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G140: Rangers top Tribe, 4-3, now 28 games over .500

I don’t have much time to write this – I’m really busy at work today. Was an awesome baseball game, and I was even thinking this before Pudge hit the home run to win the game. This was one of those games that if we had lost, I wouldn’t have minded it, but it was great that we won!
Couple of roster moves – Mike Simms was active for the first time all season (although he didn’t play), and Rafael Palmeiro was out of the game (as well as tomorrow) with a hand problem leftover from being hit in the hand in the first game of the double header the other night.
The Rangers are now 28 games over 500 for the first time ever. We could end up winning 100 games this season – it’s not all that unlikely. After this game, there are 22 games left. If we win 16 of these 22, we’ll have 100 wins. It’ll be an awesome season. It still is a great season, but I’d like to push through and win 100 games.

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G138: Rangers beat White Sox in game 1 of DH, 8-6

Well, after last night’s rainout, Jeff Fassero got pushed off to game 2 of the double header. The starter was Rick Helling.
After an extremely quick top of the first, we blew out to a big lead in a hurry. After a passed ball that let Alicea score (and Juan to first on strike three), Jim Parque plunked Raffy in the hand to load the bases. Todd Zeile came up, and smacked one over the center field wall. It wasn’t a monster home run, it didn’t get up onto Green’s hill, but it was enough to get over the fence for a grand slam! That put us up 5-0 after the first inning, and it was 6-0 after the start of the second when Royce Clayton belted one over the 407 sign in right center field – the deepest part of the park. We also got two more in the 6th when Pudge doubled home two runners. However, the runs in the first and second seemed more dramatic to me. – It was nice to get Rick Helling some run support, though – something he’s not gotten all year, and has kept his win loss record down.
Rick Helling was doing really well – his only mistake through 6 innings was a solo home run ball in the fifth inning to Chris Singleton, and another solo shot by Carlos Lee to lead off the seventh. After the start of the seventh, Rick seemed to lose it a bit, allowing a few more hits, and two more runs. Venafro came on to finish out the 7th, and start the 8th. After a triple, Zimmerman came on, and would have gotten out of the inning unscathed, but an error by Royce Clayton allowed another run to score.
Scarborough Green came into the game as a pinch runner and was promptly picked off first. D’oh!
That closed out the scoring at 8-6. This is a game where we let the White Sox get back in it by small stupid things, when they shouldn’t have. We outplayed them for the most part, and let ‘em creep back into the game. Fortunately, we had enough going offensively to overcome it. Wetteland came in and allowed only a single to get his 38th save of the year.

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G139: Rangers sweep DH behind 6-3 score in game 2

I have to say, I wasn’t a big fan of Jeff Fassero coming here. And I suppose I’m still not. But, after last night, he didn’t seem any worse than some of the pitching we’ve thrown out there. Plus he’s a lefty, so I guess that can help. Jeff went 5 innings, giving up 6 hits and two earned runs. Not all that bad, really. He wasn’t pitching poorly when he was pulled, so I was surprised that he was. Read this morning in the DMN that Johnny Oates had him on a pitch count total, which was the reason he came out when he did.
Danny Kolb came on to relieve Fassero, and gave up just about as much as Fassero did, but in only 2/3 of an inning – not a good outing here. After him came the forgotten man in the bullpen, Mike Muñoz. Mike pitched very well, going 1 2/3, giving up just one hit, and nothing else. Tim Crabtree also pitched, giving up nothing, and Wetteland got his second save of the day (For some reason, the box score doesn’t list Wetteland as having pitched). Overall a decently pitched (if not great) game by the Rangers. Was a little surprised by Fassero, but given his history in ’99, I’ll save my excitement for later – like a shutout against the Yankees in the playoffs. :)
Our offense this game came from the longball. A three run shot by Rusty in the third gave us the lead, and a huge shot by Juan with Rusty on in the 5th was all we needed. There was another one in between these runs (a sac fly in the 4th), but game two seemed to be long ball offense. Was nice to see Rusty get another, and Juan to hit one instead of his usual swing and miss on a slider low and away. :)
A long night of watching baseball – was slightly over 6.5 hours. I would have sat through it at the Ballpark, but hey, I don’t want to torture my wife that much. It was enough she watched through most of it with me on TV. She’s great. :)

