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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.