Texas Rangers: Mariano Rivera

Rapid Reaction: Yankees 2, Rangers 0

July, 25, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers' record fell to 0-37 when trailing after eight innings as they couldn't rally against the New York Yankees on Thursday afternoon, falling 2-0 on a scorching hot day at Rangers Ballpark.

Holland beats the heat: Derek Holland wasn't impacted at all by a 95-degree day at Rangers Ballpark. He pitched into the eighth inning for the fifth time in 21 starts, allowing two runs on eight hits. Holland has been sensational this season against the Yankees. He had complete game 2-0 victory against the Bronx Bombers on June 26, but was on the wrong end of a shutout Thursday.

Kuroda flourishes: The Rangers couldn't come up with the big hit against Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda, continuing a season-long trend on offense. The Rangers didn't have a lot of chances against Kuroda and finished the game 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Kuroda improved to 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA for July.

[+] EnlargeJohn Wetterland, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera
AP Photo/Brandon WadeThe Rangers presented Mariano Rivera Rivera with a black cowboy hat and custom-made boots with the Yankees logo and his jersey No. 42 on the back in a pregame ceremony.
Pounding the zone: Manager Ron Washington said after Wednesday's game that new Ranger Matt Garza pounded the strike zone with a vengance, throwing 70 percent of his pitches for strikes. Holland, who hasn't been shy of pitching to contact this season, followed Garza's lead. Holland threw 70 of his 94 pitches for strikes. That's a 75 percent clip.

Rivera closes door: In his final game at Rangers Ballpark -- unless he's back in the playoffs -- Mariano Rivera picked up a save against the Rangers. It was his 33rd this season, pushing his all-time saves record to 641.

Sixth-inning blues: The Rangers had two singles and a walk in the bottom of the sixth and didn't score. Ian Kinsler opened the inning with a single, but was out at second base on a hit-and-run with Elvis Andrus that didn't work. Andrus couldn't get the bat on a sinker and Kinsler was caught stealing. Andrus followed with an infield single and Nelson Cruz had a nine-pitch walk that appeared to have Kuroda on the ropes on this hot day. But Adrian Beltre flied out to center field and A.J. Pierzynski was robbed of a hit on a sliding catch by Arlington native Vernon Wells in left field.

Big break: The Rangers caught a huge break in the top of the seventh when Yankees catcher Austin Romine's shot to center field hopped over the fence for a ground-rule double. With two outs, David Adams, who was running from first base, would have scored easily but had to stop at third. Ichiro Suzuki followed by grounding out to shortstop to end the threat and keep the score at 1-0. There had been three ground-rule doubles in 51 games at Rangers Ballpark entering the game. The Yankees had two in the span of three innings Thursday.

Up next: The Rangers leave Texas for three days for a weekend series at Cleveland. Left-hander Martin Perez (3-3, 3.40 ERA) gets things started Friday night against Indians right-hander Corey Kluber (7-5, 3.69) at 7:05 p.m. on Ch. 21 and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Deportes 1540 AM. The rest of the series sets up with right-hander Yu Darvish (9-4, 2.86) facing Tribe right-hander Justin Masterson (11-7, 3.60) at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, and right-hander Alexi Ogando (4-2, 3.13) going up against right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 4.49) at 12:05 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest and broadcast on the radio on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Deportes 1540 AM.

Wetteland makes exception for Rivera ceremony

July, 25, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers Hall of Famer John Wetteland loves to fish and had a trip planned Thursday with his son. But he wasn't going to miss this day at Rangers Ballpark.

The Rangers honored New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before Thursday's game as part of the all-time saves leader's farewell tour. Rivera is retiring at the end of the season.

Wetteland, Rivera's teammate with the Yankees in 1995 and for the 1996 World Series championship season, and Rangers closer Joe Nathan presented Rivera with a black cowboy hat and custom-made boots with the Yankees logo and his jersey No. 42 on the back.

"I wasn't going to miss today. Period," Wetteland said. "I love Mo to death. We had a lot of great moments."

Wetteland, who became a free agent at the end of the 1996 and signed with the Rangers, said he could tell in his two seasons with Rivera that he was the Yankees' closer in waiting behind him.

