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G159-162: Rangers drop two of three in Seattle

Well, the season is over now. We finished under .500 again, going 80-82 and finishing third again. I suppose it’s something that we didn’t finish last. But it’s not much of something. I have to admit I barely paid attention to any of the Seattle games this weekend, so I’ll have just a short update for the games. I’ll probably take a break from updating for awhile like I usually do during the playoffs. That is unless we make a managerial change, which seems like a possibility from reading the various local media.
G160: Rangers win Friday night, 6-5 over Mariners: Vicente Padilla only went 5.1 innings this game, but really threw a LOT of pitches for that few innings. His pitch count was 118! He got the win, but really was not anything remotely close to dominating by the looks of the box score. Feldman, Rheinecker, Francisco, Littleton, & CJ Wilson all relieved. In fact, Wilson got his first save of the year. Offensively, we got three more doubles (2 Young, 1 Tex) and a bunch of singles (nothing more than a double in this one) to account for our 6 runs. [ Game Recap on mlb.com ]
G161: Rangers lose to Mariners, 3-1: Kevin Millwood turned in another quality start this game, going six innings, giving up three runs on 6 hits with no walks. But it wasn’t enough, as Felix Hernandez of the Mariners only gave up one run in his seven innings of work. In fact, the lone Rangers run was a solo home run by Mark Teixeira in the seventh. The Seattle pen threw two more innings of scoreless relief to keep the three runs enough for Seattle to get the win. Millwood ended up with a record of 16-12. Not bad. Would have liked to have seen 17-19, but 16 isn’t all that bad, I s’pose. [ Game Recap on mlb.com ]
G162: Rangers lose to Mariners in season finale, 3-2: Robinson Tejeda took the hill in the finale of the 2006 season for Texas. He went 5 innings, gave up three runs, including two solo home runs. Not great, but “OK”. In fact, the only two runs we got were like yesterday’s game, on the longball. Our two came way of a two run home run by Ian Kinsler in the second inning. We actually outhit Seattle, 10-7, but could only push across runs on Kinsler’s longball. A slightly annoying way to end the season from the looks of the box score (I didn’t see any of this game, I was involved with church stuff all day). [ Game Recap on mlb.com ]
I think this picture of Rod Barajas in the finale on Sunday pretty much sums it up:

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G159: Rangers lose to Angels, 6-5

I have to admit, I didn’t watch this game. I could have, but I didn’t. I came home from my bowling league, and the game was just starting, and I just wasn’t interested. I’m ready for the offseason. A few notes from what little I did see, though.
Long time Ranger nemesis did it to us again in the first inning. That would be Tim Salmon’s first inning HR. Fortunately it will be his final one, as we don’t play the Angels anymore in 2006, and he’s retiring after this season.
My gut feeling is that Adam Eaton has played his last game in a Ranger uniform. I have no facts at all to base that off of, it’s just a “feeling”.
Mark Teixeira has definitely killed the first half slump he had. He had two home runs tonight which accounted for all 5 of our runs. Take Tex’s home runs out, and we have seven hits, no runs.
While I didn’t see it, an Angels lead did make for one good thing. No darned Rally Monkey!

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G158: Rangers strike early, hang on for 5-2 win

Early on, this game looked like it was going to be a “revenge” kind of game. We lose a few, and then beat the crap out of an opponent. We put up a two spot in the first inning on a Mark Teixeira home run. We then put up three more in the second inning on the strength of four consecutive hits off of Kelvim Escobar. In fact, all our second inning runs were on singles. So we’re up 5-0 after two innings, and feeling pretty good. However, that was it. We figured out Escobar immediately. However, the remainder of the Anaheim relievers (three of ‘em) didn’t allow us any more runs, and also held us to four hits over the 7.1 innings they tossed.
It’s fortunate then that Robinson Tejeda pitched like the guy he’s always been touted to be. 6.2IP, one earned run, no walks. The one run was a solo home run to Rivera. Ron Mahay did give up another run, but that was all. A great performance by us. The World Baseball Classic has raised it’s head at the end of the season here, as word out of the team is that they were worried about Otsuka’s workload, going back into the spring. Due to this, Wes Littleton got his first major league save, a two inning affair in that department.
Four to go and then we start rooting against the Yankees for real.

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G157: Vlad Guerrero beats the Rangers, 8-3

The Rangers had eight hits.
The Angels had eighteen hits.
The Rangers had three runs.
The Angels had eight runs.
Vlad Guerrero had two home runs.
The Texas Rangers had none.
On the less sarcastic side, Joaquin Arias got his first major league start (at short). He went 2-3, which makes his major league batting average .750 now. Michael Young got his 100th RBI of the season, which was a positive.
It was a disheartening game. Uno on my Xbox 360 had more of a draw this night.