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Rangers and White Sox rained out

Well, my wife and I got out there, and it had been raining all day. It didn’t rain during our drive to the ballpark, but once we got there.. boom. Rain! We sat there through the two hour rain delay (that’s nothing for us – we sat through two 3 and a half hour delays in 98), until they called it. There were two things to see during the delay…
The usual thing the Rangers do on Sunday before a game was still done. That was the bit where they picked a family (although I’ve not seen anything other than a father and a son) play catch out in left field in front of the scoreboard. They did that in the rain. At first I thought “Oh man, you get picked, but what crappy weather”. Then I thought it would still be cool to do that, even if it was in the rain. The other thing was a pre-game show by some frisbee catching dogs. It was fairly cool, especially since there was nothing else going on.
This was the Beanie Baby night for the Rangers this year. The giveaway was “Luke”, a black Lab (shown here). This was tied into Rusty Greer, who has a few of them himself – in fact, there was a card given out with the beanie that had a pic of Rusty in uniform with his dogs. Looked cool. I wish it wasn’t limited to just kids 13 and under. I would have liked one, and not to turn it around and sell it, I would have liked one myself! There was a pretty cool article over on the Arlington Now web site about the beanie promotion at the Ballpark – check it out (thanks Lynn!)
After the game was called, they said that you could exchange each ticket you had for two for the double header tomorrow. Well, Lynn & I walked down to the ticket area, but it was mobbed beyond belief! And out into the rain. We blew that off, we’ll go another game. :)

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G137: Rangers lose big to White Sox, 12-3

Back to putting my head in the sand. Blech! What exposure on national television. :(
And Jeff Fassero is starting tomorrow and I’ll be at the game. I can’t hide my head in the sand, I’ll have to watch it. :)

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G136: Rangers win big over White Sox, 10-4

A good win, with decent pitching (although not great), and a bunch of offense – lots of home runs, they were all over the place again! – Sorry, an extremely abbreviated commentary from me.
A day game tomorrow – that doesn’t fit well with me, we seem to keep losing these.

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G135: Rangers drop 8-7 game to Detroit

I just want to cry – what happened in Detroit? I don’t like bashing teams, but hey, we were supposed to beat up on Detroit, not lose three out of four to them. Yeesh – I hope it wasn’t a matter of overconfidence. I grew up in Philadelphia, the legend of the ’64 Phillies comes to mind here.
Didn’t get to see it, since I was at work when the game was on, but from the radio guys, it seemed like a really sloppily played game. Juan Gonzalez was particularly ragged on by Nadel/Cotroneo (“What’s this rookie league guy doing up here?”). Goody & Rusty did one of those “I got it, I got it, I got it”, and then no one got it as it fell between them.
We hit something like four home runs, and still didn’t win. Yuck. :(
We ended up 70-93 lifetime in Tiger Stadium, and 5-5 against the Tigers this year. That second one is sad.

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G134: Rangers beat Tigers big time, 14-7

Much better – this is what we should be doing to the Tigers. The power stroke was working for us today. Gregg Zaun hit his first “official” home run as a Ranger, too (not counting his “called shot”). Not going to say much about this one, don’t have time.

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G133: Ugh. Rangers drop 14-6 fiasco to Tigers

Ugh – This is not happening! This is not happening! (Hiding head in sand)

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G132: Rangers drop 1-0 pitching duel to Tigers

There really isn’t a whole lot to say about this game – and I watched the whole thing. Pitching was the name of the game here. The Rangers got blown away by Brian Moehler. Shut out on only three hits (two of them by Mac, the other by Royce Clayton). We never got anything going ever.
On the flip side, Esteban Loaiza was also pitching well. Had a shut out going into the 7th when he gave up the only run of the game – a solo homer to Gabe Kapler. Other than that, Loaiza pitched well, if not dominating. Ranger pitching gave up 10 hits, and were helped by some nice defense to keep it scoreless as long as it was.
It definitely was a pitcher’s duel – and in Tiger stadium, too. That was nice. Kind of like “Hey, we’re not coming back here, let’s have a really great game”. And it was. It stunk that the Rangers lost, but it was a great baseball game. Can’t beat that.