But even Wetteland couldn't have predicted Rivera's 640 saves, even though looking back he better understands how he got here.

"Who could say that about anybody," Wetteland said. "You look back at it in retrospect and it becomes more clear why. I've never seen somebody pay so much attention to detail."

Buzz: Rangers looking like Chicago South

July, 25, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A.J. Pierzynski. Matt Garza. Geovany Soto. Jeff Baker. Neal Cotts.

Who knows, maybe Alex Rios someday soon.

The Chicago Cubs and White Sox have banded together to take over the Rangers, right?

"Wait, let's separate it," Pierzynski said half jokingly, in typical fashion of a White Sox player who played on the South Side of Chicago and wants nothing to do with the Cubs.

There's a definite Chicago flavor on the Rangers' roster. Garza, Soto and Baker were all teammates on the Cubs in 2011 and '12. Pierzynski and Cotts were teammates on the White Sox's 2005 World Series championship team.

Pierzynski was teammates with Rios for four seasons before signing with the Rangers as a free agent this offseason. With the Rangers looking for a right-handed bat, Rios is on their list on potential trade additions, which means they could be teammates again in the next week.

Soto, who was acquired by the Rangers from the Cubs last season, said having a fourth of the clubhouse littered with a Chicago contingent is part of the game. He's mostly happy that Garza was acquired from the Cubs on Monday to help the Rangers get to the playoffs.

"It's the way how our business goes," Soto said. "We're really glad to have Garza. He would upgrade any rotation in the big leagues. It's one of those things; the Orioles have a lot of Texas Rangers.

"I really don't care. I'm here with the Texas Rangers and I want to go out there and win any game I play."

Most of the players don't make Chicago their offseason home. But Pierzynski was able to get to know Garza from talking in the Wrigley Field weight room -- there's only one -- seeing him in Florida in the offseason.

"We've hung out a few times," Pierzynski said. "We played them two series every season. We get to know those guys pretty well. Being in Chicago in a two-team city, it's a different dynamic there."

Andrus hits second again: Shortstop Elvis Andrus was back in the No. 2 spot in the lineup for the second straight game, an indication that he has regained his place in the batting order.

"I thought I could sneak it by you'll but I didn't," manager Ron Washington said. "He's starting to get back to shortening his stroke. He had a big base hit for us last night to the opposite field. That's what he does. I still won't say you won't see him down (in the lineup) here and there. There way be a time where we have to do it."

Rivera gets boots, hat: The Rangers presented Yankees closer Mariano Rivera with a cowboy hat and black custom-made boots with the Yankees' logo and his number before the game. Rangers closer Joe Nathan and Rivera's former Yankee teammate and Rangers Hall of Famer John Wetteland participated in the pregame ceremony honoring Rivera.

Rivera meets with Rangers Ballpark workers

July, 23, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kaylee Dollar wrote a paper on New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera when she was in the ninth or 10th grade at Wimberley High School in the Texas Hill Country.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzimmons and Durrett to discuss the Matt Garza trade and if the Rangers are done shopping before the deadline.

Listen Listen
On Tuesday, Dollar, the assistant to the outside grounds superintendent at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, met baseball's all-time saves leader, then posed for a photo and got an autographed baseball from him.

Just another day at the ballpark.

Rivera has had a sitdown with workers or fans at every visiting ballpark during his farewell tour, and on Tuesday, the Yankees closer met for about 20 minutes with members of the outside grounds complex crew -- the workers who take care of the 110 acres outside of Rangers Ballpark, from the Dr. Pepper Youth Ballpark to the TVs on the concourse.

"You guys works hard," Rivera said. "What you do isn't easy."

The Rangers and Yankees organized the event per Rivera's request. Rivera will be honored by the Rangers in a pregame ceremony Thursday beginning at 12:50 p.m.

"I'm being able to say thank you to people who work in the stadiums and the fans, and that's what I wanted to do," Rivera said.

Rivera thanked them for being a part of baseball and took questions from the group, and even asked them a few about what they did.

That's how he found out that Dollar had written the paper.

"It's amazing," Rivera said. "I don't know what she wrote, but knowing that a young lady was willing to write about my person is humbling. And to me that she picked me, that's amazing. I had a chance to meet her and chat with her a little bit, so that was good."

