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G119: Twins spoil Pudge’s return; Rangers lose 5-4

The Minnesota Twins ruined the return of Pudge Rodriguez to the Rangers lineup. Oh, he was officially added to the roster the day before, but this was the first time (the real) #7 played in a game in about seven years or so. He got massive ovations, made some plays behind the plate, and was great with the bat, too. Pudge went 3-4 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI. It was a great return for #7. When we got him via a trade the other day, I theorized that he’s here for the remainder of 2009, and that’s it. If he plays like this, they could take a real look at him going forward as the backup, and trade one of the kids, but that’s wild speculation, and said in the rosy feeling of the return of Pudge. That’s a discussion for later.

Kevin Millwood took the mound, and with the departure of Pidente, he’s now got more career starts than the rest of the starting rotation does combined. Kevin Millwood has 368, and the other four (Feldman, Holland, Hunter, & Nippert) combine for 91 starts. So Kevin has FOUR TIMES the combined starts of the other four. He didn’t pitch like he was that far ahead of the others. 5.2 innings, 113 pitches, seven hits, four walks, and five earned runs. Bleh. He was done in by the recent problem the Rangers have – a meltdown inning. We gave up four in the sixth. I admit, when it started going south, I fast forwarded through it on TiVo. I didn’t feel like watching that.
Offensively, we had no home runs, but we did have some other power. Two doubles (Byrd, Pudge) and a triple (Byrd again). Elvis Andrus also stole a base, and we had a bunch of singles to account for our four runs.

But the story of the night, even with the loss, was the return of #7 to the catching duties for the Texas Rangers. As much as I can’t see it happening, it would be nice if he never left again. I’d really like that.

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G118: Twins top Rangers 9-6

I’m taking a mulligan on this game, no time to write, about to head out the door for church, and have too much going on when I get back to write.
Although it was really REALLY nice to see Pudge take the lineup card out to home plate. Was a great moment after it was announced he was a Ranger again.

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G117: Rangers beat Twins 8-5

I’m taking a mulligan on this one. No time to write.

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G116: Rangers take series with 4-3 win; take over wild card!

Before the Red Sox won their world series a few years ago, I used to love going to Red Sox games. Primarily because the games were usually good. It wasn’t a blowout one way or another, the games were well pitched, well played, and I usually enjoyed them. Then the Sox won the World Series, and their fans became equals on the “jerkoff” scale with Yankees fans, and made it no fun to go to the Red Sox games. Oh well. Had I gone, this game would have been one of those ones from the past. 4-3 game, well played, well pitched, and one I did enjoy watching on TV.
Dustin Nippert took the mound for Texas, and he did well under the baking August heat (why day games in August – WHY?) Dustin went six innings, allowing six hits and three walks. A bit too many, but it didn’t really hurt him – he only allowed two runs. Actually, as I look at the box score, it doesn’t seem *THAT* impressive, but live, it seemed better than the line. Doug Mathis followed up and allowed just one hit, but it was a solo home run, accounting for Boston’s third run. Beyond him, our two headed closer followed. CJ Francisco pitched two innings, allowing just one hit. Also struck out five of the six batters faced, which was nice to see, after the fiasco on Friday night.
Offensively, we didn’t have a ton either – with only four runs, there wasn’t a ton, but we did have eleven hits. We had a couple of solo home runs. One by Michael Young, and another by Taylor Teagarden, which appeared to bounce off the corner of the new video board ring in left field. We also had three doubles.
We had a couple of double plays, and… HECK WITH IT..
WE TOOK OVER THE WILD CARD LEAD WITH THIS WIN! GO RANGERS!

