Texas Rangers: Win Back-to-Back Series for the Week

Rangers fans are excited to see Mike Napoli back on the team. Chances are he'll platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
Mike Napoli will have to step up at the plate as a leader since Adrian Beltre is out for the season. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch
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By Wiley Singleton

The Texas Rangers are in a heated playoff race in the AL. They took 3 of 4 from the Los Angeles Angels last week. The Angels and New York Yankees are the two most dangerous AL Wild Card teams at the moment.
The Rangers ended the previous week with a soul-crushing sweep at the hands of the awful Oakland A’s. The A’s consistently have losing seasons, but play Texas close. Matt Bush and Joey Gallo smashed faces trying to field a pop-up. This was the main factor in the sweep with the Rangers losing two key players for the reminder of the series.
The Rangers traveled to Florida to play a neutral site series against the AL juggernaut Houston Astros.
Game 1 – featured an incredibly effective Martin Perez. Perez was opposed by Mike Fiers, who was shelled badly. Perez only gave up two runs. The Rangers offense put on a clinic. Shin-Soo Choo had a great day. Andrus and Beltre were also effective. Joey Gallo had a homer, and is consistently competing with Aaron Judge for the AL home run lead. The Rangers won easily 12-2.
Game 2 – Astros ace Dallas Keuchel was touched up for six runs in one inning. Keuchel got into trouble using the strike zone nibbling style that made Tom Glavine so good. Keuchel was forced to try to throw strikes to Mike Napoli, who took him deep and blew the game wide open. Joey Gallo had an incredible walk in this inning that epitomizes his plate discipline.
Andrew Cashner pitched for the Rangers and was the sharpest he has been all season. Cashner featured a brutal two-seam fastball that had Astros rubbernecking like they were on I-35. Cashner looked truly playoff worthy in this game. His velocity was up. His moment was up. This start proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Cashner has recovered from the injury that plagued him in the off-season. Cashner has looked consistently good this year, and would almost certainly follow Hamels in a playoff rotation. Rangers win easily 8-1.
Game 3 – The Rangers continued their season long trend of losing games that could be turning points in the season. This game was an utter disaster. Adrian Beltre was injured and will miss the remainder of the season. This comes after Beltre missed over a month at the beginning of the season after injuring himself in the World Baseball Classic. With players like Rougie Odor and Mike Napoli swinging at everything, the Rangers desperately needed Beltre’s excellent plate discipline.
Gallo will fill in at 3rd, Delino DeShields will get more starts in the outfield. DeShields has very good all season. His speed synergies well with Shin-Soo Choo, who has excellent patience.
The Rangers looked listless all day, and only managed 4 hits. Nick Martinez was OK. Rangers lose the final game of the series and Beltre.
Game 1 – The Rangers played a pivotal series against the Angels. The opening game was the longest 9 inning game in Rangers history. The Rangers started Cole Hamels, who was not very good. Hamels had a great August, but appears to be falling off. Last year he was top 10 in walks. His strikeout numbers are insanely low, and a huge part of why the Rangers rank near the bottom in that stat. Albert Pujols was excellent in this game. He got 4 hits and would have come up in the 9th to win the game if Mike Scioscia did not pull him for a pinch runner.
Choo, Gomez, and Gallo all had homers. The Angels recently acquired protection for Mike Trout. Brandon Phillips and Justin Upton were both used in this game against the Rangers. Phillips made an error in the game. The game was very close. The defining moment was when Jake Diekman made his season debut and was electric. Diekman got the Rangers out of a jam, but the rest of the awful bullpen did their best to throw the game away. The Rangers manage an insanely close win. 10-9.
Game 2 – This was another close one. This time the bullpen did blow the game, as opposed to almost blowing it. Jose Leclerc did his best Sam Dyson impression and walked three straight batters. Both him and Dario Alvarez have AAA tier control. Ricky Rodriguez was also bad in this game. AJ Griffin pitched well and was on the hook for the win, but ended up with a no decision due to the awful pen. Matt Bush and Keone Kela are both hurt. Mazara and Napoli were both hitless in this 7-4 loss.
Martin Perez turned in another quality start. DeShields and Andrus both had two hits. Robinson Chirinos was solid all week, and displayed his power in this game. Jason Grilli and Tony Barnette almost blew the lead in the final inning. Barnette had a laughable three walks. Rangers win 7-6, and win both series.
Overall, it was only an average week for the Rangers. They won two series against good foes. They could have easily swept both series, and badly needed to do so. Beltre being done for the year is horrible. He’s the veteran on the team, and is a future Hall of Famer. The bullpen continues to be a huge issue. Barnette went from a runner stranding machine to a walk machine.
Sam Dyson had his meltdown, costing the Rangers 7 games early. Jake Diekman and Alex Claudio have looked good. The Rangers play the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees this week.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
9/4   @Braves       6:35 pm
9/5   @Braves       6:35 pm
9/6   @Braves       6:35 pm
9/8   vs Yankees   7:05 pm
9/9   vs Yankees   12:05 pm
9/10 vs Yankees    2:05 pm