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G128: Rangers beat A’s, 7-3

Skipped this game, as I started a new job, and was super busy there for a bit. This is here as a placeholder for my schedule page.

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G127: Rangers lose to Twins, 6-4

Skipped this game, as I started a new job, and was super busy there for a bit. This is here as a placeholder for my schedule page.

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G126: Rangers beat Twins again by a 4-3 score

Got a bit behind this week, taking a mulligan on this game.

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G125: Rangers beat Twins 4-3

Got a bit behind this week, taking a mulligan on this game.

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G124: Rangers dominate Twins in 4-0 near no-hitter

Rich Harden came off the DL for this game, and by most accounts, was pitching for his job. The talk was that if he had a bad outing, he’d be banished forever. He seriously answered the bell. In probably his best outing as a Ranger. He went 6.2 innings, picking allowing no runs, yet walking five. He left the game in the seventh with a no hitter, actually. He came out with 111 pitches. Early on, he went to a three ball count on most everyone. That’s why he lost his chance to go deeper. Shame, as he was pitching well enough to carry on, but as he just came off the DL, he needed to be protected for later on in the season, which ultimately is more important.
Matt Harrison finished the inning, then Darren O’Day had his own no hitter of an inning. Then Neftali Feliz came in, and gave up the one hit, a single by Joe Mauer to break it up. Shame that didn’t happen, yes. But I’m more glad we got a win, and a convincing one against a real playoff team after the weak showing recently in that department.
The Rangers had a spread out offense. Of the starters, only one had no hits (that being Treanor). Everyone else had at least one, and it was enough, given the stellar pitching of the Rangers staff.
Great win.

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G123: Rangers club their way to win in Baltimore, 6-4

Tommy Hunter took the mound on Sunday afternoon in the series finale and tried to shake a couple of rough outings, one including a vomiting session. He did pull it off. Had a great outing. Eight innings, five hits, three earned runs on one home run. Quite a good outing, indeed.
The other side of things were pretty much summed up quickly with this:
Josh Hamilton’s three run home run in the first off of Kevin Millwood gave us the lead we never gave up. Then a second three run home run by Vlad Guerrero in the fifth – again off of Millwood.
That was the extent of the scoring for the Rangers, but it was enough. Thanks to Hunter, who seems to have bounced back nicely.

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G122: Cliff Lee homered in Rangers loss, 8-6

Fell a bit behind this week, not going to write huge amounts of games this week.
I will say this. Cliff Lee had by far his worst outing as a Ranger. Just 5.2 innings, 10 hits, all eight runs were earned by him. Four home runs. It was a mess.
The best on the Rangers site was Josh Hamilton (what a shock), who went 3-5 with two runs scored, and three RBI’s. Michael Young also had three hits, but beyond that, not a ton of other stuff.
Blah.

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G121: Rangers return favor, shut out Orioles, 2-0

On my 45th birthday, the Rangers gave me a quite nice baseball present. They broke their four game losing streak with a dominating performance by CJ Wilson.
I tend to use the phrase “dominating” on this website perhaps a little more than I realistically should, but man – it certainly applied tonight. CJ was masterful (uh-oh, another overused adjective) in this one, and was EXACTLY what we needed this night. Nolan Ryan himself in his prime couldn’t have done any better in stopping the skid. CJ went 8.2 innings, allowing just THREE hits and a walk, and struck out a dozen Orioles. At one point, he got 16 Orioles in a row out. I mean, WOW! 118 pitches when he came out of the game, he still had a realistic number of pitches left. I confess at the time wishing Washington would leave him in there, but you can’t argue with the result. Rangers win, Feliz got his first save of the month, and his 30th overall.
Thing is, the Orioles pitcher (Jake Arrieta) probably pitched well enough to win the game himself. He didn’t have quite the line as CJ, but you can’t argue with what he did as a good performance. 6.2 IP, 8 hits, three walks, two runs (one earned). Quality start for sure, and on any normal night, he probably would have won. But not against Wilson on this night – that’s for sure. The Orioles pen was good though – four guys combined for 2.1 innings of shutout ball. We couldn’t pad the lead at all against those guys, but we didn’t really need it.
Interesting bit late. Buck Showatler got tossed out of the game not long after Nick Markakis did (first time EVER for Nick). Showalter had a lot to say when he was out there. He did turn all kinds of red, which my wife even noticed. Now I point that out, because my wife needs glasses, and if she’s not wearing them, what she sees on the TV is a huge blur to her. She was laying on the sofa at the time (as the kids were both down now, and she was resting). She said “Wow – even without my glasses, Buck Showalter looks rather beet red”. He did seem to blow a few blood vessels. Not quite Earl Weaver levels of Orioles manager ejections, but it was a good show for sure.
Nice that we broke the streak, and as I write this on Friday night, the Angels have already lost, and the A’s are currently losing. Assuming that holds up, we’ll end the night eight games up on both of them. That’s quite amazing, considering how lackadaisical we’ve played over the last week or so. Not to have lost any significant ground during this time. Wow.

