Thursday, September 23, 2004
Back in July, when I was still posting to MLB Center's Message Forum, I said something like this:
The Rangers are a great story to this point, no question. However, I'm still not convinced they're going to there at the end, either as division champion or Wild Card winner. They have 14 games left against the A's (who lead the season series to this point 4-2). I'm going to venture a guess that in two-thirds of those games, the A's are going to have the advantage in the starting pitching match-up.
With another 11 games upcoming against the A's over the course of the rest of the season, the Rangers are going to be facing this predicament nearly every time they play Oakland. And that lead is going to be difficult to maintain. (July 23, 2004)
Today, the Rangers are three games behind the A's for first place in the A.L. West. Of course, they didn't maintain the 3+ game lead they had in the division at that point in the season. But, as my tone suggested in this writing and elsewhere, did the Rangers fall off the cliff during this baseball season.
And watching them get a double-ground ball to the right side-infield single combo to take a 2-1 lead against the A's today in Oakland, I'm reminded just how remarkable season Texas has had. I wrote them off some time ago, and yet a win today puts them two out as we approach the final week of the season.
In this mini-stretch of success that has vaulted them back in the race, it's been their beleaguered pitching that has held its own. They've allowed four or less runs in five of their last seven.
As I write it's 2-1 Texas in the top of the 4th. Park vs. Hudson.
The Yanks/D-Rays are about to start in Yankee Stadium. What did it take to get a sellout vs. Tampa for a make-up game on a Thursday afternoon? How about $5 tickets (first come/first serve) and half-price on hot dogs and sodas. That seems to have done the trick, as there are no more seats left today for a game that maybe they would've gotten 20-25,000 for.
A Yankee win today and a Boston loss New York's lead to two in the loss column (again), with the series at Fenway this weekend.
1st and 2nd for Tampa (two singles) with one out in the first vs. Lieber.
The Yanks got out of the jam with a flyball and ground out.
Another thing I was wrong about? The NL West race. I had that cooked and done by late July when the Dodgers had about a 6.5 game lead.
Say what you want about Chris "Mad Dog" Russo (and I've seen/heard some bad things about him), he can be very entertaining to listen to. Did anyone catch his opening monologue today on WFAN (New York) or the YES network? Was great stuff. A typical energetic, pro-baseball opening. And it was actually one of the things that made me sure I was tuning into today's afternoon games... It sparked my enthusiasm for baseball a bit today -- something that's been on the wane since last weekend's ho-hum Yankee/Sox series in New York.
And now I'm looking forward to tuning to some of those Giants/Dodgers games coming up as well.
1-0 Yankees. Jeter just hit an absolute bomb to left-center. It seems he's hit more balls hard to left this year than any season since '99 or '00...
Adam Melhuse just homered to tie the game in Texas. And the Yanks are still threatening in the first with two outs in the first...
Will be updating throughout the day/night (hopefully)