Well, we ended up in last place again. There was a bit of a small thrill there with the possibility of not ending up there chasing the A’s, but again, our little team from Texas ended up in the cellar. This was due to having been swept by Seattle, including Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to close out the 2007 campaign.
A.J. Murray started the game, and (technically) had a quality start. Six innings pitched, five hits, three earned runs (four total), two walks. Which aren’t outstanding numbers, but not horrendous.
Aw heck. It’s Game 162 of a not really great season. We lost. We’re in last place. I don’t feel like going into a lot of detail about the final game of a season that is now over.
I also considered doing an end of season writeup on each player, but I’m going to shelve that. Mostly due to my burnout post from a few weeks ago. I decided I was going to finish the season, then table the site for awhile and see how I feel. While I’m probably going to continue into 2008, I am going to take a break for awhile, so this will be the last post I make for awhile unless something major happens.
Or I get excited about my Phillies being in the playoffs and advancing. :)
Well, we ended up in last place again. There was a bit of a small thrill there with the possibility of not ending up there chasing the A’s, but again, our little team from Texas ended up in the cellar. This was due to having been swept by Seattle, including Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 loss to close out the 2007 campaign.
This one was totally down to Miguel Batista. A pitcher I was hoping we would have tried to acquire a few years back when he was with Toronto. Batista looked really good this year for a well traveled pitcher (Pirates 92, Marlins 96, Cubs 97, Expos 98-00, Royals 00, Diamondbacks 01-03, Blue Jays 04-05, Diamondbacks 06, Mariners 07). His career numbers don’t indicate the level of pitching he showed on Saturday, but I always got the feeling when he was a Blue Jay that if he could “just figure it out”, he’d be incredible, and he looked it today.
Batista went eight innings, giving up just three hits and one run while walking two and k’ing five. Was quite the starting pitching performance. Unlike Kevin Millwood, who is our “ace”. Our guy went 7, giving up 11 hits, 3 walks, 5 runs (4 earned).. The only really positive thing is that he went 7. Oooh. That’s important in Game #161 of the season. :)
Offensively, we were closed down quite good. Three hits. Two singles (Sosa, Botts) and a double (Cruz). Brad Wilkerson had a sac fly for the only run we got. But… meh. A flaccid performance for sure on behalf of the team from Texas.
Well, whenever the game numbers start with 16, you know it’s a sad time. It means this is the last series of the year, and Ranger baseball, like so many seasons before it will be over, because there’s no October play for us. Sigh. There is also the issue of the 9PM start time. I had to be up early on Saturday, so I didn’t see the whole game – in fact I fell asleep on it, and I didn’t find out who won until I woke up after the game had ended.
As for the game itself, the Rangers threw out Edinson Volquez, who went 5.1 innings, giving up six hits and three walks (not that great), but allowing just three earned runs. By no means a great outing, but not exactly bad/awful, either. Just “OK”. We ran out five relievers (Littleton, Rheinecker, Francisco, Benoit, & Wood). The first three were good, not allowing any runs. Benoit & Wood however, were not. They allowed three runs in the last 1.2 innings pitched by the Rangers, and the Mariners the win. Since I didn’t see them pitch, I can’t attest to the mechanics and all of how they pitched, but you can’t argue with the BS & L stats in the box score for them. It wasn’t good.
Jeff Weaver on the other hand was much better, if not great himself. Eight innings pitched, nine hits, four earned runs, but no walks. Weaver allowed three doubles (Kinsler, Vazquez, Salty) and a home run (Metcalf), and five singles. JJ Putz also allowed a fourth double to David Murphy. I did see the Metcalf home run, and it didn’t look like a massive titanic power swing like you see some of the big sluggers take, but the ball just slid out. It was quite a pretty home run.
Michael Young got hit #201, and his average stands at a healthy .315.
Fortunately, Oakland was blanked by Anaheim 2-0, so we remain tied for third place with just two games to go.
I did like the quotes in the paper on Saturday morning from Ranger players saying they wanted to bring back the red uniforms for 2009. For some reason, MLB rules state that if you want to make a change to your uniform, the deadline for the FOLLOWING season is in March, so for us to change in 2009, we’d have to have it in by March 2008. Never quite understood that rule, but there you go. I’ve always liked red, as have a lot of people. Buck Showalter did, as he got the coaches to wear red in spring training. I actually thought that was a good idea, because it would help spot a coach in the sea of humanity that can be spring training workouts and the like. I hope this files.
Most Rangers fans will remember the memorable end to the 2004 season, where the players came out and took a lap around the stadium shaking hands, that kind of thing. You remember, this?
