So this is what it's like? This is what's it's like to bury your division before August? I've seen all of the other teams in the AL West do this to the Rangers before--sometimes before the end of April--but only one other time in my tenure as a Rangers fan have I felt comfortable like this. Only one other time have I felt comfortable enough to not sweat a near-August loss to the second place team in the division. That was in 1999. Over a decade has passed. Generally, in the years since then, as the season progressed, there would come a point in time where the Rangers would slip out of the race and the games weren't make-or-break, live-or-die. Now, the Rangers have taken charge of the race. Frankly, it would take something rather historic for them to fade away in this division.
For the first time in a very long time, I'm watching baseball that isn't make-or-break, live-or-die and not because the postseason is out of reach, but because the Rangers are running away with it. Usually, I'm lucky if I get to care about a near-August win to the second place team because that means the Rangers sticking around the fringes of the race. But there's a different kind of feeling in not being overly concerned with the result of a game so much because there's a bit of assurance in your team's standing. Only now it isn't because that standing is one that doesn't play in October. There will probably come a time where the Rangers will lose a couple in a row and the division lead will have narrowed a bit and I'll get that ravenous need for a win. But for now, as long as the team performs as it has, it's all about enjoying the ride without having to look in the rear view mirror.
- It's interesting to me that the A's have made their way back to second place in the West. They're statistically better than the Angels and have outperformed them in almost every aspect of the game and yet where underachieving in the wins and losses column for most of the season. If my premonitions of the AL West race nearing its conclusion prove to be incorrect, I would be very surprised if it isn't the A's, not the Angels who ultimately challenge to surpass the Rangers.
- With that said, the A's are still a fairly mediocre (I think that says more about the Angels and their hopes of contention that it does the A's), sum's-greater team.
- Apparently Nelson Cruz told the guys in the dugout that he was going to "do something special" in the 10th inning of the game on Tuesday. He's either very confident in his Boomstick against A's relievers or he's some sort of man-witch. Either way, his home run off of Michael Wuertz will absolutely be a highlight for me long after this season winds down to whatever conclusion probably only Nelson Cruz has seen.
- I have seen a catcher attempt to throw out a runner at second only to have no one come over to cover the base. I saw this when I was catching in Little League. I'll never forgive you, Chris Stewart. I will, however, forgive Ian Kinsler. He was apparently out there with a gimpy groin.
Cliff Lee sub-list:
- Cliff Lee has a decent chance of having one of the best seasons by WAR for a Texas Rangers starting pitcher...in about half a season of pitching.
- The Cliff Lee of this last five or so year span could very well be the best pitcher to ever wear a Rangers uniform.
- Cliff Lee is simply masterful. Cherish him.
- Trevor Cahill is also masterful but usually he reserves that adjective for the special occasions of when he faces the Rangers. He's now given up 9 earned runs in his 44.1 career innings against the Rangers. To compare, he's allowed 10 earned runs to the Red Sox in 10.1 innings and 2/3rds of those 9 runs in his 6 career innings against the Yankees with 6 runs allowed. The Rangers will be seeing a lot of Trevor Cahill so get used to hating him and his face.
- Taylor Teagarden hit a home run? Really? Taylor Teagarden? No. No he didn't. Why would you lie? What do you mean I was watching the game and saw it also? You're awful.
So what did we learn against Oakland?
"Relax, we've got this."