Texas Rangers: Yovit Torrealba

2011 timeline: September

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
10:00
AM CT
The Rangers got the job done in September, using a win over the Angels late in August as a springboard. They played consistent baseball and never allowed the Angels to catch them, clinching their second straight AL West title will five games left in the season. Here's a look at September:

Timeline: September

Complete-game shutout: Sept. 6 – C.J. Wilson gets the first complete-game shutout of his career as the Rangers beat the Rays, 8-0 at Tropicana Field.

Free carpet: Sept. 14 – Josh Hamilton’s grand slam is worth a little more than $500,000 thanks to a CC Carpet promotion. The owner of the company was thrilled and Hamilton admitted that he thought about the promotion as he came to the plate.

Clinching: Sept. 23 – The Rangers beat the Mariners and then wait around, watching the big screen at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as the Angels lost to the A’s, giving Texas their second straight AL West title (late at night). The club celebrated on the field for a while and then in the clubhouse.

New attendance mark: Sept. 26—A total of 2,946,949 fans watched the Rangers in Arlington this season, a new club record. The next goal: 3 million.

Other September moments:

Sept. 1: Texas enters September with a 77-60 mark and in first place by 3.5 games. They started the month ahead by 2. …Adrian Beltre joins the lineup again and vows to be cautious with his hamstring.

Sept. 4: Beltre gets his 2,000th hit as the Rangers beat Boston, 11-4, taking two of three in Fenway Park before heading off to Tampa.

Sept. 5: Scott Feldman struggled against the Rays as he spot started for Alexi Ogando. The lead slips to 2.5 games.

Sept. 12: After taking two of three from Oakland, the club enters the off day at home in first by three games and playing well.

Sept. 15: Texas finishes off Cleveland with a 7-2 win behind solid work from Alexi Ogando. The three-game sweep allows them to open up a 3.5-game lead on the Angels as they head out on the road.

Sept. 17: Nelson Cruz is in the lineup as DH, playing for the first time since his injury. He struggles and is still trying to find his timing.

Sept. 18: Craig Gentry continues a solid September with a timely infield hit and good hitting with runners in scoring position, helping the Rangers beat the Mariners.

Sept. 20: Michael Young gets his 200th hit of the season, driving in Josh Hamilton in a Rangers win over Oakland. It's the sixth time Young has reached that plateau.

Sept. 21: Mark Lowe suffers a Grade II hamstring strain as he ran sprints during pregame drills prior to a game in Oakland. Lowe will miss at least the first round of the playoffs.

2011 timeline: August

September, 29, 2011
9/29/11
3:00
PM CT
August was a critical month. The Rangers widened the gap on the Angels, then it closed on them a bit, and the club widened it again. Beating the Angels 5 out of 7 games helped. A look back:

Timeline: August

Webb won’t make big leagues: Aug. 1 – Brandon Webb has shoulder surgery, ending his 2011 season. He was never able to find his velocity or pitch well enough for the Rangers to consider him for the rotation. He earns $3 million guaranteed, but doesn’t reach any of the incentives in his contract.

Hamstring setback: Aug. 6 – Adrian Beltre, running the bases in hopes of going on a rehab assignment, reaggravates his hamstring and isn’t able to return until Sept. 1.

Tough walkoff loss: Aug. 18 – Three outs away from an 8-game lead, Mike Adams allows a two-run, walkoff homer to Mike Trumbo to give the Angels some hope. Texas wins three of four in the series and leaves with a 6-game lead, but the hit also gives the Angels some momentum.

Critical win: Aug. 28 – After splitting the first two games of a home series with the Angels, Texas needs a win to avoid watching its lead fall to just one game. They get it, behind a strong showing from Derek Holland and nine runs from the offense. Jered Weaver gets the loss pitching on short rest. The win puts the Rangers 3 games up and gives them some momentum.

Acquiring reinforcements: Aug. 31 – Matt Treanor and Michael Gonzalez join the Rangers before the August waiver trade deadline at 11 p.m. Dallas time. The moves make both players eligible for the postseason. Treanor provides a veteran third catcher and Gonzalez is a late-inning situational lefty.