Well, the 2007 edition of “Your Texas Rangers” didn’t quite do that, but they provided a memorable end to the 2007 season here in Arlington. Of course that would be a World Series win, but I think most Rangers fans head would explode. We’d probably also get about 50 in game flashes from Jamey Newberg if we got to that point, but I digress. The Rangers of this year’s vintage turned in a memorable finish in what is likely the final home game for several players (Wilkerson, Sosa, Laird perhaps?). The Rangers bombed out the
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, clubbing them into submission 16-2. What made that cool was that they were the 2007 AL West Division winners. A sweep at home to finish the season is sweet. It’s even sweeter with the knowledge that it’s against the team in first in your division. But what pushes the sweetness into the level of say Bianca Beauchamp covered in honey is that it ties us with the A’s for third place. We’re not alone in the basement anymore! :)
Where do you go with this one? When there is this much offense, it’s hard to condense it down into a paragraph, so I’ll go with the “list of highlights” route in talking about it:
- First off, Michael Young got three hits, getting his 200 for the season, and in front of the home crowd. I missed it by a day. :) What showed some more class was that Ron Washington pulled him from the game when the Rangers took the field, allowing him an extra ovation. I always like to see things like that.
- Jason Botts was 3-4
- Wilkerson, Metcalf, & Laird all had two hits
- One double (Laird)
- One triple (Byrd)
- FIVE home runs. Sammy Sosa (2 run shot), Nelson Cruz (2 run shot), Laird (solo), Metcalf (2 run shot), & Hank Blalock (a three run jimmy jack).
- Blalock’s home run was a pinch hit (for Sosa) home run.
- Seventeen hits in all
- Six walks from the Angels staff
It’s the kind of stuff you love to see. While 3-2 or 2-1, or even 1-0 games are awesome to watch, these 16-2 games are quite a lot of fun, assuming you’re not “the two”.
Our pitching was quite good. We threw five pitchers out there today (Mendoza, Rheinecker, Francisco, Feldman, White), and they all combined to go nine innings, seven hits, two runs, four walks, and five strikeouts. A pretty good line. Luis Mendoza looked quite good again for a kid. Quite good. We’ve been down the path of guys looking great in September (meaningless) action, and then not being able to dial it up again the following year. So I will reserve complete excitement, but I’ve really enjoyed watching Mendoza pitch, and hope he can worm his way into the 2008 rotation.
I can’t leave without saying something about Michael Young. I did post the congrats graphic during the game when he actually got the 200th hit. Given the horrendous start to the season he had, I think most Rangers fans doubted he’d get there, and he did. Some might question the backloaded contract he was given earlier this year – the usual stuff about “at the end of the contract….”. Well, that kind of contract is also to pay a very VERY fan friendly player to be the “face of the franchise”. Michael Young is the kind of player who you look at and feel good about being a Texas Rangers fan. That’s what they’re paying him for, outside of his baseball skills.
While there are three more games to play in Seattle, this had the vibe of the end of the season, didn’t it?
My last game of the season was going to be Friday night, but I fell sick on Friday afternoon, so I ate that ticket, and bought a cheapie one for tonight’s game (and moved to a better seat). Speaking of that, Victor Rojas said there was just over 30,000 at the park. No way. That might have been the number sold, but no way were there 30,000 in the park. I was there. Gotta love those numbers. :)
Anyway, I drove to the park expecting Jamey Wright to start. When I got there, I saw that AJ Murray was starting. OK, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that, since he’s not one of my favorite pitchers, but I don’t actively dislike him, either. So OK, he’s starting. But he’s not a starter as such, so he won’t have a ton of stamina. Four innings, 70-75 pitches is probably what I figure he’d get. Well, we got better than that from Arlington John. His line was five innings pitched, five hits, one earned run, one walk, and four strikeouts on 73 pitches. His only blemish was a solo home run to Erick Aybar, which was his first career home run.
The home run by Aybar was actually the only extra base hit by either team. Combined the Rangers and Angels had 16 hits, all but one were singles.
Dustin Moseley started for the Angels, and he, like AJ Murray was making his first career start. Moseley was bit better in some regards than Murray, as Moseley didn’t give up any runs on four hits, although he pitched one less inning than Murray did. Then came old Rangers friend Darren Oliver. Oliver, who has been pitching well after the All Star break did not really pitch well tonight. He was’t awful, but the Rangers had just enough in the right places to combine it with a gift from Darren to get all three Rangers runs. The first Ranger run came on a balk by Oliver, scoring Kinsler. The other two runs came on subsequent singles by Blalock & Murphy. That was it for the Ranger scoring.
Michael Young was hitless, which was a bummer, I was hoping he’d go 3-4 while I was there to get 200 hits. Still, he needs 3 hits in four games, I’d say it’s a safe bet. Ian Kinsler however, did go 3-4 with three singles to left field. That was nice.
