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WSG5: It’s over, Rangers lose Series behind 3-1 loss

Yes, it was a great season, but I am so not in a mood to be that way. The way we went out sucked. I’ll be happy and retrospective later, but for right now, I am not writing about it. I will later, though.
I will add this. A few minutes after the game was over, I got this email from a Giants fan. Now I know it’s not typical of most fans, but even at my anti-Cowboys worst, I don’t do things like this:

from Carmine {carminemb82@hotmail.com}
sender-time Sent at 10:05 PM (GMT-04:00).
to “joe@rangerfans.com”
date Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 10:05 PM
subject Texas Rangers
At what point will Josh Hamilton and Ron Washington abandon their families and snort enough blow to explode their hearts? I’m guessing by 8am Thursday morning. Giants!!!!!!!!
Sent from my iPhone

A special thanks to my wife for putting up with me this season. I love you Lynn, thanks for indulging me this season.
Oh, one more thing.. roughly 14 weeks till Spring Training opens.

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WSG4: Rangers now down 3-1 after 4-0 loss to SF

This comes from Chuck Greenberg. It was sent to Jamey Newberg and posted on his site, but I thought it was so good, I wanted to copy it here. It also will suffice for what I would write for Game 4. Had the party at our house, and it was a lot of fun. Friends over, watched the game. Sure, the game was disappointing, but we had a blast. Turns out I went to the far better game choice (Game 3) than going tonight, which was also a possibility there for a minute.
Chuck’s Message begins here:
This season has transcended expectations and transformed the psyche and hearts of legions of Rangers fans across Texas and throughout our country and beyond. At the core of the remarkable journey we have shared together is a ballclub and a community who collectively have consigned the conventional wisdom of the past to the dust bins of history, busting myths and charting a new course previously thought to be unattainable.
Can’t pitch successfully in Rangers Ballpark. Wrong.
Can’t compete successfully late in the season because the heat will break you down. Wrong.
Fans will lose interest when training camp opens. Wrong.
Fans won’t come to Rangers Ballpark after the All Star break because its too hot. Wrong.
Rangers can’t win a playoff series. Wrong.
Rangers can’t win a playoff game at home. Wrong.
Rangers can’t beat the Yankees in the playoffs. Wrong.
Rangers can’t get to the World Series. Wrong.
Rangers can’t captivate the hearts and emotions of fans new and old deep into the fall. Wrong.
And on and on and on….
I can’t even begin to count the memorable moments we have shared this year thanks to a very special group of players with hearts and smiles as big as Texas, who always pull together, stand up for one another, and who have changed the sports landscape here in the Metroplex forever.
But here is a simple reality. Monday will be the last game played in Rangers Ballpark this year. We all owe it to ourselves, our players and each other, to celebrate with passion, enthusiasm and indefatigable belief from lineup cards to the final out, loud and proud.
The defining team of my young life was the 1979, “We are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates. I have often remarked how much this Rangers club reminds me of that team, with a confident but friendly swagger and an abundance of character and personality.
Now these two teams have something else in common. Both fell behind 3-1 in the World Series. Kent Tekulve, the great closer from the ’79 Pirates, texted me after tonight’s game to pass along this story. Before Game 5, Willie Stargell told his teammates:
“We are playing in front of the whole world. We may not win this thing, but before we go, let’s show the world how the Pirates really play baseball”.
The Pirates, playing against a team whose colors were black and orange, won Game 5. Then they returned to Baltimore and won Game 6. Then they won Game 7.
I know our players will show everyone how the Rangers play baseball tomorrow. As fans, let’s do the same. We have one final opportunity this season to show the world what we have accomplished together and the passion we all hold for our players and our shared dreams.
The World Series is going back to San Francisco. And then there will be one final piece of conventional wisdom to prove wrong….
Believe.
Chuck

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WSG3: Oh my – Rangers win first ever home Series game, 4-2

Man, this was such a cool game/day, that I don’t even know where to start with it. There’s just so much to write about, so I guess I’ll just start at the beginning. Once I was done being daddy (had to watch the baby for awhile), I got my gear together, and took off. Since I was hitting a tailgate, I stopped by Kroger to pick up some beer, and some dogs and whatnot. When I was done, I took a picture of the World Series Tickets in my car at the Kroger parking lot, and headed off to Arlington. I left Garland at 1:52PM, and headed out Rt 30.
But that first picture of the tickets there. Man, I NEVER thought I’d be going to a World Series game. Much less one with the Texas Rangers in it. It’s one of those surreal moments. I suppose if I was going to a World Series game in some other town besides Arlington it might seem more “real”, know what I mean? I mean, I’ve been going to games at this ballpark since 1995, and at the height of going, I went to about 25-30 games a season for a few years there. I know the route from around where I live (near Lake Ray Hubbard at Garland/Rockwall border) to Arlington. So when I headed out there again yesterday, it felt on the drive like any other game. Even my walk from my parking spot to where the tailgate party was seemed like any other game. But that’s about where it stopped. I went and hit up my friend Mike Gonterwitz’s tailgate, and noticed as I got closer to his tailgate area that the mood was different. The banners, the fan speak, the language, there wasn’t one single thing I saw or heard I can point to which made it that “Aha!” moment, it was the collective group of everything I saw and heard that made it different. The fans felt different than the other playoff tailgate game I went to. It was fun, from talking baseball with people I didn’t know, to watching fans run through the parking lot with flags screaming “Go Rangers” to predictions of sweeping San Fran, to the wheel of sausage, it was just a blast, man! Didn’t hear as much of that with the tailgating, the various tailgaters didn’t interact with each other. Kind of surprised by that, but it was a lot of fun anyway. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of fun going on out there, but it seemed like a ton of separate little groups of people, it wasn’t nearly as communal as I thought it might be. Headed into the game around 5PM, as the pre-game started at 5:30. Definitely wanted to see that.

 

I have to say again that the concourses when there’s crowds as big as this are awful. I had to walk 3/4 of the way around the stadium, and there were about 3-4 places where it bottlenecked so badly, you were just stopped. Couldn’t move anywhere. It was worse than LBJ during rush hour. It is NOT helped by all the extra booths in the concourse where people try (hahaha) to stop. They really need to put LESS of that stuff in there. If you were claustrophobic, I could seriously see you having a panic attack. It was pretty bad. One cool moment was that I got to say hi to Dave Winfield, who was out in the Fox booth in center field. Saw some other fans acting goofy inside the stadium – it was awesome. Had a blast with the atmosphere.

  

Once I got to my seats it was great! I mean, the World Series. You hear those stories about when you’re a little kid walking through the concourse, and having one of those “seeing the field for the first time and being amazed” feelings. Well, at 45 last night, I had one of those again. I’ve seen a ton of games in this park. I know what it looks like very well. Yet when I walked into the park last night I had the oft told tale of seeing the green of the field moment. It was a blast just being there. I’m sure plenty of others had the same feeling, too!

They did the traditional opening ceremonies, including the introductions of the players, which if I’m not mistaken was the fourth time this happened this season (opening day, and first home game of the three rounds of the playoffs). I’ve seen all four in person. That stuff never gets old, along with the ritual booing of the other team. Of course, being a Philly fan, I had to get in a slightly louder one for Pat Burrell, who continues to be old Philly Pat, which means strikeouts all over the place. Rather large boos for Cody Ross, of all people.

Anyway, once the game got started it had a nice pace. Some games take far too long, and some just fly by. This one felt right. Perhaps it had something to do with me not scoring the game for the first time in ages, but it had a flow that felt good. Not too fast, not too slow, had a “sweet molasses” feel to it. That might sound stupid, but it’s how I felt. Really enjoyed that part of it.

Pitching wise, Colby Lewis started, and carried on his post season track record. His pitching line was pretty darned good, and was exactly what the Rangers needed in this Game 3. No way could we go down 0-3 and expect to win this thing. Colby went 7.2 innings, gave up five hits and two earned runs. Walked two and punched out six. His line was better than the two runs – as for the longest time, the Giants had no runs – they didn’t score at all until the 7th, and for awhile just two or three hits. Colby was awesome. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I was wrong about him. His return was not a desperation move like I thought it was at the time we signed him. This was a steal of a pickup. Japan fixed him, that’s for sure. Anyway, the two runs he gave up were both on solo home runs. One to Cody Ross in the seventh, and the other to Andres Torres in the 8th. Both were solo’s, so it didn’t hurt too much, but it did seem that Lewis was running out of gas just a little in the 8th. Darren O’Day came out to the big chant that gets done to his name, “Oh-DAY-Oh-Day-Oday. Oooo DAY o DAY!” Was a lot of fun despite the mood right around me of “Uh-oh. It’s the bullpen, look out!” After O’Day got his final out of the 8th, it was turned over to Neftali Feliz who was just lights out. 1-2-3, no problem. 13 pitches, two strikeouts. If there was any worry about Feliz not appearing in a situation so far in the World Series, this performance showed there was no concern. He just closed it, game over!

Offensively, our four runs all came on home runs, too. The big shot was in the second when Mitch Moreland got the hit of the series so far. A three run home run to right, scoring Cruz & Molina. He worked the count before that, looked like a guy either who had been there a million times, or it wasn’t a World Series game. Josh Hamilton added a no doubter later on, but Moreland’s was by far the moment of the series so far.

When the game ended, nobody really wanted to leave it seemed. It wasn’t quite a series clincher atmosphere, or what I imagine it would have been like to win the World Series totally at home, but man was IT FUN! This is where it got communal, with everyone high fiving each other, smiling about the game, just being “one fan”. It was a cool moment. Once we finally got started going out, we noticed that the Fox broadcast booth was behind our section. They were JUST coming on the air, and of course fans started hooting and hollering. My friend I was with (Jeff) and I just kind of mingled our way in there, as it was a fun moment. The fans there were really shouting LOUDLY “Let’s go Rangers!” over and over again. At one point Ozzie Guillen turned around with a look on his face like “What the hell?” He turned back around again, and during the time they were on the air, he turned around and blew the crowd kisses a few times. It was funny, because several people started shouting Ozzie’s name, which prompted me to say “What is this, a Black Sabbath concert?” It was a blast, and I was showing my hat, doing the claw, and when the crowd was chanting Ozzie’s name, I did the Molloy (look it up, it’s an old Jewish custom). Anyway it was right around this time that my daughter at home was watching the post game stuff with Lynn, and Samantha saw me on TV. She apparently got SO excited that she dropped her ice cream all over her shirt, and started bouncing off the walls. Lynn broke out the camera at home, and of course, I’m captured doing the Molloy thing (also is close to the Longhorns “Hook ‘em Horns” salute), not the claw or my hat or something. Check it out:

When I finally got out of the stadium, there was more goofiness. People with signs, everyone screaming, yelling, it was a seriously intense post game feel. More high fives, and whatnot. I took a stroll past my tailgate area, but none of them had left yet, so I headed back to the car to go home.

Even then it didn’t stop – I had about 3 or 4 people ask me as I walked by what I thought of the game, what I thought of the series. When I finally did make it to my car, there were about half a dozen people who had camped out in the exit lanes of the parking lot high fiving everyone who was driving by. When I got past them, there were people lining the streets urging the cars to honk their horns.

This was probably the single most fun Texas Rangers game I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of them. Finally fulfilled a kid’s dream of going to a World Series game.