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G156: Rangers drop home finale, 11-6

Kevin Millwood ended the home 2006 season the same way he started it. On the mound in Arlington, getting beat pretty well.
Apr 02: 5IP, 7H, 5ER, 1BB, 3K
Sep 24: 4.2IP, 7H, 6ER, 5BB, 6K
Most of us remember the bad home opener, the finale was actually worse. Thing is I was at this game. It was frickin long! I don’t have the inning breakdowns in front of me, but I had a committment in the evening that I could not be late for, and my drop dead have to leave time was 4:15. Game started at one. After about 4 innings, I realized I would not be seeing the whole game – boy was this a slow one! The official time was 3:27, but it felt way longer than that. The last 2.5 innings went by pretty quickly, but if they had the pace of the others, it probably would have been about a 4:15 game. I ended up leaving right around the top of the 8th, and I didn’t miss anything, except some more sun – it was a georgeous day. Sunshine, 70 degrees. Really awesome weather.
One interesting thing is that Carlos Lee got booed pretty well. There was a ball that dropped in front of him for an out which he didn’t make a lot of effort to get. Then there was the ball he DID dive for which got past him for an inside the park home run. After the inside the parker, he got booed, and he got booed pretty loudly the next time up to the plate (which I think was a groundout to short). Lee’s got a great bat, but he’s like the second coming of Juan Gonzalez. Great offense, a liability on defense, though. Take some of that money you’d spend on Carlos Lee, and give it to Matthews, and some pitching. I think that’s a better way to deal with Carlos Lee. I always saw him as a renter, anyway.
Felt bad for Ron Mahay, he came into the game, and immediately got hit with a batted ball, and had to come out. Hopefully no long term injury comes from that.
Was nice to see Brian Sikorski still pitching, I remember well his performance against the Yankees in a Rangers uniform about 6 years ago or so.
Not good to have a losing record at home. We had something like 70 less home runs this year over last? Oh well. At least I got my 2007 pocket schedule. :)

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G155: Rangers lose to Indians Saturday, 6-3

Vicente Padilla did not pitch like the recent Padilla vintage on Saturday night. Recently, he’s been pretty darn dominating, if not totally lights out. Tonight he pitched like Mark Clark. He did go five innings, but was pretty ineffective, giving up 8 hits plus three walks for a total of six earned runs. he also gave up a home run (Peralta). Definitely not like the guy who’s been wearing #44 recently. Feldman, Rupe, & Rhienecker combined for 4 innings of scoreless relief, but it wasn’t enough.
On the flip side, the Indians starting pitcher only went four, but was way more effective than Padilla was. Brian Slocum threw four innings of one run ball, giving up four hits and two walks. But from what I saw of this game, he was definitely the better pitcher. He didn’t earn the win obviously, but the Cleveland pen threw an additional 5 innings, giving up just two more runs late.
We were pretty much not in the game. In fact, if you took Mark Teixeira out of the box score, we had only four hits. Tex went 4-4 himself, scoring twice.
Another loss as we head to the end of the season, not really learning much of anything about our possible 2007 rotation from the hurlers already wearing our uniform in 06.

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G154: Rangers beat Indians into submission, 12-4

