Jeff Baker’s Shameful Secret


It was a sloppy return to Arlington for the Rangers (38-25), but on a night where Josh Lindblom (0-1) delivered a quality start (6 IP/3 ER), the hitting proved timely enough to hand Cleveland its 8th consecutive loss, 6-3.

– Lindblom experienced a rocky 3rd — which culminated in a bases-clearing double by Carlos Santana — turning a 1-0 lead into a 3-1 deficit. If you isolate that inning (which, you can’t), Lindblom pitched 5.0 shutout frames, sitting down the final 10 batters he faced. He finished with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts.

Elvis Andrus went 2-5 with two singles, raising his putrid 2013 triple slash line to .253/.307/.304. If you are looking for a good breakout candidate, the Rangers have about 4 of them; although much isn’t expected from Elvis offensively, he is certainly better than he has shown thus far.

Jeff Baker hit his 8th home run in 50 plate appearances vs. a left-handed pitcher in 2013; before the game his split against lefties sat at a ridiculous .381/.480/.952 (273 wRC+), as he continues to show why he is Jon Daniels’ most subtly brilliant acquisition of the 2012-’13 offseason.

– The bullpen was fabulous, again, always, forever and furthermore ….

Robbie Ross (3-1) pitched a scoreless 7th for the win; he walked the first hitter he faced and retired the next 3 via the strikeout. Tanner Scheppers followed with a scoreless 8th, and Joe Nathan slammed the door with a perfect 9th. It was boring, as it should be.

For what it’s worth (which is, technically speaking, very little, because relief pitching is the least valuable entity on the diamond), the Ranger bullpen has accumulated +2.4 FIP-wins in 2013, which ranks 5th in MLB.

– The win is the Rangers’ 2nd in as many days, and improves the club to a full +1.0 game advantage on the Oakland Athletics (38-27), who will host the Yankees this week.

And now, the good news! Well, kind of.

Ian Kinsler did infield drills with Ron Washington on Monday (Todd Willis), and the best-case scenario is that he’s back with the club at some point during this home stand. We’ll see.

– Lastly, the Rangers have signed both their first round picks — Alex “Chi-Chi” Gonzalez, and Travis Demeritte — as well as their 2nd-rounder, Akeem Bostick. (Adam Morris.)

According to Morris, Gonzalez — a college RHP — signed to a slot bonus of $2.215 million, which is ~$300K above slot; Demeritte, a high school shortstop who figures to move to a different position down the road, agreed to terms for $1.9 million, or ~$200K over slot. Combined, the Rangers spent roughly a half-million over slot value for their top-2 picks.

Their 2nd-round selection, Bostick — a right-handed high school pitcher who was considered a reach — signed for close to $400K below his slot, which goes a long way on offsetting the first two picks. That’s sort of the idea. Under the new CBA, teams are allotted a fixed sum to spend on their draft picks, which is determined by which picks the team actually possesses.

– Tomorrow Derek Holland is pitching against some guy with the last name of Kluber. I don’t know what that means, but from what I can tell he’s pitching with a so-so Won-Loss record (3-4) and outstanding peripherals (9.85 K’s/9 IP, 1.64 BB’s/9 IP, 2.84 xFIP). His ERA is 4.56, and he’s been prone to the long-ball (15.6% HR/FB), so let’s hope he keeps with those trends.