G162: Season ends with 7-0 loss to Angels

After the first two games in this series, Rangers fans (at least the ones still watching) got excited, we beat the two best pitchers the Angels had. Could we three peat that? No, the local team went out there and reminded you that they’re the Texas Rangers and not the Anaheim Angels.
Joe Saunders pitched the way I thought Lackey & Santana would. Six innings, two hits, no runs, no walks, and nine strikeouts. The three innings tossed by the three Angels relievers were no different. No more runs, and just one hit in all that, too.
So yeah, we acted like the Texas Rangers in a shutout tossed against us. This put an exclamation point on the 2008 season, I would think.

G161: Rangers beat Angels again, 8-4

OK, last night we beat John Lackey. Tonight we’re up against Ervin Santana, another pitcher who we never seem to be able to beat. Couldn’t pull that off twice, could we? Yes we could.
In another surprising turn of events, the Rangers beat the Angels 8-4 behind Scott “We’re reducing your workload” Feldman. Scott had a pretty good outing. Went six, gave up just one earned run (two overall) on five hits, two strikeouts, and no walks. He too is probably a real candidate to start the 2009 season in the rotation. He was pretty efficient with pitchers too, just throwing 82 over his six innings. Probably pulled him so others could get some work at the tail end of the season. I mean, they [b][i]ARE[/i][/b] trying to reduce his workload, you know.
The other side of the coin brought a second straight bad performance by an Angel starter not known for them. Ervin Santana went 5.2 innings, giving up 10 hits and one walk for eight runs. Not even close to being good there. We didn’t have a massive inning – in fact, our runs were scored over three frames. One in the third, three in the second, and four in the sixth.
The biggest point I suppose of the offense was the fact that we broke the major league doubles record. Hank Blalock did the deed, giving us the record, and then Chris Davis added one on later on. On top of that, the Rangers passed 900 runs scored for the season for just the fourth time in franchise history. If that wasn’t good enough, Josh Hamilton regained the lead in RBI’s in the American League, with two on Saturday night.

G160: Rangers bomb Lackey & Angels, win 12-1

Whie Vicente Padilla has been a pretty decent pitcher this year, I don’t think anyone expected him to beat John Lackey. This is a guy that normally beats us (at least it feels that way). So I think it was rather a big surprise when the Rangers unloaded on Lackey, especially after the way we were mowed down the last time we faced him. Look at this:
Lackey on Sep 21st:
6IP, 0ER, 2H, 3BB, 12K, 110P
Lackey on Sep 28th:
2.2IP, 10ER, 12H, 2BB, 1K, 73P
That’s a major difference. I was quite surprised when we started unloading on John Lackey, you just don’t do that. It was so bad that in the third or fourth innings, every single Angel position player was changed. Only one player remained, and he changed position, but the eight other defenders in the field were different players. That really felt like a game played in March, not in late September.
It was bad (for Anaheim). Every Rangers starter got in on the hit parade. We had 19 in all. Six doubles, one triple, two home runs, and a pile of singles. The Rangers scored one in the first, seven in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth, and that was actually it. All the scoring was in the first four innings. However, the six doubles were notable as they tied an all time major league record. They now have 373 doubles for the season, which ties the 1930 Cardinals, and the 1997 and 2004 Red Sox for the all time lead. Given we still have two games left, one would think breaking the record would not be a problem. :)
The Rangers staff was quite good today, but that pretty much got overlooked by Lackey’s (lack of) performance. Combined, the Rangers pitchers went 9 innings, gave up just five hits, and one run on five walks, and ten strikeouts. It’s the kind of performance that wins you a lot of games, but it’s the kind of performance the Texas Rangers don’t normally get a lot of.
The win did clinch second place for the Rangers in 2008, something that the Rangers have never actually done, since the alignment went to a four team AL West.
Why o Why could we not do this more often than not during the season?

