The National League
The Kevin Towers
Jim McLennan of AZ Snake Pit: "Ok, so who had Joe Saunders finishing the month of April leading all qualifying pitchers in ERA? If you tell me you saw that coming, I trust you are enjoying your half-billion lottery jackpot as well. But that's where we stand, with Saunders' four starts for Arizona have resulted in three earned runs over 30 innings of work."
The Frank Wren
Carroll Rogers of Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Tim Hudson might have spent a little more time bobbing and weaving -- as he would say -- than he wanted to Sunday against the Pirates, but he brought maturity, some stability, and a little of fire back to the Braves rotation."
The Jed Hoyer
Paul Sullivan of Chicago Tribune: "Cubs starters have compiled a 2.64 earned-run average over their last eight games, giving the offensively challenged team a chance to stay in ballgames."
The Walt Jocketty
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com: "Jay Bruce hit a home run for a career-best fourth straight game on Sunday and it was the biggest one of the bunch because it came in the bottom of the eighth inning and gave the Reds a 6-5 come-from-behind victory."
The Dan O'Dowd
Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post: "During a visit to Coors Field for the Rockies game Sunday, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had one big question: What was outfielder Michael Cuddyer doing occupying his locker?"
The Michael Hill
Craig Davis of South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "When a ballclub is going bad, heads roll. That was the lesson when Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan was sent to the minors last year amid a June swoon. It happened sooner this season as the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans following Sunday's 8-4 loss to Arizona."
The Jeff Luhnow
Zachary Levine of Houston Chronicle: "Days like this one are the downside to managing against convention. When it works, you're celebrated for being free from the tyranny of "the book." When it doesn't -- when you enter two late high-leverage at-bats with your right-handed pitchers facing lefties and those lefties happen to provide the tying and winning hits -- you're whatever the opposite of celebrated is."
The Ned Colletti
Brandon Lennox of True Blue L.A.: "Andres Santiago has flown under the radar in a Quakes rotation that features four top 20 Dodger pitching prospects, but after a dominate performance on Sunday he might start getting some attention of his own."
The Doug Melvin
Todd Rosiak of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Just shy of the three-year mark since he last pitched in the major leagues, Vinnie Chulk has fought his way back. The 33-year-old right-handed reliever joined the Milwaukee Brewers for Sunday's series finale with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium."
The Sandy Alderson
Chris McShane of Amazin Avenue: "When Kirk Nieuwenhuis was called up fill the void left by Andres Torres' calf injury following the Mets' game on Opening Day, there was no guarantee that he would even play every day. Just over three weeks later, Nieuwenhuis has been nothing short of brilliant."
The Ruben Amaro Jr.
The Good Phight: "Heading into his second year as a full-time starting pitcher, Vance Worley seemed a likely candidate to suffer the dreaded sophomore slump that so many young pitchers have. In the off-season, opposing teams' scouts have time to collect, analyze, and study film of pitchers that baffled their teams' hitters the year before."
The Neal Huntington
Bucs Dugout: "Jameson Taillon continued to justify his top prospect status, throwing six shutout innings in a 4-1 win over Jupiter. He allowed three hits, all singles, and one walk, while fanning four."
The John Mozeliak
Viva El Birdos: "When the St. Louis Cardinals inked catcher Yadier Molina to a five-year, $75 million extension during spring training, many did a double take. The lucrative extension seemed to be based at least in part on Molina's best season with the bat."
The Josh Byrnes
Gaslamp Ball: "Overall, April hasn't been kind to us, but that's not really new. On the upside, our boys have won four of their last seven games, and are looking better (at least in pitching and offense) than the team that began the season."
The Brian Sabean
Scott Ostler of San Francisco Chronicle: "Buster Posey went 1-for-3 Sunday, so his batting average nose-dived from .354 to .353. He did manage to stay in the top 10 among major-league batters, at No. 9."
The Mike Rizzo
Adam Kilgore of Washington Post: "The Nationals have experience rebounding from four-game losing streaks, but not with the stakes they have created for themselves this April. It matters now."
