Unfortunately, the D’backs have to face Yu Darvish on Monday. Image: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Talk about scheduling quirks. The Arizona Diamondbacks have a new-fashioned, scheduled day-night doubleheader with the Texas Rangers on Memorial Day. They then have an off-day on Tuesday before flying to Texas to play two games and then it is on to Chicago to face the Cubs starting on Friday. Thursday’s and Friday’s games are both during the day. To recap, there is a four game series against the same team, two games apiece in each park and back-to-back day games during the week, the first in Texas, the second in Chicago. I’d like to know what the schedule maker was doing when he/she made up this beauty.
Anyway, Michael Goldermann, staff writer for nolanwritin, a blog about the Rangers stopped by to talk about this unique four game set that will take place between Arizona and Texas. I am big admirer of the Rangers organization and what they have accomplished over the past three seasons. This last offseason must have been a busy one for Mike as Texas sure had its fair share of drama…..much like the D’backs.
Tom Lynch: The roster is completely different now with injuries and loss of key personnel. Yet the team has the best record in the American League. How do they do it?
Mike Goldermann: With key losses to the offense during the offseason, the Rangers have become a team that relies heavily on its starting pitching. Yu Darvish is looking like an early Cy Young favorite and despite injuries to rotation cornerstones Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis, the team has plugged the gap with solid pitching from relatively unknowns in Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch to go along with a more consistent Derek Holland, whom has always teased Rangers fans with occasional flashes of greatness. The team has experienced its fair share of blows to to the rotation, but the Rangers’ stating rotation is the primary reason why the team finds itself in first place. On the offensive side of things, the team is no longer the typical slugging offense that many have grown accustomed to Texas of being; instead, the lineup has shown a propensity to get deep into counts and raise opposing pitchers’ pitch counts. The offense can still run into a good amount of homers, but as a whole, the Rangers score runs by utilizing situational hitting and playing small ball.
MG: When Ian Kinsler returns from the 15-day DL, Jurickson Profar will be sent back down to Triple-A. Regardless of how well Profar may possibly perform, there are simply not enough ABs for the youngster with the big club in 2013. In 2014, look for the Rangers to probably move Kinsler to LF to make room for Profar at 2B.
TL: Speaking of big-time prospects, where does 3B Mike Olt fit in once he gets called up?
MG: Mike Olt had been struggling mightily in Triple-A, hitting just .139/.235/.236 in 81 PA. Not to mention a whopping 32 strikeouts in that short span. Olt said that he has been having vision issues and has been on hiatus from game action ever since. Olt has now seen two eye specialists and the vision problem still has yet to be identified. As of now, it remains unclear when or even if Olt will be getting called up in 2013.
TL: When do you expect to see Neftali Feliz? Will he be in the rotation or the bullpen?
MG: Neftali Feliz is expected to be back by August at the earliest. Regardless of how effective Feliz may be upon his return, there is very little doubt that he will be used in the bullpen from that point on and into the future. I think that the Rangers no longer view Feliz as a starting pitcher due to concerns over his durability. The organization more than likely hopes for Feliz to be the closer in 2014 to replace an aging Joe Nathan.
TL: Wait a minute, I have Joe Nathan in a keeper league. How long can he keep going?
MG: Despite posting great number thus far in 2013, Joe Nathan has not been making it look easy. Nathan has exhibited noticeable dips in velocity and command with all of his pitches. I wouldn’t raise a red flag on Joe Nathan just yet, but there is definite cause for concern in his effectiveness going forward.
TL: Give me the one Ranger (pitcher or batter) that will have a big series against the D’backs.
MG: I’m going to go out on a limb here and say rookie, Leonys Martin. The Cuban center fielder is certainly an exciting player to watch—hopefully he can be able to show off is excellent arm in the outfield. Martin probably won’t exhibit much power, but he was a sweet swing and has the ability to line pitches into the gaps and use his plus speed to turn doubles into triples.
I’d like to give a big thank you to Mike for taking some time out to chat about the Rangers. You can go over to nolanwritin and check out my D’back answers here.
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