G151: Rangers drop game to Twinkies, 3-1

No real commentary here either – I was watching Monday Night Football. I checked in during the Ranger game from time to time, but there wasn’t much going on.
Rick Helling was the hard luck loser in a game that really was the Joe Mays show. We got shut down 3-1 by the Twins, who have surprisingly had our number this year. After beating the Twins every single game in 1999, it certainly feels like it’s a complete opposite this year.
Gabe Kapler continues to hit the ball well, going 2 for 3 and a walk. His average is now .306. I really hope he keeps it together at the start of next year. I’ve seen too many players figure it all out, get good at the end of the season, only to totally lose themselves the start of the next year.

G150: Rangers top Royals 6-5

No commentary on this game, as I was driving back to Dallas from Houston when the game was on.
Was nice to see in the box scores a gob more RBI’s for Kapler, though. :)

G149: Rangers out of playoff contention with 8-5 loss

The Rangers were officially eliminated from playoff contention tonight with this loss. Anyone surprised? :)
I didn’t see or hear any of this game, as I was in Houston checking out the new Enron Field (which has some things that are better than the Ballpark – and some worse, but it was an awesome park, an awesome night for baseball, too).

G148: Rangers win wild one against Royals, 12-11

Now this game I was at. I drove to the game actually not knowing who was starting for the Rangers, which is odd for me – as I’m usually up on this. Been rather busy with a few things of late, and haven’t been paying as much attention to the Rangers at this stage of the game (let’s say that a crappy season wears on the fan web sites too – it’s hard to write about a bad team as much. I suppose if I was getting paid for it, I’d be doing it, but since I do this for my own fun, eh.. )
Anyway, when I found out that Darren Oliver was pitching, I thought “OH god, we’ll be down 7-2 by the fourth”. Well, guess what? We weren’t. Darren actually pitched well, and looked like he belonged here. Darren gave up a bunch of hits, but seemed to get the outs when he needed ’em. When he came out of the game, I felt like he could have stayed in – which was an odd feeling for 2000 – or for 1998, too. :D However, our bullpen was crap. Darwin Cubillan was totally ineffective, and when Jeff Zimmerman came on, he inherited three baserunners. One pitch later, and all four were home, along with the batter – a first pitch salami ball to Damon. Mike Venafro, who came in later, threw one pitch – that pitch hitting Damon (who later scored). What a mess.
We blew our rather large lead, which we had built up with a 5 run first, and a few runs over the next few for a 9-1 lead in the top of the 6th. Our first five batters all scored – it was 5-0 with no outs in the bottom of the first, and with no outs, too! After the fifth, we were up 9-1, and life was feeling pretty good. Then the rails fell off – we gave up a 7 spot in the top of the 6th to bring the Royals to within one. We then topped off the fiasco with two more runs in the top of the 8th, giving the Royals a lead – setting up the worst loss we’d ever given up a lead to get.
However, we came through with one run in the bottom of the 9th. Just when we were feeling good about ourselves again, the Royals went and got yet another run in the top of 10th off and increasingly ineffective John Wetteland. Given the way we usually perform in extra inning games, I figured that was it. Another Wetteland gaffe, and we lose.
However, we showed some spirit in the bottom of the 10th when Pedro Valdes reached first on an infield single, and then went to third on a double by Raffy. Gabe “Mr. RBI” came up, and sac flied to right, scoring Valdes to tie the game. After Ricky Ledee was intentionally walked, Kelly Dransfeldt came up, and slapped a single to left, scoring a rambling Rafael Palmeiro, who chugged all the way from second to score the winning run.
We used a ton of players in this game – we used every position player except Bill Haselman, who was unofficially done for the season anyway with surgery scheduled for Monday. Boy, I have to say that if we make a coaching change with Dick Bosman, I’d love to see Bill Haselman take over – I think he’d be a great pitching coach.
Overall a great game to sit in the ballpark and watch – but I would have rather won without giving up quite so many runs.

G146: Rangers drop finale of Baltimore series, 9-4

Didn’t get to see any of this game, I was taping some other things on the TiVo, and besides, I had just sat through a double header the night before. Starting to reach the point of burnout for the season. Probably would be less burnout if we were playing better, I suppose. :)
Was nice to see that Cal had a great night – too bad it didn’t happen last night when I was there, though.

G145: Rangers take both ends of DH with 6-5 win

Aaahhh.. Nothing better than a doubleheader. Two games. Same night. Gotta love that. And we won both of them!
The Rangers and Kenny Rogers won the second game of the doubleheader against the Orioles by a 6-5 score. Our offense again provided the thrust of this game, and it was capped off by a 3 run home run by Pedro Valdes in the first inning – his first ever home run.
The lineup for this game was different than the first, the only two players that were the same were Raffy & Alicea. All the other starters were different players than the first – including Randy Knorr who I had never seen before. Given the sparse crowd (24,000), we were able to move around, and ended up three rows from the on deck circle, which afforded my wife a great close up shot of Gabe Kapler when he pinch hit in the bottom of the eighth. :) (She’ll probably kill me for saying that)
Heart Attack Wetteland came in and gave up two runs, making the final score much closer than the entire game was. We won, which was great, and the Rangers were handing out free passes to anyone who walked in the door for a game in April or May of 2001 season. Gotta love that. :)

G144: Rangers beat O’s in Game 1 of DH, 9-1

Well, my wife and I got to the doubleheader right as the game started. We figured we’d be there for like 6 or 7 hours anyway, so there was no point in sitting around for an hour before the game started – it’s not like we don’t know the Ballpark pretty well, anyway. :)
It’s been awhile since I went to a doubleheader, and while my wife likes going to games with me, I thought a doubleheader would be pushing it with her. She didn’t seem to have the dreaded “Wife/Girlfriend totally bored look” that I’ve seen on several women in the stands on TV. That is good. Anyway, my main reason for wanting to go was not really the doubleheader, it was the appearance of Cal Ripken. Sure, I knew just about no one else (except Brady Anderson) on the Orioles, but I wanted to see Cal one last time. Sure, the papers say that he probably will play next year, and he very well may do so. However, I wanted to make sure we saw him if this does turn out to be his final season. We got to see Cal last year in Baltimore, which was great, and now we saw him here.
Anyway, it was a nice game. Rick Helling had a bit of the long ball scare early, with a leadoff home run, but that was the only run he gave up, and the only hit till the seventh inning. He pitched wonderfully, and I felt should have pitched a complete game, as his pitch count was way down, leaving after eight innings. Tim Crabtree came on, and didn’t give up anything for a change, and preserved the 9-1 win.
Offensively, we had a lot – we tied the game in the bottom of the first to match the longball by Baltimore. We then busted it open with a four spot in the second inning against rookie pitcher John Parrish, two coming on a double by Raffy. Bill Haselman added a solo home run later in the game to cap off a really nice game on both sides of the coin. Too bad we couldn’t do this more often this year. :(