The Rangers went 3-3 on their roadtrip to the Northeast, the team came home hoping to continue that success against two more teams with legit chances at making the playoffs this season, the Toronto Blue Jays and the NL leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
At the beginning of the week things were looking up as the team planned to play four games against the Blue Jays and would miss Roy Halladay and then play a three game series against the Manny-less Dodgers.
But as baseball has shown us before things are not always the way them might seem.
Monday: L, 3-6 (33-24)
Scott Feldman took the mound looking to get the Rangers started on the right foot to take game one against Toronto. Feldman was very effective against seven of the nine Blue Jay hitters, his only problem was Vernon Wells followed by Adam Lind.
Twice in the game Feldman walked Wells and then Lind followed with a two-run home run. Those four runs would be enough to hold on and take game one.
Tuesday: L, 0-9 (33-25)
Though the Rangers would not face Halladay in this series, they did run into Brian Tallet. The well travelled pitcher had one of his best outings of his career.
Tallet went seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out three. The bullpen couldn’t do any better as they pitched two perfect innings in relief.
Doug Mathis made a spot start for the Rangers for the injured Brandon McCarthy, who will likely miss about six weeks. Mathis was solid at times but struggled to get out of jams and allowed five runs (four earned) through five innings.
Wednesday: PPD (due to rain) - makeup set for September 1st
Thursday: W, 1-0 (34-25)
Rangers ace Kevin Millwood and Blue Jays youngster Ricky Romero faced off in a good old-fashioned pitchers’ duel.
Millwood pitched 7.2 innings of shutout baseball, allowing only five base-runners in his efforts to nab the win. Romero went 6.1 innings, giving up only the one run on five hits and striking out six.
The Rangers notched the one run of the game in the bottom of the second. Nelson Cruz stroked a single and then moved to third on David Murphy’s ninth double of the season. The next batter, Marlon Byrd drove a sacrifice fly to the outfield scoring Cruz.
Friday: W, 6-0 (35-25)
Though it took him 108 pitches to get through only five innings, Vicente Padilla did keep the Dodgers off the scoreboard. Jason Jennings followed with three scoreless innings and then newly acquired Jason Grilli closed out the combined shutout pitching in the ninth.
The Ranger bats came back to life a little from their struggles with a two hits, two double, two RBI game from backup catcher Taylor Teagarden. Hank Blalock also launched his 13th home run of the season on the way to back-to-back shutouts for the Rangers.
Saturday: L, 1-3 (35-26)
For five innings starters Feldman and Randy Wolf blew through the lineups in a scoreless game.
Then came the delay! A one hour and 41 minute due to a power outage on one of the light embankments above the seats on the first base side. After the power company finally got the lights back working, the break was too long for either Feldman or Wolf to return to action.
The Dodgers would win the game in the seventh on a Matt Kemp two-run home run off of Grilli, his eighth of the year.
Sunday: L, 3-6 (35-27)
Even before the game started the Rangers had a difficult task at hand, as their young prospect Derek Holland took the mound against one of the most dominant strikeout pitchers in baseball, Chad Billingsley.
Holland held his own for five innings, except for a third inning mistake that eventually would cost him the game. He threw a full count pitch right down the middle to Casey Blake who blasted the ball for an eventual game-winning three-run homer.
The Rangers cut into the deficit in the fourth inning when former Dodger Andruw Jones hit his seventh home run of the season and second in the series.
Not only did the Rangers have the rainout on Thursday night and the power outage on Saturday night, but the offense had their own power outage over the week.
In the six games, the Rangers only scored 14 times on 37 hits and other those hits only 12 went for extra bases (8 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs).
With the 2-4 week and through the games on Monday afternoon the Rangers lead in the AL West has now shrunk to only two games over the Angels (33-29), who are winners of four straight games. Texas also continues to lead the Mariners (30-33) by 5.5 games and the Athletics (27-35) by 8 games.