Saturday, October 2, 2010
Game thoughts: Rangers hit 90 wins
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers defeated the Angels, 6-2, behind good late offense and solid pitching. A few thoughts:
* That's 90 wins for the Rangers. They haven't had that many since 1999, when the club was 95-67, the best mark in franchise history, as the won their third AL West title in four seasons.
* The Rangers won't find out who they play in the ALDS until Sunday. The Yankees are currently playing the Red Sox in the second game of a doubleheader. If the Yankees win, they will be a game up on the Rays for the AL East lead. Should the Rays end up tying it, they own the tiebreaker and would play the Rangers. If the Red Sox win the second game of the doubleheader, the Rays and Yankees would be tied going into Sunday's play. So we'll wait to see what happens.
* Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer in the fifth to give the Rangers the lead. It was his first hit since returning to the lineup after rehabbing his fractured ribs. Hamilton had several good at-bats in the game and it appears his timing is just fine. He ended up 2-for-4 with a sacrifice fly and hit the ball hard. More on Hamilton coming up.
* C.J. Wilson struggled in the first inning, throwing 36 pitches and giving up three hits and two walks. But he bounced back nicely to get to out of a bases-loaded, no hit jam after the game was already 2-0 so that the damage was limited. He ended up pitching five innings (he was taken out because the club wanted to see Derek Holland pitch as a means of evaulating him) and gave up just one hit in the final four innings he was in the game. Wilson earned his 15th win.
* Michael Young had three hits in the game and also a sacrifice fly. He was hitting just .196 over his last 13 games before Saturday, but he hit the ball to all fields and had solid at-bats. He also was aggressive on the bases, tagging up on a fly ball in the seventh to get into scoring position with one out (he later scored).
* Mitch Moreland, once again, looked comfortable at the plate. He had a walk in the second inning on an eight-pitch at-bat after falling behind 1-2. He was intentionally walked with two runners on and two outs in the seventh to load the bases. The Angels decided to pitch to Matt Treanor instead and he walked to drive in a run.
* The Rangers scored three runs in the seventh inning to extend the lead. They did it with three singles and three walks.
* Derek Holland, one of the candidates for a postseason bullpen spot, pitched two shutout innings. He gave up a one-out double in the sixth, but got out of it. He gave up two long fly balls but looked confident. He could give the Rangers some length if needed and can get lefties and righties out. So he's tempting to include on the roster.
* Darren O'Day was sharp. He was given some time off and came on in the eighth to and got the Nos. 3-5 hitters. He struck out Torii Hunter and Juan Rivera and got Howie Kendrick to fly out.
* Clay Rapada came in for the ninth inning of a 6-2 game and gave up a ground ball single to left field and walked Mike Napoli. So with the tying run in the on-deck circle, it became a save situation and manager Ron Washington went to Neftali Feliz.
*Feliz got his 40th save of the season. The last Ranger to have 40 or more saves was Francisco Cordero with a club-record 49 in 2004.