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G115: Rangers bounce back, beat Boston 7-2

Holland again! 6.2 innings pitched, seven hits, two runs, three stikeouts. He actually kept the Sox under control. The two runs he allowed were two solo home runs (Bay, Martinez). He’s starting to feel to me like Cole Hamels did for the Phillies last year. Man, he’s good.
The big story for me this game was the speed on the bases. Elvis Andrus & Pedro Borbon were running all over the place. The two of them had a combined seven steals, and Ian Kinsler also had one. The eight steals sets a Rangers franchise record now for number of steals in a game. It was almost like videogame baseball, where you jack the running speed up to max on your guys, and push down the arm strength of the opposing catcher. Varitek had no hope. A friend of mine who is a Sox fan says it’s been that way all year with Varitek – he can’t throw anyone out, apparently. But MAN was it nice to see these guys run all over the Red Sox.
Ian Kinsler was back in the game, but wasn’t batting leadoff (Borbon was). Kinsler homered in his return to the lineup. He was also hit in the head with a pitched ball later in the game – not something that looked good at all, but at least it was’t Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers.
Overall, the Rangers had 12 hits. Just two were extra base hits (the Kinsler HR, and an Andrus triple). Everything else was a single. So not a lot of power, but way more than enough to hang a seven spot on the Boston pitching staff.
But the important part was that we beat the Red Sox, and are back to just half a game out in the Wild Card race.

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G114: Frankie Francisco totally blows it in 9th, we lose 8-4

WHAT THE …………..
P.S. Shut up, Dave.

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G113: Scott Feldman & Rangers take final game 4-1

I didn’t get to see any of this game. It started at 11AM, and by the time I realized it was on, it was mostly over. Normally I’d TiVo delay that, but since I forgot it was on so early, I saw the score in the middle of the game, and decided there was no point in watching then. :)
Scott Feldman got his eighth road victory of the season, and his 12th overall. That’s 12 wins in mid August. At that rate, he could quite easily get to 17. I can’t recall the last time the Rangers have had a pitcher with that many wins in a season. Anyway, Scott went 6 innings, seven hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. One run allowed – pretty solid outing for sure.
Hamilton keeps making moves offensively. 4-4 with a couple more doubles. His average is now up to .260. Andruw Jones also had a double, and Elvis Andrus homered. David Murphy had the last RBI on a sac fly.
As I didn’t see this one, I’m not saying a lot, but it’s nice to get out of there with a series win, altough I thought we should have swept Cleveland, tell you the truth. We come home to play Boston for the Wild Card lead in a three game series just half a game behind Boston.
GO RANGERS!
Edit: I looked it up. The last time someone had that many wins was Kenny Rogers in 2004, who had 18 wins. Kevin Millwood was close in 2006 when he had 16, though.

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G112: Tommy Hunter shines again in 5-0 win. Squeee!

Tommy Hunter does it again. 7.2 innings pitched, 98 pitches thrown, six hits, no walks, five strikeouts, and NO RUNS! Tommy looked awesome again, and wow, is it refreshing having this much quality pitching from young guys. Always we had to grow our own, and man, 2009 makes it feel like we’ve finally got the message across. It’s exciting. Man, it REALLY is exciting.
Offensively, Josh Hamilton led the way with three of the nine overall Ranger hits. He definitely appears to have found his groove again, right around the time he said he was coming off his ADD medicine. Josh had two doubles, and two RBI’s in the game. Pedro Borbon also doubled, and the rest of our hits were singles. The other RBI’s were pretty spread out (Blalock, Vizquel, & Andrus).
But this night was about the pitching. Tommy Hunter was really great, and CJ Wilson came in and threw 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, not allowing his one interhited runner to score.
All was good this game. Kind of amusing though that this is the third straight game the Rangers have been involved in where one team was shut out. It’s also the second straight game with a 5-0 score, although not in the same direction. :)
Squeee indeed. :)

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G111: Rangers shut down by Aaron Laffey, lose 5-0

Well, this game was pretty much defined in the bottom of the third, when Dustin Nippert couldn’t get anyone out. Cleveland scored five runs that frame. That was also all the scoring for the entire game.
Neither team was exactly pounding the ball. Of the six hits Cleveland had, only one was anything but a single (it was a double). Of the seven hits Texas had, only one wasn’t a single (it was a triple). But enough of them came together in the third for Cleveland to push across five runs in one inning .
Dustin went six innings, despite that, and managed to strike out ten Indians in just six innings, so that was good. He only walked two, so overall he wasn’t too bad. Except for the third.
When your team loses 5-0, and the other pitcher doesn’t pitch a one hitter or something like that, there’s not much to say in recap. Not unless you’re getting paid to write about baseball, in which case you make the loss stories a bit more padded. heh :)

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G110: Derek Holland makes Hannah Baugh happy again!

