By Martin Iheke
How ‘bout those Texas Rangers, eh? In what perhaps is the best stretch of the season so far, the Rangers are looking to end the season on a strong note and carry that momentum into next season. They are doing this with a lot of young players being led by interim manager Tim Bogar, who is making a strong case for being the next manager of the ball club. After sweeping the Atlanta Braves at home last weekend, the Rangers enjoyed their final day off before embarking on their last road trip of the season. The Rangers wanted to continue the momentum in a three-game series against the reeling Oakland Athletics and they did just that in the first game last Tuesday night with a 6-3 win. Rangers starting pitcher Nick Tepesch notched his first win since August 6th going six strong innings giving up three runs off four hits.
The Rangers continued to cause the A’s more misery the next night as they scored six unanswered runs in the top of the 9th inning after trailing 1-0 to win, 6-1. Rangers designated hitter J.P. Arencibia contributed with a three-run home run in the inning that really popped the air out of the balloon for the A’s. Starting pitcher Derek Holland, who only gave up a run in 6 1/3 innings, was ecstatic after the game. “Those guys did a great job of picking me up,” Holland said according to mlb.com. “It was very awesome to watch. We have had a tough season to begin with, but the way we’re finishing up strong, I’m very impressed with the way guys are carrying themselves. Nobody is quitting,” as he continued. With the combination of the loss by the A’s along with a win earlier in the night by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Angels clinched the AL West title for the first time in five years. The Rangers finished the series with a 7-2 win last Thursday afternoon sweeping the A’s on the road for the second time this season. They extended their season-long winning streak to six games.
Next up, the division-champion Angels. The Rangers extended their winning streak to seven games as they blew them out, 12-3, last Friday night. Rookies Jake Smolinski and Ryan Rua were the stars in this one for the Rangers. Smolinski hit his first-career home run in the 1st inning (two-run HR) while Rua had four hits and scored two runs. This team, filled with a lot of young players, is playing loose and gaining confidence which is what Rangers manager Tim Bogar likes. “They are excited about being out there and they are having fun,” Bogar said according to mlb.com. “They have a little cohesiveness and they are feeding off each other. It helps to get great starting pitching and that’s what we’ve been getting lately,” as he continued. Unfortunately, the Rangers winning streak came to an end with an 8-5 loss to the Angels, last Saturday night. Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis was roughed up in this one only going five innings giving up eight runs (seven earned) off nine hits. However, that was the only blemish of the week as they beat the Angels, 2-1, this past Sunday to take two of three and close the road trip with a 5-1 record. Their overall record is 62-93, still the worst record in the American League but no longer the worst in the MLB because the Arizona Diamondbacks are a half-game worse.
The Rangers will return home to complete the final week of the season with a three-game series against the Houston Astros starting on Monday night. Then, the A’s will come to town to start a four-game series on Thursday night.
9/22 vs Astros 7:05 pm
9/23 vs Astros 7:05 pm
9/24 vs Astros 7:05 pm
9/25 vs A’s 7:05 pm
9/26 vs A’s 7:05 pm
9/27 vs A’s 7:05 pm
9/28 vs A’s 2:05 pm