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G152: Rangers swept by Orioles with 6-4 loss

A sweep, but the wrong way. Coming into the game, the Rangers had a magic number of 6. They made a big stink out of this at the ballpark itself (I was at this game; more on that in a bit). The number six appeared all over the place. It seemed to get the fans going, especially when Chuck Morgan announced the fact over the PA system. Gave the fans a buzz to start the game, I felt. The Rangers busted out big in the first inning, which was something they haven’t done in some time. We were up 4-1 after the first inning, and I have to say most Ranger fans were feeling pretty happy about that.
However, that’s all there was to cheer about Ranger wise. With the exception of a really great defensive catch by Tom Goodwin, the rest of the night was Orioles. That was due to their starter Scott Erickson. After being shelled in the first inning, Erickson gave up only a single to Pudge in the second, and that was the only hit he gave up for about 13 straight batters (although there was a walk mixed in there). Erickson was very strong after the first, and only came out in the 9th after he let a couple get on, bringing in Mike Timlin, who was equally as good. Honestly, looking at this Orioles team, I find it hard to believe they are so far back in the standings, they appear to have a pretty good team from my own eyes, I’ve seen them 4 times in person this year (twice in Baltimore).
Anyway, the high point for the Rangers offensively was a home run by Raffy in the first inning. I felt bad, as a small kid behind me got really scared at all the noise and the fireworks. I felt bad – his father had to leave with him after that. I hope they just moved elsewhere. Speaking of home runs, Mr. Rick Helling gave up three last night, including two on consecutive pitches. Rick leads the AL in allowed home runs this year, passing Jeff Fassero (who I still have a hard time believing is a Ranger). If Rick gives up three more this year, he breaks a 20 year old Ranger record for most allowed home runs held by Fergie Jenkins. Just for kicks, Mike Venafro allowed a home run to Albert Belle, too.
However, Danny Patterson really surprised me. He pitched outstandingly, and I thought he was the sharpest I can remember him this season. I’ve kind of soured on Patterson this season, but damn – this was good stuff. If his stuff is this good all the time, I wonder if he could be a starter.
The way the Rangers have been playing this past week reminds me of the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies. That year is legend in Philadelphia sports history. After leading the league much of the season and owning a six and one-half game lead with 12 games to play, a seemingly certain pennant was snatched away as the Phillies lost 10 straight in late September. The collapse devastated an entire city. I wasn’t born yet (that happened the next year), but I know it very well, as anyone know knows Phillies history can tell you. I don’t take the division as a lock, because I’m sure if we lose the division to the A’s, we’re out – stranger things have happened.
As I said before, Lynn & I were at this game tonight, and it was wonderful. We sat in Section 325, Row 10, and I have to say, I very much loved this view of the Ballpark. Our current season tickets are in Sec 39, and while we’ve had those for three years, the fact that they’re $60 a game (for two tickets), coupled with the obstructed view of the scoreboard, and seeing the backsides of the players make me want to move up here. Hell, these tickets are $28 a game (for two), and you can see everything in the park, with the exception of a clock (which isn’t a big deal). I had a wonderful time at the game last night, as it was very cool (game time temp was 72), my wife got to wear her Ranger sweatshirt for the first time this year to a game, and it wasn’t that crowded. There was a pack of Orioles fans about 3 rows from the top of the section, which was cool. That same thing happened when we were in Baltimore, there was a big pack of Ranger fans making a lot of noise. :)
One cool thing.. If you’ve seen the ads for the Ranger Pennant Drive flag for your car from Albertsons, you may not know about this. If you drive up to the Ballpark with one of these on your car, they give you a voucher for a promotional item you can get from the Fan Relations Booth behind section 126. Well, I had gotten one of these flags, and put it on my car. Got the voucher, and walked to the booth, and they gave me a bat! That was really cool! It was the Rafael Palmeiro giveaway bat from earlier in the season for kids. I didn’t care. It was way cool. These vouchers are being given out for the remaining games at the Ballpark this season, so if you were thinking about going to one of the remaining 7 games at home, show up with one of these flags, they’ll give you something free for it. I still have two more games to go to (Sunday & Monday), so hopefully I’ll get to see the Rangers clinch the division one of these days, and get a couple more cool giveaway promotions. Man, the Rangers rock, and these little added things really make it nice (for me, anyway).
Oh yeah, Route 30 was closed last night, so I took the 35 to 183 to 360 to Ballpark route. My god, did that SUCK! I don’t know if that’s normal traffic flow there, but if it is, jeez… I don’t know how anyone can drive that regularly. It was backed up for the entire time from Texas Stadium all the way out to the Ballpark in Arlington. That was horrible!