Last time Derek Holland pitched this way, I saw Hannah Baugh squeee herself into a fit of excitement. If Holland does too many more of these, poor Ms. Hannah might have her head explode! And then Derek will feel bad.
Seriously, most Ranger fans don’t know what to do with repeated awesome pitching like that. I mean this was fantastic. I was talking to my wife about it when it was happening, and found myself referring to his stuff as “Nolan Ryan like”. It was impressive, to be sure. His total line:
Nine inning complete game
Just 96 pitches
Three hits (all singles)
One walk
Eight strikeouts
It was fantastic to watch. I mean WOW. When I watch games in a hurry, I normally fast forward through the Rangers in the field to get to them batting. This time it was not that way, I wanted to watch the pitching.
I think I can stop saying things like “Derek Holland on paper won’t beat John Lackey”, because now we feel he can beat him. I’m not going to act shocked in my commentaries when that happens!
Not that Holland needed the help, but he definitely was helped out by the Angels in the field. They had three official errors, and at least one more that should have been. Here’s a summary of their gaffes:

  • On an infield hit by Blalock, John Lackey & Robb Quinlan got caught up going to cover first, and neither got there, and Blalock got an infield hit.
  • In the same inning, Bobby Abreu muffed a simple catch in right, which directly led to two runs scoring.
  • There was a catcher inference call against Anaheim.
  • A ball in center was misplayed by Gary Matthews Jr for a double
  • A throwing error on a Pedro Borbon stolen base

Shutting out the Angels 7-0 and also by the score of 11-6 (with four in the first inning) is a statement, I think. It’s nice to go there and win 2-3. If we could just beat some other team this reguarly. :)
For some reason I don’t even feel like getting into the Rangers offense this game. We scored seven, had a few home runs. We’ve sen that before. We haven’t seen this kind of regular pitching from a Ranger guy in recent memory. It’s exciting!
Squeee indeed, Hannah!

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G109: Rangers lose to Angels, 3-2

I wasn’t able to see any of this game, although I did hear the Rangers scoring on the radio when I was driving around. Took a trip with the wife and kids to a restaurant we had never been to before. Was good, but not really worth the time and drive.
The Rangers still have a problem with Jered Weaver. In the past he’s shut us down a lot, and this game was no different. In fact, other than the fifth inning, we weren’t able to do much of anything.
The fifth had a two run home run by Hank Blalock, which accounted for all our scoring. There wasn’t a ton of hitting, either. Six hits in all, spead out over four Rangers. Weaver went into the eighth inning, throwing 100 pitches, five hits, the two runs, and eleven strikeouts. Millwood wasn’t bad, either – 6 innings, also only two runs. He had a few too many hits (nine), but they didn’t seem to affect him too much.
Eddie Guardado followed, and gave up just one hit, but it was a big one – the game winning home run to Erick Aybar. Sigh.
I’ll say this again about the Angels. When you lose to them, at least you don’t have to see the stupid rally monkey.

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G108: Rangers muscle around Anaheim again; win 11-6