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G120: Rangers dominated in Baltimore by Matusz; lose 4-0

I wasn’t sure if I was right about the shutout statement in Game 119, but it didn’t matter. The Rangers were shut out in Game 120, 4-0 in Baltimore. If you count that horrible series right before the All-Star break, we’ve now lost five straight games to Baltimore. I really hope Baltimore doesn’t become our new Kansas City – a place where we should dominate totally, but can’t win worth a damn.
While he wasn’t there for the four game sweep back in July, Buck Showalter has certainly put a charge into Baltimore. I’ve always kind of liked Baltimore (except back in 83 when they beat my Phillies). Baltimore has had such a rough time over the last 13 years, only being beat out in futility by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Buck Showalter is probably the kind of manager they need there (the Pirates could use Bobby V, too I’d take it). But when Buck got the job, I thought it would be a good long term match, provided management doesn’t get tired of waiting for a honest to god turnaround.
But one thing I loved seeing from the Showalter press conference in Baltimore was the talk about Johnny Oates. My long time readers know I have a soft spot for Johnny Oates, and that Showalter continues to pay reverence to him is great. Buck apparently asked for and got Johnny Oates’ old uniform number of 26 to wear in Baltimore. From what I read, he consulted with several people, not the least of which was Johnny’s family to make sure they’d be OK with it. That showed some class. I still remember the winter that Buck took over in Texas him coming straight over to me and asking me about the red Rangers hat I was wearing. I’ll never forget that. The man has a reputation of being a heavy duty, almost too far level of detail to him, and the fact he’d talk to a fan (me) about cap colors with the Rangers, or talk to Johnny Oates’ widow about wearing his old uniform number just makes me like him more. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ron Washington, and enjoy him now, but I wish Buck Showalter had won it big here in Texas, I thought he deserved it. I hope he can have better success in Baltimore – but not until the Rangers win the World Series.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to write a ton about Buck Showalter here, but truth be told, there’s little else to say about this game. The story of the game is the Orioles’ starter Brian Matusz (the Z is silent – Mah-toos). He went eight innings, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk. Struck out six. Koji Uehara followed with a little rocky (two hits) inning, but he too put up the all important donut in the runs column.
That was about it. Vlad Guerrero seems to be coming around again – went 2-3 with a walk for a team that got just seven hits overall. We need his power back – especially now with Cruz down, and Kinsler still out.
Tip of the hat to Brian Matusz. He looked awesome. Hard to beat that kind of pitching, no matter what your offense is doing.

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G119: Rangers swept in Tampa by Rays, 8-6

Shit.

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G118: Rangers bombed out by Rays, 10-1

The less said about this mess, the better.
But at least Murphy saved us from being shut out. If I’m not mistaken, the Rangers are the only team that hasn’t been shut out in 2010.

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G117: The Rays beat Cliff Lee and Rangers, 6-4

Cliff Lee may have had his worst outing as a Ranger. You couldn’t tell it early on, as Lee piled up zeroes on the runs column for the first four innings. He then let the Rays on the board with a two spot in the bottom of the fifth, when a Willy Aybar single scored two. OK, not too bad. Two runs, we can live with that.
We actually made a game of it, and it looked good late. The Rangers offense was shut down by Chad Price, who went six plus innings. The first six, the Rangers had no runs at all. Then Price weakened, and we put up two in the seventh. The first scored during a double play the Rangers had hit into, and hten the other on a single. So no big power here, just a lot of small ball. But OK, game’s tied 2-2, and Cliff Lee’s on the mound. That’s good.
Even better in the eighth, when we duplicated the seventh by scoring a run in the middle of a double play, and then singling in the other guy. Now we’re up 4-2 going into the bottom of the eighth with Cliff Lee on the mound. Feeling good.
Nope, that was not the feeling I should have had given the outcome. The wheels fell off in the eighth, when Lee gave up a four spot to the Rays. None of those were power RBI’s either, as one was a fielder’s choice, and the other runs came on two singles.
Not Cliff Lee’s night, and you couldn’t blame the Texas heat for that one. He fell apart late. It’s OK, I suppose, it’s not like he’s going to go 34-0 in a season, he’ll lose some here and there. Better now than October I suppose. :)

