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What We Learned In Kansas City

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Although it was perhaps more of a struggle than we expected, the Rangers won this series against the Kansas City Royals and upped their lead in the AL West while hanging with the Twins in the race for the #2 seed in the American League.

In true Rangers fashion, it wasn't easy, but here we are. I think it's safe to say that the expectations in Kansas City, and rightfully so, were for the Rangers to sweep. They did not do that. Instead, they won 2 of 3 and, thanks to the assistance of perhaps and even more disliked foe, the New York Yankees, who were busy sweeping the Oakland A's in a four game series in the Bronx, the Rangers actually increased their lead in the AL West to a franchise record-tying best 10 games. The only other time the Rangers had a lead of 10 games was September 30 1999.

And as bad as the second game of this series was, a 10-9 misery befallen affair, the Rangers held ground with the Twins in the race for the #2 seed in the American League. So, while not sweeping the Royals is below our expectations for this team at this point, it's not like anything the Rangers are trying to accomplish has been derailed because of a mid-series game that ended on a wild pitch. There are no excuses for an inexcusable loss, but the big picture paints it as almost inconsequential.

C.J. Wilson is not inconsequential. In fact, if baseball gave out awards by halves, C.J. would probably be your American League Best Second Half Pitcher award winner. In August alone he has a 9.39 K/9 which is 2 Ks per 9 better than any other month of the season. He has a season low WHIP (1.10), FIP (2.53), and xFIP (3.22) in August. And, interestingly enough, for those curious how much of this late season success is luck related, his BABIP is the highest of the season at a league average .276. C.J. Wilson has been spectacular in the season's second half and with Cliff Lee struggling with a sore back and location issues, and Colby Lewis seemingly jinxed to never win another baseball game, the Rangers are lucky enough that they have someone to run out there every fifth day who is pitching like an ace and that person is C.J. Wilson.

I don't buy into the C.J. Wilson is a Cy Young candidate--not yet, at least--but if you buy into ESPN's Cy Young predictor metric (which you shouldn't because it is silly), C.J. has pitched himself into 4th place amongst candidates that have been talked about all season. So while I don't think C.J. is someone that should be considered as the best pitcher in the American League for this season quite yet, it's nice to see him getting some publicity for being excellent over the last two months.

Blanco Update: Andres 6-10 with 2 runs and an RBI. Gregor 1-12 with 1 run and 1 BB. Winner for best Blanco: Andres.

I guess I learned my lesson. Never make fun of Yuniesky Betancourt before your team plays the team in which he plays for. Doing so apparently invokes some sort of mischief daemon whom plays tricks on you by allowing Yuniesky Betancourt to hit home runs and make awesome plays against your team. I am sorry for this.

Cliff Lee :(

Josh Hamilton's knee


What did we learn in Kansas City?


It's better to jive-walk than limp.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.