I have Chris Wilson of Fleishman-Hillard and Donna McLallen of Chevrolet (I think she’s with Chevy) for hooking me up with all of this. I’ve been doing a promotion for them by driving around a 2011 Chevy Cruze car that has antlers on it and the Antler Yourself website on the side. They hooked me up with the tickets to the game last night, and I wouldn’t have been there without them. I’m thankful to both of them for helping to fulfill this kid’s dream.

I think a good summary of this game would be this song, which should be totally familiar to Ranger fans.

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WSG2: Rangers bats silent, go down 2-0 with 9-0 loss

Man, I so did not want to write about this game. I really did not. The way it ended was just a complete steaming pile of stink. Not the kind of face you want to show on the biggest stage like that. The game was quite good up until the bottom of the 8th, and there were so many “man, if it only went ‘this way’ it would have been different” moments. Like Kinslers ball of the top of the center field wall for starters. But the 8th was just so horrendous, it erased any good feelings about the game. I’m just going with my notes for this one. Man, that was awful. I don’t have a problem with the series – it’s still winnable, unless of course we go down 3-0 on Saturday. :(

  • Tired tonight. Probably won’t be as many notes.
  • Guerrero is out. Probably not a bad idea given his bad d late last night.
  • 10 pitch 123 for Cain in 1st
  • 15 pitch 123 for CJ in 1st
  • 10 pitch 123 for Cain in 2nd
  • Burrell strikes out again!
  • 17 pitch second for Cj. Allows a double, thats it.
  • First Rangers hit was Mitch Moreland, a 1b to right.
  • 35 thru 3 for Cain
  • 46 thru 4 for Cain
  • 57 thru 4 for CJ. Walked Burrell in 4th, thats it.
  • Leadoff 2b for Kinsler in 5th, missed a HR literally by an inch. Hit top of fence.
  • After kinsler 2b, we couldn’t do anything. Out to short twice, then an ibb to get to CJ, who grounded to first. Stupid NL Rules!
  • Theres the first run. HR to renteria who turned around on one, got a great swing.
  • CJ has just 73 thru 5. That’s good. But the 1 run feels like it might hold up all night!
  • Cody ross dive and miss in rf on hamiltons ball kept a runner from scoring, most likely
  • Crap. 2nd & 3rd – one out. We get nothing. :(
  • Another 123 for CJ. Just one run thru the 6th.
  • Still no runs thru 7. At least it’s going fast. Sigh.
  • Wilson out after one batter in 7th with blister. Could be a problem around game 5 or 6.
  • Uribe hurts us again with an RBI single. The run was the walk by CJ scoring.
  • Cain is out after 7.2 IP with no runs, 102 pitches, and only a handful of hits. He was lifted for a lefty/eighty matchup against Hamilton. There’s that stupid NL stuff again.
  • Way to go Holland?!?! Comes in, 4 pitch walk. This is bad Derek on the mound.
  • Oh geez. Two walks in a row on 8 straight balls. WTF!
  • There’s the real WTF. WALKED IN A RUN! WTF!!
  • Mark Lowe was no better. Walked in another run. Four walks in a row.
  • Rangers Captain could pitch better than this!
  • Game over. 6-0. Game over (in bottom of 8th).
  • Holland threw 12 balls and one strike. Mark Lowe threw 7-7. They both sucked!
  • Kirkmans no better. Triple to Rowand, making it 8-0. Single to Torres, 9-0
  • Four straight walks, then three straight hits.
  • And i thought the 6 run inning last night was bad.
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WSG1: Rangers doubled to death, lose Game 1 11-7

Well, that was disappointing. The big huge pitching matchup between Cliff Lee & Tim Lincecum didn’t materialize, at least not long term, anyway. Through four it was a good pitching duel, not one of those stellar “both guys going after a no hitter” kind. Through four, it was a respectable 2-2 score. But neither was “on”. Cliff Lee wasn’t getting behind guys, and Lincecum was mostly hittable.
One of the more cool early moments was a double that split the outfielders by CLIFF LEE. Cliff Lee wields the boomstick (well, OK, maybe not THAT powerful), and I got a major laugh out of the entire dugout trying to get him to do the claw once he got to second. Doesn’t appear that he ACTUALLY did it, but it was some funny video.
That was pretty much the end of the good times for Lee. He struggled with command, which was unusual, and when we got to the bottom of the fifth, the wheels fell off. Big time. The Giants put a big old ugly six spot on the scoreboard, which was accentuated by a three run home run by Juan Uribe. Technically O’Day gave that up, but it did score all the inherited runners Cliff Lee left out there. Lee’s final line was 4.2 IP, 104 P, 8H, 1B, 7K, 7R, 6ER. Not a good line at all. He labored big time – for him to throw over 100 pitches and not get out of the fifth inning is highly unusual.
An awful lot of the Giants offense was doubles. They had 14 hits in all, and seven of them were doubles. The first two were early on in the game and both hit in Vlad Guerrero’s position in right. I don’t think those balls hit his way were impacted by it being him vs Cruz out there. That’s not the same case later on – he botched a few plays. One of them was called a double, and should have been an error. The Rangers had four doubles of their own, but it was overshadowed by SF’s doubles, including a few of them that came back to back.
Four errors by Texas. Ugh. That was just ugly. Six errors in all in the game, one of the more sloppy World Series games I’ve seen. If it wasn’t my team in the World Series, I probably would have bailed out on the game as it wore on. We did make some noise late, but the momentum I think we gained by scoring two in the sixth to make it 8-4 at the time was wipe out when Kinsler got an infield single, but had another bonehead running play, turning towards second and being trapped – was tagged out. That was the game for me right there.
We did make some noise late, scoring three in the top of the ninth to make it just a four run final score, but we were pretty much outhit. Something I don’t think ANYONE expected. Even Giants fans.
Hoping for far better things out of Game 2. I’ll be there. I just don’t really want to come home down 0-2. That would be bad. I think most everyone would be happy with 1-1, because as happened in the Yankees series, I don’t think any expected us to sweep out there to start the series, so coming home 1-1 is pretty decent.
Here’s my list of in game notes (which became less frequent once we started playing more awful):

  • Why do they keep pronouncing Andrus’ name wrong?
  • Elvis is first player in World Series history named that.
  • Elvis has hit in every postseason game to this point.
  • Why is Guerrero being booed?
  • My baby clapped on his own when the Rangers scored their first run.
  • Thanks to Lincecum for not throwing the ball!
  • Ok, only scored 1 with bases loaded against Lincecum in first. Never like omens like that.
  • First batter was a kc for lee. Good sign.
  • 12 pitch first for Lee. Faced only three. Inning ended on a really awesome dp popup catch by Kinsler.
  • CLIFF LEE! double!
  • Shot of the dugout trying to get Lee to do the claw was hysterical!
  • Buck & McCarver did not do their homework. That is NOT what the claw is!
  • Watching Molina run home on the sac fly, all i could think of was Chris Berman’s “Rumbling bumbling stumbling”.
  • That’s the Pat Burrell I know. Swing and a miss at a ball down and away. Juando had the same problem.
  • 3ks for Lee thru 2.
  • Giants have 2 2b through 2,both in Vlads direction. Don’t think Cruz would have made a difference that way.
  • That foul out by Lincecum in the 3rd so didn’t go anywhere. If fact, I thought it was in the stands, Molina didn’t move at all.
  • Giants get momentum after tying game, have 2 on, and then Burrell strikes out again.
  • Lee comes back after bump to get two in a row with a called k. Pitch count a bit too high.
  • Moreland looked bad 1st at bat, and most of second until he connected for a double that almost split the outfielders for a triple.
  • Cliff Lee beats out Uribe on a 10 pitch K. Wont help the pitch count.
  • Through 4.1, Giants have 5 hits. Four are doubles.
  • Six hits, five are doubles. Three by Sanchez.
  • Lee is out after 4.2 IP, with 5 runs in, two men on, and 105 pitches. Wow. Giants were 5-10 with RISP.
  • Ouch O’Day. I mean OUCH!
  • What a mess this 5th is. Error by Elvis, too.
  • Breaking up the shutdown is good. Wad Molina too, with a double, scoring Kinsler, who walked.
  • Hit Lincecum with another batted ball. Inning continues.
  • After that, Murphy PH, gets RBI single to right to make it 8-4. Lincecum out.
  • Ogando looked good in his inning. Probably coming back.
  • After Burrell k’ed for the third time,he was pulled for defense.
  • Ogando was better in his second inning, and Molina got a caught stealing.
  • Way to fall asleep running Kinsler.
  • Guerrero looks awful in right in the 8th.
  • Generous scoring decision saves Vlad from second error in inning. Gives SF their 7th 2B of the night.
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ALCS G6: Rangers vanquish Yanks, past demons with 6-1 win!

I almost don’t know where to go with this. Do I write about the game? Do I write about the fact that we beat the Yankees, or the less quantifiable “feel good” stuff about being in the World Series? I honestly didn’t know where to go with this last night. I still don’t know where to go with this now, and I’m writing it about 12 hours after we advanced to the World Series. There’s a part of me that just wants to write “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa!” and be done with it. :)
But before I get into any of it, one of my favorite moments of the night – even more so than the fact that we won, or that we beat the Yankees was what Josh Hamilton had to say in his post game remarks. That he immediately deflected attention from himself on the national TBS post-game stuff to God and Jesus was awesome. In his panel discussion later on, he did it again when someone asked him if this was the pinnacle for him, and he replied, “That will come when I stand before my saviour”. That stuff was all awesome. Gotta love that. You can view a video clip of one of these here.
Anyway, backing up, we went into this game having lost Game 5 in New York. I think a lot of Ranger fans after we had won the first two were really hoping we could have knocked it out We didn’t, and came back to Texas for Game 6. That had the advantage of course of if we clinched this in 6, it would be in front of our home crowd, and as the added cherry on top, would send the Yankees home on their plane ride losers. So back home we came, and Colby Lewis would take the mound. Rangers fans all season know his 12-13 record was more a factor of lack of run support, not the way Lewis pitched. Had he had decent run support, he would have won a lot more, daresay have a shot at 20 wins. However, in a pressure packed game such as this, one never really knows what kind of pitcher you can get. Colby’s biggest problem is walks, and walks against the Yankees can burn your backside – you just DON’T give people freebies like that and expect to get away with it. Especially the Yankees, who seem to have thrived on taking advantage of stuff like that over the years. So I went into this game confident, yet nervous about our starting pitching. Mostly because I was expecting Phil Hughes to be better than he was first time around.
He wasn’t. Phil Hughes didn’t get out of the fifth inning, and one of the MLB Network guys said that he figured one of the starters wouldn’t make it past five, and whichever team that was would probably get eliminated. Turns out they were right in that (although most of their pre-game predictions about who would win were not – 3 of the 4 guys picked NYY). Hughes went 4.2 innings, gave up just four hits, but there’s that stat. He walked four. Gave up four runs – all earned. Given the urgency of this game, he was pulled, probably would have stayed in otherwise. But the “moral” victory of having the starter out before the end of the fifth was a good one.
That brought in David Robertson, who has been torched this postseason. This was no different. He gave up the big shot, a two run home run to Nelson Cruz, which at the time put us up 5-1. Was a no doubter, and was one of the moments my daughter watched. She liked seeing it because the fireworks that went off lit up everyone in the stands, and since most of them were wearing red, it made everyone light up red, which looked visually pretty darned cool. At this point, you could feel it, start to smell it, and while no run is truly safe against the Yankees, just for this once, it felt like we FINALLY were able to step on their throats, and hurt them enough that they wouldn’t come back. This was right.
Due in part to Colby Lewis, who pitched the game of his life last night. Officially, his line was eight innings pitched, 3 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts, and one earned run. The one earned run was a bunch of crap, actually. The single run the Yankees got all night was a gift run. Plucked straight from the Yankees bag of acting their way into something that didn’t really happen, Nick Swisher was hit by a pitch, but the home plate umpire didn’t see it, and it was ruled a wild pitch, which scored Alex Rodriguez. It prompted arguing from the Rangers, as it was quite clearly a blown call. It wasn’t one of those “close ones” where fans from other sides could posture and say their call was right. This was clearly a blown call, and if called correctly, should have not led to a run there. One never knows what would have happened after that, but wouldn’t it have been sweeter to have the Yankees lay a goose egg when they were eliminated? Still, that the one run the Yankees got was a gift from the umpires, you still have to be into that. But Colby Lewis had the game of his life. His pitches were sharp, his command looked great. He did walk three, but nothing there really hurt him. It was the pitching performance that Rangers fans dreamed of. At the absolute end of his outing he started to show signs of possibly running out of gas, but it didn’t affect his line. So he came out after eight to make way for Neftali Feliz. After he came out, Ron Washington gave him this massive bear hug in the dugout. Here’s a few captures of that:

I’m not going to write a lot about our offense this game. Can be summed up this way easily. The Yankees LOST! Yeah! Seriously, the RBI’s mostly came from Vlad Guerrero, who had three. They intentionally walked Josh Hamilton three times (including one of those pitches being a wild pitch on an iBB toss), one of which finally was made up for by Guerrero, right before Cruz’s home run. Guerrero had 3 RBI’s, Cruz had 2, and Kinsler had one. For some reason, the details of how we scored was unimportant right now.
Netfali Feliz came in for the ninth, and struck out two to seal the deal. The sweetest part of all that is the fact that the final strike was a called third against Alex Rodriguez. So, one can say that Arod still helped us get to the World Series after all this time.
Cliff Lee awaits either Roy Halladay or Tim Lincecum in Game 1 of the World Series. Man, it just seems weird, doesn’t it? In year 50 of the franchise overall, we finally get to the World Series. I went out this morning to buy a copy of the Dallas Morning News as it’s got a ton of Rangers stuff in it. While I was standing in line at the gas station waiting to pay, guy behind me just said “Rangers are in the World Series, who would have thunk it?” Random baseball talk in this town is something else to be amazed about. The Cowboys are going down in flames this season too, so yeah – it’s a great sports time right now here!
Below are my notes I took during the game like I’ve done for the other games I’ve scored at home watching. My family and I are going to drive out to the Ballpark this afternoon and hit the gift shop, see what’s going on out there. But before I get to my own game notes below, I’ll use this comments I got sent by MLB Network Press this morning about the game by their “pro” dudes. This is all just so cool! Cannot wait for next Wednesday. Bring on the National League!
My wife has already started “Rangering Up” the house. We’ll have some sort of Party for Game 3 next Saturday, the first of the home games. Look at this picture of various stuffed animals in our house. She did this while I was writing this report. What’s amusing about all the clothes on the dolls is that all of them were worn at some point by one of our two kids when they were little (or in my son’s case, even littler). Here’s one example. Check out what Hello Kitty is wearing vs what my daughter was wearing in this pic taken Sep 13, 2005. :)

MLB Network Quotes:
On the Rangers’ offense:
Harold Reynolds:
What’s great about the Rangers going to the World Series through the Yankees is that it validates how good they are…They went through Tampa, they went through the Yankees and they did this in the course of a two-week span where you’ve gotta come out with the best blazing. Tampa gave them a challenge and sent them back to Tampa to go knock it out, the Yankees came back to Texas – nobody rolled over on them. They had to earn this. You’ve got guys backing up [Josh] Hamilton and that’s what great about this Texas team…That’s the depth of this club, and when you get to the middle of the order, from two, three, four, five, six on down to Kinsler, forget about it. Those guys can flat-out match and this is why they are the best offense in baseball right now.
On Colby Lewis:
Dan Plesac:
His body language tonight was of a guy who was on a mission….It’s especially sweet for Rangers fans to get to the World Series, but to get there, you have to go through the mighty Yankees and from the first pitch of the game…he was not scared, he was focused, he was delivering, and as the game kept going on and on, you could just see him believing in his stuff and the fielders believing in what he was doing. This was the best game he has pitched in his life – he was lights out.
On Michael Young:
Dan Plesac:
He’s the first guy that I’ve seen, and I played with a guy that’s a Hall of Famer – Paul Molitor with the Milwaukee Brewers – [with the] same type of swing, really quiet, just the way he goes about doing his business. We were talking during the course of the game that [Young] gets so right field-conscious, you’d like to see him look for that ball in and go ahead and turn on it. His last at bat [tonight], he gets a fastball in and rifles it down the line. [He's a] complete player, one of the most underrated all-around good players in the American League.
Harold Reynolds:
What I like about Michael Young is his selflessness. He’s not selfish at all. He’s an All-Star, Gold Glove shortstop, and they say ‘Hey, we’ve got a kid in Double-A.’ Double-A? Ok, Elvis Andrus has turned out to be a real nice player, but you go to any Major League All-Star, who’s playing on the World Baseball Classic team representing the U.S., one of the top players in the world and say, ‘You’re going to move for a kid who’s 20’? He moved over to third base and that set the trend and the tone for this whole franchise where Nolan Ryan could actually come in change the whole culture now and say ‘See what Michael Young did? Our pitchers are going deeper; Ron Washington’s our manager. Here’s where we’re headed, gentlemen. Look at Michael Young.’ And that has changed the whole direction of the Texas Rangers.
My in game notes:

  • Let’s do this. Time to finish it out. Scorepad is filled out, ready to score the game.
  • My daughters school had a “Wear a Rangers shirt to school” day. She wore her 2010 Playoff shirt.
  • Watching MLBN pregame stuff. Barry Larkin picks Yankees. Joe Magrane picks Yankees. Dan Plesac picks Rangers. Harold Reynolds picks Yankees.
  • Magrane had a funny graphic with Cliff Lee in the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard.
  • Does Craig Sager have any idea that nobody likes him? Change your clothes!
  • …and the Rangers take the field!
  • First pitch is an out. Is that an omen?
  • Colby Lewis’ hat is seriously dirty. I wonder what old game hat this is from.
  • Granderson looked safe to me on caught stealing attempt.
  • Were up 1-0 on 4-3 grounder.
  • Hamstring, my ass. That was a titanic swing by Cruz.
  • Whoa – nice play by Elvis. Jumper on Arod liner. Gotta love that!
  • Heat by Colby Lewis to K Swisher to end second.
  • Hughes had a really easy bottom of second.
  • Colby has 33 pitches through first three innings. Looking good!
  • Yankees suck chant fires up again!
  • Now there’s something you don’t see often. A wild pitch on an attempted intentional walk. Thanks Mr. Hughes!
  • Pretty humungous strike zone against Vlad there. Did Durwood Merrill come back from the grave?
  • Really nice stop by Kinsler to turn an inning enduing DP in the fourth.
  • Through four, the only Yankee on base was Granderson via walk. Both times wiped out on base-paths!
  • The Molina at bat in the 4th is a perfect example as to why Yankees games take four hours – good lord is this drawn out!
  • Off the bat, the F8 by Berkman in the 5th looked like a home run.
  • Rangers 1 – Umpires 1. Swisher hit by pitch, Arod scored on that. Called wild pitch. BS.
  • Moreland probably would have been out if Teixeira was in game.
  • Brian Goremans strike zone is all over the place, if pitchtrax is to be believed. You’d think Durwood Merrill came back from the dead here. (Yes, that’s two calls out to Durwood here).
  • VLAD! Way to beat the intentional walk. Rangers up 3-1 on Vlad double!
  • Jeter hangs his head after the Vlad double! Gotta love that! Hughes is gone. Vlad has all three RBIs so far. His first of the series, too! :)
  • Robertson has been horrible this series, why do they keep going to him?
  • Nice that they do, though. BOOMSTICK! two run hims run by Cruz! Who says hamstrings are a problem?
  • Jeter has seen 7 pitches in his first 3 at bats. 5 in the second alone. Thank you Derek!
  • Really nice shutdown inning by Lewis in the 6th. Nice!
  • Nice work by Kerry Wood. Bit too late, though.
  • Nothing going for Yanks in 7th. Berkman got a triple. Didn’t matter, next pitch was an F7.
  • Josh iBB’ed again. Fifth time in the series. ALCS record!
  • Run #6. Sac fly by Kinsler in 7th.
  • Six outs to go!
  • Five
  • Four
  • Three. And a Jeter called K too!
  • If the Yankees go 1-2-3 in 9th, Arod will be last out as we go to the World Series.
  • Two
  • One!
  • ONE STRIKE!
  • Oh my. Final one was a called strike to ARod. OH MY!
  • Ginger Ale on Josh on the field was awesome!
  • Then the Rangers are ginger ale-ing the fans, too!
  • Time to watch all the post game coverage! Overtime for the TiVo!
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ALCS G5: Yankees salvage final game in NY, win 7-2

Given I don’t write about losses to the Yankees, I’ll keep this to a minimum.
Would it have been nice to win last night, sending the Yankees home for the season in the Bronx? Hell yeah, it would have been. However, I don’t think anyone really expected the Rangers to beat the Yankees three games in a row in the Bronx to eliminate them. One could make the point that if the bullpen had done it’s job in the 8th in Game 1, we wouldn’t have had to play last night, but there you go. I’m feeling fairly good about it, still. Two games at home should not be a problem. I would much rather us not get to Game 7 so we can use Cliff Lee in the World Series Game 1. But you do what you have to. Would much rather us nail it down Friday night.
CJ Wilson was completely ineffective last night. Looked pretty bad. Don’t know why, but he just wasn’t working. Thing is, a decently pitched game from CJ probably would have won the game, as Sabathia was still pedestrian at best. Way better than the Game 1 incarnation, but still beatable. We didn’t take advantage of it. Oh well, back to Arlington. Will make for a more annoying thing for the Yankees to fly back home losers after that.
Here are my Game 5 notes:

  • Paul O’Neill says the Yankees seemed to expect the team would walk through the round lime they did with the twins.
  • Here we go. Gsme 5. The stadium seems oddly vacant for the start of a game!
  • You think the rangers might step on them in the first, but young grounds into dp in 1st
  • Two hits and no runs in the first. CC looks hittable, just mot as wild as game 1.
  • CJ answers back with 12 pitch 1-2-3 first
  • Yay! Kinsler seeing through, not uppercut! A miracle!
  • Kinsler stolen base in second is the 8th in the series, the cost against the Yankees ever in a postseason series.
  • Kinsler stranded there on Treanor K
  • CJ has thrown ball one to first four batters including four pitch walk to both Arod & Berkman
  • Yankees score first bang bang play at home. It was a walk run.
  • Two runs scored on a bad news bears play where the ball was thrown away twice. Young muffed a throw, and CJ threw it away too.
  • Both walks have scored.
  • Wilson comes back with a K on 9th, and a quick grounder on first pitch by Jeter to escape horrible inning where the Yankees scored 3.
  • Shutdown inning executed by CC in third, but it wasn’t an easy one. We need to break through soon.
  • CJ just does not have it. Back to back HR by Swisher & Cano. Who are we getting up?
  • Berkman at first just took a bad spill sliding in foul territory. Don’t want to see that.
  • Cj just came out for fourth, he still looks bad, he needs to come out before it gets any worse
  • Jeter has grounded out 6-3 in his first three plate appearances.
  • Cj put up a zero in fourth after leadoff double.
  • Were on the board, with a solo HR by Matt Treanor in the 5th.
  • Moreland follows HR with a single to center.
  • Rangers look to be hitting CC a bit harder in the 5th.
  • Dammit. Hamilton hit into dp with men on first and second to end 5th.
  • In the bottom of the 5th, Wilson is still in, but Cruz is out. Tight hamstring. Uh-oh.
  • Leadoff walk in bottom of 5th by cj. Why is he still out there?
  • Kirkman in for the 6th. Leadoff double, but no runs. Good deal.
  • Kerry Wood in for 7th. Andrus gets an infield hit on chopper off Woods hand.
  • Elvis gets picked off – WTF! No more leads at all for him.
  • Nothing quite as disheartening as a pickoff in the playoffs when behind. :(
  • Ogando gives up another home run to Yankees. This time to Curtis Granderson
  • Moreland fought off Rivera really well in the 9th, eventually getting a single to left.
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ALCS G4: Rangers homer their way to verge of World Series!