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G116: Despite 7-3 score, the Rangers dominated the Sox in win

After the series with the Yankees & Red Sox, I think a lot of pundits and national press expected the Rangers to fall back, as well, we were playing “real teams”. Well, against the Yankees and Red Sox, we went 3-2 combined, and in the standings? We didn’t lose anything at all. Going into Monday night’s game against the Rays, the AL West standings:
Rangers: 67-49, .578
Angels: 60-59, .504 – 8.5GB
A’s: 57-59, .491 – 10GB
Mariners: 46-72, .390 – Who cares?
It’s a good feeling to be that far out in front on August 16th. I’m not saying anything is over, but man is it a good feeling.
As for Sunday, the inferno game… CJ Wilson took the mound, and it seemed apparent that the heat didn’t mean anything to him. He looked quite good, and didn’t have the tentative feel he sometimes gets if his pitch count gets too high. His line was 7.2IP, 4H, 1BB, 1ER, and EIGHT strikeouts. Looked pretty darned good. He came out with 113 pitches thrown, which in that heat probably felt like 213, but when he came out, I didn’t think he looked that beat down, so I’ll give that two thumbs up.
Pedro Strop, who was just called up from the minors followed, and allowed all the runs the Sox got. He let one of CJ’s inherited runners to score, and then gave up two of his own. Blah. That killed the shutout. Neftali Feliz closed it out with a shutdown inning to close it out for the win. Shame we gave up anything at all, as CJ deserved the win with the backup of keeping the shutout going.
But hey, we got the win, beat Boston, who had a really odd lineup out there – most of their regulars were on the DL or sitting.
On to Tampa to take on the Wild Card leaders. Monday night is Cliff Lee against David Price. Man, that ought to be good. Playoff preview, perhaps? :)

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G115: Rangers lose middle game of series to Red Sox, 3-1

The day after we won against Boston in a mashing fun way, we were shut down by their starter Jon Lester. Lester was brilliant, scattering just five hits over eight innings of shutout ball. He didn’t walk anyone, and struck out five. Not a lot on the strikeout side of things, but man, he looked good. Not a surprise that the only run we got came off of Boston reliever Scott Atchison.
That one run was a home run to Josh Hamilton, who probably could even hit Bugs Bunny at the moment. Hamilton was our best offensive player of the night, not just because he accounted for the only run, but his overall line was the best of anyone on the Rangers roster this night. Josh was 2-4 with a run and an RBI. Granted, he drove himself in, but still. Nelson Cruz also had two hits, but they didn’t amount to anything, and the entire rest of the lineup managed just three hits.
Nelson Cruz’s triple off of Lester was bad, as he came out of the game, and had to go on the DL two days later (I’m writing this two days later – ha) due to his running out the triple. It’s a shame he’s been hurt so much, as you’d think he’d have just as good a year as Josh is having if he could stay on the field. Sad.
On our side, Colby Lewis was a hard luck pitcher again, going six plus innings, and allowing just one run. His line wasn’t as dominating as Lester’s, but he certainly pitched well enough for a win. 6.2IP, 6H, 1ER, 2BB, and NINE strikeouts – that’s been Colby’s strength, the strikeout.
Shame he didn’t get the win, as he deserved it.