The American League
The Dan Duquette
Peter Schuck of Baltimore Sun: "Orioles starters failed to pitch through the sixth inning only once in the last six games, and the exception was a 5 2/3-inning start by Jake Arrieta that was the only clinker of the week."
The Ben Cherington
Alex Speier of WEEI: "On Sunday, for the first time, Matt Barnes gave up a run as a professional. It took five starts and it was not until his 27th inning of work that it occurred, but it happened."
The Kenny Williams
Dick Van Dyck of Chicago Tribune: "When Jake Peavy won the 2007 Cy Young Award for the Padres, he owned a 3-1 record and 2.06 earned-run average after April. Now with the White Sox and approaching 31, Peavy just finished April with a 3-1 record and 1.67 ERA - plus back-to-back complete games. Peavy didn't have a complete game in 2007."
The Chris Antonetti
Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "Johnny Damon comes at the perfect time to help Cleveland's struggling offense."
The Dave Dombrowski
Lynn Henning of Detroit News: "Gerald Laird is under contract through 2012, which means there's no serious itch to get Rob Brantly to Detroit anytime soon. But by next season, the Tigers will have groomed Brantly for a backup catching job that could evolve into something more regular if Brantly keeps it up. A left-handed hitter who doesn't turn 23 until July is batting .365 at Double A Erie, with on-base and slugging percentages of .406 and .603, good for a heavy OPS of 1.009."
The Dayton Moore
Royals Review: "I woke up this morning wondering if [Mike Moustakas] had passed [Eric] Hosmer as a hitter. Obviously, his performance (or perhaps his results) have been better in 2012, but what I was mainly thinking of was some notion of polish or approach at the plate, some idea akin to craftsmanship."
The Jerry DiPoto
Mike DiGiovanna of Los Angeles Times: "When Jordan Walden lost his closer job after giving up a walk-off home run to Tampa Bay's Brandon Allen on Thursday, he was not demoted to a seventh- or eighth-inning role. The right-hander whose 98-mph fastball earned him a trip to the All-Star game last season has been reduced, at least temporarily, to a mop-up guy until he can start throwing his slider for a strike."
The Terry Ryan
Howard Sinker of Star Tribune: "Albert Pujols signed a 10-year contract for $240 million in the offseason and currently has an OPS (on base-plus-slugging percentage) lower than Jamey Carroll's. Ouch."
The Brian Cashman
Bill Madden of New York Daily News: "And on the fifth day, CC Sabathia, as is his sworn $25 million per year duty, provided a welcome respite to the Yankee starting rotation crisis."
The Billy Beane
Athletics Nation: "Well, the Sacramento River Cats have been doing the one thing their parent club hasn't been doing lately -- namely, hitting! The A's Pacific Coast League affiliate averaged nearly 8 runs per game last week, while the big league club averaged just 2 1/2 runs per game over the past week."
The Jack Zduriencik
Geoff Baker of Seattle Times: "George Sherrill's elbow never looked right this spring and did not get any better in two relief outings. Now, he's going to have surgery on it early next month and is very likely done for the season."
The Andrew Friedman
DRaysBay.com: "The Rays are now 14-8 on the season and completed a very difficult opening of the 2012 season which included 19 of their first 22 games against teams that finished .500 or better in 2011 and included their longest road trip of the season (3-city 10 game)."
The Jon Daniels
Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News: "The Rangers now have a clean sweep at having the youngest prospect at every level of the minors currently playing. It underscores the club's philosophy of challenging young players to play up a level."
The Alex Anthopoulos
Andrew Pentis of MLB.com: "The real lesson Blue Jays left-hander Egan Smith has learned in his first season coming out of the bullpen: Always be ready. The Jays' farmhand completed five no-hit innings of relief in Dunedin's 3-0 victory over Tampa. The Class A Advanced Jays are 10-1 at home this season."
Via Andrew Perna/RealGM
Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Misc Rumor
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Josh Hamilton expects to play Monday in Toronto despite coming out of Sunday's loss to the Rays with a stiff back.
Hamilton said he felt a spasm in his back about the third or fourth step out of the batter's box on an RBI single in the first inning.
