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G137: Angels squeak by Rangers, win 4-3

Scott Feldman continues to prove that he’s someone who probably deserves a serious look in 2009, and should be considered before some other (external) options. His game tonight was not one of his best, but at a point of his season where he is past a place where he was supposed to have been shut down (or moved to the pen), he continues to pitch fairly well. And that wasn’t a runon sentence. He went six innings this night, gave up four earned runs on eight hits and one walk. The power wasn’t there for the Angels, they had just two extra base hits this game, both doubles. But it was enough.
Jered Weaver pitched for the Angels, and pitched into the sixth, but left after the first two batters. He was let down by his reliever Jose Arredondo, who allowed two inherited runners to score, accounting for two of the three earned runs on Weaver’s card.
Offensively, the Rangers managed just seven hits the whole game. Six of them were singles, and one was a double (Blalock).
Michael Young 200 watch: One hit.

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G136: Rangers lose low scoring affair to Angels, 3-1

Scores like 3-1 mean somebody pitched well. That’s what happened here. Anaheim’s starter was Ervin Santana, and he eight eight strong innings. He allowed just five hits and one walk. Just one run, too. It’s hard to top that.
Dustin Nippert made the start in place of Vicente Padilla, and was “OK”. Not bad, and not great. His overall line was 5.1 innings, with five hits and three earned runs. Thing is, most of that happend right at the end. He was great through five, keeping the Angels off the board totally. He just ran out of gas in the sixth, and the Angels got to him.
Still, 3-1 isn’t the worst score you could lose by. Yeah, a loss is a loss, but 3-1 is less disheartening as say 17-3 would be.

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G135: Bullpen blows it in 7-5 loss to Angels

The Rangers got off to a great start, a 4-0 lead to open the first inning in support of Brandon McCarthy. Unfortunately, that was our best moment offensively. We did pick up a single run in the fourth, but that was it for our offense.
We held the lead for quite awhile. Brandon McCarthy looked good again, and one HOPES that he has figured it out. HOPES being the key word there. Brandon threw 6 innings in all, giving up just one earned run (one unearned, too). Just one walk, and six hits. Not too shabby.
Thing is, our bullpen (mostly Jamey Wright) gave up a big ol’ ugly five spot in the bottom of the 8th, which of course brought on Frankie Rodriguez. Bleh. We did look really good for most of the game, holding the Angels in check, and being powered by home runs from Milton Bradley & Crush Davis, but the bottom of the 8th kind of wiped out that good feeling.

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G134: Rangers sweep Royals (!) with 3-2 win

HOLY CRAP! It’s a game played on August 27th, and it’s the first time all season I’ve been able to use that graphic. I’ve been using it on my site for years, but for the first time in 2008, it gets broken out. That’s kind of sad, actually.
This was the second straight game with a pitcher’s duel. Yesterday it was Millwood & Greinke. This game it was Matt Harrison & Brian Bannister. Harrison pitched into the 8th inning, and gave up two runs (just one earned). Bannister went into the 7th, and gave up three runs (two earned). Both pitched well. KC was done in again by an unearned run, which proved to be the difference maker.
This game was almost all Brandon Boggs (2-4, HR), Chris Davis (2-4, 2B), & Jarrod Saltamacchia (3-4, 2 2B). These guys had all our hits, except two.
The more amazing thing was a sweep – in Kansas City!

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G133: Millwood beats Greinke 2-1 in KC pitchers’ duel

Even if I wasn’t writing short entries for this week, there wouldn’t be a ton to talk about with this one. It was the Kevin Millwood show. He dominated KC, giving up just one run in his 94 pitch complete game win. That makes two straight complete games for a Rangers pitcher – when the heck was the last time THAT happened?
Funny thing is that Zack Greinke pitched better than Millwood did because he allowed no earned runs. Neither did any other Royals’ pitcher. The two runs the Rangers got were both unearned.
You feel bad for a pitcher when they give up no earned runs, and still lose the game. But not enough to not feel glad about the performance Millwood gave. Was spectacular. There’s been some talk he might be traded to Boston before Sep 1, but I can’t see that happening. If he stays, one gets the feeling we wouldn’t see this Millwood in April, unfortunately. :(

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G132: Rangers and Nelson Cruz beat KC, 9-4

Short commentary, I’m in catch up mode after a week of not doing updates..
The Rangers hit Kansas City, a town that despite how bad the Royals have been, it’s a town where the Rangers have issues winning. This time, however was different. Nelson Cruz finally made it to the majors this year, and continued his torrid pace in the minors this year. Cruz went 3-5 with three RBI’s, missing just the triple for the cycle. Was definitely his night.
Actually, given how many hits we had (19) you would have thought we would have scored more than nine runs. 19 hits usually means double digits in runs. Oh well, I’ll take the win, since we usually don’t get a ton of them in KC.
Scott Feldman got the win, going seven innings, giving up eight hits, but no walks. Two earned runs (three overall). Good win.