Bonehead move of the game goes to Reggie Willits who was on first when Orlando Cabrera flied out to David Murphy in right. For some reason, Willits had full jets on and was all the way at third when Murphy caught the ball, and he probably could have walked to first to double off Willits for an unassisted double play by the right fielder. He of course tossed it to Catalanotto for the Nelson Muntz double play at first.
It was a nice game. Well pitched, just enough offense to win, and the weather was pretty good, too. Plus I picked up a few of those free passes they were handing out so it will cover the games I go to in April & May (save for opening day).
On another note, JerryLandâ„¢ is starting to look more and more like a stadium. I’ve been watching it go up since they started real construction, and I can just imagine how much more finished it will look the next time I’m out in Arlington in early April. I will say this though. In the program tonight was a 6 page spread showing all the development that will happen inbetween and around the Ballpark and JerryLandâ„¢. I am NOT happy about it, as they’re eliminating almost all the really close parking. I need to digest it a bit more, but they’re calling this project “Glorypark”, and you can see some maps at the website for the overall project here. It will seriously change parking at the Ballpark. If you remember what it was like in 2003 going to games at Arlington Stadium when the Ballpark was being built, I imagine it will be those kind of nightmares all over again. I’m going to contact one of my friends at the Rangers and ask for permission to use some of the charts and diagrams and all that. At that point I’ll have a larger article on Glorypark with more to say.
“The other guy” in the Alfonso Soriano trade started for the Rangers tonight (Armando Galarraga), and was quite good, at last before the fifth. He took a no hitter into the fifth inning. His overall line isn’t great, but he did have a major “wheels off” fifth. When he exited after 4.2, his line was 4.2IP, 4H, 5ER, 4BB, 4K, 1HR, 87P. But before that he looked great. I don’t think he’s a realistic option to make the rotation next year, but he’s shown enough decent stuff (in my opinion, but I’m no expert) to warrant a look in Surprise next March.
On the other side, we got to Ervin Santana, who gave up six earned runs in his 5 innings of work. Five of them were on two longballs. One to Michael Young (a three run shot), and another to Marlon Byrd (a two run home run). Santana’s line was actually worse than Galarraga’s; 5IP, 8H, 6ER, 2BB, 4K, 2HR, 102P. Chris Bootcheck and Jason Bulger followed, giving up one run each in their one inning of work each. That was all the Rangers scoring.
Offensively, the highlights were the aforementioned home runs. Besides that, we also had an almost cycle by Gerald Laird who was missing the home run. Salty also had a triple; two triples for the Rangers in one game is pretty rare, but they were both hit to that 407′ part of the park in right center, so it wasn’t a huge surprise in that regard.
Mike Wood tried to give the game back to Anaheim (sorry, not calling them Los Angeles. They’re not) with two runs in the eighth, but we managed to hang on and get the win. Wes Littleton got a fairly conventional save in this one, unlike the one he got a month ago in Baltimore in the 30-3 game.
Michael Young watch: 2-4, total of 197. Needs 3 hits in five remaining games.
Speaking of Galarraga, anyone know what the Big Cat Galarraga is up to? I know he retired, but is he still in ball anywhere? Anyone know?
Kevin Millwood finally pitched the way his “#1″ tag says he’s supposed to pitch. Seven innings, seven hits, ZERO runs, ZERO walks, five strikeouts. A great outing for Kevin. What’s sad about 2007 is that he’s our team leader in wins. WITH FRIGGIN’ TEN! TEN! Kevin is making $7.5 million this year, so that’s $750,000 per win this year, assuming he doesn’t get anymore (he’s got what, one more start – maybe two)? Anyway, it was a great outing today – it’s just a shame we didn’t get 15 of them this year. Benoit & Wilson also worked they way they were supposed to, as opposed to the guys wearing #36 & #53 the last two weeks or so.
The Orioles pitcher (Jon Leicester) wasn’t all that bad either, really. Eight innings, seven hits, three earned runs – a quality start. This was just one of those games where one pitcher was better than the other. Surprisingly, it was the Rangers pitcher on the better side of the ledger.
Michael Young went 1-4, now needs five hits in the final six games. Barring injury, this should not be a problem.
The last week of the season. Bummer.
I was pretty darned sick on Saturday, and as such, fell asleep two separate times on this game. Due to that, I’m claiming illness and not writing about this game. :) A couple of quickie remarks, though:
Nice to see 20HR from Kinsler. The 20/20 thing is cool.
1/5 for Mike Young. Six more to go.
The Orioles starter’s name was one of the more bizarre ones I’ve seen in awhile – Radhames Liz.
The first O’s reliever wasn’t much better; he’s an ice cream flavor – Rocky Cherry.