A reading from the book of Kurt Cockran Chapter 1 Verse 1..

“If the Yankees get a hit and no one is there to see it, does it count?”

When this game started, I was of the ilk of “Well, OK, we’re either going to bomb them, or Burnett will pitch a gem, and it’ll be tied 2-2″. We ended up bombing them, but man, was it NOT in the way I thought it was going to happen.
There was a ton of talk about Burnett not having pitched in awhile, and that he was having an awful season, and nobody in their right mind could believe that Burnett was starting this game. Girardi was committing post season suicide by doing this. I thought we had a shot if Burnett didn’t pitch well. Thing is, he did for the most part. If you take out the last pitch he threw, his line would have been 6 innings, five hits, two earned runs. Not too bad, but as we know that’s not what his line was. It was 6 innings, 6 hits, five earned runs.
The bottom of the second was interesting enough. It brought back memories of 1996 where a home run ball was disputed in the right field wall, then we brought instant replay into it. But not on that play, on another play where it was ruled a home run, but called back. The Yankees were briefly up 2-0 until it was reverted back to 1-0.
The top of the third was interesting too, as we scored two runs without the benefit of a ball leaving the infield. Walk, hit by pitch, sac bunt, ground out to first, infield single to third. That was the way we scored two runs in the third. We let the Yankees back in it by allowing ‘em to tie in the bottom of the third and to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth.
It stayed that way for awhile – the Yankees up 3-2.
Tommy Hunter was “eh”. He wasn’t going to be Cliff Lee from last night, but I was expecting him to survive the fourth. He didn’t. 3.1 innings, 5 hits, 3 ER. No walks, but he wasn’t very good with control. Could have been worse, mind you, but we managed to keep it together – or at least off the scoreboard after that. The Yankees didn’t score any more runs after the fourth inning.
They certainly tried in the 8th. They had the bases loaded again after some awful bullpen work by Clay Rapada & Darren O’Day (plus the only batter Holland faced in the 8th). Those guys walked the bases loaded. Darren Oliver came in and did not repeat his Game 1 meltdown, and got the job done. Flyout by Swisher, and a groundout by Berkman. It was certainly dicey there in the 8th as the tying run was up at bat.
Not that half the stadium would know, as they started a mass exodus again early. So much for the vaulted Yankee fan loyalty. They’re about as fickle as Cowboys fans are. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that, but I am.
There was a lot of offense late, but the best moment came on the final pitch that A.J. Burnett threw, which was to Bengie Molina. The Yankees had made the right move and walked David Murphy to get to Molina. He’s obviously not a slouch with the bat, but it is the odds move to make. Walk the lefty to get to the righty. Problem is Burnett grooved a pitch first to Molina, and he nailed it – almost got to the second deck in left field. At the time, it put the Rangers up 5-3. It was a HELL of a feeling, as I was feeling kind of down at that time, to be honest. Not ready to give up – but feeling that we weren’t going to win the game. Molina made use of Nelson Cruz’s boomstick, and bam – it changed in an instant. It led to this:

Yeah, I know the image is a total hack job, but I didn’t have the time to fiddle with putting Nelson Muntz in there properly. :)
After that, there were three more home runs. Two by Josh Hamilton, the second of which landed right in the middle of the Yankees bullpen. Very amusing. The other was a titanic blast by Nelson Cruz in the ninth to get us to the final score of 10-3. But Molina was the big power guy for me – his home run was the game (and dare I hope series) clincher. After that it was our game, except for a moment in the bottom of the 8th when we danced with letting the Yankees back in – but this time we did manage to step on their throats.
Also, Vlad Guerrero is hot, he went 4-5 this game. That bodes well assuming we do advance. :)
Below is my list of game notes, there’s some good stuff in there. Check it out. Oh man, we’re only ONE GAME away from the stinkin’ World Series. We could be there in about 17 hours from the moment I’m typing this. It’s by far not over, but then again, I’m the fan, not the player. Players will say the right thing, but they have to be lying if they don’t at least smell it. :)

Here’s the list:

  • Got a feeling aj will do welltonight. No big numbers, just gut feeling.
  • Better first for Burnett than any other Yankees starter so far.
  • 7 pitch 1-2-3 for Hunter, beating Burnetts 9pitch 1-2-3 in the first.
  • Burnett has 3 ks through two
  • Chalk one up for replay. Bs for umpires for not checking the Cruz one.
  • The first two innings aj looked like the one i didn’t want to show up. So far in the thirds, he is the one I enacted to show up.
  • Teixeira saved a run with a great play on Andrus grounder. Did tie the game though.
  • The chiller couldn’t get the ball out of his glove on a Young grounder. inf 1b and RBI for young.
  • The Rangers take the lead without a ball leaving the infield
  • And the game is on. Yankees tie it up with a two out single scoring Jeter who had tripled.
  • Hunter nails Arod with a pitch in the fourth. Wheeeee!
  • Tommy Hunter is NOT Cliff Lee. Out after 3.2 innings. Leaves with 2-2 score, but bases loaded.
  • Really nice play by Elvis for a 6-5 fc to get an out. And save a second run.
  • Got to see my favorite thing. A camera that is on get hit by this time not a ball, but a bat. Put a HOLE in the camera lens. Wow.
  • Nice work by Holland to keep a potentially disastrous inning from getting out of hand.
    Tex annoys me. Period.

  • Nice at bat by young in the 5th, working a walk after a million pitches.
  • Steve Bartmann II?
  • Ok, we didnt cash in in the 5th. Got that sinking feeling right now.
  • I do not want to see Holland again in the playoffs.
  • If the Yankees open it up here, im done scoring the game,
  • Tex looks like he’s coming out, he’s holding his hamstring.
  • The TBS guys name dropped Rich Harden. That was the only was he was getting into the playoffs.
  • The chiller strikes again with a 6-4-3 double play.
  • Tex is out.
  • Before Cruz’s at bat in the 6th, I “put in the call”. Didn’t work.
  • Rangers have had the leadoff hitter on in innings 2-6.
  • Capt uppercut flew out on.. Wait for it… An uppercut swing flyball to center
  • Holy crap! Bengie makes em pay for the intentional walk to Murphy. Heard some fans on the open mikes going Noooooo! As well as a few f bombs.
  • In the 7th, you’re watching the rainmaker hr by Hamilton go, and I’m thinking, “Can one of these please get out, instead of being caught in front of the wall”? Then it went out. I’m happy.
  • Rangers are starting to run away with it. Not done by far, but feeling confident for sure.
  • Joba was pretty much ineffective, allowing three hits, and finally striking out Kinsler.
  • Ok, I was wrong about Holland. :)
  • O’day & Rapada are letting them back in. Not liking this!! Three walks – WTF!
  • This feels like the top of the 8th in Game 1 again. Not good.
  • We lucked out. It appeared that an Oliver pitch hit Swisher in the pants leg, but not called.
  • HUGE HUGE play by Michael young to keep the game from going back the Yankees way.
  • What a middle finger there. Josh delivers a second home run this game right after the Yankees could plate anyone after a pretty big gift from our bullpen.
  • That’s the second multi homer game in Ranfers history – 96 ALDS by Juando Game 2.
  • Hamilton’s second HR wet right I to the Yankee bullpen. Just an additional little bit of fun.
  • If our bullpen didn’t melt down in game 1, the series would be over now.
  • Wow.
  • As my wife said.. “Just five minutes after game over, and the place is totally cleared out!”

Photo by Vernon Bryant of the Dallas Morning News.

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ALCS G3: Cliff Lee dominates Yankees; Rangers win 8-0

Shutting out the Yankees at home in the playoffs. Who would have thunk it?
For a game that had a final score of 8-0, it seemed really weird to say it was a totally well pitched game, that was rather close the whole time. But it was. Other than a single pitch mistake, this was an absolute pitcher’s duel gem up until the ninth inning.
I think we all expected a pretty good, pitching dominating game, but what we got was freakin’ fantastic. Here’s the overall starting pitcher lines:
Andy Pettite: 7IP, 110P, 5H, 2R, 0BB, 5K
Cliff Lee: 8IP, 122P, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 13K
The only mistake made by either of them was a ball to Josh Hamilton in the first. Which wasn’t much of a real mistake, actually. Josh reached out and batted at a ball and got it over the fence in right to give us a 2-0 lead in the first. Off the bat, it looked like a ball that would just get dumped into right field for a hit, but it went out for a home run. It was an early lead, one that made me feel better about facing Andy Pettite. But that’s about all the offense that happened for quite awhile.
Cliff Lee started mowing down batters, including a few against Derek Jeter that made Jeter look more stupid for swinging (rather hard) at a ball out of the strike zone. Not easy to make Jeter look silly. The first eleven Yankees were set down in order, seven of them by strikeout. Cliff Lee faced 27 batters total. Of those, only two of them got hits (Brett Gardner & Jorge Posada), and one walked. That’s it. Everyone else sat down. It’s pretty close to total domination. Even given his pitch count of 122 after eight innings, he was going to come back out, and most everyone who was online with me thought so too. But then the top of the ninth happened, and he sat down, as well he should.
What happened in the ninth? Well, it was PAYBACK FOR THE TOP OF THE EIGHTH IN GAME ONE! I mean wow. It was just like the other day. Runs and hits just kept coming. Here’s a tally of the top of the ninth:

  1. Double by Hamilton
  2. Single by Guerrero (lifted for Borbon as a pinch runner)
  3. Single by Cruz
  4. Strikeout by Kinsler (who if first wasn’t occupied, probably would have gotten there on a dropped strike three
  5. Murphy pinch hits for Franceour, and is intentionally walked.
  6. Molina immediately singles, screwing with that idea.
  7. Mitch Moreland singled.
  8. Elvis Andrus doubled
  9. Michael Young grounded to third
  10. Josh Hamilton flied to left

That was the top of the ninth, and it was beautiful. It was even sweeter that it was against the bloody stinkin’ NEW YORK YANKEES. Fan posturing aside, what did amaze me was the shots of people leaving the stadium when it got to 3-0. THREE – and you bail out? Come on. When it got to 6, and especially 8, I could understand it. But Yankee fans bailing after just three runs? That’s disgraceful. I’ve always thought and believed Yankee fans (though misguided) to be loyal to their team. They showed tonight that they were NOT. EPIC FAIL on the part of Yankee fans in the ninth.
What is interesting about this is that if we can jump on AJ Burnett tomorrow like most everyone except Joe Girardi things we will, we could go up 3-1. That raises the possibility of not NEEDING to pitch Cliff Lee again in the series, setting him up for Game 1 in the World Series against (I hope) Roy Halladay. Anyway, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but man was tonight fun for a Rangers fan. Enjoyed the heck out of it.
Major kudos to TBS for not bombing us with celebrity sightings. I know TBS takes a lot of grief over their baseball coverage (I mean Craig Sager NEEDS TO GO), but they have a lot of great camera angles which Fox Sports Southwest could learn a thing or three from. But tonight, if this was Fox, we’d have an inning’s worth of total combined time of celebrity sightings, with nice graphics on the bottom saying who they are, etc. Don’t care about that junk. Yes, we know they’re there. I’m sure Billy Crystal was there. Do we need to see that every game? NO! Thanks to TBS for not doing that. Would have liked to have seen the moron who ran on the field during the game though. Was probably just trying to disrupt Bengie Molina’s timing at the plate :)
I also did take my twitter notes again, but decided not to flood Twitter with these notes tonight (see Jake, I was doing you a favor). Here they are for my site. Looking for game 3 tomorrow night. Hopefully right after my Phillies go up 2-1 on the Giants.
Oh, P.S. Before the game started, MLB Network was interviewing Tom Grieve, and at the end, they asked him about the claw & antler stuff. They got Tom to do it on the air. Grabbed a few shots of that off the TV. Check ‘em out before my list of in game notes below.