One Mo' Time: Rivera vs. Rangers

July, 22, 2013
AP Photo/John Dunn
Mariano Rivera gets kudos from his catcher (now manager) after a save against the Rangers in 1997.
For the remainder of the 2013 season, we will look ahead to Mariano Rivera's matchups against teams he will be facing for the final time in the regular season.

By the Numbers
Mariano Rivera's career stats vs Rangers

Regular Season
2.28 ERA
38 saves
5 blown saves
86 2/3 innings pitched
85 hits allowed
60 strikeouts
22 walks

0.00 ERA
5 saves
0 blown saves
14 innings pitched
4 hits
7 strikeouts
2 walks
10 appearances

Did You Know?
Rivera's 38 saves against the Rangers are the most against them by any pitcher, a dozen more than the pitcher who ranks second, Rollie Fingers.
•  Rivera's five postseason saves against the Rangers are tied for his second-most versus any team and tied for the third-most by any pitcher against any team in postseason play.

•  Rivera went 3-0 against the Rangers in 2000. That's one of only two instances in which he beat a team three times in a season. He also beat the Red Sox three times in 2003.
•  Rivera has not allowed a home run to the Rangers in more than 13 years. He has pitched 47 consecutive innings against the Rangers without allowing a homer. The last Ranger to homer against Rivera was Ivan Rodriguez, who hit a game-tying shot with two outs in the ninth inning on April 19, 2000. The Yankees would win the game on a Clay Bellinger homer in the 10th.
Rodriguez would play a notable role in a save milestone for Rivera. A year later, Pudge was the final out of Rivera's 200th save (Aug. 1, 2001)
Rivera has not allowed a homer in his last 44 appearances versus the Rangers, his third-longest homerless streak versus any opponent and his longest active streak.

He had a 45-game streak against the Rays from 1998-2005 and a 46-game streak versus the Royals from 1996-2008.

•  Rivera ranks second among closers with at least 200 saves with an 89.5 percent save-conversion rate. The only pitcher better is current Rangers closer Joe Nathan, whose save percentage currently stands at 90.1 percent.
•  Rivera has succeeded against the Rangers despite relatively low strikeout totals. His 6.2 strikeouts per nine against the Rangers is his second-lowest rate against any team (6.1 in eight appearances against the Marlins). Rivera's strikeout-to-walk rate (2.73) vs the Rangers is his second-worst among AL teams (Athletics, 2.69).

•  But Rivera did have one significant strikeout against the Rangers. A month into his tenure as closer in 1997, he faced reigning AL MVP Juan Gonzalez with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, holding a one-run lead. Rivera struck Gonzalez out looking.

It is one of only two instances in Rivera's career in which a batter watched strike three go by with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning against Rivera, with the Yankees winning by one run.

•  Rivera has allowed a batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage slashline of .091/.130/.091 in 14 postseason innings versus the Rangers. That's his lowest postseason batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage allowed against any team.

He has given up four singles to the 47 batters he has faced over 10 postseason appearances vs the Rangers.

They Said It
"[What impresses me most is] his longevity, being able to do it for this long. He's not a rah-rah-type guy. He doesn't get too high. He doesn't get too low. One of the biggest things for him is not letting the hype of the game get to him, just go to the mound and do his job. If he gets a save, just go up to the mound and try to do it again tomorrow."
-- Rangers closer Joe Nathan

Magic Mo-ments
Rivera clinched the ALDS against the Rangers in back-to-back seasons, getting the final three outs of a 4-0 win in Game 3 of the 1998 ALDS and the final six outs in a 3-0 win in Game 3 of the 1999 ALDS.
One of Rivera's most memorable escapes came against the Rangers on Aug. 11, 2010. After allowing a leadoff triple to Elvis Andrus with the Yankees leading 7-6 in the ninth inning, Rivera got Michael Young to fly out, Josh Hamilton to ground out and Vladimir Guerrero to ground out to end the game and preserve a Yankees win.

Rangers to honor Yankees' Rivera

July, 18, 2013
ARLINGTON -- The Texas Rangers will honor retiring New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera during a special pre-game ceremony before Thursday's game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Rangers closer Joe Nathan and former Texas closer John Wetteland, who was succeeded as the Yankees closer in 1997, will participate in the ceremony scheduled to start at 12:50 p.m. The Rangers and Yankees will play the final game of a four-game series at 1:05 p.m.