The pitching mostly sucked in this game.
I actually had a ticket to this game, and had left early to go to the game. However, 5 minutes after driving away from work to head there, I felt sick, so I turned around and came back. I’m currently trying to fight off an oncoming fever, and I knew if I drove out to Arlington, sat out there, I’d feel utterly miserable by the time the end of the game came around. I was right, half way through watching the game, I felt sick. Ugh.
I did miss a good one. I really did want to go to the game for two reasons. First was the calendar giveaway. Second was the fact that Luis Mendoza was starting; I wanted to see him in person. He got his first major league win, even if he could have pitched longer than he did. He only threw five innings, for a total of 71 pitches, giving up just one run on four hits and a walk. It has been theorized that he was on a pitch count given it’s the end of the season, and he’s pitched more than he’s pitched before. Possible, but it’s always an eyebrow raiser when you take out a guy for no injury for no other apparent reason. Mike Wood followed up with two scoreless frames.
However, CJ Wilson & Joaquin Benoit followed him, and while their lines don’t show it, they weren’t really that great. CJ gave up just one hit, no runs, and no walks. However, only 8 of his 16 pitches were strikes, and it felt he was constantly in trouble. Benoit was worse. A walk, a hit, and another walk loaded up the bases. Benoit threw 22 pitches in all, and 13 of them were balls. Blech. He lucked out by allowing just a sac fly, and then a strike ‘em out throw ‘em out to end the game. If you saw Baseball Tonight on Friday night, there was a look that Roy Halladay had watching his game fly away to the Yankees. I don’t imagine Mendoza was quite that crazed looking, but one wonders how much Mendoza was thinking “Aw no, not that again”.
Still, we got the win 3-2. Can’t argue with the bottom line, I suppose. Nelson Cruz, getting a rare (lately) start, jacked a big home run into the left field seats for his highlight of the game, going 3-3 in all. Michael Young got one hit, so he needs 7 more for 200.
Nice to get the win, although I was disappointed I didn’t get to go.
You know, after I issued the statement saying I was going to stop, I actually feel like writing again once I made the decision to take a break when the season is over. Except today. I feel like I’m coming down with a fever, and the brain is like pudding today. So I’ll just have something really short about Thursday’s game.
The bullpen blew it. Simple as that. I hate 10 inning games, we almost always lose.
Two hits for Michael Young. He’s at 192 now. Nine games to go.
So much for that thought from the last game. I said we needed to run the table to finish at .500. Forget it. Best we can do now is 80-82 if we run the table; again rather unlikely to happen. Rangers lost.
In what was probably his final start of the season, and if Evan Grant has anything to do about it, his final game as a Ranger completely, Vicente Pidente appealed his suspension, and having only thrown to (or at) two batters the other day, was “fresh” enough to make this start. (An explanation for my usage of Pidente is here. So out he goes. Five innings, 97 pitches, three hits, three earned runs, but five freakin walks. So yeah, he deserved the loss. You know, assuming this is his last start of the year, it means it cost us $1.5 Million for each of the six wins Pidente got in 2007. Course on the other hand, that’s the same number as Roger Clemens has this year, and he’s making several truckloads of dough. :)
Andreas Galarraga (whoops, Armando – anyone else have that flashback every time Armando pitches) was the only other pitcher the Rangers used. He went three innings. Four hits, one run, 2 walks, 2 k. Not bad. I’m sure he’ll be in the mix for the pen in the spring, although I think it’s probably going to end up in AAA.
Offensively, we had seven hits in all. None by Mike Young who still needs ten for 200. David Murphy, who is more and more looking like a real option for a front line starter in ’08 led with two hits; a double and a single. Marlon Byrd had a double, and all the rest were scattered amongst other players. Cat had a home run, but that was the only RBI of the night. The box score seems to show a rather flat team. In fact… Our old buddy Brad Wilkkkkkkkkerson has earned the golden sombrero for this game by striking out four times! Thanks for making me bust out Photoshop to edit the sombrero image for you buddy. ;)
Now I didn’t watch the game, I was at my bowling league night. The game was on, but is almost impossible to pay attention to, so I didn’t see any of Pidente’s outing. I did see the remark by Adam over at Lone Star Ball this afternoon that said this:
Was listening to the game tonight on the radio.
Vicente Padilla walked Garrett Jones (a rookie hitting well below .200) after starting out 2-0 with a couple of what Eric Nadel referred to as “blooper balls.”
Nadel wondered, after the walk, why Padilla would throw two of those in a row, at the start of the count, to someone like Jones.