  • Joe MacGrane from MLBN picks Rangers in G3. Dan Plesac picks Yankees. Barry Larkin picks Ramgers, & Al Leiter picks Yankees.
  • Tom Grieve just did the claw and antlers on mlbn. Hahahahahahahaha
  • Again, my wife comes through with proper themed food. Hot dogs, fries, and kraut. Bonus, the baby as dressed in Rangers stuff! :)
  • Awesome at bat in first by young. Fouling off a bunch off stuff before getting a 2 strike hit
  • Wheeee! Hamilton goes deep, on a ball that off the bat looked like a bloop to right field
  • Both Hamilton home runs in post season have come off of lefthanders. #Rangers
  • 25 pitches for Oettote in the first. 9 were to Young
  • 15 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the first.
  • Uneventful top of 2nd for Rangers
  • 15 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the second.
  • 58 pitches by Pettite through 2.2IP. 17 of them just to Michael Young!
  • Rangers appear to have gotten a break on the inning ending play in the third, Gardner looked safe to me. Especially on the replay.
  • 13 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the third.
  • Secondary angle shows Gardner missed the bag on the slide.
  • Uneventful top of 4th for Rangers
  • Lee just smoked Jeter in the bottom of the fourth. Just carved him up.
  • 11 pitch at bat ends in a k to Swisher. Nice perseverance by Lee.
  • Perfect game is gone. Walk to Teixeira in the fourth. First walk of postseason.
  • Moron on the field in the top of the fifth. I know why we don’t show that, but I want to see it!
  • Seem like an awful lot of broken bats tonight. More than usual.
  • Uneventful top of 5th for Rangers
  • I’ve got a hand it to TBS. If this was FOX, we would’ve had probably a full innings worth of celebrity sightings and point outs. We haven’t had any and it’s in the bottom of the fifth. Good job TBS!
  • Broken bat bloop single by Posada breaks up the no hitter.
  • Lees pitch count is creeping up a little. 80 after 5 innings. Not bad, but a minor concern.
  • Can we not go to Craig Sager? He takes the cake over Jim Knox barely, due to his horrible clothes. #Rangers #LesNessmanLives
  • DAMMIT! Off Josh’s bat, it looked like a home run, but it missed getting out by a couple of feet – was a noisy out to Swisher.
  • Pettite seems awfully concerned with Michael Young at first.
  • Bot 6: Gardner gets on with a leadoff single. First thought. “Uh-oh. Here it comes.”
  • Lee gassed Jeter on another strikeout after the steal by Gardner. Felt like an emotion swing.
  • Nice infield hit by Frenchie, just beating the throw by Arod.
  • That’s now 11k’s for Lee through 7. He’s had at least one in every inning.
  • The first 11 Yankees were set down by Cluff Lee, seven by strikeouts.
  • 13 k’s through 8 for Cliff Lee. He’s at 120 pitches, but looking like he’s smoking everyone. I bet he goes back out for 9th.
  • Hamiltons double in the 9th sounded like yet another broken bat.
  • Come on guys. We need the insurance big time.
  • Great ninth so far. Walk to Hamilton, then a two strike single by Guerrero, and an RBI by Cruz.
  • Yankees fans are leaving? WTF? It’s only 3-0
  • Pinch hit murph for Frenchy. Loads the bases. Girardi probably playing for the DP with an exceptionally slow runner, Molina.
  • Molina beats the strategy with a single to left. Scored just 1 though.
  • 6-0 now. The top of the 9th is Payback for the top of the 8th in game one, isn’t it?
  • 8-0 now. One out, man on third. Yankees plsying the infield in now is fairly comical.
  • Jeter k’s for the third time in the ninth, the 14th Rangers k overall.
  • Teixeira k’s to finish the game, going to 15 overall.
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ALCS G2: Rangers don’t blow it this time, beat Yanks 7-2

Man, after Game 1, I came home, and deleted all episodes of Baseball Tonight, all of MLBN’s MLB Tonight, didn’t read a single recap. Heck, I didn’t even look at the pictures I took! That game annoyed me so much, I listened to just the new Afters album on the drive home, and when I got home, it was “Plants vs. Zombies” time.
BTW, the new Afters album is quite good. If you don’t know them, they’re a band that originated in Mesquite, TX, and is a Christian pop band. Check ‘em out. A link to their most recent album (Light Up the Sky) is here. I recommend tracks 1, 3, & 8.
Anyway, the only thing I did last night was write a short marker piece for my site here. And I didn’t think about it too much at all until Game 2 was starting. It extended into the beginning of the game, actually, although I started feeling a little better once we started scoring. :)
I took the same kinds of notes I did in the ALDS when I posted a ton of stuff on Twitter, although this time I just jotted the notes down, I didn’t flood Twitter. Here’s my notes from watching the game. It’ll be quite nice to go to New York for Game 3 with Cliff Lee on the mound and being 1-1 instead of 0-2. A LOT better.

  • Really bummed out about lad night, still.
  • Going to try just putting my Twitter notes in a note list instead of flooding Twitter today.
  • I skipped every post game wrap-up last night, and in the paper, and online, and pregame today.
  • Can we get Craig Sager off TV? What is that mess?
  • Come on Colby! Let’s do this!
  • Jeter’s up! Boooooooooooooooooooo!
  • Jeter K’s! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
  • Way to go Colby – 9 pitch 1-2-3!
  • Elvis steals second, but it’s called a wild pitch advance.
  • ….and then he steals third. w00t!
  • Guerrero’s pine tar batting helmet really glistens in HD during day games.
  • Elvis’ legs got us the first run in the first, although Hughes struck out the side
  • We lucked out on the Cano flyout. Looked like a home run. Thanks Cruz.
  • After 1.5 innings, Lewis and Hughes have the same number of pitches. 28. Except
  • Lewis had 6 outs, and Hughes has 3.

  • Upper tank off the facing up there – David Murphy! We’re up 2-0!
  • TBS gets some crap for their coverage, but Fox Sports Southwest could learn a thing or two about camera angles.
  • Three straight hits (Moreland, Andrus, Young) lead to our third run.
  • SHIT! Int walk to Hamilton to get to Guerrero works. This is the same feeling as last night. Really hope the inability to step on the Yankees’ throat wont cost us the game again!
  • 55 for Hughes through 2.
  • Looks like the yankees stole first again on another ghost hit by pitch.
  • After 2.5 innings, it’s Hughes 55, Lewis 53. Still 3-0, though.
  • Go Murphy! Two RBI so far, and six total bases in two at bats.
  • More claws! Two pitches, two doubles… Murphy & Molina
  • It’s 5-0 Rangers again. Anyone else scared?
  • Yankees plate one after we almost got out of a man on third nobody out situation. Berkman base running gifted us the third out.
  • Third walk in three at bats for Josh. Helps OBP a lot.
  • Colby Lewis seems to be putting more in the dirt than usual.
  • Colby now has 82 after five. Not obscenely big, but he’s throwing more per inning now.
  • That’s two home runs Cruz did not get cuz the ball hit the tip part of the wall, and didn’t go out. Probably missed by a foot total on both!
  • Claws and Antlers in the same play – triple to right for Kinsler! That got Hughes out. Joba in.
  • Hughes gave up seven of the ten hits he gave up on two strike counts.
  • Very ugly strikeout by Bengie Molina in the fifth. Harnessed his inner Juan Gonzalez there.
  • Moreland plates run number 7 when you thought we’d strand Kinsler at third!
  • Moreland again – sno cones a foul reaching into the Rangers dugout.
  • Wow. Cano’s home run almost cleared the cement walkways in the upper deck. That was seriously a big deal shot. Wow.
  • Hunter is up in the top of the sixth. That’s odd.
  • Lewis is out with two outs in bottom of sixth. Two men on. That uh-oh feeling from lad night is back.
  • Rapada replaces Lewis and ks pinch hitter Marcus Thames, although it took 9 pitches.
  • Ogando is in. Should have been last night.
  • Yankees suck chant going again. Needs to last more than like 30 seconds, Ranger fans!
  • Uh-oh. Andrus dropped a ball that you could say he was trying to hot dog an over the shoulder catch on. Hope that’s not the opening door for the Yankees.
  • Ogando labored in the seventh, throwing 25 pitches. But he gassed Cano on the final pitch to strike him out.
  • Last night oliver led off the 8th by walking Swisher & Teixeira. Starts off 8th today by walking Swisher again. Then he k’ed Posada. Much better.
  • Oliver is out after two outs. No runs. Much better.
  • Couple of nice defensive plays in the top of the 8th by Kinsler and Young to help out Oliver & O’Day.
  • Feliz in for the 9th. That mike Maddox.had to come out isn’t good.
  • We win! Nice running catch by Cruz to make the last out. Finally. A home playoff win. The 1961 Washington Senators breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Now feel good about Game 3 with Cliff Lee as s the starter. Not nearly as depressing that would have been if we were down 0-2.
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ALCS G1: Rangers pen totally blows it, we lose 6-5

Due to my policy of the last several years, I don’t write about losses to the Yankees.
Except to say this. I had a lot of fun at the game anyway. Was nice to have a woman sitting next to me who was a single seat buyer, so we had someone to chat to. She was nice, and gave me a rally towel for my kid.
But that 8th. What the F…..
When I got home, I deleted all episodes of Baseball Tonight and MLB Tonight that my TiVo had recorded, I don’t want to read any accounts of the game. That game pissed me off so much, I don’t want to read anyone’s thoughts about it.
WHERE THE HELL WAS FELIZ & OGANDO IN THAT 8TH? WHAT THE HELL?

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ALDS G5: Rangers beat Rays 5-1 to advance to LCS. Wow.