Rivera is concluding a 19-year career with the Yankees. He has two saves and seven scoreless innings in five postseason appearances at Rangers Ballpark.

Nathan and Rivera were linked together in Tuesday's All-Star Game at New York's Citi Field. Rivera pitched the eighth inning -- American League manager Jim Leyland wanted to make sure the future Hall of Famer pitched in the game -- and that Nathan to pitch the ninth inning and earn the save in a 3-0 AL victory.

Nathan gave Rivera the game ball from the victory.

Rivera is the all-time leader in both regular season (638) and postseason (42) saves. He is 2-2 with a 2.47 ERA and is 19-for-21 in his save opportunities at Rangers Ballpark, the most career saves for an opponent in the ballpark.

On Rivera's night, Joe Nathan gets save

July, 16, 2013
Joe Nathan Scott Rovak/USA TODAY SportsMariano Rivera got the royal treatment Tuesday at Citi Field. New York native Joe Nathan, meanwhile, got the save.
On Mariano Rivera's night, it was Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan who got the save for the American League in a 3-0 victory in Tuesday night's All-Star Game.

Nathan was called on to pitch the ninth inning after baseball's all-time saves leader, Rivera, had pitched a perfect eighth inning. AL manager Jim Leyland elected to use Rivera, who is retiring at the end of the season, in the bottom of the eighth to make sure the 43-year old closer pitched in the game.

"I think we all wanted to see him in the ninth to be honest with you," Nathan told ESPN's Tim Kurkjian after the game. "I wanted to hear `Enter Sandman' in the ninth."

Instead, Rivera, who ended up as the game's Most Valuable Player, entered the game at New York's Citi Field to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd and both teams as Metallica's "Enter Sandman" boomed in the background. Leyland's thinking was that if the National League rallied to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth against another AL reliever, Rivera wouldn't get to pitch.

That meant Nathan had to get the final three outs. Obviously it was a pressure situation for Nathan, who went to high school in New York and attended Stony Brook University.

"My heart has never beat so fast," said Nathan, making his sixth All-Star appearance. "I didn't know I was getting the ninth 'til the ninth."

Nathan came out throwing bullets. First he struck out St. Louis' Matt Carpenter looking. Then Nathan fanned Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen on a high fastball for the second out.

Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt then lined a double over the head of Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz. Nathan finished off the game going to a 3-2 count on Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez before getting him to pop out to second base to end the inning.

It capped an amazing night for Nathan, who might well have given his team home-field advantage in the World Series if the Rangers get there (they didn't have it while losing the Series in 2010 or '11).

Nathan also earned his first All-Star Game save on a night he figured Rivera would get it.

"I can't believe I got the ninth with that guy in the pen," Nathan said.

All-Star skipper: Team has capable closers

July, 1, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It had become American League All-Star tradition to have New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera waiting in the bullpen to close the game in the ninth. But the 42-year-old Rivera isn't on the squad this year as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered in May.

AL manager Ron Washington said he feels good about the five closers he has on the team, including Baltimore's Jim Johnson, Cleveland's Chris Perez, Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney, Oakland's Ryan Cook and the Rangers' Joe Nathan. Washington chose Nathan and Cook.

"I'm very pleased with it," Washington said. "I think I've got the best that the American League has to offer and there's probably a couple of more than didn't come. If we get to that point, I think we'll be able to shut the game down very easily."

Washington said he had an idea of the player he wanted to close the game if the AL has the lead in the ninth, but he wasn't ready to make that public.

"Rivera's not here," Washington said. "I have quality options. We'll just see how the game flows and the way it works."

GM: No plans to make Neftali Feliz a starter

November, 1, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Does Neftali Feliz want to be Nolan Ryan or Mariano Rivera?

"It’s not my decision," Feliz said through an interpreter. "I’ll be ready for whatever they need of me. I want to help the team. I’m happy doing what I’m doing now."

