■ Doug Mathis (05), middle relief RHP, Texas Rangers
• Kinsler was edged out of being selected to the American League All-Star team no less than three times this season.
• Good as he is, Rangers' Kinsler can be better (StarTelegram.com)
This is why watching Kinsler frustrates me sometimes. He’s so good, it’s almost shocking — and disappointing — when he actually fails.
Failure is relative, naturally. Kinsler has 31 homers, 31 stolen bases, 99 runs and 86 RBI this season. You’d have to be pretty nit-picky to focus on his.254 batting average and find much fault with any of that.
Or you’d have to believe, as Rangers manager Ron Washington does, that Kinsler’s upside as a player hasn’t even been sniffed.
"The numbers say he had a great year, and he did, but we all know that Ian Kinsler has more to offer than even that," Washington pointed out. "For us, seeing him every day and knowing he’s better than the numbers say, way better than the numbers say — though they’re good — man, that’s scary."
• .253 BA; 144 G; 566 AB; 143 H; 276 TB; 32 2B; 4 3B; 31 HR; 86 RBI; 59 BB; 77 SO; 31 SB; 5 CS; .327 OBP; .488 SLG
■ Max Scherzer (04-06), starting RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
• Called up to the Rangers on June 30th after starting the season at AAA Oklahoma City follOwing late-season surgery in 2008
• Briefly optioned back to Oklahoma City on July 29, only to be recalled to the Rangers on August 2nd for the final time in 2009.
• Mathis latches onto role with Rangers (MLB.com, 8/12/09)
There are 98 relievers in the American League who have thrown at least 20 innings in relief this season, an average of seven relievers per team.
The one who has the lowest ERA among those 98 pitchers? That would be the Rangers' Doug Mathis, who entered Wednesday with an 0.90 ERA as a reliever. He also has the lowest baserunners per nine innings among that group, allowing 7.20 per nine innings.
"I think he has been doing a great job," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Every time we've brought him into any situation, he has done an outstanding job."
Mathis has provided only a small sample of relief work compared to others. He has just 20 innings over 12 appearances as a reliever this season. But he appears to be carving out a vital role in this year's bullpen after running the gamut from arm surgery to outrighted player to 4-A insurance player.
• 0-1; 3.16 ERA; 24 G; 2 GS; 1 SV; 42.2 IP; 39 H; 17 R; 15 ER; 3 HR; 2 HB; 10 BB; 25 K; .244 OPP BA; 1.15 WHIP
• 9-11; 4.12 ERA; 30 G; 30 GS; 170.1 IP; 166 H; 94 R; 78 ER; 20 HR; 10 HB; 63 BB; 174 K; .253 OPP BA; 1.34 WHIP
• Scherzer's 'productive' season ends (AZCentral.com)
Diamondbacks right-hander Max Scherzer always has had a grasp on the big picture. When the team told him two years ago he needed to hone his secondary pitches in the minors in order to succeed in the majors, Scherzer made it a focus, showed improvement.
And though he might not like the over-4.00 ERA he will leave behind from his first full major-league season - which, for him, came to an end with a 4-0 loss to Kevin Correia and the San Diego Padres on Friday night - he believes the progress he made in 2009 to be a springboard to the rest of his career
"This whole year, being in the big leagues and facing this league multiple times and having to be able to make adjustments was the biggest thing I had to learn," he said. "Obviously, some I made, and some I didn't. This year provided a foundation for me to have a good year next year."
. . .
It was clear in recent starts that the extra workload was getting to Scherzer, whose fastball this month seemed to lack the same bite it had at times earlier in the season.
He admitted after Friday's game that in perhaps his final 30 innings of the season he has experienced "dead arm" symptoms. He thinks he can avoid that next year, hoping the additional innings he threw this season will build arm strength for next year.