After a day in which the Rangers cut loose one of their bigger “name” starting pitchers for what essentially amounts to him being an ass, we took the field in Anaheim.
We came in four and a half games out of first place. Which isn’t insurmountable, but when we were in first place by about five not all that long ago, you got a bad feeling. We played pretty awful against Oakland, despite winning the last game before coming to Anaheim. So you kind of got that feeling of dread that we were going to lose the series and come out seven games out or something.
So it was quite a nice feeling when we went up 4-0 in the first inning. Josh & Tom were talking about Josh Hamilton saying he was coming off his ADD medicine that he believed it was impacting his play on the field. And of course, while they were talking about that, Josh hit a three run home run to right field. That set the tone for the game. Despite the Angels scoring six runs, and only losing by five, four of their runs didn’t come until the seventh inning. We pretty much dominated the game. Four runs in the first, a single run in the second and third, and three more in the fifth put us up 9-1. We tacked on additional singles in the 8th and 9th.
Most of this came via the longball. In all, we had five home runs. Hank Blalock also had a solo home run in the first too. Then came the fifth. We had three home runs in the fifth – two of them back to back. Taylor Teagarden was first, then Omar Vizquel and Michael Young went back to back. Omar’s was his first as a Ranger, and his first since something like September of 2007. He was probably helped by that tiny wall by the right field foul pole in Anaheim. Funny video of him doing the arm muscle flex in the dugout afterwards. Enjoyed that. A lot.
That wasn’t all for Omar Vizquel. He went 4-6 and had some great D in the field. The more I watch him, the more I start to get a grasp of what he must have been like in his prime in Cleveland. Wow. I’d like to keep him around for next year, but I don’t see that happening.
Scott Feldman was quite good, too. While his line shows four earned runs, three of them came in the seventh. And they were inherited. It’s like Scott should have stopped after the sixth. He was stellar, and then couldn’t get anyone out – left the game with nobody out and the bases loaded. So that blew his quality start, but overall, despite the numbers, he pitched really well. Good to see, especially with the departure of Padilla, we’ll need guys like Feldman to stay consistantly good if we make a run at October.
Good to see a nice start to the series. Man, would it be some sort of major confidence and morale boost to leave Anaheim sweeping the Angels. I don’t think that’s going to REALLY happen, but boy, would it be nice.
Go Rangers!

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G107: Tommy Hunter bounces back; Rangers win 6-4

Well, we salvaged the last game of the series. The Rangers won 6-4, and Tommy Hunter was way better than he had been the last outing (the one I was at, of course).
But to be honest, after so much gone wrong this series, I don’t even feel like writing about the win. Not a great feeling heading to Anaheim. You just feel like the Angels are going to bounce back from losing to us all year, and bury us.
Oh, and the A’s released Jason Giambi after the series was over.

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G106: Rangers lose to Oakland, 7-5

After the last couple of games, with CJ Wilson blowing a save in the ninth, then being shut out, I didn’t really want to watch this. And I made a good time choice. We lost again.
Bah.

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G105: Rangers shut out in Oakland, 6-0

The only good thing to say about this game is that Anaheim lost too. That’s about it.

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G104: CJ Wilson blows it in the ninth. We lose 3-2!

I was going to write about how Dustin Nippert was great in a spot start.
There was the freakin spectacular debut of Neftali Feliz. I mean wow.
But all I can think of now to write about this game is this..
SHIT!
Thanks CJ. Grumble…

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G103: Rangers take series with 4-2 win on Sunday

It figures. The Rangers play four against Seattle. They win three of the four. Guess which one I attended in person? Of course, the loss.
Sunday was a bounceback day on many accounts. Scott Feldman bounced back from his disastrous start a week ago and pitched well. Seven innings, five hits, two runs, 4K, 2BB, and 101 pitches. Got the win. Barely (more on that later).
Frank Francisco bounced back from the DL to pitch a perfect inning of relief.
Our power bounced back, as we had three home runs, accounting for all four of our runs.
Unfortunately, some guys bounced onto the DL – Ian Kinsler being the most notable.
But, in the moment that will make Jamey Newberg the most excited, Neftali Feliz was called up. He didn’t make his major league debut yet, but he was active and available. In fact, there was a mini gaggle of transactions before this game.
* 2B Ian Kinsler placed on 15 day DL, retro to Jul 29
* P Matt Harrison moved from 15 day to 60 day DL
* P Jason Grilli placed on 15 day DL
* P Neftali Feliz purchased from AAA
* P Frank Francisco activated from 15 day DL
* P Warner Madrigal optioned to AAA
Feldman came out after seven with the game tied 2-2, but before the eighth, Saltamacchia got his two run home run (off the right field foul pole) to give the Rangers (and Feldman) the win.
Was a nice comeback, and a good way to hit the road for awhile. A jaunt through Oakland, Anaheim, & Cleveland should be OK, given how well we’ve played Anaheim this season so far. Keep your fingers crossed.