He tried to loosen it up, but after playing the field in the second inning, he felt like he couldn't move the way he wanted and told manager Ron Washington, who took him came out of the game.
Via Richard Durrett/ESPN.com
Texas Rangers, Injury
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The Opsera is a statistic RealGM Executive Editor Chris Reina created in order to objectively rank teams by how well they hit (OPS) and pitch (ERA).
In order to determine the Opsera rating for each, we take their OPS, multiply that number by 10 to move the decimal point over one place to the right and then subtract their ERA from that number.
Below are the rankings through the Thursday, April 26th games:
The rankings from last week are in parenthesizes.
The rankings and Opsera rating for each team will be volatile this month as the data increases. After 162 games in 2011, the Rangers had the highest rating (4.21) and the Twins the lowest (2.08). It is doubtful that Texas will maintain such a high rating, while Boston could jump several points over the next week.
1. (1) Texas Rangers - 5.85
The Rangers have the highest OPS and the third-lowest ERA in baseball.
2. (2) St. Louis Cardinals - 5.12
Only three teams have scored more runs than the defending champions.
3. (4) Washington Nationals - 4.36
If only the Nationals knew of a prospect that could boost their offense...
4. (7) Baltimore Orioles - 4.27
Baltimore has allowed five combined runs in their last four games (all wins).
5. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers - 4.19
It is early, but the Dodgers are clearly the class of the National League West.
6. (T8) Chicago White Sox - 3.89
Their numbers actually look better than their record at this point.
7. (5) New York Yankees - 3.88
Their pitching depth is suddenly a deficiency, but the alarm has not yet gone off.
8. (14) San Francisco Giants - 3.70
They have managed just fine without Brian Wilson to this point.
9. (6) Philadelphia Phillies - 3.62
If the pitching falters even a little bit, the Phillies will be in serious trouble.
10. (T8) Atlanta Braves - 3.59
Believe it or not, it is the pitching that has been middling.
11. (26) Tampa Bay Rays - 3.45
12. (21) Pittsburgh Pirates - 3.36
13. (12) New York Mets - 3.34
14. (11) Miami Marlins - 3.27
15. (15) Houston Astros - 3.21
16. (16). Oakland Athletics - 3.20
17. (18) Kansas City Royals - 3.10
18. (25) Cincinnati Reds - 3.08
19. (17) Toronto Blue Jays - 2.99
20. (13) Colorado Rockies - 2.98
21. (24) San Diego Padres - 2.96
22. (10) Detroit Tigers - 2.89
23. (27) Milwaukee Brewers - 2.67
T24. (19) Cleveland Indians - 2.63
-- (20) Arizona Diamondbacks - 2.63
26. (22) Seattle Mariners - 2.57
27. (23) Los Angeles Angels - 2.40
28. (29) Boston Red Sox - 2.27
29. (30) Chicago Cubs - 1.91
30. (28) Minnesota Twins - 1.28
Via Andrew Perna/RealGM
Baltimore Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Washington Nationals, Misc Rumor
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Neftali Feliz spent this past offseason preparing for a full season as a starting pitcher, but he has no problem with Texas skipping his turn in the rotation.
Feliz won't make his scheduled start Saturday against Tampa Bay. The Rangers are using last Saturday's doubleheader, coupled with Thursday's off day, to give Feliz extra rest.
The right-hander allowed a solo home run in one inning out of the bullpen Wednesday, and could see relief duty the first two games against the Rays.
"It's fine with me," Feliz said. "I'm just trying to help out the team to help them win."
Texas Rangers, Misc Rumor
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Rangers situational rookie reliever Robbie Ross is tied for the Major League lead for wins.
His four wins in six appearances is a baseball first.
Ross retired eight straight Yankees on Wednesday, including Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez -- guys who made their Major League debut before Ross was in kindergarten.
"I think after [Jeter] grounded out, I think I had to get off the mound and give a sigh of relief," Ross said.
Opposing batters are hitting just .179 against the 22-year-old left-hander.
Via Associated Press
Texas Rangers, Misc Rumor
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Rangers Apr 2012 Archive
Associated Press | Apr 26, 2012
It marks the first time in franchise history the team has accomplished the feat.