There were only three home games left in the season. I’ve been sick the last two days, and while I wasn’t feeling great, I felt OK enough to go, especially since there were really no more games left to “make up” if I missed this one. It was also a giveaway night, this was the annual Rangers calendar, the second year in a row they gave away a “pet” calendar. I actually take umbrage at that, because it’s not much of a “pet” calendar. It should be a “dog” calendar. As I’m a cat person, that always bugs me. Other than Kameron Loe’s snake, this was wall to wall dogs. And a couple of them are butt ugly, too. Anyway, I wish John Wetteland was still around, as he was one of the cat people from last year’s calendar giveaway. They also gave away a nice card with this picture from the 2006 All Star game on it, and on the back side, they had the preliminary 2007 schedule that was released the day before. I’ll have more to say on the schedule shortly, but it was a nice little card. They also had the traditional advance pocket schedule, which I’ll be scanning and getting on my pocket schedule page on Monday when I get back to work and have access to a flatbed scanner.
Anyway, we got out to an early lead, 1-0 in the first on a Mark Teixeira single, scoring Matthews, who will set a club record for RBI and runs scored by a leadoff hitter before the end of the season, I’m sure (I’m saying that w/o looking it up, but I’m pretty sure on that). The Indians tied it back up in the top of the second on a double by Hector Luna. Luna was thrown out at third on great throws by Nelson Cruz & Michael Young to end the inning. It stayed that way until the bottom of the third when the Rangers took the lead again on two absolute no doubt home runs by Mark Texeira (into the bleachers in Sec 50 right over the end of the Rangers bullpen), and one titanic shot by Carlos Lee who hit the wall behind the seats in left. I was sitting in Section 13, and Lee’s ball went right by me, so I got a good view of it. Was very impressive. That put us up 4-1. It didn’t stop there, we scored four in the fourth. They were all unearned, based on an error that really looked like an error to me, but could have been ruled a double for Gary Matthews.
We were up 8-1 at that point, and pretty much cruised to the win. Carlos Lee had another home run later in the game (the earlier one was a back to back with Tex). One interesting thing about Lee’s home runs. He has eight of them as a Ranger, and they’ve all been solo home runs. Mark Teixeira had 4 RBI total tonight, driving his season total to 104.
Adam Eaton looked great until he hit this “wall” in the sixth. Once he starts to sniff 100 pitches, he seems to run out of gas. I think he’s had enough starts sine coming back where that should not be an issue. I’m still advocating resigning him for 2007, but this “100 pitch wall” of his is a troubling sign. Hopefully a healthy offseason will help in that regard.
Was a fun game to attend, even if I didn’t feel very good. I’ll be there again on Sunday for the home finale, too. Supposed to be nice weather as well. I did take some pictures while I was at the game tonight. They’re mostly of the pre-game activities, but if you want to check them out, you can do so here.
About that error in the fourth on Matthews. Matthews has an outside shot to get to 200 hits in the season. After tonight’s game, he has 187. There’s eight games left in the season, which means he needs 1.6 per game to get there. Figure he gets four at bats a game, that’s 32 at bats left in the season, and he needs 13. That’s an average of .406 for the rest of the season. It’s not impossible, but not a piece of cake, either. Every one helps. As long as I’m on that, Michael Young has 208 at the moment, only two behind Ichiro for the Major League lead in that department.
Also, as much as I want both the Dodgers & Padres to lose right now so my hometown Phillies can get in as the Wild Card leader, my heart broke listening to the ninth inning of the Padres game driving home, and how close Chris Young game to a no hitter tonight. I had tuned in to that game on my XM radio driving home, and went “AW CRAP” when he gave up the home run. I did wish Bruce Bochy did not take out Chris to get the final out. Reminds me of a game from 1999 when Mike Morgan was pitching for the Rangers. Mike had a shutout going into the ninth, and lost it on a home run to Todd Greene (then of the Angels). Really disappointing there, too, but Young’s has to hurt more, as it was a no hitter.