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G131: Rangers sweep Blue Jays behind 4-2 wins

John Burkett allowed the first four Blue Jays to reach base, and Danny Kolb was up and warming in the bullpen before there was even an out recorded – I thought Burkett was headed for the quickest exit of the season for him. However, he got it together, and escaped the first inning allowing only one run to score. In fact, that was the only run allowed by him all day. He pitched rather well after the first four batters of the game, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing only one run on seven hits. When he was pulled, we were up 3-1, and it took Tim Crabtree all of one pitch to get out of the 7th. A pretty well pitched game by us, although Wetteland allowed another run in the 9th – he’s getting the saves, but doesn’t seem as dominating as he was the last two years – I wonder if he’s still bothered by the injury that slowed him down at the start of this season.
Our offense was in the 4th inning. We had more than that, but all we needed came in the third. Raffy had another RBI, and Todd Zeile had a two run home run. We did get a fourth run on a Royce Clayton RBI single in the 8th, but that was icing – Raffy & Todd gave us all we needed in the third.
Our pitching kept us in the lead (once we got it), and it was a very cool game to watch. I hope to someday go to that hotel in Toronto and watch the Rangers play. :)
Another road sweep for us, and we’re 27 games over 500 for the first time in club history (not sure if that includes the Senators or not, but I would think it wouldn’t). On to Detroit – would be nice to sweep there, too.

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G130: Rangers lose to Toronto, 9-7

Not available – didn’t catch enough of the game. However, I did catch Jeff Fassero’s Ranger debut. That’s about what I expected – he allowed the Blue Jays to get back into the game at the end and make the score much closer than the game seemed to be going.

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G129: Rangers beat Blue Jays, 8-2

Not available – didn’t catch the game.

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G128: Rangers top Yankees, 7-3

This was better. A rather well pitched game by Loaiza (7innings, 3 earned runs), and against the Yankees. Some nice defense behind him, especially by Mark McLemore, who seemed to be playing the best I can ever remember seeing him play lately.
Rafael Palmeiro got yet another home run – he’s about to set offensive records for everything it seems by a Ranger, except probably Juan’s RBI record from last year – I don’t think Raffy will get to 158 there.
Was nice to see a win, although I would have rather have seen this more than once in the last three games. :( The Yankees don’t bother me in principle, but they bother me in the respect that we have that mental block with them still, it seems.

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G127: Rangers lose to Yankees again, 10-7

What a disappointment. :( We battled great in this game, overcome some great bullpen pitching by the Yankees to tie it up, and go to extra innings. However, Corey Lee making his major league debut gave up a three run home run in the top of the 11th. That was too bad, he didn’t look that bad for a kid making his first appearance under pressure against the Yankees.
We try and salvage the third game, which honestly, was the only game I thought we’d win coming into this anyway.

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G126: Rangers utterly destroyed by Yankees, 21-3

Oh dear god! That’s about all I have to say. Except the Rangers up there should be replaced by “Palmeiro” who had all 3 RBI’s.

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G125: Rangers sweep out Red Sox, 6-0

