|PHILADELPHIA ( LEE )|
TEXAS ( SCHEPPERS )
|925||PHILADELPHIA||-115||Ov 8,-110||-105||Ov 8,+100|
|926||TEXAS||+105||Un 8,-110||-105||Un 8,-120|
|3/31/2014||LEE(L)||@ TEXAS||SCHEPPERS(R)|| |
|4/1/2014||BURNETT(R)||@ TEXAS||PEREZ(L)|| |
|4/2/2014||KENDRICK(R)||@ TEXAS||ROSS(L)|| |
|4/4/2014||HERNANDEZ(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||WOOD(L)|| |
|4/5/2014||LEE(L)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||SAMARDZIJA(R)|| |
|4/6/2014||BURNETT(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||VILLANUEVA(R)|| |
|4/7/2014|| ||MILWAUKEE|| || |
|4/4/2014||SAUNDERS(L)||@ TAMPA BAY||ODORIZZI(R)|| |
|4/5/2014|| ||@ TAMPA BAY||PRICE(L)|| |
|4/6/2014||SCHEPPERS(R)||@ TAMPA BAY||COBB(R)|| |
|4/7/2014|| ||@ BOSTON|| || |
|PHILADELPHIA: PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Ryan Howard and his teammates have heard critics say the window has closed for the Philadelphia Phillies.|
They just don't believe it.
After a dominant run that included five straight NL East titles, two pennants and the 2008 World Series championship, the Phillies have missed the postseason two consecutive years. They have an aging core of players who've been declining.
Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz are the remaining regulars from the group that led Philadelphia to its best era of baseball from 2007-11 under former manager Charlie Manuel.
They're determined to make another run.
''We've had a bad couple years and had injuries and all that stuff, but I don't think it's over,'' Howard said. ''People are entitled to their opinions and that's fine, but it's up to us to go out there and show them otherwise and go out and play our game and do what we do.''
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. refused to start the rebuilding process after the Phillies' first losing season since 2002. Instead, he re-signed Utley and Ruiz and added veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd and right-hander A.J. Burnett in free agency.
If the older players live up to their hefty contracts and younger guys like 2013 All-Star Domonic Brown, Cody Asche and Ben Revere continue to develop, the Phillies should be in contention.
''I think we're positive. We're expecting to win and plan on doing everything we can to ensure that,'' ace lefty Cliff Lee said.
|TEXAS: ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - The Texas Rangers are already hurting significantly even before the start of a new season.|
In a span of three days the week before opening day, the Rangers scratched ace Yu Darvish from that scheduled start because of neck stiffness, and found out they would be without second baseman Jurickson Profar and catcher Geovany Soto for 10 to 12 weeks each because of injuries.
Sure, the Rangers know there are going to be injuries during the season.
''We just didn't expect it to be all at this point,'' general manager Jon Daniels said.
The Rangers, after missing the playoffs last year for the first time in four seasons, already knew they would be missing lefty starters Matt Harrison and Derek Holland to start the season.
At least Harrison, who had a mild setback early in camp after his back issues last season, should return within the first month. Holland could miss at least half the season because of left knee surgery after being tripped by his dog on stairs in his home in January.
The only three position players remaining from the Rangers' last World Series in 2011 also missed games this spring with lesser nagging issues. But shortstop Elvis Andrus, third baseman Adrian Beltre and designated hitter Mitch Moreland should all be in the lineup Monday against Philadelphia.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in four years and scoring their fewest runs (730) in a full season since 1992, the Rangers' two most significant offseason moves were to improve their offense.
They got durable slugger Prince Fielder from Detroit by trading Ian Kinsler, a move that cleared the way Profar to be an everyday player. Free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was signed to a seven-year deal - the same time left on Fielder's contract - to take over the leadoff spot.
Only Mike Trout (564) and two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera (562) reached base more the past two season than Choo (556) and Fielder (542), who has the longest active streak in the majors playing in 505 consecutive regular-season games - and 809 of 810 the past five years.