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G102: Rangers lose 7-2, Sierra & Harrah inducted

Well, this was the (somewhat) annual Texas Rangers Hall of Fame induction game. I say somewhat, as recently, it’s not a guarantee that everyone will get in. I was there for several of them in the past, and after the second year, I thought “Wow, at this rate, there won’t be any really top notch players left to induct before too long. A couple of years ago, the team recognized this, and scaled it back to a similar deal with the National HOF. You need a percentage of the votes cast (which for the moment does not lie with the fans). So that’s good, because we’d be down to electing Mark Clark.
One of the alumni was Scott Sheldon. When he walked onto the field, Chuck Morgan announced him as “infielder, outfielder, catcher, pitcher Scott Sheldon”, which appeared to prompt Scott to point up in Chuck’s general direction. That made me chuckle. :)

So I watched the ceremony, which is always enjoyable. It’s great to see some of the old timers, and not so old timers come back. Always great to hear Chuck Morgan call Rusty Greeeeeeeeeeeeeer. I had brought a friend who was hoping that Steve Buechele would be there, but alas he was managing in A ball. I did not witness Toby Harrah play, that was before my time as a Ranger fan. Way before my time, considering he came with the team from Washington DC. I have respect for what he did, and his speech was cool, but I don’t have a first hand connection to him as either a player, or his brief tenure as a Rangers manager.
Ruben Sierra I knew, though. While again, I did not witness him play his first go around, I did the second time from 2000-2003. His story when he returned in 2000 was quite impressive, and I know what he did the first time around, so yeah – I was more invested in Ruben Sierra. That the team brought up his son (who is really shockingly a spitting image of Ruben Sr, it’s amazing) from A ball as a surprise guest at the ceremony was quite cool. I do have to confess at being surprised at how broken his English is, all these years later. He was highly emotional, and it was hard to hear him sometimes due to the combination. But it certainly felt sincere.

It was a great ceremony as usual, you can read the official writeup on mlb.com here. The official link also includes video of both Toby Harrah & Ruben Sierra, so you can hear what I mean about Ruben’s speech. You can also check out all the photos I took from the game on my site here.
The actual game played by the 2009 version of the Texas Rangers wasn’t nearly as good as the pre-game. Tommy Hunter came out and pitched like Mark Clark (OK, I’m dropping his name twice in this commentary). Five innings, seven hits, five runs, three walks, one home run. It was fairly ugly. Granted, he gave up a home run to Ken Griffey Jr, which is not a shameful thing, but still. He was all over the place. Really high pitch counts, full counts, just not good. I did really enjoy seeing Ken Griffey Jr. back in the ballpark again.

A shame about Hunter, as I was looking forward to the pitching matchup. Felix Hernandez held up his side of the bargain. Seven innings pitched, six hits, two runs. He did have four walks, and was vulnerable in the first two innings. But we let him off the hook. We had a chance to score in both the first two innings, but couldn’t follow through. I even said that to the friend I was there with to see Buechele. Said if we let him off the hook two innings in a row, forget it, we’re done. We were. We were never in the game.

Nelson Cruz’ home run in the fourth was a bit of excitement. In fact, Cruz had three of the six overall hits the Rangers had. We were pretty much shut down for sure.
There was the entertainment of some guy running onto the field. However, he was stupid. He ran out and just stood there in left. If you’re gonna do that, you’re going to jail anyway, so you might as well run around a bit more than that guy did.

I’m now 1-3 in games I actually attended this season. The one was opening day.

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G101: Rangers win soggy game 5-4 on Friday night