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Playing catchup again

Well, time to do another of those “catch up” updates. A little bit of end of season, no playoffs again burnout has caught up to me, and I let a few games slide, then I’ve spent the last three days or so sick, so I haven’t felt like updating. But I didn’t want to trail off at the end like that, so I’m doing another of my multi game updates here. Here’s what I missed since my last game update:
G148: Rangers lose to Angels again, 2-1. It’s not only annoying to lose a game 2-1, because it means you could have done so much more to win. But to have it twice in a row is annoying. Twice in a row to the same team is annoying. The icing on that bad piece of cake was that it happened in extra innings on a home run by Vlad Guerrero – who else? It’s a shame that happened, as it blew a really fine outing by Robinson Tejeda, who went seven, giving up just five hits and no runs. In fact, all the offense came in the ninth inning. Both teams’ closers gave up runs. Aki didn’t get credited with a blown save, but Francisco Rodriguez (bah on the nickname “K-Rod”) did. That made it more annoying, as it’s not that easy to come back on that guy, and we did. Sigh. [ Game recap on mlb.com ]
G149: Rangers beat Angels 12-6. Saturday evening brought out the Rangers offense behind Rangers starter Adam Eaton. We jumped out early with a four spot in the first inning, which is unusual, as we have not been a very good first inning team this year. That four spot wasn’t the only one we got this game, we had another in the 7th, as well as two two run innings (4th & 5th). The offense definitely worked tonight, pounding out 18 hits to get the 12 runs we scored. We had three doubles, one triple, and a pile of singles. Adam Eaton was OK, going 6.2 innings, giving up four earned runs on 11 hits. Could have been worse I suppose. Eaton didn’t dominate, but did well enough. The usual Ranger killer from Anaheim was defintely not good at all. John Lackey gave up six runs on ten hits and was out of the game after just four innings. Chris Bootcheck was worse, giving up four earned runs on NO outs in the seventh. Anyway you look at it, Ranger offense was the big deal here. [ Game recap on mlb.com ]
G150: Rangers split series from Angels in the rain, 8-1. Vicente Padilla was the story of this one. Pidente went 7.1 innings, throwing shutout ball, scattering seven hits. Vicente also walked three, but struck out four. He wasn’t lights out, but shutout ball over 7+ innings is nothing to sneeze at. I’m sure the three double plays the Ranger infielders turned had something to do with that. In all, the Angels got nine hits off of Ranger pitching (two doubles, one home run, and 6 singles) Nine hits is the same number of hits the Rangers had, but ours were obviously more productive. The Rangers got another double from September callup Miguel Ojeda, home runs by Matthews & Kinsler, and 6 singles. Taking a series from Anaheim might help if we try to make a push to finish ahead of them for second in the division at the end of the season, but we just split, which is treading water, really. As of right now, we’re just four games behind ‘em. Not easy, but not impossible, either. [ Game recap on mlb.com ]
G151: Rangers beat Mariners, 8-1. The Rangers now have a modest three game winning streak, after beating Seattle on Monday night by the score of 8-1. This is the second night in a row that we beat someone by that score (and the second time in a week we had two games in a row decided by the same score). Kevin Millwood continues to enjoy the mild weather in Arlington, as his numbers are much better when it’s not blistering hot out there. Kevin got his 16th win of the season behind an 11 hit attack by our offense. Bolstered by a home run and three doubles, it was more than enough to handle what Seattle did offensively. Nelson Cruz had the big bop, a three run home run in the seventh, which was very nice icing, as those runs weren’t really needed. :) King Felix (anyone else sick to death of hearing that nickname) was more like Prince Felix, going 5 innings, giving up four runs. Millwood however, was more like King Kevin, going 7 innings, giving up just one run. [ Game recap on mlb.com ]
G152: Rangers lose the game late to the Mariners, 9-7. These are the kinds of scores that you expect at the Ballpark in Arlington. 15 run affairs. Not those 2-1 games we saw recently. :) This was one where a boatload of pitchers were run out there. The Mariners threw six pitchers to the hill. The Rangers bested that with a total of 8 hurlers in all. Of the eight Ranger pitchers, five of them (Rheinecker, Rupe, Francisco, Littleton, & Benoit) didn’t give up any runs. However, the other three did (Volquez, Otsuka, & Wilson), and that’s wherein lies the rub. Aki got credited with a blown save in this one, although the two runs he allowed were unearned. We actually were doing OK in this one, being up 7-5 through 8 innings, and that’s where the trouble lied. We gave up two runs in the ninth to send it to extra innings, and then two more in the tenth for the loss. It wasted a four home run performance by Texas (Matthews, Tex, Blalock, & Kinsler). Matthews’ jack came in the first inning; always nice to see a leadoff home run. Attendance was pretty low, only 18,000 at the game. I know attendance is down overall, but the attendance numbers are (I believe) tickets sold, not people who come through the door, meaning that we only sold 18k. That’s not particularly good. [ Game recap on mlb.com ]
G153: Rangers lose to Mariners again, 6-3. This game was not seen or heard by me, as it happened mostly during my bowling league. I did TiVo it, but when I got home, I was’t particularly interested, and when I saw us losing, I didn’t bother, I watched some Doctor Who instead. :) Anyway, the two errors by Ian Kinsler certainly didn’t help things, as they lead to three unearned runs on Robinson Tejeda’s ledger. The game probably would have been a lot different without the errors. We did have a few more doubles to set a club record, I think. We had a home run by Nelson Cruz, who is showing a little power late in the season. Wasn’t enough. We blew this one. [ Game recap on mlb.com ]

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G147: Rangers lose low scoring affair, 2-1 to Angels

Edinson Volquez had a great outing. He had just one mistake, a home run ball to Molina onto Greens Hill. But Edinson had a great line, even if it was short. He came out after five innings, having only thrown 74 pitches. But when he was in there, he was good. No walks, two strikeouts. There were six hits, but that didn’t seriously impact him, save for the home run, obviously. Our bullpen pitched well, too, not allowing any runs and no walks over four innings, gave up just one hit. It’s hard to do better than that.
But Los Angeles Anaheim did. Their bullpen also didn’t allow any runs in the 5 innings of relief they tossed. Anaheim starter Kelvim Escobar had to come out of the game after four innings, having given up just two hits and one run (an RBI single by DeRosa in the fourth). Anaheim’s pitching kept the Rangers to just 5 hits in all, and just the lone run, adding another loss to a rather disappointing home season this year.
Not much else to talk about from this one, the Angels shut us down pretty well.

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G146: Rangers blow out Tigers to take Wed’s game, 11-3

Kevin Millwood pitched well again, giving some more cedence to the recent theory that it’s the 100 degree heat that’s been the cause of his problems in Arlington. Kevin picked up his 15th win of the season behind a 7 inning, 7 hit, 2ER performance. I didn’t see most of it, as it was on at the bowling alley during my league night, and I have a seriously hard time paying attention there. :)
Justin Verlander, the Tigers uber rookie this season looks (along with most of the rest of the team) to be out of gas this season. Verlander, who won me several games on some of my fantasy teams, was quite “Mark Clarkish” this game, going just 4.1IP, giving up 10 hits, 6ER, and a home run. We pretty much teed off on him. Former starter Mike Maroth also got hit a bit, as did Jason Grilli.
Anyway, the big story of the night anyway wasn’t any of that. It was Gary Matthews. He hit the third cycle in Rangers history, and I believe the first natural one. Single, Double, Triple, Home Run – in that order. Boy, if we don’t make a huge push to resign Matthews, it’ll be a major mistake. I’d have to look up the numbers, but hasn’t he outproduced Carlos Lee during Lee’s time here? But Matthews hitting for the cycle was cool – got lead coverage on most national baseball outlets last night, including mlb.com.
We also had five home runs this game. Two by Carlos Lee, Matt Stairs, Gary Matthews, & Mike Young. Stairs’ HR was a big majetic looking thing to the bleachers in the right field power alley.
Mike Young comes back to Arlington with 197 hits. I’m going to Friday night’s game, so hopefully he doesn’t get 3 tonight and get to 200 on Thursday. :)

