Ubaldo Jimenez used to be one of the most feared pitchers in the game, and he was doing it at Coors Field. When the Cleveland Indians were contending, they traded for him and many thought it would put them over the top in the AL Central. Jimenez faltered and so did the Indians and yesterday was an example of that. Jimenez didn’t pitch badly yesterday but he couldn’t put the Rangers away either. He allowed a wild pitch, a sacrifice fly and a seeing-eye single in the frame and Matt Harrison used his extra rest to put up a solid start with the bullpen making things interesting but eventually shutting the door.
Michael Young had another RBI. I’ve been saying that this is the best time for Young to play well, and to his credit, he has. It was a team effort offensively with five different players getting RBIs. There was even a rare appearance for Leonys Martin who (indirectly) took the place of Nelson Cruz who got a night off.
Like I said, Harrison was solid. Pitching into the 6th (5.2) with six strikeouts, five hits and two runs (both earned). He gave way to Alexi Ogando who pitched well, Mike Adams struggled to make the game appear closer before Koji Uehara, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan shut the door.
I mentioned in a Q&A with our Indians site Wahoo’s on First that this team was built to get six innings from their starter before the bullpen shuts the door. That was the formula the Rangers used today and the fact that they got Harrison out at 87 pitches shows that they are committed to resting him for the playoffs and not pushing him too hard.
The Athletics refused to give in, and came back to beat the Angels. I, for one, would love to see the green and gold in the playoffs. As luck would have it, they would probably end up being the Rangers ALDS opponent if they make the playoffs (either as AL West champion or an AL Wild Card). A lot has been said about the Athletics having the hardest schedule as any AL West playoff competitor, but if they can keep beating the Angels, it won’t matter much.