Victor Rojas said, “Because Padilla is the biggest mental midget in the major leagues. He just doesn’t get it.” Rojas, a couple of batters later, said it was “pathetic” having to watch Padilla, and that if he were Ron Washington, he’d pull him and tell him to start serving his suspension if he didn’t want to be out there.
I’ve never heard a home team’s announcer be so harsh about one of the team’s own players.
I wish I had heard that. It’s the kind of honesty we haven’t heard since Tom Grieve was busted saying rude things about Hideki Irabu a couple of years ago when he thought his mike was closed, and it was not. It’s really REALLY nice to see that kind of honesty from a broadcaster. In reading around today, I see a few remarks from fans that seem to think it means that Victor is going to be fired over it. If Victor is fired over that, I’ll seriously protest, that’s the kind of thing we should be ENCOURAGING from our broadcasters, not shirking away from. The story went that Vince Cotroneo was let go before Vic because Vince didn’t want to be a “team cheerleader”. In emails I’ve had with Victor, I’ve gotten the opinion that Victor doesn’t like being a cheerleader either, and one would think they would have asked that coming in. I really hope nothing happens to Victor over this. It shouldn’t. It better not.
Another game by Kevin Millwood that was wasted by one of his teammates. This night it was an unusual source, it was Michael Young, who had three errors in the field. That’s highly unusual for him, he’s usually a rock. But three. Ewww… That had a lot to do with the two unearned runs that got charged to Kevin’s ledger. Take those away, and Kevin had a pretty decent night. 6.2 innings, only two earned runs (four in all). Bit too many hits (ten). Walks weren’t too bad (two), but no strikeouts. Pitch count was 110. Bill White finished the seventh, and Littleton pitched the 8th. In all the pitching wasn’t bad at all for Texas tonight.
The problem was the three errors by Michael Young. But even worse than that were the 13 men left on base. I don’t have an exact count by inning, since I didn’t score the game, but there were several innings late where we left men on base. We had bases loaded and one out in the sixth, and hit into a double play. We just couldn’t get the job finished offensively.
The best moment was probably that play where Nick Punto was thrown out at third. It was awesome. David Murphy picked up the ball that had stuck to the wall, tossed it to Ian Kinsler, who threw one of the most perfect relay throws I’ve ever seen. It was so perfectly thrown, that Travis Metcalf didn’t have to do anything, Nick Punto just slid into his glove, and he was out. It was quite spectacular. Ian Kinsler also made a great diving play in the game, but I think the Murphy to Kinsler to Metcalf outfield assist was a far cooler play.
Michael Young did get three hits, which gives him 190 for the season. He needs 10 hits in the final 11 games to get to 200. The way he’s hitting, it doesn’t seem like it will be a problem, but one never knows for sure.
Also, this was our 81st loss of the season. If we still want to finish at .500 we have to run the table, and go 11-0 to close out the season. That is unlikely to happen. :)
Our “closer by committee” committee blew a pretty decent start by Edinson Volquez, who looks like he may have gotten his act together. We have seen guys pitch well in September and then stink up the joint the following season, so I’m not getting too excited about that.
Still, it was a good outing. Volquez went six innings, gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk. Struck out six. A pretty decent outing there. Hate to waste those. Bill White came in and pitched a decent shutout frame. That’s when our closer committee blew it. CJ Wilson gave up a run in the eighth, and Joaquin Benoit gave up two, including the walk off winner. Granted, one of Benoit’s was an unearned run, but that didn’t much matter. It was a run; we lost. Speaking of losing, we’re three games behind Oakland for third place. Reachable for sure, but that “gut feeling” again tells me it won’t happen. Sigh.
Offensively, we were lead by Guillermo Quiroz & Travis Metcalf. Both had two hits and an RBI. Metcalf had a double and a home run, scoring twice. The rest of our offense was pretty scattered. Between the remainder of the players, there were three hits and one RBI (Young).
As a side note, is it just me, or does Bill White have that “Jim Morris feeling“? I know that is not the case, but it just “feels” that way to me, even though my brain says it’s not.
I thought about just posting “Sigh” and nothing else for this game, but given my mindset on Saturday, I wanted to end the season with some real commentary, and not the cop-out of a one word commentary. ;)
Well, I wasn’t in much of a mood to watch baseball for two reasons:
1) That “I want to stop” post I made on Saturday
2) Football was on.
Still, I tuned in to the beginning of the game as I was flipping channels. The Rangers didn’t do much in the top of the first inning, but they did in the bottom. Or at least Padilla did. Yeah, we won, but this was probably the moment most people will remember.