Associated Press | Apr 25, 2012
In just his fourth Major League start, Yu Darvish shut down the Yankees as the Rangers won 2-0.
Dallas Morning News | Apr 24, 2012
Ivan Rodriguez, who officially announced his retirement on Monday, plans to remain around the game of baseball.
Richard Durrett/ESPN.com | Apr 24, 2012
Josh Hamilton is hitting .500 during the day this season after posting a .220 average in daylight last year.
Associated Press | Apr 24, 2012
Josh Hamilton hit his eighth home run of the season on Monday night against the Yankees.
Richard Durrett/ESPN.com | Apr 23, 2012
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez retired from Major League Baseball on Monday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Associated Press | Apr 23, 2012
Alberto Gonzalez bunted the ball off his right leg in the 11th inning on Sunday, something umpires missed.
Dallas Morning News | Apr 22, 2012
Adrian Beltre missed 37 games with a similar injury last season, but this hamstring pull isn't as serious.
Andrew Perna/RealGM | Apr 21, 2012
The Rangers have won seven-straight thanks to the highest OPS (.881) in the Major Leagues, while the Cubs have dropped to last place.
FOX Sports | Apr 21, 2012
Josh Hamilton sure looks dialed in, but he doesn't think he has reached his apex this season.
Fan Graphs | Apr 21, 2012
Mitch Moreland was a standout pitcher in high school and college, but the Rangers gave him the choice of which path to take in the Majors.
MLB.com | Apr 20, 2012
Josh Hamilton's agent says there has been preliminary dialogue between Texas and the outfielder on a new contract.
ESPN.com | Apr 19, 2012
Ivan Rodriguez will retire Monday in Arlington as a member of the Texans Rangers.
Jon Heyman/CBS Sports | Apr 18, 2012
Mike Napoli is looking for a deal between $52 million over four years and $75 million over five.
Dallas Morning News | Apr 16, 2012
The Rangers may juggle their rotation a bit with a day off on Monday.
Associated Press | Apr 15, 2012
Joe Nathan signed with Texas this winter after spending eight seasons with Minnesota.
Jon Heyman/CBS Sports | Apr 14, 2012
Josh Hamilton, with his history of injury and drug problems, can't expect the Rangers to give him a $200 million contract.
Andrew Perna/RealGM | Apr 13, 2012
The Cardinals are scoring a ton of runs this season, even with Albert Pujols in Los Angeles.
ESPN.com | Apr 12, 2012
Josh Hamilton's agent met with some members of the Rangers' brass on Wednesday.
Associated Press | Apr 11, 2012
Neftali Feliz saved 72 games for the Rangers over the last two seasons.
ESPN.com | Apr 10, 2012
Ian Kinsler's new contract with Texas could run through the 2018 season.
ESPN.com | Apr 10, 2012
Despite a rough start, Yu Darvish was a winner against the Mariners on Monday night.
Anthony Andro/FOX Sports (via Twitter) | Apr 7, 2012
Brad Hawpe will play for Double-A Frisco.
Calvin Watkins/ESPN.com | Apr 6, 2012
Ian Kinsler said he was close to an extension with the Rangers.
Richard Durrett/ESPN.com | Apr 6, 2012
Neither held any grudges over the Aug. 4, 1993 incident in Arlington, but they had never crossed paths since then.
ESPN.com | Apr 5, 2012
The Rangers unveiled Thursday a life-size bronze statue of Shannon Stone and his then 6-year old son, Cooper.
Anthony Andro/FOX Sports (via Twitter) | Apr 4, 2012
Heilman has been assigned to Triple-A Round Rock.
Evan Grant/Dallas Morning News (via Twitter) | Apr 4, 2012
The Rangers are scheduled to meet with representatives for Ian Kinsler on Wednesday.
Wallace Matthews/ESPN.com | Apr 3, 2012
Texas has represented the American League in the World Series in back-to-back years.
Richard Durrett/ESPN.com | Apr 1, 2012
Josh Hamilton is willing to discuss a contract extension during the season, if the Rangers are interested.