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G114: Rangers win a long, hot slugfest 10-9 over Boston

I was at this game, and it was one of the hotter games I can recall. I also wasn’t sure I was going to get there in time. I left Garland at 4PM, and was planning on going to dinner beforehand. Yeah, I know they lowered the prices on food and drinks and whatnot. That’s all good, but it’s not like I’m going to suddenly get a meal that is filling at the Ballpark for like $5 or something now. It’s still way cheaper to eat ahead of time. I had a very slow restaurant, and I didn’t get to leave Garland until about 5:10 – and from where I was, my GPS took me a different way than normal (down 360), and fortunately 360 south wasn’t jammed, like it almost always is. I was stunned. Had to park way out by I30 almost, and eventually got to my seat with about 15 minutes to spare. That’s cutting it way too close for my tastes. I like to be in my seat an hour before the game starts. And yeah, it was brutally hot. I had brought three bottles of Gatorade with me, and brought one to the park, figure I’d save the others for the ride back home, as I’d be hot when I got to the car. The one I bought with me was gone by the time I got to my seat. I was in Section 342, Row 23 – the last row. I couldn’t see the scoreboard from where I was, but to be honest, I didn’t much care. One advantage of sitting in the absolute last row is that you get a breeze up there. No matter what it’s like in the park, you almost always get a nice breeze. So once you get up there, it’s not all that bad. It’s not like it’s 70 degrees out, mind you – but the breeze does help.
So the game gets started and Tommy Hunter takes the mound. Was hoping for a good outing from him, and in the beginning, I thought we were gonna get that. The Rangers were up 2-0 early on a couple of RBI singles in the first two innings by Cruz & Andrus. The Sox got a run back in the top of the third on a solo home run, and then it fell apart in the next inning.
The top of the fourth was quite ugly. There were two parts to that. Tommy Hunter gave up three home runs in a row. One to David Ortiz, one to Adrian Beltre, and one to JD Drew. It got worse when Andres Blanco booted a ball that would have ended the inning on a double play ball. But he botched it, and four more runs scored because of that. Sigh. The Sox had a seven spot in the top of the fourth, putting them up 8-2 at the time. It was fairly disheartening.
It was at least comforting knowing that Tommy Hunter apparently was behind the dugout throwing up before he came out in the top of the fourth to pitch. The stomach virus he was having wasn’t helped by the heat, and just pitching wasn’t good, so it explains his performance. Still, we weren’t helped by the Blanco error, and were down six.
The climb back started almost immediately when Mitch Moreland hit his first ever major league home run – a two run shot into the right field stands. That felt good, but we were still down four. Felt better about it after the fifth when Michael Young & Josh Hamilton went back to back with solo home runs.
Yes. There were a lot of home runs this game. But that wasn’t all of it. Not by far. David Murphy made a great leaping catch against the left field wall early in the game to end an inning. Then Josh Hamilton made a great diving play where he slid for a bit after he caught the ball and dove. Those were awesome. But the best catch of the game was Hamilton up against the center field wall. It’s up there with the Gary Matthews Jr catch as one of the best defensive plays of all time. I’ll give Matthews’ catch just a tad more than the Hamilton catch – mostly because the Matthews catch brought a home run back. If Hamilton had missed that, the trajectory of the ball seemed to indicate it wouldn’t have gone out. Don’t get me wrong, it was the catch of the year – by far. But it didn’t rob a home run. If you look at the video highlights to this game, you’ll see the Hamilton one titled “Hamilton makes a dazzling catch in the sixth”. It was awesome, go check it out at the “Game Recap at mlb.com” at the top of this review.
Anyway, the Sox got another run back in the top of the seventh when JD Drew homered again. That felt kind of deflating, actually. While it turned out it was just one one, I ALMOST walked out the door then. I thought about the heat, the drive home with a sold out stadium, and I almost left. But I didn’t. Figured I don’t go to too many games anymore (about 6 at max), so I stayed. Good thing I did, as the Sox were done scoring at that point.
The Rangers picked up a couple in the seventh on a sac fly and a double. But the real fun came in the bottom of the eighth when Josh Hamilton was on second base. Vlad Guerrero (who has been quite cold lately) singled on a ground ball to the second baseman. Oddly enough Vlad managed to beat it out – although replays at home showed the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. What was really cool was that Hamilton never stopped running, and managed to score from second base on a ball that didn’t leave the infield, and didn’t involve a throwing error (well, not one where the ball gets thrown away anyway). That was most impressive, and tied the game at 9-9.
The ninth and the tenth were innings where we had shots, but couldn’t get it done. Don’t like extra inning games where we leave men on. Always feel like it’s going to bite you. But this time it didn’t. We get to the bottom of the 11th, and at this point, Boston has run through all their relievers. The only one they had left was Tim Wakefield. Even before they announced him, I thought, “wouldn’t it be cool if we led off the bottom of the inning with a home run on the first pitch?” I know it happens, just not often. Then it was announced that Wakefield was coming in, and we’ve destroyed him this season. I figured we’d win the game off of him. I didn’t think we’d win it quite THAT FAST. First pitch to Nelson Cruz, and it’s bombed out of here over the left field wall. We won the game in walkoff fashion. Man was THAT cool.
I had been texting a friend of mine who was a huge Red Sox fan, so I taunted him some more now that the game was actually over. Another thing that was interesting was that I was during the game chatting with a friend of mine in Section 328 as well as a guy from the press box, and some other people not there. Was an amusing way to keep in touch during the game. Gotta love tech, eh? I’m by myself halfway across the stadium, and was still talking to a friend (Hi Rose!)
So I began the long walk back to my car, which was helped by the fact that this was a fireworks game, so the drive out wasn’t so obnoxious – I don’t stay anymore if I’m by myself. My Gatorade was there, but even inside the cooler bag, it had gotten hot. I didn’t care. Downed two 20oz Gatorades in the span of about a minute and a half.
Man it was hot. But the game made it worthwhile.

