The Texas Rangers have had the worst day in franchise history twice this month.
On May 14, left-handers Matt Harrison (spinal fusion) and Martin Perez (Tommy John) both learned they would miss the rest of the season, and Harrison may never pitch again. That’s a double-whammy.
On Thursday, the Rangers found out that first baseman Prince Fielder will have surgery to repair a herniated disk and won’t return in 2014. Also, infielder Jurickson Profar will miss at least eight more weeks after aggravating a partially torn muscle in the right shoulder.
To his credit, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is not giving up on the season.
“It’s a challenge, but with every challenge comes opportunity for somebody else to step up and that’s very much the case,” Daniels told reporters. “You’re seeing guys do that, take advantage of that. You’re not going to replace certain guys and then when you’ve got that critical mass of injuries that we have, and it becomes a secondary challenge just to field a healthy, talented club.”
One player to get an opportunity because of injuries is former Blue Springs High School/Mizzou pitcher Nick Tepesch. He is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in 11 2/3 innings over two starts.
According to The Associated Press, the Rangers have a major-league most 13 players on the disabled list. They have had 17 DL placements this season, also the most in the majors.
“We’re going to stay positive and stay the course and let this team get going,” Daniels said. “We’ve played well the last few days after a rough couple of weeks. I give credit to (manager Ron Washington) and the guys for going out there and everybody doing their part.”
Indians left fielder Michael Brantley has a 18-game hitting streak at Progressive Field, tying the record held by Kenny Lofton (1996) and Roberto Alomar (2000).
Dodgers reliever Brandon League has a 1.40 ERA and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 13 appearances.
The Nationals’ relief corps had a 27 1/3-inning scoreless streak snapped Monday, but the team still has the lowest bullpen ERA in baseball at 2.13.
Catcher Miguel Olivo, the ear biter.
Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was 6-0 with a 1.78 ERA after nine starts a year ago. This year, he’s 2-4 with a 6.32 ERA.
Brewers reliever Wei-Chung Wang has a 17.61 ERA, having allowed 19 hits, five walks and 15 runs in 7 2/3 innings. He was chosen as a Rule 5 Draft pick and is trying to make the leap from rookie ball.
Heading into the weekend, the Royals’ Yordano Ventura led all pitchers in the majors having thrown 428 fastballs with a speed of 96 mph or greater. His nearest challenger was the Angels’ Garrett Richards with 387.
According to Elias, the Reds and Cubs are the only teams to win this season in games when they trailed by at least two runs in the sixth inning or later.
Until he grounded out ending the first inning on Monday, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval had registered a streak of seven consecutive hits when batting in the first inning; according to Nick Stamm of STATS, Inc. Since 1974, Johnny Damon posted the longest streak of first-inning knocks with 10 straight in 2000 with the Royals.
You need to know
The White Sox have issued six bases-loaded walks this season, the most by any team in the major leagues, according to Elias.
ESPN noted that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has five home runs that have traveled 440 or more feet this season, the most in baseball and more than 27 teams.
On Tuesday, Mike Hessman of the Class AAA Toledo hit his 400th career minor-league home run and joined Hector Espino (484 HRs), Nelson Barrera (479), Andres Mora (444), Alejandro Ortiz (434), Buzz Artlett (432), Nick Cullop (420) and Merv Connors (400) as the only players to hit 400 or more taters in the minors. (Sorry, Crash Davis was a fictional character).
On Thursday in Baltimore, the Indians posted their second 13-inning win in two days. They became only the second team since at least 1914 to win in exactly 13 innings in consecutive games. The A’s won back-to-back 13-inning games over Tigers in Oakland on May 1-2, 1987.
Words of wisdom
“It got to the point where I realized that instead of being patient I was being stubborn. You try real hard to never treat the lineup like a fantasy team. You’ve got to have respect for where guys hit and why.”
| Indians manager Terry Francona on juggling his lineup
| With notes from reporters who cover baseball
| Stats through Friday’s games