The best picture from the game:
First off, I want to shamelessly steal this line from the MLB.com Texas Rangers specific game recap from this one. When I read it, it’s pretty true. The article said, “This was the perfect get-well card for Rangers hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, who underwent knee replacement surgery on Friday in Dallas.“. Have to agree with that.
Secondly, it’s probably time to make more complaints about late games. I was watching this game, enjoying it until my wife came out to tell me she was going to sleep, and apparently I had fallen asleep on the sofa somewhere in the fifth or sixth innings. Woke me up in the top of the seventh, so I backed up the game (yay TiVo), and started watching. Well, apparently I was more tired than I realized, as I fell asleep again, only this time it was in the bottom of the eighth. I decided I was just going to go to bed, and stopped the recording, and well, went to bed. I get up this morning, sit at the dining room table with the paper and my coffee, and see the eight spot in the top of the ninth! DAMMIT! I missed it, both because I gave up and went to bed during the bottom of the 8th, and secondly because I stopped my TiVo from recording. I tried undeleting it on Saturday morning, but then I realized I had stopped it recording when I went to bed, which I almost never do. DAMMIT AGAIN! When I told all this to my wife, who was getting ready for work at the time, she said “Wow – that’s so not like you to miss it due to canceling a recording!” We need to get to the Central, and if we have to give up Hicks’ precious regular series against the Astros to do it, then I say go for it. I’m tired of falling asleep on the sofa during all our division games! OK, enough of that. Let’s get to the game.
Vicente Padilla took the hill, and most Rangers fans wondered which one we’d get. The good one from the first part of the season, or the one that seemed tentative and hurt his last two starts before the break. While his line won’t show it, we got the good one. You see, Vicente’s line shows six innings pitched, seven hits, four walks, and FIVE earned runs. He also struck out nine, which I believe is a season high for him. But the five earned runs all came in the same inning – the bottom of the third. The events of the game showed that the runs probably could have been unearned, but they were on the ledger of Padilla. Even the official transcripts and box scores don’t show anything that would have led you to think they should have been, but that’s how the game is played. Actually, it would have been worse, but David Murphy made a great throw, gunning down Hannahan at the plate for the final out of the inning.
Thing is, the Rangers responded in the next inning with a five spot of their own to tie the game. The first batter of the inning reached on a throwing error, which DID lead to unearned runs. Unlike Padilla, Oakland’s starter Sean Gallagher was the “beneficiary” of four unearned runs. Still, the inning was powered by the long ball. After Byrd reached on the error, David Murphy jacked a ball over the left center field power alley wall for a two run shot. After a single (Davis), awalk (Salty), and a bunt (Kinsler), Michael Young sac flied in the third run of the inning. Josh Hamilton followed with a home run to right field, tying the game at 5. It was also Hamilton’s 99th and 100th RBI’s of the season. Quite impressive numbers.
Vicente Padilla must have been energized by that, because he retired the remaining nine batters he faced in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings combined. Was quite the turnaround. Yeah, his third wasn’t too great, but he closed out his performance QUITE strongly to earn his 12th win of the season. There’s been a lot of talk this past week or so as to whether the Rangers would move Padilla. Given his overall turnaround, I find it hard to believe we’d give up our leader in wins, because Scott Feldman aside, we don’t really appear to have someone who can cover that slot in the starting rotation.
The Rangers pushed across the tying run in the top of the 7th when Chris Davis doubled, and was later singled in by Ian Kinsler. The Rangers never looked back at that point. Frank Francisco came in and threw a perfect bottom of the seventh. Eddie Guardado pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth, and was I believe the last thing I saw before I went to bed. In fact, as I type this, I now recall seeing the double play to end the bottom of the 8th where Kinsler turned it on a slightly bad hop. That’s when I stopped watching. Go figure. CJ Wilson started warming up here, and never came into the game.
That’s because the Rangers exploded in the top of the ninth inning when I (and a lot of other fans probably) had fallen asleep. While an eight run frame means offense all over the place, the highlights was another Chris Davis home run. It was one of those innings (from reading the play by play account) where there weren’t a lot of big moments, it was a ton of small stuff. Here, you read it:
Rangers 9th (Rangers 14, Athletics 5) — Pitcher Change: A. Embree replaces B. Ziegler. M. Byrd grounds out, M. Ellis to J. Hannahan. D. Murphy singles to first base. C. Davis hits a home run to right field on a 2-2 pitch, D. Murphy scores. J. Saltalamacchia singles to right-center field. I. Kinsler walks, J. Saltalamacchia to 2nd. Pitcher Change: A. Brown replaces A. Embree. M. Young hits a ground rule double to center field, J. Saltalamacchia scores; I. Kinsler to 3rd. A. Brown intentionally walks J. Hamilton. With M. Bradley batting, passed ball by K. Suzuki, I. Kinsler scores; M. Young to 3rd; J. Hamilton to 2nd. M. Bradley walks. H. Blalock singles to left-center field, M. Young scores; J. Hamilton scores; M. Bradley to 2nd. M. Byrd doubles to right-center field, M. Bradley scores; H. Blalock to 3rd. D. Murphy grounds out to J. Hannahan, H. Blalock scores; M. Byrd to 3rd. C. Davis grounds out, B. Crosby to J. Hannahan. (8 Runs, 6 Hits, 0 Errors, 1 LOB)
Nice to see the Rangers win the game, something we have had issues doing this season for any sort of stretch of time. While it feels like we’re pretty much out of the running for the divison (we’re 10.5 games back), I also don’t feel we’re bound for the playoffs, but this has turned out to be a decent season because of all the kids we’re playing.
I wonder who we’re moving before this coming Thursday. Laird or Saltamacchia? Padilla? Catalanotto? We’ll see soon enough.
Speaking of “seeing”, Saturday’s game is one of those two mutant games in the schedule where it is not on TV here in the Metroplex. For the longest time, we’ve had 162 games on the TV, and I think about 3 years ago or so, we started having about 160. What’s the deal with the last two?
P.S. After I wrote all that, I realized I forgot to mention that this win put the Rangers in second place, passing the A’s. If we win either Saturday or Sunday (preferably both), we’ll retain second place when the series is over. This is a good thing. While I’m pretty convinced we’re not making the playoffs, I think second place is a good goal for 2008.