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G113: Rangers lose to Yankees, 7-6

As is my policy for the last few years, I don’t write about losses to the Yankees.

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G112: Rangers walk off against the Yankees, we win 4-3

You gotta do this. You just gotta.
The Yankees lose. Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Yankees LOSE!

Actually, when we went up 3-2, I wasn’t thinking win. I was thinking old traditional Yankees, which say that unless you’re up 15 runs, you probably aren’t safe.
Early on in the game, it started out like a good pitching duel. C.J. Wilson against AJ Burnett. Through the first three and a half innings, it was scoreless. Was a great, well pitched game. Had some pretty amazing defense too, one of which prompted the screen grab. Derek Jeter mashed a ball straight into the ground and it went way up. When it came down, it was about halfway between the pitcher’s mound and first base. At that point, there was no chance to toss it to anyone, so CJ dove for the base, and actually got there just a fraction before Jeter did. Jeter tumbled over him, and Wilson got up and gave the antlers to Jorge Cantu. At that point, all the guys in the dugout were doing the antlers to CJ, so he gave ‘em back. Was pretty darned hysterical. Lucky he didn’t jam his hand pulling that stunt, or worse got stepped on. But it worked out, and it was a sexy looking play, no doubt.
The Rangers managed to squeak out a run in the bottom of the fourth when Nelson Cruz doubled in Michael Young. That prompted something new at the ballpark. When the Rangers scored, two of the Rangers girls ran out on Greene’s Hill with two large Texas flags and ran around on the grass. I rather liked that. It felt very “football-y”, and I suspect will appeal to a lot of football fans. I just wonder what’s gonna happen on home runs that land in the middle of the grass there. :)
In the top of the fifth, the Yankees tied it back up, and were really threatening to get more, and Wilson danced out of it mostly. He was especially helped out when Nick Swisher was headed home, and Murphy threw a bullet to the plate, and nailed him. It also prompted a funny look from Bengie Molina at Swisher afterward when it appeared like he was looking at Swisher, meaning “You’re kidding me, right?”

The Yankees went up a run in the top of the sixth when Wilson allowed the other run of the game. Wasn’t anything special, just a single scoring Austin Kearns. In the bottom of the sixth, it was the David Murphy show again when he jacked a two run home run to give the Rangers the lead at that time, 3-2.
It was followed in short order in the top of the seventh by a solo home run from Arod. He was booed. :) No surprises there.
The game was 3-3 going into the bottom of the ninth, and the Rangers almost scored. We got a man to third. Didn’t get the job done. The top of the 10th was stellar with Feliz getting something like a 6 or 7 pitch inning to set down the Yankees.
We started off the bottom of the 10th against Mariano Rivera. Now I know he’s not the Rivera of old, but he’s still an impressive pitcher, someone to be feared for sure. Anyway, Michael Young singled, as did Josh Hamilton right after him. Josh’s hit was a squibber into right. So much so that Michael could only get to second. Guerrero came up in an obvious bunt situation. Guerrero doesn’t bunt. He does ground out though, and that’s what he did, a grounder to Arod, who fell down. Had he not done that fielding the ball, it likely would have been a double play. As it was, Vlad was out at first, pushing the runners to second and third. It worked like a sacrifice. Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked to load the bases. Obviously to create a force at any base, or better yet (for the Yankees) a double play.
Except that it was David Murphy, one of the hottest Rangers going right now. The count went to 3-2 (after being 3-0), and you felt weird waiting for what was the final pitch. Didn’t want to get out of that with no runs, as that’s always a bad omen. However, Murphy delivered, a single over second base scoring the winning run, and prompting a walkoff.
Over the Yankees. YOU HAVE GOT TO LOVE THAT! Much was said about the “playoff atmosphere” at the park on the TV tonight. It did feel like that, and towards the end of the game when my wife peeked in for a little at the end, she said “This season doesn’t feel like any season in recent memory”.
She’s right. It feels good, like it will be a history making season. We shall see what that history actually is.