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G131: Rangers swept by Indians with 4-3 loss on Sunday

No time to comment. Starting to burn out on this repeat of April in August, as wel.

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G130: Rangers drop second one to Indians, 8-7

No time to comment. Starting to burn out on this repeat of April in August, as wel.

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G129: Texas opens Indians series with 7-5 loss

I did not see or hear any of this game. I was down at the Starplex watching Black Sabbath play (they currently go by the name Heaven & Hell, they’re with Dio again). Due to this, I’ll skip all commentary on the game, as I need to recover from the concert. :) I don’t know if you know, but I do Black Sabbath’s website too – you can see it here: http://www.black-sabbath.com. Doing that affords me the luxury of doing things like watching the gig from on stage. Here was my vantage point. :)

So yeah, I missed Hank Blalock’s debut at first base. I was busy backstage with the band after the show, so by the time I finally got back home, I was in no shape to start watching a Texas Rangers game. :)

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G128: Rangers power and pitching lead to 9-1 win over Tigers

This game has two big things which would sum it up.
First was the pitching performance by Kevin Millwood. Kevin got a complete game victory, something rare in baseball these days. He looked good, scattering six hits over his nine innings. Only helped out the Tigers once (his lone walk), and struck out four. No Tiger had more than one hit, although four of the six hits were extra base jobs. I was there in person, and the performance by Millwood just seemed to blend into the background. I was’t overwhelmed, nor was I bored. Of course, I was there with some friends, so my talking might have gotten in the way of my baseball perceptions.
However, the big story was the power. We had six home runs total. Only one of them was not a solo shot. That was Travis Metcalf’s home run in the second – there was one runner for that one. However, we had five more solo shots, including two different back to back shots. The six home runs were by Travis Metcalf (two), Brandon Boggs, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, & Milton Bradley. Nice fun night to be there, and actually is the first home game win I’ve been to this year.
A few other random notes..
The Rangers six shooters make me feel old. They sat down next to me at one point waiting for the time to go dance on the dugout. Wow, I’m probably double the age of every one of them. That was helped by the fact that I thought I was old enough to be all of their fathers from the looks of it. Plus I turned 43 today, which made it even more “fun”.
The smoke from a Josh Hamilton home run hovered over the home plate area for quite awhile. Normally fireworks smoke blows away, but this one came to home plate, and just hovered there. I had major flashbacks to the original Star Trek episode Obsession where Capt Kirk is hell bent on destroying a cloud that was going around killing people.
The crowd wasn’t terribly large, but it didn’t seem to go anywhere, either. Guess six home runs will do that. :)
Driving out, I wasn’t sure if the game was even going to be played. Came out from Garland where it was nice and sunny. Once I got past the big post office just west of Dallas, I ran into a major rain storm in Grand Prairie. It was nuts, I couldn’t see two cars in front of me. Got to the ballpark, and it was nice and blue skies again. I know Texas weather can do things like that, but it was like three different types of weather.
Nice to have the Rangers back in town on August 20th. Since I was a little kid, I’ve had this tradition about going to a baseball game on my birthday. When they’re not in town, I pick the next closest calendar date. But August 20th has been out of town for many years now.

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G127: Texas drops to 3 games under .500 with 11-3 loss

Vicente Padilla started this game, and for the first six innings, looked like the good Padilla we’ve seen for the majority of 2008. Then the seventh inning showed up, which was the same place the Rangers fell apart last night, too.
Vicente Padilla & Warner Madrigal gave up a big time stinky pile of… in the seventh. The Tigers scored nine times. Was one of those stupid ugly moments, so I’ll post the play by play..

