Inbox: Heat is on Rangers' opponents
Beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers fans' questions
Over the years, the Texas heat has been blamed for Rangers meltdowns in the pennant race. Shouldn't the heat be looked at as an advantage? I am in the military, and when you are acclimated to heat, you perform better, as opposed to say, Minnesota coming from 64-degree temps to 99 at game time in Texas.
-- Bobby Y., Hugo, Okla.
Nolan Ryan agrees with you completely. Michael Young pointed out that for three months, the Rangers have the best weather in baseball. This summer has been unusually hot, and maybe Al Gore can explain why, but the Rangers' players just don't see heat as an issue.
If you take out all of the games that landed on our troubled fifth rotation spot this year, what would our winning percentage be?
-- Mark M., Denton, Texas
Much worse. Matt Harrison began the season as the Rangers' fifth starter. After he got hurt, Derek Holland stepped into the spot. He was replaced by Tommy Hunter. Those three have combined to make 26 starts in the fifth-starter spot and are 15-4 with a 4.04 ERA.
No. 1 starters Scott Feldman and Cliff Lee are a combined 7-14 with a 5.35 ERA.
When do the Rangers decide to start selling postseason tickets, or at least allow people to reserve postseason tickets?
-- Chris K., Yukon, Okla.
The Rangers say they will make an announcement in mid-September in regards to tickets for the American League Divisional Series. Hopefully this year there will be no problems as far as refunds for tickets of games that are not played.
Who has the final say and is ultimately responsible for the late-inning use of the bullpen: Manager Ron Washington or pitching coach Mike Maddux?
-- Terry A., Mesquite, Texas
Washington is the manager and has ultimate authority on every decision that is made during a game. He relies on Maddux's guidance, but he definitely has final say.
What is the rule on national televised games for in-market games? Our FOX broadcasters have yet to play any of the Rangers' national broadcasts, and I was wondering if it was a violation of the blackout rules, since Louisiana is part of the Rangers' market.
-- Denton S., Ruston, La.
The FOX Saturday game to be carried into a specific market is up to the FOX affiliate in that market. For instance, the FOX affiliate in New Orleans can choose either the Rangers-Twins or Reds-Cardinals game for this Saturday. For what it's worth, all of Louisiana is carrying the Rangers-Twins game on Saturday.
Now that the Rangers are apparently going to switch Triple-A affiliates to Round Rock instead of Oklahoma City, what does that mean for the players in either organizations? Are OKC players now considered in the Astros' organization and Round Rock in Texas?
-- Ryan A. Dallas
No. The Rangers players in Oklahoma City will now be playing in Round Rock. There are no players changing organizations.
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What do the Rangers intend to do with center fielder Craig Gentry? While possessing above-average speed and defensive ability, and batting over .300 in Triple-A, he seems to have little or no power.
-- Stephen T., Addison, Texas
Not every player needs to have massive power. The Rangers were supposedly getting away from that mentality this season and going to a more diversified offense. Julio Borbon has helped in that regard while playing outstanding defense in center field. The Rangers like Gentry, especially his speed, but a broken right wrist kept him from being a September callup. He should be back with the Rangers in Spring Training competing for an outfield spot.
I noticed Thomas Diamond was pitching for the Cubs this year, and was wondering if we got anything in return for him. If not, could he be one of the worst overall top picks (10th) in Rangers history?
-- Chris G., Springtown, Texas
Diamond was claimed off waivers by the Cubs a year ago, and the Rangers received nothing in return. One point, though: Just because a first-round Draft pick doesn't work out doesn't mean it is a bad pick. Other factors could be involved. Diamond had Tommy John surgery and that didn't help. Sometimes it may not be the scouts who made a bad pick, but the organization did a poor job of developing him. Maybe they rushed him through the system or forced him to make changes in his game or his pitching style that were ill-advised. It's not always so black and white as being a good or bad pick.
Is there anywhere fans can send requests, etc., to Chuck Greenberg?
-- Nikki D. Fort Worth
Fans are supposed to be able to send their complaints, questions, suggestions and anything else to firstname.lastname@example.org, and presumably you will get a response.
Do Major League umpires ever review their ball and strike calls against the pitch tracker used on TV broadcasts?
-- Dale G. Garland, Texas
All umpires have their work reviewed by Major League Baseball supervisors, but I'm still not certain that those pitch trackers on television are all that accurate. Often they look suspect to me.
Do you know what Tom House is up to these days? And do you think Don Wakamatsu will get another shot at managing any time soon?
-- Michael S., Texarkana, Texas
House runs the National Pitching Association, which is a Southern California-based organization that works with young pitchers at all levels through camps, clinics and individual instruction. Wakamatsu certainly deserves another opportunity, but he may need time to work his way back to the "hot list" of managerial candidates.
I had high hopes that Kasey Kiker would make the jump to Triple-A this year and be a possible callup to the big league club. I haven't seen or heard anything about him lately. What's his status?
-- Sean H., Arlington
Kiker, who turns 23 in November, had some shoulder issues this summer and has pitched in 14 games. The Rangers' No. 1 Draft pick in 2006, Kiker is 1-4 with a 7.65 ERA. He walked 46 and struck out 42 in just 40 innings. He has not pitched since the end of July. He is left-handed and will get more chances, but he needs to rededicate himself to getting it done.
Is it me or does anyone else think Lee looks miserable as a Ranger. Every time I see him, he never looks happy to be in Texas?
-- Stephen H., Iowa City, Texas
He looks happy when he's beating Ian Kinsler at chess in the clubhouse or yukking it up with Tommy Hunter on the bench. Obviously there has been much analyzing -- real or contrived -- about Lee in Texas and whether he'll re-sign here. Lee is a free agent and this is his best chance to take advantage of that benefit. No doubt when the season is over, he and his family will decide what they want to do. The Rangers will put their best offer on the table, and it will either get done or not.
How do players still get traded after the Trade Deadline? I thought deadline meant no more trades were possible.
-- Nick S., Fort Worth, Texas
After July 31, players must clear waivers to be traded. If they do, they can be traded anywhere. If they are claimed, it's a different story. Manny Ramirez was claimed by the White Sox, Rangers and possibly one other team. Since the White Sox had the worst record, they were awarded the claim. The Dodgers had the choice of letting the White Sox just take Ramirez, work out a trade or pull him back off waivers. They let the White Sox have him.
What is the back story with Jarrod Saltalamacchia? There seemed no pressing reason to trade him, and the return and explanation don't match his potential.
-- Doc T., Savannah, Ga.
In the end, Saltalamacchia wasn't happy in the Rangers' organization. He was stuck in Triple-A, he was getting passed over by other catchers and was pretty miserable. It was time to move on. Sometimes an organization just has to realize that a player is not going to make it with them and needs to go somewhere else, no matter how much potential he may have.
Do local radio stations of the involved teams carry the playoffs and World Series, or does it go to a national network?
-- John F. Austin, Texas
You will have the opportunity to turn down the volume on your television set and turn up the radio to hear Eric Nadel and Dave Barnett. Local radio will have all playoff games.
Why can't the Rangers have a mascot one can associate with the team's name? What happened with the Lone Ranger?
-- Doris G., Garland, Texas
"The Lone Ranger" went off the air in 1957. Ranger Captain does a terrific job. The Rangers are an organization that specializes in constant change, but Ranger Captain needs to stay.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.