Saturday, April 25, 2015

Senators Saturday - Bob Humphreys, 1969.

Bob Humphreys, shown here on card 84 of the 1969 Topps set, was entering his fourth season with Washington in 1969. The Senators were hoping to see Humphreys build on his 1968 effort and keep the ERA and WHIP moving down.

Primarily a reliever, Bob had only three starts in his career prior to 1969. He would not add anymore that season as all of his 47 appearances were in relief. He finished 14 games, picked up five saves, and ended with a 3-3 record. Over 79.2 innings pitched Humphreys lowered his ERA .64 points from the previous season to 3.05. That was a move in the right direction.

There were warning signs though. Bob's WHIP climbed .178 points to 1.343. He issued 38 walks, up eight from 1968, while striking out 43, down 13 from the previous year. As a result his strikeout to walk ratio dropped .74 points to 1.13.

All in all, 1969 was a mixed bag for the 34-year-old Bob Humphreys. On the surface he was moving on the right direction with his ERA. Most of the other important numbers pointed to a problem though. It was hard to tell for sure exactly what was going on. The Senators decided to take a wait and see approach. Bob Humphreys would start the 1970 season on the Washington roster but he had work to do if he wanted to stay there.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Of Pitching.

So, Nick Martinez lost his scoreless streak in the second inning of Tuesday's game when he allowed a run. That ended his streak of innings without an earned run to start the season at 15. Yu Darvish had a streak of 16 innings to start off last season. Jon Matlack, seen here on a 1980 Topps card he signed through the mail in 2010, holds the team record with 19 innings of no earned runs to start the 1980 season. Matlack's record will stand for at least another season.

Martinez got the win on Tuesday. The one run in the second inning was the only headway the Diamondbacks made. Meanwhile the Rangers bats unloaded for seven runs. Prince Fielder even got a home run, his first since last May. Hopefully it's a sign that he's getting his swing back.

Last night was a whole other story. To begin, Yovani Gallardo got the start. That was not encouraging in my mind. After all, the pitcher Arizona was starting beat Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner in his last two starts. Whatever you may want to say about Gallardo, he's not even close to either of those guys. Sure enough, Yovani allowed five runs, three of them earned, over five innings en route to a 8-5 Rangers loss. There was some sloppy fielding involved as well but Gallardo's pitching was the main culprit. About the only encouraging thing was that the Rangers bats showed up for a second night in a row. I think that's the first time this season they've managed to hit two games in a row. It would be nice if it means the offense has finally got things in gear.

Texas is off tonight and facing the Angels in Anaheim tomorrow. Wandy Rodriguez is up from Triple A to make the start in place of Ross Detwiler. Detwiler is supposed to use the time off for extra bullpen sessions to try and figure out what he is doing wrong when he pitches. Normally I wouldn't be thrilled with a worn out veteran coming up from the minors to make a start. Can't say I'm really thrilled now but at least the Rangers may have a chance to win. With Ross Detwiler throwing batting practice to opposing teams there's no chance at all. Maybe Rodriguez can put it together for a few innings and keep the team in the game long enough for the offense to do their thing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

1979 Topps - Johnny Grubb.

Johnny Grubb came to Texas via an August trade in 1978. He posted a .394 batting average in the 21 games he played for Texas and ensured himself a spot on the Rangers roster in 1979. He couldn't ensure he wouldn't have to undergo a terrible airbrush job on card 198 of the 1979 Topps set.

Serving as the fourth outfielder, Grubb appeared in 102 games for Texas. In 82 of those games Johnny played in one of the outfield positions. He played in all three throughout the season. His combined outfield fielding percentage was .986, five points higher than the league average. Grubb also appeared in six games as the designated hitter. The remaining games were pinch-hit appearances

Johnny made 328 trips to the plate for the Rangers and compiled a .273 batting average and a .350 on-base percentage. He also hit 14 doubles and 10 home runs. He walked 34 times while striking out 44 times.

On August 3, 1978, Grubb dislocated the pinkie finger of his left hand. That put him on the Disabled List for a month and cooled off his bat a little. He was carrying a .280 batting average when he got hurt.

Johnny Grubb had a pretty decent season for Texas in 1979. He was more than serviceable as a fourth outfielder and had a little power with the bat to boot. He needed to stay healthy in 1980 if he wanted to win a full-time job and keep it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Minor League Monday - Terry Mathews, 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers.