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G145: Rangers lose walking off in the rain, 3-2

This was a pretty darn good pitching duel by both starters, and both of their starts were wasted. One could make the point that Rogers’ wasn’t, as the Tigers won, but I’m referring to the point of neither starter getting a win – that’s a “wasted start” to me.
Vicente Padilla: 7IP, 5H, 2ER, 2HR
Kenny Rogers: 7IP, 10H, 2ER, 1HR
In fact, of the five runs scored this game for both sides, 4 of them came from solo home runs. The game moved pretty darn quickly. We did make a few gaffes running the bases, including Carlos Lee trying to go to second from first on a flyball to left. In fact, we had the leadoff batter get to first in the first three innings, only to be wiped out by a double play.
But we lost the game on a walkoff home run by Carlos Guillen (his second of the night) off of Ron Mahay. Disappointing loss, as the Rangers certainly pitched well enough to win the game.

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G144: Rangers win finale of Seattle series, 4-2

Didn’t get to see any of this game, as I had a lot of church events going on this day, and what free time I had was spent watching football.
Go Jaguars. ;)

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G143: Rangers lose to Mariners in 13 innings, 3-2

This was a very well pitched game, with both starters having lines like this:
Robinson Tejeda: 6.2IP, 2R, 1ER, 4H, 7K, 2BB
Jarrod Washburn: 6IP, 1ER, 6H, 5K, 2BB
There was a gaggle of relievers in this game (7 for Texas, 6 for Seattle). Most of them were fine. However, JJ Putz for Seattle gave up a key run, and then John Rheiecker was charged with another run, but Rhein’s was worse as the game was lost on that one.
I didn’t see the end of this game, as I had fallen asleep by that point. :)

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G142: Rangers lose to Mariners, 7-2

This game was actually very well pitched, except for three half innings. Those would be the bottom of the fifth, the bottom of the eighth, and the top of the ninth.
Kevin Millwood actually pitched a quality start (technically), going 6 innings, giving up 3 runs. Jack Benoit pitched a scoreless seventh, but then Frank Francisco, fresh off the DL after Tommy John surgery, gave up two runs in his 0.2 IP. It took Rheinecker & Bauer to complete the other 1/3 of an inning, and the two of them gave up two hits and two runs to do it. The big problem was the grand slam that Rick Bauer gave up. Come to think of it, all 7 runs the Mariners got were on home runs. The three in the 5th were a 3 run home run, and the four in the 8th were a grand slam.
Cha Seung Baek looked good, going 7, shutting out the Rangers on four hits. Joel Piniero struggled a bit in the 9th, gave up a few hits and a couple of runs, but the Rangers really weren’t in this offensively at all.
At least that old guy fan who wears the blue hat got to throw out the first pitch. ;)

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G140: Rangers hang on and beat A’s 5-4

Well, this was another game that I never got to see all of, because I went to bed before it was over. In fact, when I woke up, I had no idea what the final score was. Actually I did, I had seen it, because it was the current score in the bottom of the sixth. :)
The Texas offense was powered by Mark DeRosa who is likely to cash in with someone on a good contract for 2007 (sure hope it’s with us). Mark had a three run home run in the top of the third inning to put us up 4-0 at the time. We actually should have been up by more than this, as we wasted a couple of good scoring opportunities early (including a bases loaded no out one in the first, which we got nothing from).
During this, Adam Eaton was rolling along putting up zeroes until the bottom of the fifth when Nick Swisher broke up the shutout with a home run over Gary Matthews’ head in center field. Still, Eaton was looking good. However, we danced around Frank Thomas too many times, as Thomas walloped a three run home run in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 5-4.
And that was the game, except for 3.1 innings of scoreless relief by our bullpen which allowed us to hang on and get the win over the A’s. But as I said earlier, it’s a little too late, I can’t see us climbing out of the hole we’re in to overtake the Angels and the A’s to win the division, which is the only way into the postseason for the AL West now.