My wife and I were at this game, and it was a most cool game to attend. First off, it was against the Red Sox, a team my wife and I love to see the Rangers play, because it’s usually good baseball. However, the main reason for us going tonight was that we didn’t have much else to do, so we decided to come here in the cheap seats. Both of us in the door for a total of $10, plus we both got a giveaway baseball cap. It was such an awesome deal, we couldn’t pass it up. I have some pictures of the giveaway hat in the pictures section below, if you want to see it – it’s a pretty well put together cap. For some reason, the Fina giveaway hats seem to be “cheaper”, but this is a good hat.
About the game… Aaron Sele was great last night. He wasn’t overpowering, as he only had a 1-2-3 inning once. However, the hits that the Red Sox got (8 in all) were scattered, and when they did manage to get more than one baserunner at a time, they couldn’t do anything with it. There was some nice defense in the field – Royce Clayton and Lee Stevens turned in some awesome plays. We also were helped by two double plays that were well timed.
On the flip side, our hits were scattered all over the place. Up until the end of the game, everyone had just a single hit, except B.B. Gonzalez who had nothing all night. “Mr. August” (Raffy) had yet another home run, and Rusty Greer just barely missed one in one of the most bizarrely hit balls I’ve seen at the Ballpark. Rusty hit the ball right in the corner of the black “New Dodge” sign in right center field. It went off the top of the wall and came back into the Ballpark. It certainly looked like a homer to me, until I saw the back back in play on the ground. He ended up with a triple, but missed a home run by literally one inch!
It was a great game, a pretty cool night, and my wife and I got in cheap, and came away with a hat. The Texas Rangers swept the Red Sox on this night, and it felt really great. I don’t know what else to say, I totally enjoyed this trip. I just wish I didn’t have to drive 38 miles to get to the Ballpark (all on Rt. 30). The Yankees are in town next. I don’t have a good feeling about this series, but then again, I didn’t have a good feeling about the Cleveland series, and we know what happened there. :)

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G124: Rangers top Red Sox again, 9-2

I didn’t get to see all of this game, as my wife and I were out to dinner to celebrate my birthday yesterday. Would have gone yesterday, but hey, I was at the Ranger game! :) Anyway, it was a sellout, and it was nice to see the place packed for a change. It was John Wetteland’s birthday, and TV coverage showed the bullpen guys giving him a hard time – I wish I was home earlier to see that – it looked funny.
When we got home from dinner in the third inning, Raffy was just coming up and hit his home run to put us up 3-1, which is all we really needed, but we did get some “padding”. :) Rusty started off the fifth with a solo home run to left field. In the 7th, we really put it away when Raffy mashed a three run home run to right, giving him two home runs in each of the last two games, and 6 home runs in his last 6 games overall. Just to make sure, Rusty chimed in again with a two run shot in the bottom of the 8th to give us nine runs.
Our pitching seemed pretty decent, if not overpowering. Rick Helling finally got a win , and seemed to be battling all night. He didn’t seem dominating at all, but still pitched good. He walked the first batter in the 7th, which brought in Tim Crabtree, who loaded the bases. With no one out and the bases loaded, Venafro came in, and got a sac fly, and then retired the rest allowing Boston only one run.
Overall another good game, and it was nice to see a sellout at the Ballpark – although I’m glad I didn’t have to drive away from the park in it, either. :)

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G123: Rangers win my birthday game, 4-3 over Bosox