Other August moments:

Aug. 2: Adams, admitting nerves in his first appearance for Texas, gave up a game-winning homer to Brennan Boesch in Detroit.

Aug. 5: Elvis Andrus’ aggressive baserunning, going from second to home on an infield single by Josh Hamilton, provides the winning run in the bottom of the 11th in an 8-7 win. Texas was down two in the ninth and came back to tie it. …A new song titled, ‘That’s the Way Baseball Go,’ debuts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Co-chairman Bob Simpson and his wife, Janice, come up with the lyrics and have Merle Haggard sing it to his hit ‘That’s the Way Love Goes’ as a tribute to Ron Washington.

Aug. 7: Michael Young gets his 2,000th hit.

Aug. 11: Texas sits 2 games up in the AL West as they head out for a 10-game road trip through Oakland, Anaheim and Chicago.

Aug. 17: Ian Kinsler’s flare helps the Rangers grab a late lead and they hang on for a 4-3 victory over Anaheim, pushing the AL West lead to 7 games, the highest all season.

Aug. 25: The Rangers fall, 6-0, to the Red Sox, losing the final three games of the four-games series. The lead in the AL West, which was 7 games on Aug. 17, drops to 2.

Aug. 28: After splitting the first two games of a home series with the Angels, Texas needs a win to avoid watching its lead fall to just one game. They get it, behind a strong showing from Derek Holland and nine runs from the offense. Jered Weaver gets the loss pitching on short rest. The win puts the Rangers 3 games up and gives them some momentum.

Aug. 30: Scott Feldman is given a spot start to give Matt Harrison a break. And Feldman responds with a 2-0 win over Tampa Bay.

Notes: Playoff rotation, roster not set yet

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
6:40
PM CT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers must still decide the order of their starting rotation and the final roster spots for the playoffs. They know that C.J. Wilson will start Game 1 -- against whatever team and location. But the rest of the 4-man rotation is still a work in progress.

"The order of the starting pitchers could change based on the opponent," manager Ron Washington said. "We're waiting to see who we play before we set this up."

That makes sense. The club could opt to run all three left-handers out there against the Boston Red Sox, whose left-handed lineup didn't fare as well against them in a series earlier this month. And if the club opens up in Yankee Stadium, they'll have to decide if they'd rather have Colby Lewis make a start on the road. He has a 3.45 ERA on the road and a 5.54 ERA at home.

"I'm not going to outsmart the game if my best pitcher may be a right-hander or a left-hander," Washington said. "We'll do what we think is best for us. But I'm not going to outsmart the game making somebody pitch because it's a certain venue or this, that or the other. It just depends on what my gut says."

It's worth pointing out that Lewis hasn't pitched at Yankee Stadium this season and his one start at Fenway Park was not a good one. He gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Washington said Lewis is slated to start on Tuesday in Anaheim, but nothing is set in stone. The club could shorten Lewis' start to rest him a bit or he might not start. Nothing has been determined. Washington added that he'd like to get Alexi Ogando some innings in Anaheim, whether that's as a starter or reliever. (That could be dependent again on how they want to line things up or how many innings they want the starters to go.) Matt Harrison remains on track to start Wednesday and would not have to be shortened if he pitches in Game 3, since it would be on regular rest. Again, the club may shorten him if they think that's the smartest move.

As for the final playoff roster spots, they remain a bit up in the air. The Rangers have until 9 a.m. Dallas time Friday to set the playoff roster. The Rangers have been leaning toward eight relievers and two catchers, but Washington said Monday that the club is still contemplating whether to carry three catchers. But the idea of having three catchers was important when Adrian Beltre was hurt and Washington liked putting Yorvit Torrealba at DH. If Treanor is on the bench, that may make the choice of keeping Mitch Moreland on that roster tougher. Stay tuned.

Other notes:

* Wilson will go three innings tonight. When asked who will pitch behind Wilson, Washington said: "Everybody."

* Mark Lowe said he's been riding a stationary bike and has been on an eliptical machine. He hopes to play catch before tonight's game as well. "I don't think it's realistic to be ready for Friday, but I'm shooting for the second round," Lowe said.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182