For now, the Texas Rangers view him in the mold of Rivera, widely revered as the game's greatest closer. General manager Jon Daniels said Monday that Feliz will remain in his role as closer next season. The hard-throwing right-hander was among a group of pitchers at spring training competing for a starting job, but C.J. Wilson blew everyone away.

Feliz started the regular season as the set-up man, but when closer Frank Francisco faltered in the opening weeks, Feliz took over and never looked back. He was selected onto the American League All-Star team and his 40 saves established a single-season record by a rookie in his first full big-league season.

In 79 minor-league appearances, Feliz started 53 games. His overall record was 16-16 with a 3.03 ERA.

"Probably the two questions were: Can he close, and can he start?" Daniels said. "You knew that somewhere that arm is going to play. I think we've definitively answered one of them. There's no doubt in anybody's mind he can close. We don't know whether he can start and I don't know if we're going to find out. We've talked about it at some point that we might. We're not going to close that door, but we're also not going to speculate on it any more than is necessary. He's our closer. I would expect he'll be our closer."

In Game 3, Feliz became the second-youngest pitcher to record a save in the World Series behind only Bob Welch. Ryan was second on the list. Obviously, both enjoyed long and successful careers as major-league starters.

"Some guys at different points in their career go into the rotation, like C.J. did for us ... like Kenny Rogers," Daniels said. "A million other guys have done it. So, I would never close that door, but I'm expecting him to be our closer."

Josh Hamilton 'felt good' but fizzled late

October, 16, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton finally had an MVP-like postseason moment. Just not with the game on the line.

The ALCS started with a bang for Hamilton when he pulled an 0-2 breaking ball by CC Sabathia onto the home run porch to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the first inning. It was only Hamilton’s third hit of the playoffs – and his first for extra bases.

It was also Hamilton’s only hit of the night.

Hamilton struck out in his next two at-bats and hit a weak grounder to third base off Mariano Rivera to end the game with the potential tying run on second base.

“It was good to finally feel like … I felt good at the plate all night tonight,” Hamilton told ESPN 103.3’s Ben Rogers. “I felt like I had good at-bats.

“Mariano, man, every time you think you have a plan for him, he messes it up. But I’ll have a new one for him when I face him the next time.”

Hamilton, who was 2-for-18 in the previous series, said the homer isn’t an indication that his injured ribs have healed. It’s a subject that Hamilton is sick of discussing, and he doesn’t anticipate the soreness to go away any time soon.

“The ribs aren’t going to feel good until I stop playing,” Hamilton said. “Hopefully, that’s later than sooner.”

The Rangers will probably need some clutch hits from Hamilton for that to happen.

Can young Rangers hang with NYY vets?

September, 13, 2010
Forgetting that little three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium way back in April, a mostly young Texas Rangers team that smiles, makes antler and claw hand signs and dons rally caps in the dugout, have learned to go toe-to-toe with those poised professionals in pinstripes.

After Sunday's 4-1 win at Rangers Ballpark to conclude a dramatic series -- and the last series of the regular season between the two clubs -- each team has gained a home sweep while they split a two-game series in Arlington a month ago. Add it up: Eight games, four wins each.

But, if the Rangers and New York Yankees meet in the American League Division Series -- and the Yankees must hold off the stubborn Tampa Bay Rays for that to happen -- how will the Rangers, with only designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, relief pitcher Darren Oliver and ace Cliff Lee (plus recent acquisitions Cristian Guzman and Jeff Francoeur) boasting postseason experience handle the defending champs? After all, Yankees and postseason is practically synonymous.

Newly acquired Yankee and former Houston Astro Lance Berkman believes there's no equivalent for postseason experience.

"For guys like Michael Young, it won't matter one iota. He's one of the best hitters in the game. That's not going to bother him at all," Berkman said. "But I do think, for us in Houston -- I went to the postseason in ’01 and I was actually on the team in ’99, but they didn't put me on the playoff roster -- but in ’01 we got swept by the Braves and I remember I was overwhelmed by really the whole postseason environment. I felt very, very uncomfortable."

As a franchise, the Rangers have advanced to three postseasons -- 1996, 1997 and 1999. They played the Yankees all three times and lost all but one game in the three best-of-5 series. No one on today's Rangers roster played in any of those mismatches. It would take too long to list the number of current Yankees with World Series rings, not to mention the guys with multiple rings.

