G116: Rangers sweep Devil Rays, 6-2

Well, this Sunday afternoon brought a nice day to the Rangers, who have definitely had a hard time with the “dog days” of August. We swept the Devil Rays, which was nice as division leader Oakland lost. In fact, everyone moved up. In fact, the AL West is essentially a three way tie, as right now, the Rangers and Angels are .5 back of the A’s. We’re technically in second place due to percentage points. What makes it even more interesting is that we’re tied with the Red Sox for the lead in the AL Wild Card race, too. Most interesting, as we’re rounding the corner into the final stretch of the season. The only thing that concerns me is our recent wins are against the Devil Rays & the Tigers. While a win is a win, you’d rather them be against better teams. Yeah, there’s the story about they’re all Major league teams, but let’s face it. Beating the Yankees and the Red Sox is way different than beating the Devil Rays & the Tigers.
The game itself was led by pitching aberration Ryan Drese. I call him that, because no one is supposed to be able to pitch like this at our ballpark. He has a home ERA of like 2.1 something, which is the best in all of the American League. He’s top 5 in overall ERA. It’s amazing. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. I was way wrong on Ryan Drese. I wanted him out of here almost as bas as most people wanted Chan Ho Park out of here. Drese appears to have figured it out.
Our outfielders appear to be picking it up again, especially since the change in lineup Buck did a week ago or so. Dellucci is doing great in the #2 hole. I’ve always been a proponent that it shouldn’t matter WHERE you bat in a lineup, your job is to hit the ball. However, if it makes them play better, than go for it. Blalock is really starting to concern me, though. Laynce Nix had a home run today, and looked a lot better overall. Mark Teixeira added a home run in the bottom of the eighth. That solved a couple of things. First, it took away a save chance for Cordero, who probalby needed a day off, not to be pitching three days in a row like that. Second, it just proved how amazing his power is this year – he’s got more HR than his rookie year, and he spent 4-5 weeks on the DL. If he had a full number of at bats, I believe he’d be in the lead for homers in the league. Assuming he gets a full season next year? Look out. I just know it’ll cost us big time when his contract is up for renewal in 2006, as he has Satan as his agent.
Oh, and they keep talking on TV about how we have 9 guys with 10 home runs or more. If we get a 10th, it will tie a major league record. As of right now, the 9 guys with that many home runs are Teixeira (28), Blalock (24), Soriano (24), Mench (16), Mike Young (14), Barajas (13), Nix (13), & Fullmer (11). The next one is Gary Matthews, who has 9. I figure he’s good for one more the rest of the season, so that will give us our record tying 10. If we wanted to break the record, it might be a stretch, as the next closest guy is Herb Perry, who has 5. We only have two other guys on the roster with any home runs at all, and they’re Jordan with 2, and Adrian Gonzalez with 1, and he’s not even in the majors. So unless Herb goes on a tear and gets 5 the last 6 weeks of the season, I doubt we’re getting to 11 guys.
One other thing. The Devil Rays have some absolute greased lightning on the bases. Carl Crawford was bad enough, but this new kid they called up? Joey Gathright? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone run that fast – it was absolutely amazing. Oh, and BJ Upton? He was born two YEARS after I graduated high school, and I’m double his age. ACK!