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G139: Rangers ride Nelson Cruz to victory, 8-1

In yesterday’s update, I asked if Eric Young had played for us so far this season. He had not, but he was in the starting lineup today in left against Barry Zito. EY had a great day, going 2 for 5 with a double and a triple (which missed being a home run by a couple of feet). EY’s double was a two run job in the first, and the triple (on which he later scored) came in the sixth. EY saw Barry Zito pretty well today in Oakland.
In fact, the Rangers as a whole have been pretty decent against Barry Zito in their last 10 starts, going 5-5. After starting off 12-0 against Zito in his career, .500 seems pretty pedestrian. However it only seems to be in Oakland. In Arlington, he still beats us down, but in his own park, we seem lately to own planet Zito. Today was another in that pattern. Zito walked three in the first inning, finally serving up the aforementioned two run double to Eric Young. We then got another run in the top of the third on the extremely rare inside the park home run to Nelson Cruz. We can thank Jay Payton for that. In fact, Payton played a big part in Gerald Laird’s double, and Eric Young’s triple, I don’t think we would have gotten any of those if Payton had played his position correctly this afternoon.
We added another in the fourth, again by Nelson Cruz, who singled in Gerald Laird. Cruz struck again in the top of the sixth inning by jacking a Zito pitch over the right field wall for a three run home run. This drove Zito from the game finally, after having given up seven runs in his 5.1 innings pitched. Zito walked 6 in all, three in the first inning alone – he was not the unhittable pitching machine we have known from years gone by. But at least he won’t be in our division after 2006, that’s pretty much a given it seems.
While all this was going on, Robinson Tejeda was pitching a gem of his own. Robinson went 6.2 innings, gave up 10 hits, but no earned runs at all. The one run the A’s got was an unearned run on a Laird fielding miscue. Joaquin Benoit & Wes Littleton turned in a combined 2.1IP, giving up just one hit between them; a nice followup. As with yesterday’s game, it’s a shame these great September performances won’t count for much.
We did however get to see Eric Young have a great game, Nelson Cruz have a career game in RBI’s (five), and a great pitching performance by a young pitcher who I hope sticks around and does well for awhile, Tejeda.
If Tejeda keeps pitching like that, it just might make some fans forget about us sending Dellucci away to get him.

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G138: Rangers win behind Millwood, 5-2

As I’m also a Phillies fan, I follow them, and I remember well Kevin Millwood’s no hitter a couple of years ago, so it was with great interest that I was watching the first few innings of this one, once it became obvious that Millwood was on this game.
Kevin Millwood was perfect through 4.2 innings, until he ran into the Kevin Kouzmanoff juggernaut. Kouzie homered off Millwood to break up the perfect game, no hitter, and shutout all at once. Yeah, I know he’s only been in two games, but he has two home runs in 8 at bats in the majors. :) However, Millwood adjusted, and only gave up one more total hit (a double to catcher Martinez in the seventh). In all, Kevin Millwood gave up 1 run on two hits over his eight innings. He also struck out ten batters, which is a bit of a generally unattainable stat for Rangers pitchers. He was strong in every way, a commanding performance – and at our ballpark. Course it wasn’t 100 degrees out, which might be the key to Kevin pitching in Arlington.
Offensively, we had a bunch of hits, but the only ones that mattered were all in the seventh inning. After Kinsler & Laird singled, Nelson Cruz hit a ball to short too far in the hole for Peralta to do anything with; it loaded the bases. Gary Matthews followed with a ball that looked like a clear double play, but his hustle kept it to just a fielders’ choice and an RBI. Mike Young singled for his 181st hit of the season, scoring Gerald Laird, and driving Paul Byrd from the game. That brought in Fernando Cabrera to face Mark Teixeira who has found himself again in the second half of the season. This at bat was no different, Tex deposited a pitch from Cabera over the wall next to the Rangers’ bullpen for a three run home run, extending our lead to 5-1. That was it for the Rangers’ scoring this day.
The Indians faced CJ Wilson in the top of the ninth who allowed one unearned run (on a Michael Young error). With a run in, it made it a save situation, bringing in Aki who did allow a single after coming in, but did manage to get the Kouzmanoff juggernaut to ground out to end the game, getting the win and his 30th save of the season.
While we’re not mathematically out of the race, we essentially are, it’s a shame great games like this will be lost to the season in a month spent trying to figure out 2007. Oh well. I guess there’s Mike Young’s march to 200 hits.
Has Eric Young actually played yet since being called up? That seems like a bit of a surprise to me.

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G137: Darnit Darnit Darnit

I’ll probably have a proper update on tonight’s game later, but in the meantime, this is about all I can think of to say..

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DARNIT! DARNIT!