"I think experience is one of the greatest things you can have," said Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher," who has played in three postseasons with three different teams, including last season's triumphant Yankees. "If you look at our guys, we have a core of four guys. Just the things these guys have been able to do throughout their careers and the names that they've made for themselves, not only in the Yankee organization, but generally in the game of baseball -- Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter. Then you've got A-Rod [Alex Rodriguez], who's been doing it for 15 years. You got guys like Kerry Wood, Javy Vazquez. I mean these guys have been in the league for a long time. We've got a lot of veteran guys on this team and you can tell."

Swisher didn't even mention Cy Young Award candidate CC Sabathia, who hasn't faced the Rangers' lineup since that April series in New York.

There's no doubt that if the two clubs meet in October that the Yankees will be favored. They'll have homefield advantage and in a five-game series that can be huge, especially playing the first two in the Bronx (a couple of Lee-Sabathia matchups could make for some riveting baseball). And the New Yorkers will easily have the experience factor on their side. There's just nothing the upstart Rangers can do about that.

"The second time we went [to the postseason], I felt a lot better because I had kind of been in it and at least seeing what it was all about, so I do think it can definitely be a factor," said Berkman, who led the Astros to the 2004 NLCS and then the 2005 World Series. "Our organization had never won a playoff series and you just don't know you can do it. Having that breakthrough in ’04 against the Braves was huge. We won that NLDS in five games at their place. The next year when we came back we expected to win. It's a totally different mindset that you can only get from having done it.

"But, at some point, they're [the Rangers] going to have to break through. At some point they’re going to win and then they're going to develop a sense that they can do this, it's not this impossible mountain. It seems like it before you climb that it's that way."

As the Rangers' 2010 motto goes: "It's Time." According to Berkman, 2011 might be more their time.

We'll see. If the Yankees win the East, Game 1 is Oct. 6 at Yankee Stadium.

Nolan Ryan, David Murphy on 103.3 FM

August, 11, 2010
Ben and Skin go "In the Clubhouse" with outfielder David Murphy as he talks about walking off against Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees.

Play  Download

Texas Rangers president and soon-to-be owner Nolan Ryan joins Ben and Skin to talk about surviving the auction process, the team's on-field success and the possibility of a retractable roof.

Play Download

Beating Mariano Rivera sure is rare

August, 11, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Here are a few numbers to more fully appreciate how rare it is for a team to beat Mariano Rivera like the Rangers did on Tuesday. Thanks again to Keith Hawkins at ESPN Stats & Information.

* Rivera had not allowed an earned run in 17 2/3 innings this season in non-save situations, entering Tuesday.

* Before the game, Rivera had allowed only one run in 21 innings on the road all season.

* Rivera had not allowed an earned run in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since 2000. His streak without allowing one spanned 18 innings entering the day.

* Tuesday night vs the Rangers was just the 5th time in Mariano Rivera's career that he got one out or fewer and allowed 4 baserunners or more in an appearance, and the 2nd time he has done it on the road.

The others were:

April 27, 2007 vs Red Sox
September 4, 2004 vs Orioles
June 15, 1997 at Marlins
September 19, 1996 vs Orioles

Rangers showing some playoff mettle

August, 11, 2010
ARLINGTON, Texas -- I know that it's one game against at Yankee lineup that was not at full strength last night, but the way the Rangers won in extra innings on Tuesday should give them even more confidence. A few random things that struck me:

* Past editions of the Rangers the last 7 or 8 years would have lost that game last night. They had the lead twice and couldn't hold it, the last coming with a game-tying solo home run off the bat of Alex Rodriguez, which would have been a shot to the gut that other teams may not have recovered from. They also had three errors. Yet despite it all they found a way to win.

* The offense, which has taken some grief the past few weeks for not scoring runs consistently, did what it had to against one of the best closers ever to win the game. They did it by staying patient when needed (as evidenced by David Murphy's ability to work the count against Mariano Rivera in the 10th) and getting runners over to set up opportunities.

* This team doesn't allow lost opportunities to completey sink them. Elvis Andrus was clearly frustrated he couldn't come through in the bottom of the ninth. But the club came right back to set things up to win in the 10th.