The Rangers passed the 2 million mark in attendance on this night, and I was part of it, because I was there. I’m always at a baseball game August 20th, as that’s my birthday (this year, my 34th). Since I was about 6 or 7, I’d always go to a game on my birthday. Back then, I was living in Philadelphia, and it was the Phillies at the Vet for me. As a kid, I loved it. I kept this tradition up all these years, I think only missing one or two along the way. Now that I’m married (that happened in 96), these seemed to mean a lot more to me. My wife and I have always loved watching the Rangers play the Red Sox, and it always seems to be good baseball when we play the Bosox. This was no exception.
We got there to a surprisingly cool night at the ballpark (well, relatively cool, it was still 99 degrees when the game started, but it did NOT feel that way. Esteban Loaiza was the starter, and given his performance the last several outings, he seemed to have been the starter we’ve been looking for him to be ever since we got him for Todd Van Poppel & Warren Morris (the Pirates’ starting second baseman all year, and a possible Rookie of the Year player) last July. Esteban looked sharp, and even managed to battle out of a jam, which has always been his undoing in the past (losing his cool when in a jam). He went 6 innings (and 1 batter in the 7th) giving up 5 hits and 3 runs, but he seemed more dominating than that, at least to me he did. Our bullpen was again excellent, allowing nothing in the final 3 innings of the game. Wetteland pitched for the first time in a save situation in some time, and came though. Even if he did back up Durwood Merrill’s remark about him being a “heart attack waiting to happen”.
Our offense was again mostly powered by Rafael Palmeiro. I think now the question (if there ever really was one) as to which first baseman we should have had from 1994-1998 has been answered. Oh man, are the Orioles kicking themselves for not signing him after last year. This guy is awesome! A few weeks back, I saw him hit a grand slam, and the two run shot tonight gave us two of our four runs. Raffy also supplied one of the others with a single. However, the four runs we had after the third inning was it. Boston’s bullpen took over and did a great job shutting us down for longer than we shut them down for.
I always like playing Boston, and this game was no different. I was there, it was a great ballgame, and they won on my birthday. I loved it so much, my wife and I decided to come back on Sunday night. They’re giving away some decent looking baseball caps, so I walked down to the ticket office around 8:30 and got a couple of seats up in Section 342 for a total price of $10. Both of us in the door for $10 plus we get two baseball caps? You can still get in the damn door for a decent price. Sure, they’ve raised the ticket prices three years in a row, but you can still get in and get a bargain if you know how to play the game.

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G122: Rangers drop series finale, shut out 8-0

Well, the other shoe had to fall. It seemed that the Rangers spent themselves in the first three games, not even showing up for this one, losing it 8-0. If we had anything at all this night, it was left behind in the rain delay at the start of the game.
Not a whole lot to talk about Ranger wise. Mike Morgan continued to be ineffective for the most part in the second half of the season (damn). Other than that, there isn’t anything to talk about here from a Ranger fan perspective, except one nice pickoff by Pudge of Jim Thome at third. Oh yeah, and Danny Kolb looked pretty good in his 5 1/3 innings in relief of Morgan.
Mike Morgan has definitely taken the title of “Most disgusting cap” from John Wetteland – it’s no contest.

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G121: Rangers beat Indians again, 6-1

What a cool game. First off, it was 70 degrees at game time! Why can’t we have that in Texas in August? :)
Seriously, John Burkett involved in a 1-1 pitcher’s due into the 7th inning? Man, what a game! He seemed to be pitching like he had his entire career to prove out there last night. An extremely well pitched game. John went 8 full innings, giving up a measly 5 hits with one run (RBI by who else – Manny Ramirez?) while striking out eight. Brilliant pitching, reminded me of the game he pitched last September in Anaheim to help us clinch the division. Wetteland came in just to get work, gave up a couple of hits, but no runs in the 9th. If we can get this kind of pitching out of arguably our worst starter, it’s a great plus for us.
These three games against Cleveland have certainly erased the ugly from last week’s 4 game losing streak. It’s really stunned me the way we’ve come out and opened up the big can of whoop-ass on the Indians. Before these games started, I figured we’d be lucky to leave The Jake with a split. Now, we’ve won the series, and can go for a sweep tonight, which is something the Rangers haven’t done in Cleveland in like forever.
Rafael Palmeiro came through again with a big three run blast to untie the game from 1-1. We had another 5 spot inning last night to put the game away for us. That’s 34 runs against the Indians in 3 games. 44 in 4 games if you count the game before this against the White Sox. Where was all this offense when we played the Yanks in October? :)

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G120: Rangers beat up on Indians AGAIN, 15-4

I won’t be writing commentary for this game – I forgot all about my daily update due to a few projects at my real job. I remembered about 10 minutes before the end of the day, so I don’t have any time for an update. Suffice it to say.. CRIPES!
38 runs in the last 3 games. 28 of them in two against the Indians – what a pasting!