Getting towards the end of the 1990 ProCards Tulsa Drillers team set. Terry Mathews, shown here on card 1171, is the last player featured in the set.

The Rangers selected Mathews in the fifth round of the 1987 draft. He began his pro career the same year with Single A Gastonia. He spent 1988 and part of 1989 with the Single A Charlotte Rangers before moving up to Double A Tulsa midway through the 1989 season. He stayed at Double A for the beginning of the 1990 campaign.

Serving strictly as a starter, Mathews appeared in 14 games for Tulsa and pitched 86.1 innings. He put together an unimpressive 4.27 ERA and 1.436 WHIP. That translated to a 5-7 record.

In spite of his less than impressive numbers, the Rangers moved Terry up to Triple A Oklahoma City mid-season. For whatever reason, the promotion worked. Mathews appeared in 12 games for the 89'ers, all but one as a starter. He tossed 70.2 innings and lowered his ERA to 3.69 while improving his WHIP slightly to 1.358. Those improvements didn't keep him from a 2-7 record.

Mathews' numbers may not have been overwhelming but, in the pitching starved Texas system, they were good enough to keep him at Triple A. Terry was slated to start the 1991 season with OKC. If he could perform well enough he just might get a chance to see Arlington before the 1991 season ended.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Rangers win first series opener.

Yovanni Gallardo picked up his second win of the season last night in Seattle. He managed to last just over six innings while allowing six hits and walking two. It was his strongest start to date for Texas. The bullpen took over in the seventh and allowed just one run in the eighth to clinch the 3-1 victory for the first series opener win of the season.

On the offensive side of things, Robinson Chirinos hammered a solo home run, his second of the season. Chirinos also got a double, as did Elvis Andrus and Prince Fielder. Fielder picked up a RBI on his.

Interesting thing about Prince Fielder, shown here on card 196 of the 2014 Topps Archives set, he hasn't hit a home run yet. He has been getting on base though. With last night's 2-for-3 he's run his batting average to .419. He's also not striking out this season at the pace of previous years. If the home runs arrive as expected, and Prince keeps on being selective at the plate, this could turn into a stellar season for him.

Of course all was not good news yesterday. Mitch Moreland was scratched from the lineup an hour before game time with discomfort in his left elbow. Apparently he injured the elbow while swinging a weighted bat and may need surgery. Word is tests showed a "loose body" moving around in the elbow. Sounds like bone chips to me. The club is going to wait a couple of days and see if they settle down. If they don't, or if they move into the joint, surgery is the next step. Bad news for Moreland. He's already being blocked at first by Prince Fielder and missed a chance for significant playing time last year due to injury. This one could give him the injury prone tag and might cause the Rangers to looks elsewhere for a first baseman/DH.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quick auto.

Have a short turn around for work today due to not getting off until 0300 this morning. Not much time to pick a card or topic.

As a result we have Benji Gil on his 1996 Leaf Signature Series card. Why? Just because.

Hope everyone got their taxes in and is enjoying the young baseball season.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Nick notches another win.

Jon Matlack in 1980, Yu Darvish in 2014, Nick Martinez in 2015. The only three pitchers in Rangers history to go at least seven innings in each of their first two season starts and not allow an earned run.

Martinez pitched seven innings last night against the Angels without allowing an earned run. One run did score but it was unearned as the result of a rare Adrian Beltre error. Nick was not as dominant as in his first start, he allowed five hits and three walks while only striking out one. He came through when it counted though and got the win.

While Martinez was working on his second victory, the Rangers bats arrived and put eight runs on the board before the game ended. Robinson Chirinos and Juan Peguero both got doubles. Chirinos and Elvis Andrus bopped home runs as well. Interesting to note that the club has only hit homers this year when Nick Martinez starts. Prince Fielder took the league lead in multi-hit games as he went 2-for-4.

Phil Kline gave up a run in the eighth but that was all the Halos got. 8-2 Texas. Great game for Martinez and the offense. Hopefully the lineup can carry the momentum over to some of the other members of the starting rotation. As for Nick Martinez, he's got to be walking on air with his 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA. He's already used up all his cards. This 2013 Topps Heritage Minor League card #70 is the final unused card I have of him. Nice problem to have if I need to highlight him again and don't have a card.