Texas Rangers' Week 19 Review: Taking Control of Wild Card

Matthew IrbySenior Analyst IAugust 17, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 22:  Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers celebrates his home run with teammate Josh Hamilton #32, tying the game 1-1 during the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Rangers Ballpark July 22, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This week for the Rangers started off with a much needed day off from playing.  Though the Rangers struggled in Oakland, last week, they kept themselves in the hunt for both the AL West title and the Wild Card spot by winning the series in Anaheim.

This week the Rangers finished their longest road trip of the year with three games in Cleveland and then came home for another battle hosting the Red Sox.

Texas would loss both first games of each series, Texas would go on to win both series going 4-2 on the week and surpass the Red Sox for the lead in the Wild Card spot.


Monday: OFF


Tuesday: L, 0-5 (62-49)

This game was all about the bottom of the third inning.  In that half inning the Indians scored all five runs of this game.  The Tribe scored four runs before Ranger starter Dustin Nippert could even record an out.  The inning was highlighted by Indian second baseman Luis Valbuena’s two-RBI double.

Nippert joining the rotation with the departure of Vicente Padilla pitched well outside the third inning.  He would pitch six innings, allowing the five runs on six hits and strike out 10.  He became the first Ranger to pitch less that seven innings, strike out 10 or more, and lose since Nolan Ryan.


Wednesday: W, 5-0 (63-49)

As rough as the first game of this series went this one went that well.  Tommy Hunter took the mound for Texas and continued his “Rookie of the Year”-caliber season.  He shutout the Tribe for 7.2 innings, allowing only six hits and no walks while striking out five.

Hunter would also get the necessary run support in this game as Texas scored twice in the third and three more times in the eighth.

The offense was highlighted by Josh Hamilton who seems to be re-discovering his stroke at the plate, he recorded three hits including two doubles, and two RBI. 


Thursday: W, 4-1 (64-49)

Continuing his hot bat from the day before Hamilton went 4-4 in the rubber match in Cleveland.  He added two more doubles, two more RBI, and two more two-out RBI.  In his last two games in Cleveland Hamilton has seven hits in eight at-bats, four doubles, two runs scored, and four RBI (all RBI came with two outs).

The Ranger offense also got multi-hit games from Michael Young, Marlon Byrd, and Hank Blalock to lead a 12-hit, four-run win and series win.

Scott Feldman was on the mound going six innings, allowing one run on seven hits and striking out six.  Neftali Feliz came in relief and pitched perfect seventh and eighth innings, striking out the first five batters he faced before a groundout to short to end the eighth.


Friday: L, 4-8 (64-50)

This game was really a tale of two games. 

The Rangers started the first game off with a two-run homer from Young in the first inning.  Nothing else happened until David Ortiz hit a two-run shot in the top of the sixth inning.

Texas took the lead back with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, and this game ended after eight innings with the Rangers leading 4-2.

The second then started and it lasted only one inning, unfortunately for the Rangers it was the one that counted.

The Red Sox preceded to score six runs in the top of the ninth off of Ranger closer Frank Francisco.  The inning was highlighted by a two-RBI double from Victor Martinez and a two-run home by J.D. Drew.


Saturday: W, 7-2 (65-50)

In his second consecutive outing in which the Rangers needed a solid outing from rookie starter Derek Holland, he delivered again.

Holland would go 6.2 innings, allowing only two runs on seven hits and striking out three.  Both runs were scored on solo home runs in the fourth and fifth innings by Jason Bay and Martinez, respectively.

Feliz came in for the two inning save, striking out three and allowing only one hit.

The Texas offense was lead by huge games from Julio Borbon and Elvis Andrus.  Borbon went 4-for-5, scoring twice and knocking in two runners.  Though his four hits were only singles Borbon stole second base after each of them, giving him four steals on the night.  Andrus went 3-for-4 scoring three times and steal three bases as well.

Kinsler added a solo home run in the second inning and a stolen base as well to give the Rangers eight on the game.


Sunday: W, 4-3 (66-50)

In the rubber match of this series, to the victor would go the lead for the Wild Card.

The Red Sox struck first with another home run from Ortiz, but Texas responded in the next half inning with another home run from Kinsler.

The Rangers added two more runs in the third thanks to an RBI double from Hamilton followed by a single from Kinsler scoring Hamilton from second.

Boston would get a run back in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Brian Anderson, but Texas would get the eventual game-winner when catcher Taylor Teagarden launched a solo home run to left field in the sixth.

Though Boston cut the deficit in half the next inning on a Dustin Pedroia home run, the Rangers held on for the win behind a redemption save by closer Frank Francisco.

With the win the Rangers won the season series against the Red Sox 7-2 and now currently lead the Wild Card race over Boston by a half game.

In the West, the Angels (70-45) continue to hold the same pace as the Rangers as they still hold a 4.5 game lead with the Mariners (61-57) 10.5 games out of first and six behind Texas, and the A”s (52-65) a whole 19 games out.

With the half game lead in the wild card the Rangers main competition remains to be  Boston (66-51) and Tampa Bay (63-54) 3.5 games back.

This week the Rangers start off by remaining at home for a four-game series with the Twins.  So far this season Texas has struggled with Minnesota at times, but they need to take three games out of this series to hold the wild card lead and attempt to catch the Angels.

After that Texas starts another tough road trip that begins with a weekend series in Tampa Bay. 

The Angels finish up a series with Baltimore today before going to Cleveland and Toronto for three game series.


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