Tigers 7th (Tigers 10, Rangers 3) — C. Guillen walks. G. Sheffield singles to shallow center field, C. Guillen to 3rd. M. Joyce hits a home run to right field on a 1-2 pitch, C. Guillen scores; G. Sheffield scores. E. Renteria hits a home run to right-center field on a 2-1 pitch. Pitcher Change: W. Madrigal replaces V. Padilla. B. Inge strikes out swinging. C. Granderson walks. R. Santiago singles to center field, C. Granderson to 3rd. M. Ordonez singles to left field, C. Granderson scores; R. Santiago to 3rd. M. Cabrera grounds into a force out, M. Young to J. Arias, R. Santiago scores; M. Ordonez out at 2nd. C. Guillen singles to center field, M. Cabrera to 3rd. G. Sheffield walks, C. Guillen to 2nd. M. Joyce reaches on fielding error by J. Hamilton, M. Cabrera scores; C. Guillen scores; G. Sheffield scores; M. Joyce to 2nd. Pitcher Change: J. Rupe replaces W. Madrigal. E. Renteria lines out to J. Hamilton. (9 Runs, 6 Hits, 1 Errors, 1 LOB)

The only real good moment of the game was a three run home run by Chris Davis, who accounted for all the Rangers offense with that swing of the bat. We ran into our old (brief) friend Armando Galarraga. Take away Davis’ home run, and Armando gave up no other runs, just those three, and looked pretty darned good.
I missed most of this game, fortunately I did not see the carnage in the 7th, but I did see Davis’ home run.
Again. Meh.

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G126: Rangers lose opening game to Detroit, 8-7

The Rangers had 12 hits in all. Six of them were doubles. That’s one of the few completely consistent stats we have this year. We’re leading the universe in doubles. Wasn’t enough.
Scott Feldman started, and technically thew a quality start (6IP, 5H, 3ER, 4BB), but it didn’t feel like it. At least I don’t remember it going that way as I write about the game three days later. Scott only had 94 pitches when he was taken out, but was apparently out of gas. His line shows six innings pitched, but he did give up three earned runs. Those were all in the seventh. That was the start of a couple of ugly innings, as the Rangers game up four spots in two consecutive innings. The second four were all unearned on the card of Jamey Wright. Those were due to a big ol’ ugly error by Travis Metcalf leading to four unearned runs.
Offensively, there were the aforementioned six doubles, and the other six hits were all singles. The four we got in the bottom of the eighth was a morale booster, but the game just find of felt “gone” after we went down 8-3 in the top of the eighth.
Meh.

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G125: Rangers drop finale to Rays, 7-4

No time to write this one.

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G124: Rangers break losing streak behind 3-0 Harrison gem

First off, I didn’t see any of this game, so I can’t tell you how Matt Harrison’s pitches were looking. Didn’t listen, either. I was out at a Grand Prairie AirHogs game. Was the first one of those I attended. Was a nice little place, but given that I didn’t get home till about 11PM, I wasn’t about to START watching the Rangers game, so I just checked out the score.
What’s funny is on the ride out to the AirHogs game, I was discussing the Rangers pitching staff with the other guys in the car. I found myself preaching the line of “Well, you can’t just throw any old kid out thre and expect them to go 13-4 with a 3.16 ERA. They’re going to have 3-4 outings where their ERA is 18+, then one absolute gem. We got one of the gems tonight from Matt Harrison. Eight innings, three hits, NO WALKS, and eight strikeouts. Was a very spectacular outing. Which was needed, because our offense wasn’t terribly special, although we led from the first pitch of the game, a big home run ball by Ian Kinsler.
Random note. If Michael Young wants another 200 hit season, he has to go on a tear. He needs 55 hits in the 38 remaining games. Not impossible mind you, but he needs more 3-4 games than 1-4′s the way out. A lot of them.
To wrap it up.. Tom Hicks could learn a lesson from the AirHogs. FREE PARKING!

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G123: Rangers look sad in 7-0 loss, drop below .500 again

After our playoff hopes effectively died in Boston, we limped home, hoping that Kevin Millwood’s return from the DL would make a change, coupled with being at home.
Nope.
They were just as bad as they were on the road. Well… It’s not totally our fault. Matt Garza pitched a whale of a game. A complete game, 119 pitch, two hit shutout of Texas. It probably should have been just one hit, there was a play by the centerfielder that I thought should have been an error. At the minimum it was a rather rough call for the official scorer. Yeah, we have a few guys who can hit, but anyone knows you can be totally shut down by a pitching performance like that.
This makes two consecutive games we were shut out. 7-0 this game, and 10-0 in Boston. To add extra flavor that thought, the last home game before this one was a 3-0 loss to the Yankees, as well. :(
It feels like April again.

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G122: Rangers stink it up something awful, lose to Red Sox 10-0

Anyone who has been watching my site for awhile has seen this graphic before. However, I think it’s time to update it for the 2008 season. I would like to think this applies. While you’re at it, take a listen to this wav file from the Simpsons. It too applies.

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G121: Rangers lose to Boston again, 8-4

No time to write about this game, got too busy with other projects.

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G120: Rangers suffer epic loss to Red Sox, 19-17

No time to write about this game, got too busy with other projects. I will add this picture, though.