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G111: Rangers lose to Oakland’s great pitching again, 3-2

This is a game that I think made a lot of people believe in Trevor Cahill. The guy’s been really great this year. His overall numbers now are 12-4, ERA of 2.56, 178.2IP, 1.43 WHIP. The whip isn’t that great, but you can’t argue with those wins and the ERA. Those numbers were borne out in the game against the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Yeah, another day game. We don’t like those, apparently.
Cahill went eight innings, allowed six hits, no walks, and did allow two runs, but they were both unearned. He beat out Colby Lewis, who pitched well himself, just not as well as Cahill. Lewis went six, allowed one run on three hits and three walks. Punched out seven. Quality start, technically, but when compared to Cahill’s line, not so much.
Darren Oliver was very un DO like this game. He got the blown save and the loss at the same time. Gave up two runs in his 0.1 innings of work. He only threw seven pitches, too, which made it much more concentrated. Given his overall body of work this year, I’ll overlook that, but it certainly was NOT a good outing.
Darren O’Day cleaned it up, but we couldn’t score against the A’s, although we made it interesting in the ninth inning when their releiver (Michael Wuertz) walked two batters. But Guerrero grounded into a double play, ending the game.
So we lost the series in Oakland – something that hasn’t happened much this season. Still, we come out of there with a very healthy sized lead over Oakland, who is in second place.
Back home to take on the Yankees.

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G110: Gio Gonzalez is good, Harden was ass, we lose 6-2

I had hoped that Rich Harden figured it out, as he pitched like the real Rich Harden in his previous start. Looked good, looked sharp, and acted like the guy we signed in the offseason.
I hoped wrong. We got the Mark Clark version of Rich Harden on Saturday afternoon in Oakland. Which was extra annoying as his only other good start of the season was also in Oakland, he has said he loves pitching there, it’s his favorite mound. Couldn’t have figured that out this day. I think it’s time to put him on waivers. With the team doing well down the stretch, I think the time to let him figure it out on the mound is done. Put him on waivers, or better yet, try and demote him to AAA. I’m sure he technically has waivers left, but I believe he’d earn the right to refuse the assignment and become a free agent. Good. Refuse it. Done. I don’t want to see him start anymore. We need to be reasonably sure we have a chance to win when the pitcher takes the mound. We don’t have that with Harden anymore. Buh-bye.
Harden: 2.1IP, 2H, FREAKIN FIVE walks, three earned runs. 65 pitches. Ugh.
Gio Gonzalez was the flip side of that. He did pretty darned well against us, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure why he was taken out when he was. Gio went seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and three walks. Punched out two, and was at a pitch count of 113. OK that’s why – I didn’t realize it was that high until I just looked at the box score. That makes sense. :)
We picked up a single run in the 8th and 9th each against the two Oakland relievers – the one in the 8th was a home run by suddenly streaky power hitter, Taylor Teagarden. That was the only hit we got that wasn’t a single – we were shut down pretty well this game. David Murphy was the only Ranger with two hits, and Murphy has come on well lately, it’ll be hard to bench him again – the way he’s hitting, he deserves regular time.
The Rangers continue to play poorly in day games. Which makes me hope that the stink about the playoffs going to some day games doesn’t start this year. :)

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G109: Rangers take opener in Oakland, 5-1, get Lee a win

