tolleson & Dyson before him.

    • dearmidol

      I sincerely think they think they are still in it.

    • Gregor_S

      He’s throwing as hard as he can so I don’t think the arm stress is any less. But so far they haven’t named him the closer or, I think, pitched him more than two days in a row. Maybe they’ll wait until next year before going into full abuse mode like they did with Tolleson and Dyson (and Jeffress, and Diekman as the setup man last year).

    • elkaba

      Why would they treat him any different than the rest? They use the bullpen like kleenex. Use and throw away.

  • GoRangers23
    • elkaba

      Those are awesome, Go!

      • GoRangers23

        Oh, I can’t tell you how much fun I had looking for cowboy pics. SSSHHHHHHH! Don’t tell Mr Go! 😊👀

        • elkaba

          I LOVE the one with the truck. He’s a hottie and I want that truck!

          • GoRangers23

            You can have the truck. Lol

          • elkaba

            Deal 🙂

          • GoRangers23

            What should I say on the L-R-L-R one?

          • elkaba

            I don’t know. First thing I thought of was rows of goose-stepping soldiers. Don’t know why. That’s just what popped in my head. I guess it demonstrates rigidity, inflexibility and people walking L-R-L-R?

          • elkaba

            Maybe a sergeant yelling at marching soldiers?

          • GoRangers23

            I have some pics, but I don’t know exactly what I should write.

          • FlappingGums

            Left, Right, Left, Right, Left …

      • GoRangers23

        Thanks!

    • Rowdy Yates

      Rowdy thanks you.

    • dearmidol

      These are good.

      • GoRangers23

        Thanks! 😄

    • FlappingGums

      Excellent signs!! 😀

  • GoRangers23
    • elkaba

      Go! This last one is fantastic!

      • elkaba

        He’s so clearly out!

  • theolderigetthebetteriwas

    Since Perez is pitching so well I see they are going to go with him against the Astros instead of a ready Ross!!! I guess Banny figures Perez is due!!!! Geez!!!!

  • Rod Harper

    RIP Darren Daulton! I remember the 1993 Phillies squad that upset the heavily-favored Braves in the NLCS that year! Guys like Dykstra, Schilling, Daulton, Kruk, Mulholland, Incaviglia, etc. (aka the Mullet Squad) prevailed against the powerful Atlanta pitching trio of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz!

    https://twitter.com/Phillies/status/894387535350292480

    • FlappingGums

      This so sad. He was so young. Thank you for the information, Rod.

  • GoRangers23
    • elkaba

      Hmmm. Maybe it need the sergeant yelling it at his troops?

      • GoRangers23

        Did I use the right words?

        • elkaba

          That sounds right. Whose was that one? I can’t find it.

          • GoRangers23

            Keith

    • GoRangers23
      • elkaba

        That’s perfect! I can’t believe you did all of them!

        • GoRangers23

          You wouldn’t believe how easy it is. It’s free too!

      • FlappingGums

        Incredible!! You’re so good at these signs! And so fast!!! 😀

        • GoRangers23

          They are super easy. I use the Phonto app.