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G119: Rangers unload on Orioles, win finale 15-7

No time to write about this game, got too busy with other projects.

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G118: Rangers still not in Baltimore apparently; lose 9-0

Nope, I think the team still didn’t find it’s way to Baltimore, and the same imposters that were playing in their uniforms were out at Camden Yards getting mashed by the Orioles on Saturday night.
Unconfirmed rumors that the team was at the Aquarium in the Inner Harbor at game time could not be confirmed.

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G117: Rangers still apparently in TX during 9-1 loss in Baltimore

I’m not sure exactly what time the Rangers’ charter plane took off from the Metroplex on Thursday night for their destination in Baltimore, but apparently, the Texas Rangers team wasn’t on it. Oh, some guys were in Oriole Park wearing the Rangers’ uniform, but the actual team did not appear to be there. Whoever was wearing the uniforms were lethargic, they didn’t pitch well, and just generally looked like they were half asleep.
The guys wearing the Rangers’ uniforms got just six hits against Jeremy Guthrie. Two were by the guy wearing #22. The lone run was from the imposter wearing “Metcalf” on his back. Not much to talk about offensively here at all.
Pitching wise – We got bad outings by the guys wearing #46 & #57. The third guy who happened to be wearing #60 wasn’t all that great, either, but nowhere near as bad as 46 & 57.
Blah. Hopefully the Rangers can make the secondary flight and be there in time for Saturday’s game. They certainly weren’t there for Friday’s game.

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G116: Rangers lose to Yankees, 3-0

As per my policy of the last few years, I don’t write about losses to the Yankees.
Although I will say this. Anyone else watching this game have flashbacks to the 1998 & 1999 playoffs? This game felt a LOT like those two games in our ballpark. The feel was exactly the same for me.

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G115: Rangers lose to Yankees, 5-3

As per my policy of the last few years, I do not write about losses to the Yankees.

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G114: Rangers win again after hanging on for 8-6 victory

You know, after the euphoria of last night, I didn’t know what to expect out of Marlon Byrd tonight. Sometimes after a night like that, you get a flat 0-4 or 1-5 or something like that. But tonight, Byrd continued his positive vibe from last night into this game. Marlon was 3-4 with a walk, and three runs scored. He also stole two bases. It was quite the night offensively for him. No big grand slam or anything, but he was definitely felt. One of the runs scored was a gamble shot – he was almost thrown out by Bobby Abreu. Nice night again for Byrd.
As good as Byrd’s night was, it was positively awful for CJ Wilson. I know I’m jumping ahead (I generally tend to do my commentaries in game order). A lot has been said about CJ in the last few days. We’re hearing quotes like “He’s still our closer”, and “we’re going to work on a few things and get him back out there”. These are not real strong votes of confidence. Of course, he’s not helping himself. There’s talk that he might be hurt a little, but he doesn’t have that air of “closer” at the moment. Tonight’s performance certainly didn’t help things. 0.1 innings pitched, 1 hit batter (Arod), two walks, and one hit. A big one – a grand slam by Richie Sexson. Ugh. It was announced after the game that CJ Wilson was going to go on the disabled list. This could explain things, but he just hasn’t that “swagger”. Guess it’s Guardado time for awhile.
We had another efficient night at the plate. Rangers had eight runs, and we had only eight hits. Three of them were Marlon Byrd, two were David Murphy, and the other three were one each by Hamilton, Boggs, & Crush Davis. We actually were held mostly in check, but Yankee pitching gave up eight walks. That is NEVER good, and it’s hard to win when you give up that many walks.
One of the best performances of the night was Rangers starter Matt Harrison. Facing some of the best hitters in the league, he was fantastic. 6.1 innings pitched, five hits, two earned runs. Now *THAT* is a quality start. Great job by Matt. Hope those keep coming.
One of the greatest bits of the night was the fact that Alex Rodriguez hit into two 5-4-3 double plays (including the one that ended the game). He also was doubled off on a 5-4 line drive out. Gotta love that.
The Rangers are now six games over .500, and have won three in a row. We’re now only a game and a half behind the Yankees in the Wild card race. We still would have a lot of work to do on Wed & Thursday, but if we by some chance sweep the Yankees, we’ll pass them in the standings. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet on that one.
BTW, if you want some entertaining posts, check out the Yankees forums on mlb.com. After both games, there’s a ton of posts calling Girardi every name you can think of, wondering why they have Arod, you know. The kind of dumbass remarks you see on call in shows. It’s almost as amusing as Cowboys forums after one of their losses. Calling Matt Harrison a nobody or a “bum” I can understand. HOWEVER, the Yankee fans do show some real tastelessness with several remarks about Josh Hamilton. Specifically junk like this. Or like this. And ESPECIALLY this one. I had almost forgotten how dominant Yankee fans can be in the category of jerkoffs. I was blinded by the meteoric rise in jerkoff Red Sox fans the last few years that it clouded the original jerkoffiness of Yankees fans. Thanks for restoring my faith you twonks. Sigh.
Oh yeah, SUCK IT AGAIN, YANKEES!

