The Rangers Are Magic!
By Thom Fain on Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 4:59 PM
The second-lowest-paid team in baseball have been playing some top-notch Moneyball of late.
Yes, The Oakland Athletics (with their $55.3 million roster) came into Arlington this week riding high.
On Monday, they had a 2.5-game lead for the AL Wild Card spot, and had just beat the highest-paid team in the game, the New York Yankees (who've spent a cool $197.9 million on their own players), in the last game of a series that saw the inexperienced A's slugging for .425 and amassing 27 hits-- six of them home runs.
But Adrian Beltre, beast that he is, put a stop to their success on Monday night, welcoming those A's by crushing a game-tying two-run homer of his own -- a 384-foot smash into right --during the 7th inning before later hitting the game-winning single in the 9th.
It's no wonder his teammates crowded the surefire MVP candidate upon his return to home plate.
Perhaps it was something else, though.
A pre-party to their crowning as AL-West champions, maybe?
The Hunt for a Red, White and Blue October is very much on, folks. And Your Texas Rangers are all but sure to be heading into the month with a playoff spot, standing atop the American League as The Team To Beat.
• The Rangers' hottest hitter in the last seven days is Michael Young (.275), who continued to provide consistency at the plate with Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton out of the lineup for part of the week. He had eight hits and scored five runs over the course of 26 at bats, and he's hit .318 in the month of September.
• For the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, five is the magic number. So long as they win five more games, the A's lose five more or any combination of Rangers wins and A's losses amount to five, they'll win the division. Currently, they're four games up on the A's. So, barring some sort of complete meltdown, it's almost certain that the Rangers will make the playoffs and take the division. It's A Celebration!
• The Rangers' starting pitching rotation has looked good in the past week, led by Yu Darvish's continued dominance on the mound. Scott Feldman did a decent job filling in for him yesterday in spite of the loss, and Ryan Dempster bounced back nicely on Sunday, leading the team to a win in his eight-strikeout, two-run showing. Derek Holland, on the other hand, struggled in Monday's game versus the A's, going out after just three innings. Although the team doesn't fare when their starter goes out after three, Roy Oswalt was able to perform suitably ahead of the Uehara, Adams and Nathan's closeout for the total team win.
• There was some cause for concern late last week with both Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton battling injuries. Hamilton was diagnosed with "ocular keratitis," which means he drank so much Red Bull that he had blurred vision and balance issues. Nothing's ever easy with this guy, huh?
• Adrian Beltre continues to make a case for MVP honors. Although Miguel Cabrera is close to winning the Triple Crown -- something that hasn't been done since 1967 -- and Mike Trout has been super phenomenal, Beltre has battled tooth and nail, day in and day out, with no situation seeming too tough for him to handle. Oh, and he's an awesome defender, too.
• Here's a fun fact: Rangers catcher Geovany Soto is the first player in Major League history to call a no-hitter at a neutral site. He did it in 2008 as Hurricane Ike blew through Houston, forcing the Astros and his Cubs to play their game in Milwaukee's Miller Park.