Wow. I started this site in December 1998, and 12 full seasons and a handful of playoff games later, I finally got to write this..
The Rangers have won their playoff series and have advanced to the ALCS.
I mean WOW. It almost seems so surreal. I’m actually at a loss for words right now. Although I wasn’t during the game. I burned it up on Twitter a bunch. I’ll be posting my game summary in the form of my twitter updates below. But a few bullet points to mention.
Twice we scored runs with a runner on second with a ball that did not leave the infield. That was pretty darned cool. That we got enough runs to win the game that way? Even more amazing.
Cliff Lee. Saw a funny tweet during the game about giving him the entire amount of money from the new Fox Sports Southwest contract. :) I mean wow. I think most Ranger fans are ready for Greenberg/Ryan to give him a blank check to stay. He had some nice curveballs working tonight.
Hamilton looks like the 2009 version of himself at the moment. Looks weak and lost at the plate. Not good.
We now have a record for most strikeouts in a division series by team, and an AL record for a single pitcher. Wheeee!
Carlos Pena looked bad too. Strikeouts all over the place. You’d think he was Brad Wilkerson or something.
My hometown Phillies and my adopted team the Rangers are in the final four. Uh-oh. I’m getting dangerously close to not knowing what to do with myself in the World Series. :)
Below is my tweet list. There’s some cool stuff in there. I’ll be out at the park on Friday for Game 1. Hope to see you out there, too!

  • Ok, here we go. Game 5. Twitter ready. iPad scoring software ready. Go #Rangers
  • MLBN: Ripken, Leiter, and Larkin all picking #Rays to win. The host picked the #Rangers though.
  • RT @aandro: In-game guy @ The Trop is awful. 30-year-old men don’t need to flip cap backwards, act like teenagers. >> Did you say Tony Romo?
  • Good that Elvis wasn’t greedy rounding first. #Rangers
  • RT @VictorRojas29: Catwalk overkill…please stop. #txrangers v. #rays
  • Andrus scores on a 3-1 groundout that never leaves the infield. Run Run #Rangers
  • Nice catch to get the foul out by Moreland. Nice job not falling on his face, too. #Rangers #ShutdownInningInFirst
  • Price had 18 pitches in this 1st inning, as opposed to 24 in Game 1. #Rangers
  • Kinsler got a single, but Frenchy grounded into a DP. Oh well. #Rangers
  • Easy 1-2-3 for Cliff Lee in the second. That’s why we got him. Give this man a blank check! #Rangers
  • Three k’s the first time through the lineup for Price. #RaysStillLosing. #Rangers
  • Bengie Molina breaks out the Antlers! #Rangers – His first stolen base since 2006!
  • David Price has 51 pitches through 3 innings. #WorkThoseCounts #Rangers
  • Infield hit by Bartlett gets two on against Lee in third. Weak hits like that annoy me. #Rangers
  • Hamilton totally airmails a throw to the plate, allowing the runner to get to second. Bad idea there, Josh. #Rangers
  • Nice fielding by the #Rangers to tag out the runner heading to the plate, but also to keep the runner at second. #HeWasTagged
  • #Rays tie the game in the third on a few singles. Could have been a heck of a lot worse. #NoThanksToHamilton #Rangers
  • Man that double by Cruz went to the only place it couldn’t have gone out. His watching the ball cost him a triple, though. #Rangers
  • And there’s the payback. Cruz steals third, Shoppach airmails it into left, we score second run. #Rangers #AntlersAllOverThePlace
  • The pitches by Price after the airmailed throw to third look a lot less controlled. Here comes Price’s emotions. #Rangers #PourItOn
  • Watching Jeff Franceour at the plate.. He looks like ol Dumpmaster D himself, Mark DeRosa. #Rangers
  • Nice curveball by Cliff Lee to strike out Carlos Pena again on a called strike three. #Rangers
  • “@DFishDesign: Nice curveball by Cliff Lee to strike out Carlos Pena again on a called strike three. #Rangers”. Ditto for Upton.
  • There’s the strikeouts for Lee. Struck out the side in the fourth. Looking good. #Rangers
  • Nice atbat for Elvis after coming back from an 0-2 count. #Rangers
  • Impressive at bat by Jason Bartlett against Lee in the fifth. #Rangers
  • 5 out of last 6 outs by Lee being k’s sets the record for K’s by a staff in the division series. #Rangers #MoveOverPadres
  • That’s a home run by Hamilton in our park. Darnit. #Rangers
  • Is it just me, or did Guerrero seem to be swinging harder than usual at this at bat? #Rangers
  • #Rangers get another run on a grounder that didn’t leave the infield scoring a guy from second. #AntlersAllOverThePlace
  • Unless Price’s foot was off the back of bag, it looked like Kinsler was out on the play that scored Guerrero. Rays didn’t argue. #Rangers
  • RT @Evan_P_Grant: Lee just set AL Division Series record with 17 strikeouts in the series. Mussina, Randy Johnson each had 16.
  • Carlos Pena is striking out so much, you’d think Brad Wilkerson was wearing his uniform. #Rangers #GoCliffLee
  • Very quick 7 pitch 1-2-3 inning by Grant Balfour in the 7th to shut down the #Rangers – much better than Price.
  • Is anyone watching the 2003 MLB Season Summary show on MLBN right now? #RatingsOfZero
  • My 5yr old daughter colored a bunch of #Rangers Captain pages for me to have when I watched the game tonight. I love my kids!
  • RT @aandro: Someone may need to start Kelly Shoppach’s car for him tonight if the #Rays lose.
  • We’re through seven innings, up 3-1. Cliff Lee struck out a million. CJ & O’Day up in pen, one’s got to be coming in next inning. #Rangers
  • Longoria needs to stop worrying about who has his hat, and start worrying about catching the ball. #Rangers #Thanks
  • The second inning ending double play for the #Rangers this game – Grrrrrrrr.
  • Jason Bartlett if finally out, after going 3-3 with a double up to this point. #Rangers
  • Ten strikeouts by Cliff Lee through 7.2 innings! #Rangers
  • And Cliff Lee follows up the 10th strikeout with a 1-2-3 10 pitch bottom of the 8th. #Rangers #WhoIsClosingGame
  • HUGE FREAKIN INSURANCE runs there with a two run home run by Capt Uppercut! #Rangers #ICanSmellItNow
  • RT d_a_cameron: Really happy for @NewbergReport.
  • We win. Wow. Just freaking wow. Thank you to Jack Zduriencik. #Rangers
  • The #Phillies and #Rangers are both in the final four in MLB. My head inches closer to disappearance in a baseball black hole.
  • RT BattingStanceG: Tonight, even Justin Smoak’s family & friends are thinking Rangers were brilliant for ditching him. #MLB #CliffLee
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ALDS G4: Rays force Game 5 with 5-2 win in Texas

Oh man, that was annoying. I think you can chalk this game up to one big thing.
Evan Longoria woke up. He went 3-4 with two runs scored and two RBI’s. Was the most potent offensive guy on the Rays Sunday afternoon. Two doubles and a home run. His power stroke was going, for sure. While he didn’t account for all the runs, he was part of a bunch of them.
It’s weird that through the four games played so far, the visitors played like the home team should play. You’re expected to win at home, and in both cases, the home team played like they were the timid team visiting the other park. An odd feeling. Hopefully that carries over to Game 5.
Not going to say a bunch about this one as its almost 1AM, and I’m tired, don’t feel like writing a bunch now. We looked flat. While I don’t think Cliff Lee will give us that in Game 5, I didn’t want to burn him twice in the second round, as he won’t get used to the max potential in Round 2, assuming we go deep in that.
Nelson Cruz did have a home run that my 5 year old daughter liked watching. :)
One good offset to this. The Cowboys lost, so they’re 1-3. Cowboys in last place is ALWAYS good, no matter what else is going on.

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ALDS G3: Rangers lose game I attend, 6-3 to Devil Rays

Yeah, I know they’re not called the Devil Rays any more. But it bugged me we didn’t beat them, so I’m calling them the Devil Rays. :) Oh, and you can view the photo gallery of mine from this game here.
This was the third Rangers playoff game I had attended. I was at the Oct 2, 1998 game and the Oct 9, 1999 games as well. Unfortunately, my playoff streak is now 0-3. We lost this game. I had picked the Rangers to win the series in 5 before any games were played, but I think a lot of people (myself included) smelled a sweep coming back home. The stage was set on Saturday for that. But before I get into the game, I wanted to say something else.
A big thanks to Mike Gonterwitz (sp?) for inviting me to his pre-game tailgate. I spent about three and a half hours out there. I was a bit worried at first, because I really didn’t know anyone else other than him. However, I brought some dogs, buns, and some Shiner Bock, and I fit in pretty well. There was a minor panic when the propane ran out, and it was discovered that the spare was left at the house (!), but a friend showed up about 15-20 minutes later with a charcoal ‘que in his truck, so the party was back on again. That dude cooked up some badass fajita steaks, and other sausages and whatnot. I had a great time – a few hours spent outside the game eating meat and drinking beer? Hell yeah, you’re gonna have a good time. :) So thanks Mike – I seriously had a great time. Thanks for the invite, hope to do it again sometime.

Once I got in, it was bloody packed. I mean so packed that the area behind the lower home run porch was packed like LBJ during rush hour. You literally stopped out there. Was by far and a way the worst people traffic jam I’d EVER seen in the 16 years the park’s been open. No contest. Was really awful. Eventually made it to my seat, had a decent vantage point, and settled in to watch the game.
The Rangers had their usual pre-game goodies. Charlie Pride sang the National Anthem, but for me, the best moment was Johnny Oates’ grandson throwing out the first pitch. Long time readers here know my affinity for Johnny Oates (links here and here if you don’t). But I got a kick out of seeing the kid out there (was just 8 as I recall). He was escorted by Rusty Greer & Mark McLemore. Liked that. Nice nod to the Rangers’ past glory there.
Once the game got started, it was OK through the first few. There were no runs scored until the bottom of the third, but Colby Lewis looked a little wobbly. It’s one of those things that won’t exactly turn up in the box score. His overall line isn’t that bad, really. Five innings pitched, two hits, no walks. However, he walked five guys – which is more than he’s walked in any game in 2010. That part wasn’t good. But he didn’t break. Still, this is the playoffs, and had it been a mid season game, he would have stayed out there, I’m sure. But you need to win THIS GAME NOW in October, so I understood him coming out. What I did NOT understand was Darren O’Day being taken out later on in the game after just one out. Lewis was immediately followed by Derek Holland (0.2IP), Alexi Ogando (0.1IP, BS), and then Darren Oliver (who was technically tagged with the loss). Compared to the three bullpen guys who came before him, O’Day was sparkling, yet he was taken out immediately. To me, that was the mistake of the game there. They brought in Feliz to get four outs. I would have left O’Day in to finish the inning he was in, as Feliz was meh. While Feliz didn’t get credited with the blown save or the loss, he probably deserved it. Our pen was not good. It just seemed out of whack, given the way it usually performs.
We had a little life at the end when Nelson Cruz jacked a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to make it 6-3, but by that point the damage was done.
The offense we did have was limited to just three solo runs (3rd, 7th, 9th). The 9th I already mentioned. The other two were on a small ball manufactured run in the third, and the other was another solo home run, that one by “Capt. Uppercut” himself, Ian Kinsler. But really, there was no sustained attack. Six hits overall. No Ranger had more than one hit. To be honest, I expected that with Matt Garza. I was more worried about our performance against Garza than I was against David Price, tell you the truth.
Finally, it doesn’t help when there’s guys on either side of you who are totally non chatty to people they don’t know. *AND* to make matters worse, sigh and groan at every single ball thrown. If it wasn’t a strike, the dude on my right was complaining. That got old after a couple of innings. Come on dude, even Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, & Cy Young threw 100% strikes. Give it a rest, doofus.
Leaving the park, I was bummed at the loss for sure, but as much as Ranger pride might have wanted the sweep, I doubt many people truly expected it to happen. No problem, though.. There’s Sunday’s game.
P.S. The place looked good in all red!

