CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 3: Starting pitcher Alexi Ogando #41 of the Texas Rangers and relief pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama #22 celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians 11-2 at Progressive Field on June 3, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
|Final - 6.3.2011||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Alexi Ogando (6 - 0)
LP: Justin Masterson (5 - 4)
Terrific game last night, with the Rangers ensuring themselves no worse than a split, on the road, playing the team with the best record in baseball. Texas has the third best winning percentage in the A.L. right now, and as was noted in the post-game thread, if Gerry Davis wasn't so desperate to go catch his plane, wiping out a 7-0 lead Texas was holding against the A's, the Rangers would be tied with Cleveland for the most wins in the league.
Jeff Wilson's game story talks about the performances of Alexi Ogando, Josh Hamilton, and Nelson Cruz this year, noting that the Rangers are 8-3 when Ogando pitches, and 17-5 when both Hamilton and Cruz play.
T.R. Sullivan's game story talks about Ogando as A.L. All Star, quoting Ron Washington as saying that he wants Ogando to be on the All Star team. Washington doesn't get to pick all of the reserves, but he gets to pick a few of them, and if he wants Ogando on the team, Ogando should end up on the team.
Evan Grant has his post-game thoughts up at the DMN blog.
Jeff Passan has a story at Yahoo about the amazing Ogando saga, and how Ogando went from a minor league outfielder with Pedro Cerrano disease, with a different name and age than the Oakland A's, who had signed him, believed, to exile from the U.S., to likely All Star.
I don't even know what can be added about Ogando at this point. He throws harder than almost any starter in the majors (he is 4th in the majors in average fastball velocity, trailing just Michael Pineda, Justin Verlander, and David Price), he has two effective offspeed pitches, and he's 6-0 with an ERA barely above 2.
As was discussed yesterday, Julio Borbon was activated from the disabled list and optioned to AAA yesterday. In the linked Sullivan article, Jon Daniels explains the rationale for the decision, wanting to ride the hot hand, maintain their depth, and start the ten day clock ticking immediately (you can't recall a player for at least ten days after he's been optioned).
I tend to believe the ten day thing is a red herring -- Borbon could have stayed out on his rehab assignment for another two weeks, and the Rangers have made it clear Craig Gentry isn't going anywhere. I'm also not a big believer in the "hot hand" theory -- I don't think there's much reason to believe that for the next few days, week, two weeks, month, Endy Chavez is going to hit like he has recently and not like Endy Chavez has hit throughout his career.
My guess is the decision has been made to try to use Borbon as a primary piece in a deal for a reliever, and if that's the case, you've got to keep Endy Chavez around because he's going to be your regular centerfielder. Borbon is going to enhance his trade value more by playing everyday in AAA than sitting on the bench in the majors. That said, if Chavez is your regular centerfielder, you're likely in a situation where you're going to be in the market for a real centerfielder anyway at the trade deadline, unless you're willing to put Josh Hamilton in center come September (assuming you're in a pennant race, and not, like Texas was last September, up by a half-dozen games) and use either David Murphy or Mitch Moreland in a corner outfield spot (with, presumably, Mike Napoli going to first base in place of Moreland, when he's in the outfield). That, of course, does assume that David Murphy is going to stop hitting like Endy Chavez and start hitting like David Murphy at some point this summer.
I'm not a big fan of this move. I don't think Chavez will be better than Borbon the rest of the way. I don't think he's as good defensively in centerfield as Borbon (and in order to stave off the inevitable comments, I will stipulate he has a better arm than Borbon). I don't see replacing Borbon with Chavez as an upgrade for the team, and so unless you really feel like you have to include Borbon in order to get a significant upgrade in the bullpen, I don't see that this makes the team better.
Wilson writes about the incredible Myrtle Beach pitching staff, which is loaded with exciting young arms.
And Robbie Erlin is continuing to turn heads, especially after his successful AA debut.