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G113: Rangers overcome umpires, win game 9-5

Early on in this game, Vicente Padilla looked like he was really being squeezed by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher. It seemed like it to me. Especially in the first inning when there was a pitch that really should have ended the inning. It didn’t, and led to a run scoring that really shouldn’t have.
But that wasn’t the really interesting part. That came in the fifth, when at that point the score was 3-2 Yankees. Padilla was called for two straight balks in a row, and while I’m no balk expert, I find it unlikely they were both legit. That aside, Ron Washington came out and argued the second one, and got himself ejected. The second balk led to the one run the Yankees did get that inning. It really was a strange inning, but as odd as that seemed, the bottom half of the frame had a stranger play.
Ian Kinsler was up after a Ramon Vazquez single. Kinsler hit a ball that was initially ruled fair, and Pudge threw to second for an easy double play, because Kinsler didn’t go anywhere. There was a discussion, and the umps conferred, and ruled it was a foul ball. Replays showed that the ball hit him around the knee. He was ruled to still be in the batter’s box, but it was a real close shave call. He might have technically been in the box, but he was definitely on his way out when it happened. Kinsler ended up walking, and he was shortly followed by a three run home run by Michael Young – something that’s been missing again for the second straight year – Young’s power stroke.
This all followed the two run home run that David Murphy had in the fourth inning – a line shot that cleared the wall in right. So at this point, we’re up 5-4. It stayed that way for awhile until the top of the 8th when the Yankees tied it up on a solo home run by Xavier Nady, making it 5-5. It was a weird feeling then – the Yankees have always been known as a team that will beat the Rangers. Yet, that feeling was tempered by the feeling we have in 2008 of the team coming back an awful lot. So I wasn’t sure what to think at that point.
Before I get to the end of the game, I wanted to say something about the pitching. Padilla’s line was OK. Not great, but I think part of that was him being squeezed. His overall line was six innings, eight hits, one walk, and four earned runs. Struck out five. His last inning was the sixth, and his last few batters he had some extra gas in the tank. Padilla seemed to be at his best when he came out. He also threw 111 pitches, which in 100 degree heat, couldn’t have been any fun. So Padilla comes out, Jamey Wright pitches a scoreless inning, Frank Francisco pitched one inning, giving up the Nady home run. Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth, but in a non save situation.
Eddie ended up getting the win due to what happened in the bottom of the ninth. Domaso Marte (the other pickup from the Pirates on the team besides Nady) had pitched in the eighth, and didn’t allow any runs. You don’t use Rivera on the road in a tie game, so I guess Girardi decided to let him pitch the ninth, figuring they’d use Rivera in the 10th. Anyway, Milton Bradley led off as a pinch hitter; his first action in several games. He walked. What a shock. Was immediately replaced by Travis Metcalf as a pinch runner. Gerald Laird & Josh Hamilton also walked, surrounding a couple of outs made by Ian Kinsler & Michael Young. However, Marlon Byrd came up, and jacked a home run ball into Section 50 of the ballpark. This plated four guys – a walk off grand slam to take the game 9-5.
It was quite a cool shot watching Marlon get all kinds of excited. One always loves the big jumping pile of players (or the Flesh Pile as coined by Eric Nadel), but I got a kick out of watching Marlon Byrd high fiving people in the stands, almost knocking down Jim Knox in the process. Really laughed when Marlon stood there doing the bird wave to the fans in the stands. Loved that moment a lot.
Interesting that all nine of our runs came on three home runs. A two run shot (Murphy), a three run shot (Young), and a grand slam (Byrd). As for the Yankees? Screw ‘em. They can lose, and miss the playoffs. Given that the new Steinbrenner running the shots seems to have inherited his dad’s penchant for foaming at the mouth, it ought to be interesting if/when the Yankees don’t make the playoffs. Will LOVE that.
One thing I totally forgot about when writing this article was that we FINALLY got to give games over .500 for the first time all season with this win. It also broke a ten game losing streak against the Yankees in Arlington.
And oh yes, SUCK IT, YANKEES!