It’s of course not as famous as this fight picture…
Or even a good a fight as this one from last year…
But for some reason, fights on a baseball field always fire up the crowd. Most people seem to think “headhunters” or guys who have a reptuation for throwing at people are a bad thing. I disagree. I like that. These fans who were against this were obviously never fans of old school baseball. Back in the day, most people pitched that way. And the hitters either just took it or fought. There was no whining about rules, and this and that. It was part of the game. A part that’s been lost. You think Roger Clemens doesn’t do this? Of course he does. I like this. It’s not like Chan Ho Park, who hit people by accident. This is message baseball, something that we need more of.
As for the game itself, it was a big back and forth game. I did see the six run top of the second, which was cool to watch. I did not see the five run bottom of the third, which would have not been cool to watch, had I seen it. We traded singles in the fourth and fifth, and we went into the top of the 8th down one run.
Michael Young took care of that with a grand slam in the top of the eighth. I didn’t see that, either. Shame, but I was on football then. He came close to a cycle as well, missing the hardest one; the triple.
As is the case with a game that had 20 combined runs and 21 combined hits, there wasn’t much in the way of great pitching – the box score confirms that.
The Rangers lost this game to Oakland. It’s now their fifth loss in a row, and are now 4 games behind Oakland for escaping the basement in the AL West. Looks kinda bleak, doesn’t it?
The sad part is that TV didn’t even care. This game wasn’t broadcast in the Metroplex. I don’t understand that. There’s 162 games in the season. If we were one of these teams with crappy TV coverage like the Montreal Expos used to have where only a handful of games were on a season, I’d understand it. But not the Rangers. We either have 162 or close to it every year. I believe this was the only scheduled non TV game of the season. So what’s the deal with this one? Why was this date so special that it didn’t get on TV. We broadcast 161 other games (plus the 2 or 3 from Spring), so why not this last one? Doesn’t make any sense to me to schedule 161 of the 162 games. Someone please explain that to me.
Oh yeah, the game itself. After my post of earlier today, I’m not in the mood to write about game particulars.
I’ll make this short, because this game made me mad.
Their big inning (7) was better than our big inning (6), and that made the difference. Sigh.
We went into this series one game behind Oakland for third place. Lost the first two. Now down by three. If we lose one of the remaining two games, I say it’s done, we’re in the basement. Oh sure, mathematically we aren’t out, but that “gut feeling” says it’s over if we lose any more to Oakland this weekend, as Saturday and Sunday are the only games left against them directly all season.
As the season draws to a close, it’s getting hard to get motivated to write about games like this. I still like the team, and still care, but another season like this means that game numbers above say 135 are ones I’m less inclined to write about. Sometimes I’m tempted to go “Ah they lost. If you’re reading this, then you probably know why already anyway”. Still, I didn’t want to quit on the season, so I’ll have a few words to say:
Kevin Millwood started the game, and coming into this series, I felt good about our chances of passing Oakland and staying out of the basement. Early on though it didn’t seem like that was a possibility. We went down 2-0 in the first inning, and then 4-1 after three, and then 6-1 after five. Blech. Seen this story before. Rangers starter struggles, gives up a bunch of runs, team can’t come back. I’d expect that from youngsters, but not Kevin Millwood – a veteran. He just looked flat. 92 pitches in 4.2 innings, 8 hits, 3 walks, 6 earned runs. Very Mark Clark like. On the positive side, our bullpen didn’t give up any more in their 3.1 innings of work.
We did try and come back late though. After a mostly sleepy offense which generated just one run through six innings, we got some offense going in the seventh. Single, double, single resulted in the first run. Then Ian Kinsler was hit by a pitch, and Michael Young doubled home the other two runs. Was kind of a bang-bang sequence, not a long buildup of 10 pitch at bats and just singles. Kind of happened in a hurry, if you take out a pitching change in the middle.
But it wasn’t enough. It got us close, but the scoring was over at that point. Another loss. Sigh.
I didn’t see this game at all, as it was on during my bowling league night. There was a TV on about two lanes away from us, so I would peek at it, but it was so disjointed I can’t say I watched it at all. :) But from looking at the box score, this one can be summed up as..
Justin Verlander was better than Edinson Volquez. Of course that’s not a completely fair assessment, but I’d like one of our young pitchers to come up and get 17 wins in his first two full seasons as well – that always seems to happen to other teams, not us. Verlander pretty much shut us down for the game.
Michael Young got two hits. Needs 21 to get to 200. 16 games left. Better get a couple more multi hit games in a hurry. A 5-5 game would help too. :)
I’m going to let this one go without further comment, as there isn’t much else to say. We now head to Oakland for a four game series which very well could determine third place in our division – them or us. We’re one game behind them going in.
Anyone think McCarthy was rushed back for this? At this point in the season, there’s little to be gained from coming back off the DL just to make a start in a lost season. If he was not feeling great, than maybe starting this game wasn’t a great idea. He didn’t even get out of the first inning, giving up 3 hits, three runs and a walk. Not good by any stretch.