''I just want Prince to be Prince,'' said manager Ron Washington, starting his eighth season in Texas. ''I just want him to do what he does, and let everyone else does what they do, and everything will work out.''
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (PHILADELPHIA-TEXAS) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Phillies-Rangers Preview* ==========================
Philadelphia (0-0) at Texas (0-0), 2:05 p.m. EDT
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Cliff Lee has pitched in a season opener and a World Series in Texas. Neither of those games was for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The ace left-hander starts Monday for Philadelphia in an interleague season opener against the Rangers, his first game in Globe Life Park in Arlington since pitching for Texas in the 2010 World Series.
That was a year after the then-reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was Cleveland's opening day loser against Texas, months before being traded and making a World Series trip with the Phillies.
Texas (91-72) sends first-time starter Tanner Scheppers to the mound instead of Yu Darvish, the ace who is on the disabled list because of neck stiffness but felt good after a 32-pitch bullpen session Sunday. Scheppers, a converted setup man, will be the first pitcher to make his first major league start in a season opener since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I did not hear that stat. I guess there's a stat for everything," said the 27-year-old Scheppers, also not familiar with Valenzuela's unique windup that included looking skyward before delivering the pitch.
The Rangers acquired Lee (14-8, 2.87 ERA) in a trade with Seattle midway through the 2010 season when they won their first American League championship. He then returned to Philly for a $125 million, five-year deal in free agency - the Rangers offered about $136 million over six years.
"It was fun to be in the World Series there. I had a lot of fun," Lee told reporters about his time in Texas before the team broke camp from Florida. "We did some things that had never been done there. They've built off that and been a pretty solid team ever since."
Texas made it back to the World Series in 2011, when the Phillies lost in the NL Division Series in their last postseason appearance. The Rangers also played in the 2012 AL wild-card game before losing a wild-card tiebreaker last season.
The Rangers, marking the 20th anniversary of their stadium's opening, no longer will have Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan sitting in the first row. He resigned as team CEO and sold his ownership stake after last season and is now an executive adviser for the Houston Astros, another team he pitched for and where his eldest son is the president.
There are significant changes in the lineup as well, with free agent addition Shin-Soo Choo leading off and Prince Fielder batting third. The slugger, acquired in a trade that sent All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler to Detroit, hit a towering homer in his first home at-bat during an exhibition game Thursday night.
Their first real game comes against Lee.
"My focus is not going to be on he pitched for us and he did this, my focus is going to be on what it's always on, when we face a guy of Cliff Lee's caliber, we have to be on top of our game," said Texas manager Ron Washington, beginning his eighth season. "It's going to be a challenge. ... As tough as we know it will be, it's not going to be easy for Cliff, either. That's what I'm thinking."
Scheppers pitched in 76 games last year in his first full major league season, the most appearances by a right-hander in Rangers history. He was 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA.
The Rangers had long planned to give Scheppers a chance this spring to earn a spot in the rotation. They certainly had no expectation of him starting the opener, but Darvish and left-handers Matt Harrison and Derek Holland are on the disabled list.
"I have got little things here and there that are a little different," Scheppers said. "Other than that, just go out and pitch."
The Phillies (73-89) suffered through their first losing season since 2002 last year and open 2014 with an aging core that helped lead the team to the 2008 World Series title. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz are the remaining regulars from that club.
"We've had a bad couple years and had injuries and all that stuff, but I don't think it's over," Howard said. "People are entitled to their opinions and that's fine, but it's up to us to go out there and show them otherwise and go out and play our game and do what we do."
Philadelphia could still boast a formidable rotation, with Lee and Cole Hamels - out until May due to a shoulder problem - joined by newcomer A.J. Burnett to form the top three.
Manager Ryne Sandberg, who took over for Charlie Manuel in August, established a tone in spring training by benching Rollins for three days for not playing hard and being a negative influence.
"I know the importance of fundamentals," Sandberg said. "We're going to stress them and we're going to do them daily."
|Last Updated: 9/23/2014 9:24:52 PM EST|