The Rangers won a game that was delayed rather a lot in the middle by rain. Something like two and a half hours. To be honest, I didn’t watch most of the game. It was on, but I was caught up in trade deadline discussions, so while the game was on, I was flipping between the Rangers game, and the talk on MLB Network as well as Baseball Tonight. I was a trade deadline junkie this day. :)
Vicente “Swine Flu” Padilla started the game for Texas, and went six. Six hits, three earned runs. One of those “technical quality starts” (as I call ‘em). He was OK. Gave up a two run home run in the first inning, which is where most of the runs he gave up came from. That was the only power he gave up – the other five hits were all singles. Jose Lopez had the home run, and had three of the nine Seattle hits.
Offensively, Taylor Teagarden had a solo home run in the fifth. I point that out first, because he just missed a grand slam in the second (or third). Hit to the track, was an off the end of the bat shot – he “just” missed it. Darnit. Marlon Byrd however, made up for that with a three run shot in the bottom of the fifth. This was well timed, because at this point, it was obvious there was going to be a major rain delay.
And yeah. I was sitting at home. By myself. And I did the birdman flap. I’m such a dork.
Anyway, as the wind started blowing around and we were being treated to multiple shots of trash cyclones around the park, the rain started coming down. In the middle of a Michael Young at bat in the seventh, with the count 3-2, they couldn’t take it, and called a rain delay. The rain delay was interesting for a couple of counts. I got to watch one of the “Under the Lights” episodes. The one with the travel in New York & Boston. I hadn’t seen that one before, so I enjoyed that. They also showed the fireworks show on TV, as they shot ‘em off during the rain delay. That’s happened to be before. Some years ago I was there for a July 4th game, and there was a three and a half hour rain delay, and they shot off the fireworks in the middle. Something about curfew on fireworks.
Anyway, when the game started again, Michael Young took one pitch for a ball, and walked. But we had no more offense after the rain delay. In fact, Byrd’s home run sealed the scoring for Texas. Jason Grilli allowed a run in the eighth to make it a little more interesting, but CJ Wilson closed it out for a 5-4 win. It was a long game. In fact, according to the box score (see the MLB Game Recap link above), the rain delay was two hours and eighteen minutes, which was eight minutes longer than the game (at 2:10).
We’re three games behind Anaheim now (who also didn’t do anything at the trade deadline), and just 1.5 behind Boston for the Wild Card. It’s August 1st as I write this. The trade deadline has passed. I think at this point, you can realistically start talking about playoffs, and not have it be a “Hey, that’s too soon” kind of thing. Go RANGERS!
P.S. I really like that we didn’t deal Derek Holland. Let’s hope that Holland holds up his end and shows us why we shouldn’t have sent him away.

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G100: Derek Holland masterful; Rangers win 7-1

In the top of the ninth inning, this happened, and I don’t think any Rangers fan really wanted to see it..

Derek Holland had done a lot to get to that point. In the ninth inning when this happened, he had allowed just two hits, and no runs. He walked just one batter, and STRUCK OUT TEN! He was seriously impressive, and on a night when there was mucho talk about him being put in a package to send to Toronto for Roy Halladay… I’ll wager he kept himself a Ranger by pitching that way. If he was just “eh”, he likely would have been moved. That’s just a gut feeling. I’m writing this actually at 5:15PM on Jul 31st, and the trade deadline has passed now. But Derek Holland was pitching like Roy Halladay on Thursday night. He was just lights out. That Warner Madrigal allowed a run to score is a crime. That should have been a complete game shutout. I wished Holland was allowed to stay in there. Oh well, he didn’t. But that’s the story of the game. Derek Holland – WOW. Three hits by the Mariners in all. Very impressive.
It overshadowed the fact that there was a major power output by the Rangers, and the fact that our pitching got more talk than the home runs. Something else unusual for Texas. We had five home runs. Blalock. Salty, Byrd, and two by Michael Young, who has become a power machine in the last week or so. Young is on quite a tear, he had three hits again, which I believe is three or four in the last week. Impressive numbers. Nelson Cruz also had two doubles, so we had a lot going on with the bats. But it is quite an accomplishment when our starting pitcher’s performance overshadowed what is the standard Rangers story of power.
Also, and I can’t resist. When I first saw the M’s reliever Chris Jakubauskas, I admit to a childish response. I looked quickly and thought it said Jackass. Sorry about that.

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G99: Rangers stink it up really badly, lose 13-5

Well, that a big steaming pile of….

I mean, I should have heeded this warning, but I didn’t. I actually watched part of this mess.