* The little things have made a huge difference with this team. Josh Hamilton making a great slide to prevent a double play. Michael Young beating out an infield hit. Key sacrifice bunts and fly balls to create scoring chances. This team does it and last night it helped them win a big ballgame.

* Important role players become key for teams that contend. Murphy is turning into one of those guys right now just when this team and offense need him.

* It takes a solid mental game to contend for division titles and make a playoff run. Don't underestimate the psychological boost beating Rivera is for this team. They stayed tough mentally all night to bounce back after blowing two leads and to get to the Yankee closer.

Warning: They'll face a hungry and more potent Ranger lineup tonight. Maybe that means it's good timing for Cliff Lee to take the hill. It should be fun. We'll have a live in-game chat with several panelist through ESPN.com tonight, so join us!

BTW, click here for a column on Lee's impact on the Rangers.

Rangers reax: Club perseveres in 10

August, 11, 2010

ARLINGTON, Texas --The odds seemed much better for the Texas Rangers to win it in the ninth off reliever David Robertson than in the 10th off the best closer in baseball.

But after losing two leads and being unable to manufacture a run in the bottom of the ninth, David Murphy and friends found a way to get the job done against the New York Yankees and closer Mariano Rivera. Murphy, in the midst of a remarkable run over the past week or so, provided Texas a 4-3 win in 10 with a one-out, bases-loaded single to right field, lifting 46,121 at Rangers Ballpark to their feet.

How the Rangers (65-47) pulled it off against the game's most dominating closer, the American League's all-time save king and a man who had allowed just one run over his last 27 2/3 innings is another example of why the Rangers are 18 games over .500 and continue to prove to themselves that they are legitimate contenders.

"Just a great way to start the homestand, great way to make a statement that we can play with anybody and that we belong," said Murphy, who was 2-for-3 Tuesday, including a two-run homer in the sixth, plus two walks. "What we've done this year is not a fluke."

Alex Rodriguez tied the score at 3-3 with a monster home run to dead center off Frank Francisco to start the eighth inning.

The Rangers then were frustrated when they couldn't score in the ninth against Robertson, stranding Murphy at third, knowing Rivera would take the hill next.

Michael Young, Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero were due up against Rivera, a fearsome threesome to be sure, but a trio that had collectively slumped on the 4-5 road swing and had done little in this one.

Yet, Young managed to leg out an infield single that drew Derek Jeter too far into the hole for his throw to nip Young.

"I knew it was going to be bang-bang, but also I knew I had a good chance to beat it out," Young said. 'When Derek had to kind of go to his backhand side, I knew I had a shot to beat it out."

Then Hamiton, just 7 of his last 30 and hitless on the night before coming to the plate in the 10th, found space on the right side and poked Rivera's offering into the outfield to put runners at first and second for Guerrero.

"Obviously, Josh and I didn't hit rockets by any stretch of the imagination," Young said. "We both got jammed and were just fortunate to find some holes."

With his average now below .300, Guerrero had a potential game-winning hit taken away on a brilliant stab by Rodriguez, who had no choice but to throw to first, advancing the runners to second and third. The Yankees opted to walk the right-hand hitting Nelson Cruz -- just Rivera's seventh walk of the season -- to load the bases for the Rangers' hottest hitter of late, the lefty-swinging Murphy.

Murphy, who gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning with a two-run homer into the right-field bleachers and walked twice, took Rivera to three balls and no strikes.

"The guy's got six walks all year. He knows how to throw strikes," Murphy said. "I didn't expect him to walk me."

The count went to 3-1.

"At 3-1, I was expecting a cutter in. He threw a cutter away," said Murphy, who fouled it off to take the count full. "And then I didn't know exactly what to look for 3-2, but I knew he couldn't throw a ball, so I think it was safe to look middle-in there, and that's where he threw it."

Murphy, as locked in as anyone on the club, stabbed it into right field for the walk-off win, snapping a two-game losing skid and setting up Cliff Lee to start Wednesday's finale to the quick, two-game set with the defending champs.

"It's a big win, it's a huge win. We certainly need it," manager Ron Washington said. "They're the best and we came out and put our best foot forward and we got the win."



Adrian Beltre
.324 19 77 79
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182