Cliff Lee goes eight.
We got him some runs.
One of those is common this season, the other is not. As a Rangers fan, you should be able to tell which is which.
But what we did get to see from Cliff Lee is how a baseball player clears his nose between innings. That’s one of those moments when you go, “Uh, do we need to be focusing on this in the dugout?” I mean he put his finger over one nostril, blew, repeated with the other side, and then wiped his nose with a towel.
However, you can excuse that when you realize that Cliff Lee has pitched 86 out of the last possible 88 innings he could pitch (if he went complete games all 10 of his last games). That’s amazing. Amazing is how the Rangers have perceived Cliff Lee to be. He had a bit of a hard time in the first inning, going a staggeringly awful (for him) 20 pitches. He gave up a run, and after a hit in the seventh, pretty much became the Cliff Lee we knew about all the time he’s been here. Mowed guys down, seven pitch innings. Making A’s batters look foolish. In all he went eight innings, allowed seven hits, the one run. Walked nobody (again), and struck out eight. He would have gone nine, but when he came out, he had thrown 112 pitches. A little high for him, so that’s OK.
Frankie came in and threw a 13 pitch one hit shutout inning to get the win in Oakland. Yeah, other than the first inning, the Rangers pitching just dominated. Mark McLemore said in the post game show that it’s like watching a Cliff Lee perform surgery on the A’s lineup out there tonight. Interesting metaphor.
Offensively, the Rangers tied the game in the top of the third when Elvis Andrus doubled in Taylor Teagarden. The Rangers tied the game in the next inning when Josh Hamilton really tattoed a ball out over the center field wall. It was a slow curve he hit out, so you almost had time to watch it coming. Was one of those pitches that seemed to take a full minute to get to the plate, and you had time to examine it on the way in. Before Josh even swung the bat, I thought it looked like a home run ball, and it turned out it was.
But it wasn’t the coolest home run. That came in the fifth. Taylor Teagarden has just four hits this year. Two of them are home runs against the A’s. Teagarden went 2-4 this game. That he doubled his total hit output for the WHOLE season in a single game is not a great thing. I mean, you go 2-4 and RAISE your average to .105. Bad. Still, it was a good game for him, and he got to catch Cliff Lee, so it was a great night for Taylor.
The Rangers also scored their final run in the eighth on a balk, which canceled what would have been a double steal of second and home again.
The Rangers are now 9.5 games up against both Anaheim & Oakland. Rich Harden goes on Saturday. Hopefully we get the Harden we got the last time we were in Oakland earlier this year. Not the Harden we got the rest of the season, save for his most recent start.
The whole thing feels good. Man. It is a good time to be a Rangers fan. This might be the best season since the first season after I started this site (which was Dec 1998 – you figure it out). :)

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G108: Tommy Hunter shuts down Mariners, we win 6-0

When you write a headline like that. you think of one thing. The Rangers won this game early on, and rode Tommy Hunter to the win. And to an extent that is right, but..
The pitcher that Seattle sent out there was Felix Hernandez, and to be honest, through the first six innings, it was a total pitcher’s duel. Neither team amounted much of anything, and to be honest, it was a game that was easy to watch, as it moved quickly, and had some crisp pitching.
Until the seventh, when Hernandez broke down. Vlad led off with a single, and after at Cruz fly out, David Murphy homered to left field, giving the Rangers all they really needed for the win. The Rangers tacked on another run this inning after a Moreland walk, a Blanco single, and an Andrus single. And then Felix Hernandez came out of the game. Tommy Hunter was still in the game.
We put up another three spot in the eighth. That was with singles by Hamilton & Guerrero, followed by a double by Cruz, scoring Hamilton. We got the other runs on a sac fly and a wild pitch. So we went up 6-0 in a very short span there late in the game, pretty much making most people forget that the Rangers had nothing until they got into the seventh inning.
Tommy Hunter, however, got his ninth win of the season, going to 9-1. He went 6.1 innings, actually less than Hernandez and gave up the same number of hits, too (8), and one more walk than Hernandez (2 vs 1), but the all important runs column was a big old donut. That was what made Hunter a far more dominant pitcher than Hernandez was. Seems weird, and when you examine the numbers, it doesn’t play out, but when you “feel” it, Tommy Hunter was better than Felix Hernandez.
So we got out of Seattle winning the series 2-1, but we probably should have swept ‘em. Still, we have a huge lead over Oakland and Anaheim, and have a shot to put a dent in the A’s starting on Friday night.