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G98: Rangers win again, 7-3 over Detroit

Taking a mulligan. No time to write today, too many things going on. Really nice to see Eddie Guardado chirp at Jim Leyland after a minor beanball war broke out.
http://www.rangerfans.com/images/eddiechirps.gif (Thanks to Jamey Newberg & Drew Shepard for that pic).
I also missed seeing the entire game, as my wife and I were watching the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, which had just come out on Blu-Ray on Tuesday. Since the kids were born, we don’t get a ton of time just to ourselves, so I chose that over watching another Rangers game. :)

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G97: Rangers finally beat Tigers, 5-2 at home

I don’t think anyone expected Tommy Hunter to be the person to finally stop our 2009 slide against Detroit. If you’re reading this, you know that we were 0-6 against Detroit this year going into Monday night’s game.
But he was. I’m running out of time to write about this, but he was impressive looking out there.
Nelson Cruz & Michael Young both had really impressive home runs to almost the same spot in the ballpark.
Michael Young had three more hits – now at 123 for the season. At that rate, he’ll end up with 318 hits. :)
Nice to get the win, and even better that the Angels lost, so we’re now just 2.5 games back behind them. That’s the same amount we’re behind Boston in the wild card standings, too.

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G96: Rangers take series in KC with 7-2 win on Sunday

Kevin Millwood started the game, and you felt good about it, based on his performance this season. Felt like we’d be able to take the game and the series heading back home. Kevin went out there, and threw two innings, allowing a single hit. Struck out two. Then that was it. He was out after two innings, replaced by Dustin Nippert. At the time, you didn’t know what was going on, but later in the game, it was announced that he was out with tightness in his left gluteus muscle. Doesn’t sound like any fun.
So Nippert followed up with a pretty good performance. Nippert went 4.1 innings, and allowed just a single hit, two walks, and one run. In fact, all the Rangers pitching was pretty good. In all, the Royals got just four hits.
In fact, for the most part, the pitching was pretty good. The Royals trotted out there Sidney Ponson. Capt Aruba pitched like the guy that was with the Rangers for awhile. Six innings, five hits, NO earned runs. When you get that from Ponson, you thought – uh-oh. Perhaps they were going to outdo us. The game after all was scoreless through six innings.
Then we hit the seventh. Rangers led off with a double, a single, and steal, a fielding error, a couple more singles, you get the idea. We plated three in the top of the seventh, which turned out to be all we needed. The Royals scored one in the bottom of the seventh against Dustin Nippert, and another in the bottom of the ninth against Willie Eyre, but that was it. We also had a four spot in the top of the eighth, which was highlighted by an Andruw Jones home run.
Ian Kinsler had a fielding error, his seventh of the season in all.
In all, every Ranger starter had at least one hit except for Elvis Andrus. Michael Young had another three hit game, he’s been on fire lately. In all, he has 120 hits for the season, well on page for another 200 hit season.
Coming home.

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G95: Rangers finally lose, 6-3 to Royals

One of the other young pitchers for Kansas City stepped up and kept the Rangers mostly in check. It wasn’t a dominating performance, but Luke Hochevar went seven innings, gave up three runs on five hits. One of the runs was unearned, but the big deal with him was that of the 21 outs he recorded, 13 of them were strikeouts. The Ranger bats were definitely flailing against Mr. Luke. Whether or not he was helped by the strike zone? Well, that’s a job for Questec. :)
Anyway, it didn’t stop there. Joaquim Soria got a two inning save, and of his six outs, three of them were strikeouts. So that was sixteen strikeouts by Ranger batters. We had three guys (Hamilton, Jones, Blalock) who struck out three times each. Three more guys (Cruz, Teagarden, Vizquel) who struck out twice. Marlon Byrd also jumped in the pool once. Only Ian Kinsler & Michael Young did not strike out. That was pretty ugly up there.
Offensively, the big deal for us was a first inning home run by Michael Young. That’s about it. In fact, Michael Young had three of our six hits. He pretty much *WAS* the offense. Nelson Cruz had a double, and there were singles by Blalock & Byrd.
Derek Holland was meh. 4.2 innings, seven hits, four earned runs. Actually, “meh” is too good for that. He was “Mark Clark”.
Not a good night for us. But so far it’s better than recent years in Kansas City have been this series. Normally we would have lost all the games, so 1-1 after two is an improvement.