Jamey Wright followed and pitched a “quality start” in relief, going six innings, giving up one earned run on four hits and 2 walks. Struck out three. That’s a pretty decent start. I’m starting to wonder if he’ll be brought back next year to compete for the rotation, or if he’ll try and parlay his relatively decent (if not great) season here into a bigger paycheck and a guarantee elsewhere. Wouldn’t be the first time something like that happened (Gary Matthews, anyone?) Wes Littleton cleaned up, going the final 1.1 innings, and didn’t give up any runs.
After very few singles in game one, that’s all we got in game two. Seven singles. Four by the first two batters, so it was a spread out offense (aka silent). The only run we got was on a sacrifice fly by Marlon Byrd. Was a pretty flat offense.
That’s usually attributable to the opposing pitcher. The Tigers threw a guy who I think holds the record for most “J’s” in his name. ;) That would be Jarr Jurrjens. He threw five innings, giving up just three hits and one run. In fact, he left the game with only 72 pitches, I wonder why he was cut short. His line indicates he didn’t really need to come out. The rest of the Detroit pen combined for four innings of shutout ball.
Hard to come back against that.
Game one of the doubleheader in Detroit went pretty well.
Vicente Padilla took the hill for us, and was pretty decent, given his rather sub par 2007 season as a whole. Pidente’s line was six innings, three hits, no runs, three walks and six strikeouts. 99 pitches in all. Pretty good line. Mike Wood followed, and gave up the brunt of the Detroit offense in a rather poor looking line. 1.2 innings, 6 hits 5 earned runs, and one strikeout. Not good. AJ Murray was the only other pitcher we used, and he went 1.1 innings, and gave up the the final Detroit run.
Offensively, this game was all about the longball. We hit seven of them. That I believe breaks a club record for most home runs in a road game. I think that’s what I heard Eric & Vic say during the broadcast. David Murphy had one, Marlon Byrd had two, Jarrod Saltamacchia had one, Ramon Vazquez one, Hank Blalock had one, and finally Freddy Guzman had one. That was Guzman’s first major league home run, too. What’s amusing is that Guzman had taken over for Byrd in center, so that was three jacks from the CF position.
In all, of the 14 hits we had total, 11 of them were extra base hits. Just three singles in all this. Which is a nice segway into…
David Murphy almost got a cycle. He did have a shot, he needed just the single, and was up, but struck out. At least he got the chance, unlike Cat the other day. Speaking of Murphy, he’s starting to look like a realistic candidate to be a regular player next year. He’s certainly taken advantage of his late season opportunity. He definitely seems like a more realistic option than Nelson Cruz, or perhaps even Marlon Byrd. Problem with that is that Cruz has a friggin cannon of an arm, and Byrd seems to have become a fan favorite. Heck, he’s doing a lot better than Jason Botts. Anyway, Murphy looks like a good bet to be around for awhile.
It’s a weird time. It’s that time of year when I get burnt out from writing about the Rangers, mostly because of all the losses. It’s the start of football season, and while I’m a baseball fan first, you can’t not be excited about Week 1 in the NFL. Which is what I spent most of this day watching. I only briefly watched the Rangers game, and saw little of it. However, this is an exciting time, as we’ve been playing very well the last two months or so, have decent to OK pitching (if not awesome), and have an outside shot at ending the season at .500.
But this game was cool, because it was a sweep of a division rival, and we ended up tied for third after the game was over. For the first time in quite awhile (sometime in May I think), we weren’t in sole possession of last place. We do have an off day tomorrow, so if Oakland wins on Monday, we’re right back in the cellar, but they do seem to be in a bit of a free fall, so I think it’s a fairly realistic option that we end up in third this year.
Anyway, as I said above, I didn’t see much of this game. But it did seem like one of those games in the rain that was a mess in more ways than one. The Rangers had three errors, (which I’m sure contributed to the four unearned runs that John Rheinecker gave up), and 13 hits. This was not a fast moving game at all (4:08 in all, including a 90 minute rain delay), and while the actual game time wasn’t too bad for a 21 run, 22 hit game, it just felt like it went on for 10 hours.
One of the parts, and it was the biggest part I did get to see was the eight inning outburst in the second. The home run by Sammy Sosa was seemingly vintage 90′s Sosa. It was a titanic shot into the club level. I still dispute that those home runs only went 440 feet up there. It seems like it would be a lot further than that. Nelson Cruz had three hits, Sammy Sosa had three hits, Young & Botts had two, and the remaining three hits were split between Hairston, Byrd, & Laird. Sosa continues to deliver when asked to, and really has been a surprise this season. No, he’s not gonna hit 60 home runs anymore with 135 RBI, but if you had said when we first signed him that he’d have 19 home runs and 83 RBI, I think most of us would be satisfied with that.