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G107: Rangers win everywhere. Court, and on the field (11-6)

This was a totally spectacular game, and one of the best days ever during my time running this website for the Rangers. I mean, we’ve had great wins over the now 12 seasons that have been during my time running this site. And truth be told, in terms of wins, this doesn’t really rate THAT high on the great wins list. But when you combine it with the events back in a Ft Worth courtroom, and what happened at the exact moment that GnR got their winning bid in, it elevates the game itself to a bit higher status.
Didn’t start out that great. After four innings, we were losing 5-2, and I wasn’t feeling that great about the game. It was compounded by the fact that at the time, things weren’t looking so great in the ol’ courthouse. But in the top of the fifth, David Murphy popped a huge home run out to right field scoring three. It was the big exclamation point to a five run fifth inning, that put us up 7-5, and we never gave up that lead.
The Rangers gave up another run in the bottom of the sixth, which let the Mariners back in the game a little, but we crushed it completely in the top of the seventh when Jose Lopez slacked off on a grounder to third, and he allowed the bases to be loaded, when they should have been off the field.
The next batter was Michael Young, and on the first pitch he saw, he deposited it into the bullpen for a grand slam. The coolest part about that slam was at the same time, the GnR group put in what turned out to be their winning bid for the Rangers in the Ft Worth courthouse. It was quite a cool moment overall. Obviously, at the time, you didn’t know of the connection, but it was figured out not too long after that.
I mean, that was the “end” of the day’s festivities. It wasn’t really, as there was a little more court time, a little more game, but the Michael Young grand slam was the spiritual “end” of the events of the day.
You gotta love that. That it’s the 10 year serviced Michael Young too makes things that much sweeter.
And after this night, I dared to entertain the thought that we might be able to keep Cliff Lee next season. Dreaming high, eh? :)
I will write about the sale of the transfer of the team in a separate post, but I will add this – thanks again to Scott Lucas for the idea.

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G106: Rangers lose first game of Seattle series, 3-2

The Rangers head to Seattle feeling good, and then early on we got the usual Seattle moves.

  1. The footage of the train out back of the park.
  2. Weather remarks.
  3. Demolition footage of the Kingdome
  4. Footage of Bill from Seattle, the old Mariners fan in the blue hat.

Sadly, early on in the broadcast, they showed the seats that Bill and his wife used to sit, and they were empty. They mentioned that Bill had died about three months ago or so, which was sad, because he was ALWAYS there. They mentioned that Bill had been put on the jumbotron at the Mariners park, so he must have been their version of Zonk or something like that. Shame, as it really will seem weird not seeing him there. Perhaps the Rangers TV team can show a clip of him anyway, just for old times sake when we go there. What made it sad for me I had just sent a tweet to Josh Lewin saying they should send John Rhadigan over to talk to him, as they don’t often take their own stadium guy on the road. and then almost immediately, that’s when Lewin talked about Bill having died. So I had to delete my tweet. I’ll still post this, however:

As for the game itself, the Rangers sent Colby Lewis out there, and was pretty decent, but wasn’t totally dominating. He sadly though pitched well enough to get the win, and didn’t. Went a total of six innings, gave up nine hits and one walk. Did strike out nine, and that was the mostly dominating part, but for me it didn’t feel like a totally dominating performance. Nothing I can point to, just a gut feeling sort of thing.
It’s hard to get much support for Lewis when the Rangers get only four hits total. Three singles (Elvis, Cantu, Molina), and a double by Mitch Moreland. Interestingly, both of the RBI’s we got were on sac flies (Molina, Young).
The Mariners didn’t dominate offensively, either, as they had three innings with single runs. But what they got was pretty much from their pretty darn awesome center fielder, Franklyn Guiterrez. He drove himself in with a solo home run, and another run on a squeeze play.
Colby Lewis did strike out nine. :)
Didn’t like losing to Seattle. They’re bad. We’re not this year.

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G105: Rangers drop series finale 4-1 to Angels, still 8 up

I’ve spent the weekend of trade deadline mostly sick, so I’m taking a pass on writing about this one.
Some runs for Cliff Lee would be nice.

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G104: Rangers and Rich Harden beat Angels, 2-1

I’ve spent most of trade deadline day sick, so I’m taking a pass on writing about this one.
But still, wow. Where was this Rich Harden all year?