In case I end up not updating for this one, it was nice to see Kevin Kouzmanoff from Cleveland make major league history with a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the major leagues. Funny thing is I called it right before it happened, and I got a few funny looks from the people sitting around me at the game. :)

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G136: Rangers drop series opener to Tribe, 7-2

Earlier this year during spring training, the Indians gave Grady Sizemore a rather nice contract. It was for 6 years, $23.4 million dollars. It runs through 2011, and there’s a 2012 option. Watching this series, you should be able to see why they did it. Just in last night’s game, Sizemore went 3 for 3 with two doubles, a home run, he walked twice, did not strike out, and scored two runs. I’d say that was a pretty positive offensive evening at the ol’ ballyard. While he muffed a play in ceter field on a ball hit by Gerald Laird, and he was picked off first by Padilla, he’s something special. He’s only 24, and looks to be in the Cleveland lineup being productive for awhile.
However, it wasn’t just Sizemore that beat us. Vicente Padilla had his worst outing in awhile, as he’s been generally excellent recently. Padilla went 5.1 innings, but had a ton of pitches (112, and 91 after 4), allowed 6 runs, gave up 8 hits and walked three. We got down early, as Padilla gave up three runs in the first, another in the second, and it felt pretty deflating, we never seemed to get up off the carpet after that.
In fact, of our two runs, one was a solo home run by Ian Kinsler, a no doubter to the back of the seats in section 7. The other one was an RBI single by Carlos Lee (his 100th overall RBI in 06). We could never get anything going against Jake Westbrook, who I think would be a perfect pitcher for the Rangers in this ballpark. Unfortuantely, the Indians hold an 07 option on him, which I suspect they’ll take.
For the first time in awhile, I’m actually ready for football season to start, which is rather unusual for me, I’m not truly ready for that until after the World Series. I guess this dropoff at the end of the season has gotten to me more than I had realized.

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G135: Rangers beat O’s on Thursday 7-5, take series

The Rangers jumped all over Daniel Cabrera early to the tune of 4 runs in the first two innings. That intial jump was led by a disputed (and probably incorrect from the replays) home run by Gary Matthews, as well as a double by Carlos Lee. In fact, in the five innings he pitched, Cabera gave up five runs (4ER). For a guy who was as touted as he was, that’s a lot.
On the flop side, Adam Eaton went five himself, giving up just 2 runs (1ER). He probably would have gone further, but had 93 pitches through five; rather a lot for just five innings. Joaquin Benoit came in and kept the Orioles at bay until the ninth when he appeareed to run out of gas, giving up three runs which at that point brought the A’s to within two. It required bringing out Otsuka for a save.
I didn’t see any of this game, was doing some baby stuff. :)
I wonder who we’re calling up today now that the rosters have expanded.

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G134: Tejeda not good, Rangers lose 7-4 in 10

I won’t have time to write about this, as there has been an uh “event” at my company which will take all my time to deal with.
Suffice it to say that Tejeda was not very good last night – it took him something like 45 pitches to get out of the first inning. Ugh. And then the 10th. Ugh 2.

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G133: Rangers beat O’s 9-4 behind Millwood complete game

I did something I actually haven’t done much this year, which was go to a Rangers game. I’ve written before about the cost of these things – so I won’t go into that again, but cost is the reason why I don’t go to as many anymore. By the end of August, I’ve gone to roughly 20 by this point. This year I think my total attendance is under 10. I’d have to go count, but it’s probably 7 or 8, I think. But I went using one of the ticket vouchers the Rangers have sent me in a “Hey we want you to come back” kind of promotion. Was a great night for baseball. As I knew the place would be mostly wide open, I decided to sit in Section 3 up against the Orioles’ bullpen. I hadn’t ever intentionally sat out in that area before (that I can remember anyway), so I decided to give it a go. Was a nice night weather wise, so I chose that (Sec 3, Row 7, Seat 1 formally). I ended up sitting amongst a family of Baltimore fans, which who were nice to chat with.
So I filled out my lineup card with a bit of trepidation, as Kevin Millwood is not known for stellar pitching performances in Arlington. However, it was in the mid 80’s when this game started, and that seemed to really impact him, as his overall line was pretty good. 9 IP, 4ER, 8 hits, 8 strikeouts, and NO walks. Now the strikeouts seemed to be helped by Larry Vanover, who had a really wide strike zone (O’s pitching had 11 Ks). After the early couple of innings when Kevin seemed to be relying on just his fastball, he mixed in his curve, and things got going. In the top of the third, Jay Gibbons doubled, but that would be the last hit the Orioles would get until two outs in the ninth. Millwood retired 18 in a row at one point. He gave up a couple of hits in a row in the top of the ninth for the fourth run, but from the third on, he was masterful, he was the ace we’re paying him to be. I’m hoping that in 2007 he can parlay his’ years’ experience pitching here into better home results.
The game offensively was a see-saw battle early, with the O’s scoring two in the top of the second, then we got three in the bottom, and they tied it up with the aforementioned double in the top of the third. It stayed that way for a bit until Mark Teixeira hit a solo home run in the fifth that BARELY cleared the wall in right field. That gave us the lead we never looked back on.
The only other scoring the Rangers would do would be a nice five spot in the bottom of the seventh, mostly against Rodrigo Lopez, who appeared to be completely out of gas when eventually taken out – he probably should have been out much earlier than he was. Hank Blalock & Mark DeRosa had the big hits in that inning driving in most of the runs. Hank’s was a double against a left hander (Byrdak) who had come in just to face Hank. Odd that the Homies weren’t there to cheer him.
However, the best moment of the game for me aside from the Rangers win was Corey Patterson’s catch in the second inning. Going full tilt into the wall, he caught it and crumpled over – it was quite a spectacular catch. From where I was sitting, I had a GREAT view of it, as I was sitting exactly parallel to the center field wall, so I had a completely close and perfect angle to see it. It was quite the catch, I had to applaud it even before the customary applause a team’s fans gives an opposing player who has gotten hurt. It was quite the catch.
But I was glad I went – it wasn’t opressively hot, we won, and I had a nice time. Too bad it has to be so darn hot to sap these nice feelings out of people in the summer.