Combined the two teams used 13 pitchers. That kind of thing happens in rain delayed 20+ run games. :) In fact, of all those pitchers, the only pitcher to pitch more than two innings was old Rangers friend Colby Lewis, who tossed four for the A’s. Bill White for the Rangers threw two, and everyone else was less than that. Lots of trips to the mound. :)
Hopefully we can keep the momentum going (we have won 5 in a row now) into Detroit where we have a doubleheader on Tuesday.
Michael Young Watch: 175 hits. 25 hits needed in 20 games.
Well, Kason Gabbard was supposed to start this game, but did not due to a blister. So the Rangers tossed out there Luis Mendoza, who made his major league debut in this game. Mendoza came over from the Red Sox last year in one of those trades that at the time made the majority of Ranger fans go “Huh?” I’m sure Jamey Newberg probably liked it, because I don’t think the lowest guy in rookie ball can change his choice of breakfast cereal without Jamey knowing it. However, most of the rest of us probably didn’t think much of this deadline deal when it was made last summer, if they even remember it at all. BTW, here is a press release announcing it last summer.
The kid did pretty well. Just two hits, and no runs with no walks. No strikeouts, either. Unfortunately, he only pitched two innings. This was because he got wailed on in the leg by a batted ball, and was down on the ground for a bit. He did finish the inning, but was unable to come back for the third. You kind of felt bad for him, as he was doing pretty decently, and from the short sample, seemed in line to get his first major league win in his first major league start. You have to feel bad for someone when something like that happens.
Anyway, he was followed on the hill by AJ Murray who did pretty well until the back end of his three innings in relief. In all, Murray gave up two runs in three innings on 3 hits and a walk. He was followed by Mike Wood, John Rheinecker, & Wes Littleton. Rheneicker gave up one run, but it was unearned on an error by Michael Young. I’d say we had a really good combined line for all our pitchers tonight.
Offensively, we got to Chad Gaudin for 6 runs on 10 hits. Gaudin was great in the early part of the season, but not now. I dropped him a month ago or so from several fantasy teams I had him on. The Rangers had two solo home runs in this game (Kinsler & Blalock). Blalock’s was a no doubter into right. Kinsler’s was not so sure – it barely cleared the wall, but it did prompt a funny clip with the woman who ended up with the ball; Victor & Tom certainly enjoyed that clip. Byrd & Blalock both had three hits, and Kinsler had two. The remaining five hits the Rangers got were all spread out over five other players. One of them was Michael Young, who is now at 173 hits, needing 27 in 21 games to get to 200 again. Reachable, but any kind of injury or slump will kill that.
If we sweep the A’s tomorrow, we’ll finish the series tied with them for third place. Four more games remain on the schedule with them after this series. So it could be interesting. Be a minor victory to not remain in the basement – we’ve been there since some time in early May, I believe.
Short and sweet update.
Edinson Volquez looked like what he was touted to be when everyone was touting the “DVD” pitchers.
Frank Catalanotto shouldn’t have been pinch hit for, despite the righty/lefty thing. He deserved the shot at history.
Cat had a great night, and fueled our offense. Nice to see after the horrid start to the season he had.
This is the kind of game that Ron Washington has said he loves to see. Well pitched, close, and a more traditional kind of game than the slugfest, no pitching contests we seem to still get into way too much year after year.
It started with Vicente Padilla, who looked a lot like the 2006 version of himself, not the guy who has been wearing #44 most of the year in 2007. Padilla went 6, giving up no runs on just two hits. He walked two and struck out five. Only tossed ninety balls – probably could have gone more, not sure why he came out when he did. Wes Littleton followed, and wasn’t as good, going less than an inning (0.2), and giving up the two KC runs on a home run ball hit by John Buck, the KC catcher. Littleton was followed by Bill White, the surprising September callup, who made his major league debut this game, going 0.2 innings, striking out one, and giving up one hit. But no runs. A nice performance for Bill. Ranger pitching was closed down by Jamey Wright, and Joaquin Benoit, who got the save. Rather well pitched game in all. Nine innings, six hits, two runs, two walks, seven strikeouts. Nice combined line.
The Rangers didn’t have a lot of offense either, but got it when it counted. In all we had just six hits, and all were singles, except one. Catalanotto had one, Young had two, Wilkerson had one, and Blalock had two. Blalock had the only non single hit; a double.
As Wash likes, a nice low scoring game that the Rangers cam out on top of.
The game just ended. I’ll have more to say later. But since I was online, I thought I’d post a marker now. :)
Edit: Don’t have time to write today at work, again too busy.