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ALDS G2: Rangers shut out Rays to go up 2-0 in series

Yesterday I wrote a lot about the game on Twitter, and I did the same thing again for Game 2, so I’ll repeat what I did yesterday, which was post a list of all my Twitter comments (including a few retweets from other people), as it’s mostly a stream of thoughts while watching the game. I had to go pick up my kid from school in the middle, so I got about 35-40 minutes behind live TV, but I had caught up by the end of the game thanks to TiVo letting me skip all the boring stuff (and the commercials).

  • MLBN’s Larkin and John Hart pick the #Rangers to win Game 2. Al Leiter picked the #Rays. Ready for more tweeting.
  • #Rangers #Rays – My wife just handed me a home made roast beef sandwich as I sit here watching MLBN pre-game coverage. I love this woman!
  • Minor panic. Time Warner Cable told me TBS HD was not available two mins b4 first pitch! aaaaaaaaaa! #Rangers #Rays – it’s back, though.
  • After the first, Shields looks a lot better than their “Ace” from yesterday. #Rangers
  • Really nice dive by Moreland to catch the foul ball. Love the dive. #Rangers #NotRyanGarko
  • A couple of really good catches including a dive in center for Josh Hamilton! #Rangers #WhatRibs?
  • Much better second inning for CJ Wilson. #Rangers
  • Free gift run from Shields. Think Pena would have muffed that throw? Probably not. #Rangers #ThanksJoeMaddon
  • Anyone else tired of hearing that the #Rangers are not just a power team anymore? We know that. #Duh #SoundsLikeJoeMorganDuh
  • Treanors run was a double gift from Shields. First it was a hit by pitch. Second, he scored on Shields’ throwing error. Thanks Jim! #Rangers
  • Had to pick up my kid from school. Now behind about 40min in #Rangers game. At least TiVo will let me skip commercials & pitching changes.
  • No doubter home run by Ian Kinsler. Capt uppercut comes through. #Rangers
  • Complete muff job for Kinsler on the routine grounder. Fortunately, didn’t amount to anything. CJ still shutting out Rays thru 4. #Rangers
  • Treanor gets hit in the back again by Shields. Looks like the same spot. If it happens again, charge the mound! :) #Rangers
  • Shields looks pissed off in the dugout after coming out. Let’s score the two inherited runners and really make him steam. #Rangers
  • All they’re doing is focusing on Shields being mad in the dugout. Got worse after Michael Young’s home run. Hahahaha! #Rangers #Shieldssux
  • Michael Young did appear to go around. We appear to have gotten a gift. Led to Joe Maddon’s ejection. #Hahahahaha. #ByeByeMaddon
  • Can’t wait to see the post game whining by the Rays. You know it’s coming. #Rangers
  • Kinsler gets another RBI, chasing Qualls, who was completely ineffective. #ShieldsInDugoutIsFunny #Rangers #Rays
  • 27 min wait for CJ Wilson in top of 5th, didn’t affect him, though. One walk, no runs. Go #Rangers
  • I wouldn’t have thought we’d be up 6-0 after six before this game started. #Rangers #BringYourBroomsSaturday
  • Nice try by Young going to second on the Hamilton flyball. Gotta hand it to Upton; great throw. #Rangers #Rays
  • CJ is mimicking Lee well. In top of 7th, he’s got first pitch strikes to 12 of last 15 batters. #Rangers
  • More pissed off Rays. This time Shoppach, on a ball that looked like strike 3 to me. #Rangers #hahahahaha
  • Nice job by O’Day and Oliver in the 7th, keeping it scoreless after 2nd/3rd and no outs. #Rangers #RaysCantScore
  • RT Evan_P_Grant: Joe Maddon ejected and I counted at least 10 F-bombs in tirade directed at Jim Wolf. Rays may have gotten jobbed, but Rays have lost poise.
  • Why did Niemann do good? He wasn’t acting like a whiny brat. He kept his cool, unlike several other #Rays – We’ll take it, though. #Rangers
  • Darren Oliver makes the #Rays look bad in the 8th. #GoodNightRays. #Rangers
  • Unless i missed it, it took till the 9th inning of game 2 for the Claw and Antlers stuff to be mentioned. #Rangers #WayToCoverTeamTBS
  • The #Rangers now have more wins in two games of 2010 series than 96, 98, & 99 combined. This is good! I have a ticket to Game 3. Brooms!

I have to say before the series started, I was worried about CJ Wilson given his “meh” September. Shouldn’t have doubted him, he was every bit as good as Cliff Lee yesterday. CJ went 6.1 innings, gave up just two hits and two walks. No runs, struck out seven. Threw 104 pitches. He probably would have stayed in had this not been a playoff game, but you can’t take chances now.
Our pen was awesome too. O’Day faced one guy, got him out, and Oliver finished the game with 2.1 innings pitched, no hits allowed by any of them, although Oliver allowed one walk. They basically stood on the Rays throats, but the Rays didn’t help themselves by getting so mad after a seemingly blown call didn’t go their way.
They’re now down 2-0 to Texas, which in and of itself is very cool. We have more wins in the first two games of this series than we do in the 1996, 1998, & 1999 series COMBINED – which is quite sad. While the game isn’t over, and Colby Lewis can still lay an egg on Saturday, one gets the feeling the momentum will carry the team on Saturday to a series sweep!
And I have a ticket. Man, it’s gonna be cool! Although I won’t be able to do the tweet thing from there, can’t type that fast on an iPhone. :)

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ALDS G1: Rangers ride Cliff Lee to 5-1 win over Tampa Bay

I scored this game at home on my iPad, and was chattering a lot on Twitter today during the game. Jamey Newberg did not, so I’m assuming he was doing lawyer stuff at work, otherwise I would have been out Tweeted 20 to 1. :) My summary of the game will mostly be an archive of my own tweets. In chronoligcal order from right before the start of the game until it was over..

  • @Evan_P_Grant the empty seats there are just bloody amazing. Move that team. They don’t deserve them.
  • When did the Orioles hide inside the Rays uniforms? #Rangers (Referring to getting to Cliff Lee early)
  • Stop giving the #Rays batters time at the plate, please! #Rangers #seligaboutpaceofgameagain (Rays batters seemed to be trying to throw Cliff Lee off by calling time excessively in the first)
  • @aandro 4 out of first 5 outs are Ks, though. @aandro Excuse me. 5 out of 6. (in reply to Anthony Andro talking about how many hits the Rays had early on)
  • #Rangers – Both Price and Lee have 43 pitches thrown thru 2 innings.
  • I just clawed from the couch after Nelly’s HR. Off the roof out there! #Rangers #Boomstick
  • Just seven pitches for Cliff Lee in the third. That’s more like it. #Rangers #Pricedidntdothat
  • Retweet of Aandro – The three #Rangers with postseason homers are now Nelson Cruz, Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer.
  • The three #Rangers with postseason homers are now Nelson Cruz, Juan Gonzalez and Dean Palmer.
  • That’s the second run that scores on a 3-0 RBI hit. #Rangers #ByBbyePrice
  • Retweet of craigcalcaterra – Price’s “throw it right down the middle” strategy may not be as devious as he assumed.
  • 5-0 over David Price after 5. Rays look like they’ve already lost sitting on the bench. Not a good sign for a comeback. #StepOnTheirThroat
  • BJ Upton, you’re not Derek Jeter. Stop it with the stupid hold your hand up at the ump. You are not getting time. #doofus #Rays #Rangers
  • 17 of 21 first pitch strikes for Cliff Lee. #Rangers
  • Cliff Lee is now the #Rangers record holder for Ks in the playoffs. #AnyoneSurprised?
  • David Price is gone in the 7th after about 105 pitches and a 5-0 deficit. A bit surprised by that, honestly. #Rangers #Rays #w00t
  • More than once the ball/strike indicator on TBS has been wrong. Doesn’t even match the pitchtrax count. Fail. #Tbsfail #Rangers #Rays
  • #Rangers relievers keep Lees shutdown feeling going. Even threw in a strikeout, too. #O’Day #Oliver #CanSmellGame1Win
  • Neftali Feliz takes the hill in the 9th. Non save, but this feels good. #Rangers #Rays
  • This is not the part of a John Wetteland closing performance you want to emulate. #NoMoreHeartAttacksPlease #Rangers #Rays
  • The 9 game post season losing streak going back to 1996 is over. #Rangers beat #Rays 5-1. Feliz looked like Wetteland in 9th for sure.
  • #Rangers had lost something like 10 of 12 at the #Rays park before today.
  • @SixOkay Rangers win Game 1 of the ALDS! P.S. Megan Fox for Wonder Woman!

That last one is an inside joke with someone (as much as an “inside” joke can be inside on a public thing like Twitter). Anyway, it was cool that the Rangers won. Winning Game 1 against a guy we were expected to be shut down by is a huge morale booster. I mean, wow. We’re up 1-0. The last time the Rangers were up 1-0 was October 1, 1996, when they were up 1-0 over the Yankees. That was our last post season win until today.
A few other thoughts. After we went up 3-0, we had scored more runs than all the six playoff games in 1998 & 1999 combined. Granted, that had a lot to do with the Yankees late 90’s dynasty, but to me, that’s a more embarassing stat than the fact we had lost 9 playoff games in a row, and before today only a single playoff game. Two runs in six games over two years is pretty sad. We destroyed that today. Funny that you can talk about an “offensive destruction” while only scoring five runs.
Ten hits, five runs (four earned). Error by Elvis Andrus, but it didn’t affect anything.
Early on the Rays had a beef with Carlos Pena claiming he was hit by a pitch and then ended up striking out. It was a non conclusive call based on replays (to me), and obviously one never knows how an inning might turn after that. But if that was the only thing different, we still would have won the game.
Long balls by Nelson Cruz & Bengie Molina. As stated above in Twitter, they join Juan Gonzalez & Dean Palmer as the only other Rangers with post season home runs (both of those others coming on Oct 1, 1996 off of David Cone). That doubles the lifetime franchise of home run output. Yeesh.
Both starters had rocky first innings – Cliff Lee loading the bases, but he escaped. Both pitchers had over 20+ pitches the first inning. Both escaped, although Cliff Lee found himself after that, retiring about 12 in a row or so at one point.
The biggest observation of mine came from one of my mid game tweets when the Rays were down 5-0. They were shown in the dougout looking sad and depressed (much in the way I like seeing the Cowboys). The point being that it was only the fifth, and realistically, it was only 5 runs. Yeah, it was Cliff Lee, but the fifth inning of Game 1 of the playoffs is not the place to look like you’re about one out away from being eliminated. It was at that point I didn’t think they were coming back. Even when Feliz walked two to start the ninth, harnassing his inner John Wetteland. Had he been wearing #35 on his back, it would have been TOO scary for comfort.
Tomorrow afternoon is Game 2. CJ Wilson against James Shields. A lot was made after Lee came out about how CJ Wilson essentially idolizes Cliff Lee, and will use his info from Game 1 in Game 2. Hope it works. I like our pitching staff, but I’m nowhere near as confident about a win after Cliff Lee. Prove me wrong CJ. Prove me wrong.