G159: Rangers blow out A’s 14-4

In the final game of the season against Oakland, we got out the whipping sticks and trashed ’em, 14-4.
The Texas scoring got started with a big three run home run for Hank Blalock, who has homers now in like three or four games in a row. We pushed across two more runs in the fourth with several singles, but then the big can of whoop-ass came out. This would be the bottom of the sixth when we scored eight runs. This is another one of those innings where I’ll just post the text from the play by play from the game.

Rangers 6th (Rangers 13, Athletics 2) — H. Blalock hit by pitch. N. Cruz hits a home run to left-center field on a 0-0 pitch, H. Blalock scores. Pitcher Change: S. Casilla replaces D. Eveland. G. Laird walks. T. Metcalf doubles down the left-field line, G. Laird scores. With G. Duran batting, wild pitch by S. Casilla, T. Metcalf to 3rd. G. Duran singles to left field, T. Metcalf scores. M. Young doubles to right-center field, G. Duran to 3rd. Pitcher Change: J. Gray replaces S. Casilla. J. Hamilton doubles to left field, G. Duran scores; M. Young scores. M. Bradley doubles to left-center field, J. Hamilton scores. M. Byrd grounds out, B. Crosby to D. Barton, M. Bradley to 3rd. H. Blalock singles to left-center field, M. Bradley scores. N. Cruz flies out to T. Buck. G. Laird grounds out, D. Barton to J. Gray. (8 Runs, 7 Hits, 0 Errors, 1 LOB)

Seventeen hits, five doubles, three home runs (Blalock, Cruz, Metcalf), nine singles, that’s a lot of offense. Mike Young went 4-4, and six guys had two hits each. Was a lot of bat swinging going on. Just check out the box score, it’s all there!
On the pitching side, Matt Harrison made his final start of the year, and came away with his ninth win. This I think makes him a serious candidate for the 2009 opening day rotation. I don’t see how you can not include him. Matt was pretty good, going six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts. He’s turning out to be a great pickup. Not that we didn’t expect it from what was said when we acquired him, but it is definitely nice to actually SEE one of these deals work for us, instead of for someone else.

G158: Rangers retake 2nd place with 6-4 win over A’s

This game was pretty much evenly matched for quite awhile. Was 1-1 after 2, 3-3 after two, and then a pile of zeroes. The A’s put up a run in the seventh, and then we retook the lead, retook second place as well.
Dustin Nippert took the hill today, and was “meh”. I’ve written how surprised I was with his pitching the second time around, and this looks like a downswing, although it is his last appearance of the season, so it will probably weigh heavy. Dustin went 6.1 innings, gave up six hits, four earned runs, on three walks and four strikeouts. Two of the six hits were home runs (Jack Cust, Joe Buck), so he was done in by the longball. Our pen (Wright, Madrigal, Francisco) was pretty good, going 2.2 innings, combining for zero hits, zero runs, and zero walks. That was an nice performance.
Offensively, the big shot was a two run home run by Hank Blalock, whose shot came in the bottom of the seventh, and gave us the lead we never relinquished. We had several guys with multiple hits. One had three (Bradley), and four guys had two (Young, Byrd, Blalock, & Cruz). Three were doubles, and all the rest (save for Hank’s HR) were singles. Of the starters, only Laird & Metcalf had no hits.
Was a pretty nice come from behind win to retake second place in the division.

