Rangers drop first interleague series, still retain lead in the West.

The Rangers faced the first National League opponent of 2010 in the Chicago Cubs this weekend in Arlington.  The Rangers took the first game of the series in a 2-1 win with the second Rangers run coming from two consecutive errors and smart base running by Second Baseman Ian Kinsler.  They then dropped the last two games of the series with a score of 4-5 for both games. 

The Rangers now have a record of 25-20, which is two games better than the Oakland Athletics.  The Oakland Athletics swept their bay-area rival San Francisco Giants in their three game series.  In the 3 game series the Giants offense only scored 1 run.  The Athletics won the first game by a  score of 6-1, the second game by a score of 1-0, and the third game by a score of 3-0.  Before the three game interleague series the Athletics were swept at home in a two game series against the Detroit Tigers.  

In the first weekend of interleague play the National League beat the American League, in 42 games the N.L. won 23 of them.  That is a .547 winning percentage in the first weekend.  On Friday the American League got off to a strong start by winning 8 of the 14 games, before winning 5 of 14 and then 6 of 14. 

Since there are 14 teams in the American League and 16 teams in the National League, every time Interleague play rolls around, there is one National League series at all times.  This weekends series was between the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Milwaukee Brewers were in the American League until 1998 when MLB added two expansion teams.

They added the Arizona Diamondbacks to National League West and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to the American League central.  With this expansion, the two leagues would both have 15 teams total.  That would leave a team in each league dominant during the season every day.  Considering the MLB schedule only allows for 21 days off for the entire season, scheduling would have been impossible. 

The chance to switch leagues was offered to the Kansas City Royals, although they declined and the Brewers were next in line and they decided to make the switch.  The only difference between the leagues in the Designated Hitter rule in the American League.  In the National League the pitcher actually has to bat instead of a D.H.  The season before the Brewers moved to the National League, they got an introduction to National League play in the first season of interleague play in 1997. 

The National League seems to be stronger this season than in past seasons, with the Cincinati Reds and the Washington Nationals have a record over .500.  The Nationals are off to their best start since becoming the Nationals and moving to Washington D.C. in 2005 after previously being in Montreal Canada as the Expos.  So even though the National League dominated the first weekend of Interleague play, the American League has won it every year since 2003 and have won 9 of the 14 seasons as of 2009.

Topics: Ian Kinsler

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