Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scott Feldman, Michael Young Lead Rangers past Reds; Jon Lester Tosses Seven Scoreless for Red Sox

Players of the Day for Monday, March 26, 2012

Grapefruit League

Lester: 7IP 2H 10K
The Boston Red Sox got their Grapefruit League record above the .500 mark (11-10) with a 6-0 blanking of the Phillies, though most around the clubhouse were probably more impressed with the work of starter Jon Lester, who, at 2-1, with a 3.50 ERA appears to be about as ready for the regular season as any pitcher in either league.

Lester breezed through seven innings of scoreless ball, displaying pinpoint control as he allowed just two hits while fanning 10 without walking a batter.

Pivotal to Boston's chances of winning the AL East and beyond, Lester's performance in the regular season - and especially against long-time rival New York - will have great bearing on the Red Sox season. In 2011, Lester went 15-9 with a 3.47 ERA, capping six straight seasons without a losing record. Lester's career record is a remarkable 76-34, among the best winning percentages of any major leaguer.

Cactus League

Despite playing this spring in Arizona, a climate very similar to their home games in Arlington, Texas, the reigning AL champion Texas Rangers aren't looking very much like world beaters as they won for just the sixth time against 16 losses, defeating Cincinnati, 12-2, at the Rangers' spring home in Surprise, AZ.

Scott Feldman
Springtime victories are hardly the concern, however, as players hone their skills for the regular season that is now just a week away, and the Rangers have a number of bright spots heading down the Cactus League stretch.

Young: .441 BA
Starting pitcher Scott Feldman shut out the Reds on three hits over six innings, nabbing his first W of the exhibition season, striking out nine Reds' batters and walking none. Feldman threw 54 of 79 pitches for strikes. Feldman started just two games for the Rangers in 2011, but appears to have regained the stuff that made him a rising star when he went 17-8 in 2009.

Michael Young, one of the most consistent hitters of the past decade, rapped out three singles in three at-bats and scored three times. Young is having a solid spring, batting .441. Young hit .338 in 2011, third best in the AL, his best showing since winning the AL batting title with a .331 average in 2005.

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