G156: Rangers beat Seattle, 3-2

This was my final regular season game of the year. Last year, once it got down to my last few games at the Ballpark, I started getting down about it, but this year, it didn’t hit me until I was walking into the park that this was the last time I’ll be here for 1999 except for Game 1 of the Division Series here. I probably won’t be able to go to any more playoff games, as there are better things to use that kind of money for (like more tickets for 2000). :)
I went into the game expecting to see a junk lineup, as is usually the case the day after a clinch, but we got the regular everyday lineup for the Rangers. I was surprised. Looks like they’re really serious about making a run for the home field advantage.
This was a very well pitched game by both sides. Seattle pitcher Freddy Garcia showed why he’s a good young prospect, more or less shutting down the Rangers from getting anything extended going. He looked good, and I’d love to have a pitcher like that on our staff. Rick Helling, while not getting the win pitched well in the game (oh, there’s a shock). He struck out 10 in 5 2/3 innings, and Mike Munoz followed Helling and was really sharp as well. Matter of fact, all three Ranger relievers (Munoz, Crabtree, & Wetteland) didn’t allow any hits and only one walk, as well as adding 5 more strikeouts. It was an extremely well pitched game by the Rangers.
The offense wasn’t all that great, but it was just enough to get the win. Seattle’s runs all came in the 3rd. One was on a home run ball by Ibanez off of Helling, and the other was a sac fly by Arod. That’s it for Seattle. Our first run came in the second when Todd Zeile grounded into a double play and Juan scored from third. The second to tie the game up again was by Pudge in the 6th, a single scoring Tom Goodwin. Lee Stevens, who has been very prone to the strikeout lately (had a few tonight) came through with a sac fly to left in the bottom of the eighth to close out the scoring.
It was a great game, not a blowout on either side. Well pitched by both teams, and was a great baseball game to watch. I was sitting over by the Rangers dugout (had some good seats), and it made it all the sweeter sitting that close to the action. As a side note to that, Zonk is very loud when you’re sitting about 4 seats away from him. :)
Tampa Bay did us a big favor by beating the Yankees for the second straight game. We’re now two games behind the Indians, and one behind the Yankees. The Yankees appear to be slumping now (at least a little), which could help in the playoffs if we meet them and get out and get the first game.
We went 30 games over .500 for the first time in club history last night, too. :)