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G119: Rangers beat up on Indians, 13-5

Oh my! I was watching this game at home, and I thought Rick Helling was pitching well – I thought it was going to be another great Helling game. Helling pitched well the first two innings, but then had a meltdown in the third, allowing five runs. That was a shame, as I really thought he looked sharp in the first couple of innings, even though he allowed a few walks. He bounced back for a good fourth, but was pulled early in the fifth in place of Mike Munoz, who along with Zimmerman & Venafro shut down the Indians after the third.
Now, our offense. :) Jeez! We went up 2-0 (on a Pudge solo home run in the 1st and a gift error by Vizquel), and I thought that was an OK start. We then let them tie the game in the third, and I thought… “OK – these are the Indians, you don’t keep them down very much”. But then I look up, and we’re down 3. I thought we were screwed.
However, in the sixth, Royce Clayton had a solo home run – showing some more power to left field (most of his homers have seen to have been to right). Not long after that in the top of the 7th, unlikely home run hitter Mark McLemore belted a ball over the wall to bring the score to 5-4. My wife, who was watching with me mentioned the “John Blake peck-away theory”. :)
Anyways, it got much much better after that. After a Pudge single and Juan single, Lee Stevens belted another single bringing in Pudge to tie the game. A pitching change by Cleveland brought up Rafael Palmeiro who hit the first pinch hit home run for the Rangers all season, a 3 run shot, giving us an 8-5 lead. In the 8th, Lee Stevens again batted in Pudge, giving us a 4 run lead, and then Jon Shave, playing for Luis Alicea (who was already playing for Todd Zeile, who had food poisioning) who had moved to second to replace Mark McLemore (who had moved to right to replace Roberto Kelly who was pinch hit for by Raffy) drove in two runs with a double. Shave doesn’t get to play much, it was really nice to see him get into the fray here.
That wasn’t all. In the 9th, Tom Goodwin singled, and Pudge hit yet ANOTHER home run, a two run shot. That gave him 2 for the game. We had a total of 5 home runs this game. Two by Pudge, and one each by Raffy, Royce, & Mac. What a game. I didn’t expect to do well here, and we blow them out 13-5. I felt bad for Helling, other than the one meltdown inning, we had great pitching tonight. That’s 23 runs we scored in the last two games. Let’s hope we can keep this up for the next few (at least).

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G118: Rangers salvage finale, shut out White Sox, 10-0

Now this is more like it. Avoiding a record fifth loss in a row, and a sweep to the Chisox (shudder), we broke out and won 10-0.
This game seemed like ours from the start. We scored in every inning except the 5th and 6th. We went up 1-0 in the first inning, and it turns out that’s all we needed.
Esteban Loaiza pitched like he’s capable of, throwing eight innings, allowing no runs on only 5 hits. He looked good, sharp, and is the kind of pitcher we wanted him to be when he came here last year. I’m really hoping (along with everyone else, I’m sure) he can keep this up, and this is the kind of pitching we get from him. He almost got decapitated in the first inning when Frank Thomas had a screaming liner right as his head. However, Esteban ducked out of the way and caught it – a very impressive play.
Rusty Greer had yet another home run in Chicago – that brings his total there to about a million. :) Pudge had two home runs in this game too, increasing his home run total this year to 26, I believe.
Danny Kolb pitched the 9th, allowing just one hit and preserving the shutout. We looked good yesterday – we needed that going into Cleveland tonight where I’m hoping we can come away with a split. I don’t have a particularly good feeling right now.

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G117: Rangers lose again to Chisox, 8-7

As bad as losing both games of a double header to go to a 3 game losing streak is, losing a walk-off loss in the bottom of the ninth to go to a four game losing streak was even worse.
My wife and I were out when this game was on (we saw Runaway Bride, a very funny movie), but when I came home, I saw the score, and got disgusted. As I didn’t see or hear any of this game, I’m not going to do commentary, but hell. Four in a row? To the Tigers and the White Sox? Yeah, this makes me feel good going into Cleveland on Monday, even if we do win the last game.
Pudge got his 20th steal of the season, giving him a first in all of MLB history – the first catcher to steal 20 bases and hit 20 RBI’s in one season. I wonder if he’ll get 20 doubles as well. :)
Glynn was activated, and I’m sure he’ll be sent back down after this. Probably not seen again in 1999. Especially if we’re in a pennant race in late September.