Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Detroit Tigers Fan's Guide to the 2013 Texas Rangers

One should not go into battle with another without first knowing what they are up against. As we journey along during the 2013 baseball season, TigerSnark will take an in depth look at each opponent the Tigers will face. 

Since our last preview, the Tigers lost two of three to the Indians. Living in Ohio, as I do, I took a lot of crap from the Tribe fans that only crawl out of the woodwork around here when the team pulls off a victory over Detroit. Fair is fair, though. I dealt with their weak trolling before they slithered back off to wherever Indians fans go when they’re not being Indians fans. I assume they gather in Burger King bathrooms…I dunno.

After that, the team took three of four from the lowly Astros. We should be happy to take six of seven games from any team in a season, but I’ve got a bad taste left in my mouth over Wednesday’s game. Listen, Jimbo. I’ve defended your grumbling, crusty old ass for years. I look for logic in your decisions instead of blindly screaming every time something backfires. But your boneheaded nonsense was ridiculous and indefensible late in the game.

It’s time to face facts that Phil Coke is terrible. ESPECIALLY against anyone that happens to bat from the right side. It could be the weakest hitter in the league…a paralyzed midget, even. Phil has shown that he will turn that feeble righty into Miguel Cabrera. See the Twins series, the 9th against the Astros, and pretty much every other time he’s faced a right-handed hitter. It’s mid-May. My cat understands at this point that Coke can’t get out righties. And she’s not even that bright. It’s time for Jim Leyland to realize it, too.

I haven’t read anything from the beat writers yet, but I hope someone asked Leyland to justify pinch-hitting the beyond horrible hitting Don Kelly for Matt Tuiasosopo (who was 3-3 today) in the 9th. You know, Kelly with his OPS+ of 62 entering today for Matty with his OPS+ of 155. It is not 1975 anymore. The lefty-righty matchup is not THAT important to take out one of the few legit power hitters so ‘ol Donnie Pleaseandthanks can get a chance to scrap out one of those weak singles that people fawn over in 1.8 of every 10 of his at bats. There is no excuse.

Up next is a trip to Texas for a four game set with the Rangers, who are in first place in the AL West by six games as of this writing. Just great. Why can’t Texas finally secede from the Union so we don’t have to play these guys anymore? Also, that way, we could finally nuke Texas. Nothing good happens there. Never. I learned that as a youngster watching poor Pee Wee Herman try to find the basement at The Alamo.

So yeah…the Rangers. Here we go.

Home City: Arlington, Texas

City Known For: Arlington is 20 miles from Dallas and 12 miles from Fort Worth. I believe it exists just to hold the Rangers’ stadium, the Cowboys’ JerryDome, and the International Bowling Hall of Fame. They don’t even have a public transit system, the largest US city not to have one.

Home Park: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington

Field Known For: Their roofed home run porch in right field is a familiar nod to Tiger Stadium. There are many other features in the place that were copied from other ballparks, too. There’s also a sloped hill beyond the center field wall known as “Greene’s Hill”, named after former Arlington mayor Richard Greene. The fences are close, thus leading to a lot of homers.

YEE-HAW! (begins shooting wildly into the air)

Formerly: Washington Senators

Hall of Famers (as Rangers): Nolan Ryan. Seven others passed through Texas, but were inducted in another uniform.

Five Reasons to Hate the Rangers: 
1. The 2011 ALCS, obviously.
2. George W. Bush once owned the team.
3. They gave us Juan Gonzalez. (shudder)
4. They’re where old Tiger killers go to die nowadays. (Pierzynski, Nathan, Soria) Expect them to trade for Luke Scott and make Joe Crede and Jim Thome coaches in the near future.

Best Players: Yu Darvish, Adrian Beltre, Derek Holland and his dirt stache

Glad They’re Gone: Josh Hamilton. Yes, he sucks so far in Anaheim. But he was a beast with the Rangers. Also, we don’t have to watch him throw his bat into the crowd after every third swing.

Funniest Offseason Signing: They gave Derek Lowe $1.25 million to pitch for them. I’d rather have Nate Robertson try to throw right-handed than let Lowe pitch for my team at this point.

Former Tigers: Colby Lewis is injured. Reliever Jason Frasor was a Tigers farmhand. Third base coach Gary Pettis was a Tiger from 1988-1989. And speaking of Nate Robertson, he’s currently on Texas’ Triple A club where he has reinvented himself as a side-armed reliever. Nate is currently 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP in 15 innings. Godspeed, my terrible ex-Patron Saint of blogging.

Most Annoying Ranger in History: I noted that AJ Pierzynski and Joe Nathan, two longtime villians to Detroit fans, are on the roster. But they were annoying as members of other teams. No, the Rangers sport two guys that deserve our scorn for their bad deeds in Texas. Possible leper Alexi Ogando is one. But the guy that takes the cake has to be NELSON F’N CRUZ.
Cruz hit 6 home runs against Detroit in the 2011 ALCS. How is that even possible? He has another seven dingers against the Tigers in regular season games in his career. Also, Cruz features two dead caterpillars instead of eyebrows. What a creep.

Team Strength: Their pitching has been outstanding so far. Holland, Ogando, and Darvish all currently sport an ERA+ of at least 145. Their two younger starting pitchers, Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm, have been pretty good, too. They have two relievers with ERAs under 1.00. And another is Nathan, who we have no hope of ever hitting. Pray that Ron Washington gets coked up and decides to pitch Lowe a lot this series.

Team Weakness: Currently, AJ is hurt, so they’re going with Geovany Soto and Robinson Chirinos at catcher. Soto is a shell of his former self with the Cubs and Chirinos is someone that I have never heard of. Outside of catcher and David Murphy in left field, this team has little weaknesses.

Stupidest Name on Roster: Yu Darvish

TigerSnark Dictionary Definition for “Yu”: A tired, lazy, overused pun.

Used in a Sentence: If you make another YU, I’m going to stab you with an icepick.

Say Something Nice, Jerk: I liked and respected Michael Young. But he’s in Philly now. So, uh, er…oh yeah. It was cool when Nolan Ryan beat the snot out of Robin Ventura many years ago. I knew I could come up with something.

2013 Probable Outlook: The Rangers are scary and probably the current favorites to win the American League this year. Luckily, it’s still early and a lot can happen. Be ecstatic if we somehow split this series.


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