Well, in a 162 game season, it came down to the last one to decide with 2 American League Wild Card spots — and it still hasn’t been decided. Cleveland has clinched the top Wild Card spot with a record of 92-70. Texas and Tampa Bay are tied for the second Wild Card spot, each one game behind Cleveland with records of 91-71.
It’s amazing how this came about; this last week and a half all 3 teams have been exceptionally hot. Cleveland ended their season on a 10 game winning streak, Texas ended theirs on a 7 game winning streak, and Tampa Bay ended theirs by winning 8 of their last 10, but losing 2 of their last 3. They also narrowly won today, winning 7-6, and getting out of a bases loaded, 1 out jam in the bottom of the 7th with a crucial double play.
Texas also took care of business today, beating the Angels 6-2. Yu Darvish pitched 5 2/3 innings, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 4 hits. He was having some command issues, and his pace seemed was getting slow at the end of his outing. I thought it was a tough call for Wash to pull him in the 5th and 84 pitches, but also thought it was the right call. Cotts came in and gave up a hit, but got the next out after that.
Adrian Beltre came running home limping on one play, grabbing his hamstring. He stayed in the game, and later hit a home run, but that will be something to watch in the remaining games.
Leonys Martin bunted a ball badly for a sacrifice, and started and watched the ball as it stayed fair. The catcher picked up the ball off of the plate, threw to 2nd, and they proceeded to first for the double play. It really made me sick, seeing Martin just gaze at the ball instead of running the play out. Why don’t you watch Genrtry, Martin? He doesn’t pull crap like that..
The bullpen for Texas has been rock solid this season. There’s been a lack of run support, and starting pitching has been solid, but — not as consistently good as the bullpen. Cotts (7th inning), Scheppers (8th inning), and Nathan (9th inning) all have an ERA of under 2. So if the starter goes 6, you feel pretty comfortable as a Rangers’ fan. There’s also so weapons like Ross and Frasor who aren’t doing too bad themselves.
The Rangers finished 14-4 versus the Angels, and had to sweep them in the last series this season to make the playoffs, which they did. Also had to beat CJ Wilson in one of those games, who gave up a run by hitting a batter, and on the following batter threw a wild pitch which scored another run. Pretty sweet stuff. The Angels came up flat as the true rival I expected this season.
The Rangers fans were chanting “Baseball-Town” in the bottom of the 8th after Soto blasted the second solo homer of the inning over Hamilton to give the Rangers a 6-2 lead. I loved it. He got that quote shoved right back in his face. More people in Dallas may prefer football (not me!), but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Dallas has a huge baseball following. After he flied out in the top of the 9th, he gave a sarcastic tip of the hat to the Rangers’ fans. Guess he couldn’t help himself. Guess the boos will keep coming after that too..
Ernesto Frieri, the Angels’ closer. Wow. He has had a nightmarish time with the Rangers. He’s given up 11 homers the whole season, but 6 of those 11 are against the Rangers. He’s given up 10 ER in 6 2/3 innings against them (13.5 ERA). He’s 37 of 41 in saves, but 2 of the 4 saves he’s blown have been against the Rangers, and 2 of his 4 losses this season are against the Rangers. Whew…if it wasn’t for the Rangers, his ERA would go from 3.8 down to 2.76.