G157: Rangers lose in 11 to A’s, 4-3

The Rangers lost a good performance by Kevin Millwood in this one. Kevin went seven innings, allowed just two earned runs (one unearned). Few too many hits (eight), and just one walk. Six strikeouts. Pretty good performance. He’s actually been pretty decent since his last stint on the DL. I don’t think he’s ever going to be the guy he was that one year in Cleveland while wearing Texas on his chest, but this end of year Millwood is a decent one. if only it could be harnessed all season, he’d be pretty darned good.
Hank Blalock continues to tear it up late this year, making people (myself included) if it actually might not be a bad idea to keep him in 2009. I know a lot has been said about we have other pieces we can use instead of Hank, but it now feels like he’ll still be here in 2009 to me. Question is, first or third?
Hank led the offense with a 3-5 night, and two runs scored. However, the big blow was a home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Frank Catalanotto got a triple (!) in a pinch hit role, and both German Duran & Milton Bradley had two hits. All the rest of our hits were scattered, with nobody getting more than one. 11 in all, we had one double, one triple, one home run, and eight singles.
Oakland played the carousel, using seven pitchers in all. Texas used five.
There was a lot of seesaw action early on. Rangers up 1-0, A’s up 2-1, Tied 2-2, A’s up 3-2 after the top of the third. Stayed that way for quite a long time, when the Rangers finally tied the game in the bottom of the ninth. However, Luis Mendoza gave up the winning run to the A’s in the top of the 11th, and we couldn’t tie it again.
Oh well. This did knock us out of second place, bit of a bummer there, everyone appeared to have assumed we were a lock for second place.

G156: Rangers lose to Angels again by same score, 7-3

When you’re doing recaps for games a week after they happen, and you see the same score two days in a row, it always makes you think, “Now wait, that can’t be right”. Not near impossible, but the same score two days in a row to the same team usually doesn’t happen. That’s what happened here.
Despite our scoring three runs, this game was dominated by John Lackey. He didn’t even allow a hit until the fifth inning, and in his six innings of work overall, he struck out 12 Rangers. Gave up three walks and two hits, and no runs at all. It was quite the dominating performance, one we’ve seen from him many times in Arlington. I was there in person when he made his major league debut a few years back, and recalled then thinking this guy is going to be some kind of spectacular. If there was a downside to his game, it was that he wasn’t efficient. He threw six innings, but also tossed 110 pitches. That’s been a major plus to the 2008 Rangers, they’re acting like the late 90’s Yankees, or the A’s. Take a lot. This is a good thing, and as I recall one of the things Ron Washington said he wanted to instill in our hitters when he took over as manager. Glad to see it is taking hold.
We had six hits in all. Two by Teagarden (one a double), two by Blalock (one a double), and just one hit each by Marlon Byrd (double), and Milton Bradley. That’s it. The fact we managed to score three runs at all was a testament to efficiency. That and Mark Bulger’s lack of command in relief, leading to the three runs all coming in the bottom of the ninth, making things a bit exciting there.
But this really was John Lackey’s game. Simple as that.
Oh yeah, Scott Feldman is out of gas. They better start limiting his pitches.

G155: Rangers drop another to Anaheim, 7-3

Vicente Padilla got into the seventh, but really didn’t pitch that well. His official line was 6 innings pitched, seven hits, five earned runs, and three walks. Not terribly great. Also gave up a two run home run to Garret Anderson. On top of that, he did throw two wild pitches.
Offensively we had five more doubles (and five singles). Hank Blalock led the way, going 4-4 with an RBI and a run scored. He’s been on fire lately.
There really isn’t a whole lot to write about this game. Fairly “meh” game.

G154: Rangers lose 15-13. Fans sigh.

Whenever I see a score like this, I am reminded of a game I’ve spoken of a few times over the years on this site. The Phillies / Cubs game from the late 70’s where the Phils beat the Cubs 23-22. You’d think 13 runs would be enough to win the game. Not this time.
First off, I had tickets to this game, but could not go. I’ve been hurt lately, I had an X-Ray and now an MRI on my knee, so the walk from parking to my seat and all that would have been too much pain. So I stayed home. Rangers lost, but I certainly would have seen an entertaining game, had I been able to go.
We were down 7-0 going into the bottom of the third, and then we unloaded with a nine spot in the bottom of the third. Not long after that, the Angels put up a five spot, followed by a three run bottom of the fifth, so there was little pitching in the first five innings, as the score at that point was 13-12 Anaheim, and we hadn’t gotten to the sixth yet!
In the final four innings, the Angels outscored Texas 2-1 in the final four frames. I’m not even going into details as to pitchers and batters. It was just scoring all over the place. If you want that level of detail, hit the MLB Recap link at the top of this story. :)