TWIB to focus on surging Rangers

TWIB to focus on surging Rangers

TORONTO -- Sitting atop the American League West, attempting to capture their first division title and playoff birth since 1999, FOX's This Week in Baseball will take an in-depth look at the surging Texas Rangers.

Airing at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, the half-hour program will begin with a segment on Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee. Acquired exactly three weeks before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the show explores the importance of Lee's veteran presence to a team entering the final month of a pennant race, reflecting upon the left-hander's contributions to the defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies last season.

"It's really about the Rangers kind of putting the pieces together," TWIB lead producer Matt Anderton said. "Making a final push towards the postseason with Cliff Lee as their anchor."

Lee, who will turn 32 on Monday, has pitched in five career playoff games -- all with the Phillies -- boasting a near perfect 4-0 record with a 1.56 ERA. While the Phillies inevitably ended their World Series championship bid in Game 6 against the Yankees, Lee was responsible for the club's only two victories in that Series.

Interviews from the likes of Lee, manager Ron Washington, shortstop Michael Young and outfielder Josh Hamilton will summarize the Rangers' season thus far, and illustrate how they plan to keep their momentum going.

After analyzing the Rangers' tough road ahead, the show transitions to a lighter tone, visiting starting pitcher C.J. Wilson at his charity bowling tournament. The second annual "Strike Out" Bowling Tournament, attended by several members of the Rangers organization, helps to raise money for the Cook's Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

"It was a lot of fun to see the players off the field in the bowling tournament," Anderton said. "It went to a good cause so it's good to have features like that in the show. Demonstrate what these guys are doing off the field to help their community."

Continuing with the help-one-another theme, the program visits Hamilton at his Triple Play Ministries Baseball Camp. With roughly 100 kids aged 12-18 in attendance, Hamilton -- who suffered from years of substance abuse -- takes time to teach campers the art of big league play, in addition to spreading the word of God and healthy living. He engages in a private interview with TWIB about the camp, and the life lessons he has endured to get where he is today.

Next, TWIB dives into the life of infamous Rangers pitcher, and current club owner, Nolan Ryan. Along with showing his evolution from strikeout king -- Major League all-time leader with 5,714 punchouts -- to owner, the show explores Ryan's influence on developing one of the younger and more inexperienced staffs in all of baseball.

"When he became team president the philosophy he brought in was the whole pitch count thing, and that we shouldn't put as much emphasis on it as people do now," Anderton said of the segment. "He's kind of shown his staff is definitely stronger -- another one of the reasons for their success."

TWIB can be seen on video boards in stadiums, as well as internationally in Australia, Canada, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Japan, Latin America, The Middle East, The Netherlands, Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama and Taiwan.

Fans can e-mail the show at, and visit the website,, for original blogs and bonus footage. TWIB will re-air on MLB Network at 1 p.m ET on Sunday.

The following are some of the other segments TWIB will feature during the program:

The Coors Light "Cold Hard Blast" showcases the Mariners' Russell Branyan's solo homer against the Yankees Aug. 20 -- the first blast ever to carry to the fourth level in the 1 1/2-year history of the new Yankee Stadium. That includes not just balls hit in games but also hit in batting practice.

The XM "Call of the Week" centers around Jed Lowrie's 11th-inning walk-off home run for the Red Sox over the Blue Jays, Aug. 20 at Fenway Park.

The Gillette "Rookie" segment focuses on Rangers reliever Neftali Feliz, who has 32 saves this year, becoming the youngest pitcher to compile 30 or more saves in a single season.

Holiday Inn's "Winning Road Trip" features the Padres' Matt Stairs, who hit his 21st pinch-hit home run on Saturday to set a Major League record.

For MLB Network's "Diamond Demo," David Valle will show baseball fans and aspiring catchers how to correctly block balls in the dirt.

As always, the show will close with clips displaying the week's top plays and bloopers.

James Hall is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.