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G162: Rangers drop season finale, 6-2 to Angels

I took my daughter to this game, but to be perfectly honest, what happened in the game was pretty much not witnessed by me. Basically, I spent the majority of my time in the kid park in center field. And WAITING. Man, don’t spend all your time out there in a game with 45k+ in attendance. We spent probably a good 40% of our total time at the ballpark waiting in some sort of line. Ugh.
Still, when we weren’t waiting on some line, she had fun, and I suppose that’s the whole point. She won some prizes, had fun playing with a few other kids. Was fairly mind numbing for me, however. If I didn’t have my iPhone with me, I probably would have gone nuts. :)
We did see the first four innings from our seats in Section 302 (that’s the best we could get on walkup – egad!). One funny thing about the game, Samantha head them announce Hideki Matsui, and thought instead of Hidecki, they said “Duckie”. That made me laugh. But most of the four innings was spent with her asking me when we were going down to the games. As a baseball fan, that was hell. As a dad, I thought it was cute. Ah well. At least I used the free ticket coupons from the kids packages. Didn’t cost me much money at all.
Another starter who only went five innings. Colby Lewis went five, gave up the two runs we saw, and that was it. Oddly enough it was only on one hit. He walked two. One of them scored as it was in front of Matsui’s home run.
That’s all the notable baseball I saw. The rest I was in center field. Heard the Angels were whining about Ron Washington taking our guys out of the game in the sixth (heard it standing out there, didn’t see it). Probably just po’ed they didn’t have the chance to do it themselves. :)
2011 will be the year that Michael Young breaks about every major offensive record the Rangers have. As the 2010 Season ends, Young has
1st place in Multi-Hit games (543)
1st place in hits (1848)
2nd place in doubles (347; needs 6 to pass Pudge for first)
1st place in triples (46)
2nd place in runs (918; needs 41 to pass Raffy for first)
4th place in games (1506; needs 68 to overtake Pudge, Sundberg, & Raffy for first)

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G161: Hamilton leads Rangers to 6-2 win over Angels

This was the final start of the season for CJ Wilson. It was more interesting to me than Cliff Lee’s last start, because we generally know what we’re getting from Cliff Lee. CJ Wilson, we don’t. This was his first year as a starter, and by all accounts, he seems to be gassed a little. His September numbers are up, and to be honest, I’m a little concerned about his start. So I was curious to see how he’d do here.
Early on, I thought “Oh crap”. He gave up two runs in the first inning on a triple, two walks, and two singles. And that was all before Wilson got the first out of the game! Egad, that was an awful start. However, he settled down a bit, and didn’t allow anything else. Just the two runs. However, he came out after five innings, having thrown 82 pitches. He probably could have gone another, but I expect the short outings at the end of the season here are to give some bullpen guys some work before the postseason starts. Our pen was good, we had four guys pitch a total of four innings, although one guy (Rapada) had a line of 0.0 IP. Rapada & Derek Holland allowed a single hit, but that was it. Pen was good.
Our offense put up a pair of three run innings. One in the fifth (to get the lead back) and one in the seventh. Only two extra base hits in all. A double by Nelson Cruz, and a big two run home run by Josh Hamilton (his 32nd overall). All the other nine hits were singles. Our hits were pretty bunched together, as all of them came in slots 1-5 in the lineup. 6-9 (Kinsler, Moreland, Treanor, & Borbon) all took an ofer, although Treanor walked once. But the hits were all up top. Two for Andrus, three for Young, two for Hamilton, one for Guerrero, & two for Cruz. Franceour pinch ran for Guerrero and got an at bat of his own, but didn’t get a hit.
Nice to see the time off doesn’t appear to have affected Hamilton’s offense. Which is huge, as we’ll need him more than ever come Wednesday.

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G160: Hamilton returns, but Rangers lose in 11, 5-4

Josh Hamilton returned for the last three games of the season, pretty much to get his swing back for the playoffs. Some would say that’s not enough time, but it’s all we’re going to get. He wasn’t the big power in this game, though.
That was Mitch Moreland, who was 2-3 with two runs scored, and two hits. Also had two walks. But the two hits were home runs. Bengie Molina also had three hits and an RBI. But the rest of the offense was spread out, and contributed to the fact that we didn’t have more runs.
Tommy Hunter was decent, although he only went five innings on 60 pitches. Obviously, he came out not because of being tired.
It’s an extra inning loss. Don’t like those. :(

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G159: Cliff Lee great in final start of season; Rangers win 3-2

Some of us have been worried about Cliff Lee a little. He was good when got here, played a little hurt for a bit and slacked, but his last few starts have been on the upswing. So it was with some minor trepidation that I approached his last start of the season. Wasn’t sure what we’d get out of him.
We didn’t get the nine innings mow ‘em down Cliff Lee, but the Lee we got was the pretty darned good one anyway Cliff Lee. Seven innings, four hits, no walks, eight strikeouts. Allowed a run, but it was unearned. He looked good, if not totally dominating. Came out after 93 pitches, so that was likely a “we’re taking him out after seven anyway” type of deal.T
He didn’t get the win though, as Darren O’Day blew the save, and allowed the other run to score. Still, I was’t worried about Cliff Lee in game 1 of the playoffs now. :)
The bulk of our offense came from Vlad Guerrero & Nelson Cruz, who combined for five of the nine overall hits the Rangers got. Two of Cruz’ three hits were doubles, but that was it – all the other hits were singles. Was enough to punch across runs in the third, fourth, & eighth to win the game.
Looking forward to Cliff Lee next Wednesday. :)

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G158: Rangers salvage finale on gift from Mariners, 6-5

A walk off strike out.
A walkoff strikeout. If it wasn’t for that, we were in serious jeoprady of being swept. Not something you want to have done to you in Game 158 of 162. Blah.
Justin Smoak homered again. Think he was jazzed up to play the Rangers?

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G157: Rangers lose again, 3-1 to Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez vs Scott Feldman – no real matchup there (not in 2010) anyway.
After Feldman was out, we were down 3-0, and while our pen pitched well, we couldn’t get anything going against Felix Hernandez.
Smoak was 1-3 with two RBI’s that came on a two run home run. EEK! Smoak! Smoak!
Ah well. Limp to the finish line, eh? :)

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G156: Rangers raise AL West Flag, lose to M’s, 7-5

On Monday night, the Texas Rangers did something they haven’t done in a decade. Raised a championship flag. Granted, it’s just the AL West Champs (not the AL champs, or the World Series champs), but those could still happen. Still, we’re in the playoffs, and Game 1 is Wednesday night October 6th. Wow. That’s weird.
Game 2 starter is CJ Wilson, and he got his next to the last regular season start on Monday night. It didn’t go well. Five innings, 85 pitches, 8 hits, 1 walk, but six earned runs. Ugh. Not good. Granted, this isn’t the playoffs, but it’s close enough to them, that you want your playoff starters to be good in their last couple of starters. So that’s a little disconcerting. But not enough to make me panic, I suppose.
The only other Ranger pitcher to give up a run was Pedro Strop, but I doubt he’s on the playoff roster, anyway.
The big story was Justin Smoak coming back here and going 3-4 with three RBI’s and two runs scored. Also hit a three run home run off of CJ Wilson in the fifth. He pretty much trashed Ranger pitching this game. Probably made him feel good.
Vlad Guerrero & Nelson Cruz had home runs (Cruz’ being a three run shot), but it wasn’t enough to make a difference in this game.
Ah well. Limp to the finish line, eh? :)

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G155: Rangers slaughter A’s 16-9 on 1st day as AL West Champs

This was a game I only saw the beginning of, as it started at 3, and I had to leave the house at 3:45 to attend a Sunday evening church function. By the time I got back, I had seen the score, and was quite surprised by it.
The Rangers pounded out 22 hits, scoring 16 times, including a seven run top of the 9th, which made it a lot more comfortable than it was after the bottom of the 8th. The Rangers pen allowed the A’s to score a six spot in the bottom of the eighth, making it (then) 9-7. A little too close for comfort.
Every Ranger got on the board, except Chris Davis. He took a huge ofer, going 0-6. Everyone else had at least two hits, with Jeff Franceour having the most (4). Two home runs by Mitch Moreland, and one by Franceour & David Murphy.
As big of a win as it was, it certainly was a bit too close score wise. Colby Lewis was OK – which is good, as he’s a defined starter in the playoffs. He went six innings, six hits, one run, although he almost was bombed, the bases were loaded at one point, and I didn’t think he was getting out of it. Matt Harrison did most of the damage, allowing five earned runs in his 0.2 innings of work. Clay Rapada gave up a couple, too.
Harrison hasn’t been terribly sharp lately, I’d be surprised if he’s on the playoff roster.
Wow, that still sounds a bit weird – writing about playoff rosters.

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G154: The Rangers win the AL West with 4-3 win over A’s

The moment I’ve waited for since I sat in Arlington 11 years ago (and watched Mike Venafro cover first base on a 3-1 play to clinch) happened yesterday. A popout to short left field, and the game was over. The Rangers clinched the AL West yesterday over the Oakland A’s – formally eliminating them.
It was a game that I couldn’t easily just sit there and watch, as my wife had gone out for a haircut, and I was watching the kids. That’s fine, but it does stop you from paying complete attention to the Rangers game, so the particulars of the game I’m not writing much about. Oh, I had the game on in the next room, and I’d take a peek around the corner from time to time, but watching a 16 month old baby is not conducive to retention of baseball minutiae.
But, my wife got home just before the game ended, and while the kids had started eating dinner at that point I had called in my daughter to see, as at this point, there was two outs in the bottom of the ninth. I wanted her to see them clinch the division. What was cool by my wife was the fact that she also had wheeled the baby into the room in his high chair as well. When the Rangers clinched, my wife and daughter started clapping for it, but so did the baby! Granted, he’s just mimicking us, but it was kind of cool to have the four of us be there in that moment.
My wife’s first remarks other than “Good for them” was, “Oh, we’re so getting some shirts”. My daughter and I are going to the final home game of the season next Sunday, and will probably pick up some stuff there.
But yeah, it was really nice to see the Rangers win. The post game coverage was good, and given the truly unscripted, and live look of it, I’m surprised we didn’t get a ton of F bombs over the live feed (unless it was delayed a few seconds or something). Emily Jones was soaked, and if you’re a female reporter in there during that, better wear something that couldn’t be soaked through, if you catch my meaning – she seemed to tug at her blouse a few times. There also seem to be way more guys wearing goggles during these things. Old timers don’t use it, but the young guys do. I wonder if that falls under a Kangaroo court thing. hahaha.
But on the baseball side of things, it was nice to see Jorge Cantu break through finally, and give the Rangers what they needed – some clutch RBI’s. His first two as a Ranger, and BOTH of them were important in their own right at the time they came in the game.
It really seems weird that we’re in the playoffs again for the first time in ages. Good for us. I just hope we can do better than one win, or worse get swept. Getting swept again would be seriously crushing.
One last thing. I saw someone post this on Chuck Greenberg’s Facebook page:

Now THAT is how you begin your first season as an owner! Simply magical, unreal and everything in between. I can’t quit smiling and I know this is just the start of things to come! Congrats Chuck!

I had to reply with this:

The amusing thing about this is that Tom Hicks had the exact same entrance as an owner in his first year. That was 1998, and his first year team won, based on the work of people who came before him as owner. I mean it’s scary how similar that is.

Congrats Rangers, and congrats for Mike Young for getting there after #1502.