98 degrees in Arlington but not so hot in Round Rock. There was a brief, strong rain storm about an hour before the game started. So the temperature was quite cool all night long.
Scotty Feldman. He now throws overhand. WTF? No more side-slinging for him. Straight over the top. I haven't heard anyone mention this before I saw it for my very own eyes. Fastball sits 87-92 mph, slider around 83-85, and change is just about 75. Remember in '09 when he could hit 94mph? Looks to me, untrained eye of course, that he doesn't throw the cutter anymore.
The big question for him, and for everyone else also, is should he be a starter or a reliever. Well, it's the same ole, same ole, from him. He induces lots of weak contact, but can't finish hitters off when needed. I think there were only 4 or 5 balls hit hard off of him during his 5 innings. What really concerns me is this though: I only counted 2, or maybe 3, swings-and-misses all game. That's not gonna get it done at the major league level. I'll be damned mad if the organization thinks he's a more capable starter than Holland. Personally, I'd be surprised if he ends up being more than a long relief guy from this point forward. It's not that I don't like the guy, it's just that he doesn't have the stuff anymore. This Memphis Redbird team that he faced Sunday evening is the third worst offensive team in the Pacific Coast League and he made them look good. He finished with 59 strikes on 85 pitches (69%). That's not particularly efficient, since it's 17 pitches per inning. But to Feldman's credit, Esteban German could have helped by not making 2 errors behind him on consecutive pitches.
Energy drinks are popular amongst the players. Well, I guess that's better than old-school amphetamines.
Quick quiz: How many warm up pitches are allowed between each half-inning?
Leonys Marteen. First impression is that he is a larger physical specimen than Borbon, Gentry, or Chavez. Is that a good thing? He struck out looking in the first. That happens more to batters who tend to be patient at the plate. I like seeing that every so often from a lead-off guy. You know why too, maximize the BB's. Two really good things from him: His throws are not ropes, but they aren't weak either. He can bunt. He laid one down perfectly between home and third base, two feet from the foul line. He beat it out on a fairly close play. Overall, me likey some Leonys. Did I mention a couple of hard hit balls? Is he the center fielder of the future? I say YES, YES, HELL YES! One last Leonys moment goes like this. He's on 2nd base with nobody out. Ground ball to the 3rd baseman. The 3rd baseman fields the ball, looks Leonys back to 2nd, and makes the throw to 1st. Leonys takes off for third base as soon as the 3rd baseman lets go of the ball. He cruised into 3rd base. It's wasn't really a very close play. So, he's standing on third base with one out. Smart and agressive play. He's not as quick as Elvis, but he's not slow.
Minor league baseball is cheesy. Flying Fries contest, Worst Hat Hair competition, Chicken Race, Marriage Proposal, put a pantyhose-on-your-head-and-knock-over-some-coke-cans contest, Do the Chicken Dance, etc... Warsh says "That's what minor league baseball do".
I swear to you that I would be the king of stolen signs if I were either a player or coach in professional baseball. It's fun, you ought to try it sometime when you're at the game. I'd probably try to quick-pitch a hitter or two if I was a pitcher too.
I wonder how many fan letters Matt Kata has received in his career? I'll bet he has got a couple. Not sure why though.
Before the game started, I was watching some of the Express pitchers throw in the pen. Just getting their work in, not actual game prep. I had an eerie feeling on one of the guys. I sort of knew that I recognized him but couldn't put my finger on who it was. Then it hit me. I was watching Eric Hurley. A wave of emotion came through me that I can't really put into words. I think you kind of know what I mean if you've been a Ranger fan for a while. I wish him all the best.