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G132: Rangers salvage finale of A’s series, 3-0 behind Padilla

The Rangers managed a win in the final game of the A’s series, which is disapponting, as we needed to sweep the A’s to have any realistic chance of getting back in the race.
However, you couldn’t fault Vicente Padilla in this series. He certainly held up his end of the bargain in the finale Sunday. He was strong, going 8 innings, giving up just four hits, while striking out eight. He did walk four, which is a bit high, but it didn’t impact him, as he pitched a shutout. Aki followed up for his 28th save of the season – that’s really all that needs be said about our pitching, it was quite good this day.
Oakland starter Dan Haren wasn’t bad, either going 7 giving up three runs on 7 hits with twelve strikeouts. But Padilla bested him, and you only need win by one run. It was enough to salvage something, but man it feels like too little too late.
While we got some great pitching, our offense was pretty flat (Matthews & Young had 5 of the 7 team total hits alone), and it just feels like “a little late to the party for this kind of game, guys”.

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G131: Rangers lose to A’s 5-3, now 9 games out

Since we’ve sunken to our low point of the season in terms of being out of it, I felt the image at the bottom of this entry was an appropriate image to use tonight.
About the only high point of the actual game was when Carlos Lee doubled in two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Came up with the bases loaded; the exact situation we brought him over here for, and he delivered. Oh, and Joaquin Benoit pitched pretty well, too.
But we had 8 hits in all, 5 of them by Mike Young and Carlos Lee. Adam Eaton was knocked around a bit, Wes Littleton was pretty wild with his control, it just didn’t feel good at all, despite the great performance by Benoit who did keep us in the game. Could have actually been a lot worse, Frank Thomas came up twice I believe with the bases loaded, and didn’t deliver – we could have lost by a lot more than just two runs.
I think this image applies very well tonight. At least it will make it less crowded when I go to some games in September. :(
Rangers Season Over

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G130: Rangers lose to Planet Zito 9-3, drop 8 back

Barry ZitoI bet Barry Zito wished Mark DeRosa had gotten sick, or that we had started Eric Young in right field tonight. More on that later.
Edinson Volquez started for Texas, and he had a really high pitch count; 91 through 4. He managed to navigate a few minefields, the worst was in the fourth where Volquez walked a couple, allowed three singles, but only let two in during the fourth (three overall). I guess it wasn’t that great of an outing when you look at it that way, but given how many guys were out there on the bags in the top half of the frames, it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Volquez was out after four, replaced by Josh Rupe. Rupe was a lot more effective. He needed just 8 pitches in his first inning. In fact, the rest of Volquez’ relief was fine, as they all shut out the A’s until the ninth, when Rick Bauer gave up a two run double making the score 5-0 and then Michael Young comitted a throwing error allowing a sixth run to score, ending Bauer’s time on the hill. CJ Wilson came in and finished the game for Texas, but not before making the ninth inning stick a whole lot worse, giving up three more runs to make it 9-0.
None of that really mattered though. We were up against Mr. Teddy Bear, who is about 150-2 when pitching against the Rangers. And he continued to make our guys look like soft hitting Teddy Bears because we had donut through seven (save for one walk). That was until Mark DeRosa came up in the bottom of the 8th and broke up the no hitter, singling to center field. OK, at that point I could root for the Rangers again. I never really root against them, but if you’re gonna be beat, at least you could have said “it was a no hitter”. :)
As it was, the entire team was shut down through eight plus innings except for Mark DeRosa who got a single. He also walked later. However, in the ninth, Zito faltered a bit, walking Gary Matthews, and then letting Michael Young reach on a fielder’s choice that got nobody out. Carlos Lee followed that up with a triple scoring Young & Matthews. That chased Zito from the game. Chad Gaudin followed, and allowed the third run on a groundout by Tex, scoring Lee. That was all we could put together.
The funny thing is I already had this paragraph written in the middle of the ninth after Matthews’ walk as if Zito was going to go the distance on a one hitter; I had to rewrite the bit above when we got a little life. :)
We lost the game 9-3, but it was’t as close as that. Felt like we should have had a zero in the runs column the way Zito pitched. And now we’re 8 games back with 32 to go. Doesn’t look good for the home eleven.