Rangers Earn Split In St. Petersburg


This 2013 season has definitely been a frustrating one. And sure, letting a 3-game lead in the West fade away into oblivion didn’t make for a particularly exciting start to the month. But right now that doesn’t matter, or, at least it shouldn’t matter. With a series split in St. Petersburg — capped off by an impressive 8-2 victory on Thursday night — the Rangers not only hold a one-game lead in the loss column over the Indians in the wild card race, they also own the tiebreaker advantage over the Rays, whom they took the season series from 4 games to 3.

Ian Kinsler heads into dugout

Although schedule strength is far less important than simply handling the business in front of them — Texas only has 10 games remaining — it is mildly comforting to know the hard part is now behind them. There are no more Tampa Bays left on the docket. The Rangers will play a weekend series in Kansas City, where they can effectively eliminate the Royals postseason chances, before heading home to host the Astros and Angels. Then that’s it. Then the regular season will be over.

Right now, I can’t say with confidence whether I’m more happy to be clinging to a wild card spot, or more disappointed that the Rangers capitulated to a slump at such an inopportune juncture of the season. I imagine the next week-and-a-half — or month-and-a-half — will grant me more perspective as far as that is concerned.

What I do know is, after last night’s crushing 4-3 loss in extra innings, I’m damn proud of the team I cheer for. The Rangers have some serious sand.

Yu Darvish picked up an ironic +1 in the Win department on Thursday night — after back-to-back 1-0 losses where he pitched brilliantly — as he surrendered a career-high-tying 6 walks in 5.0 innings on bump. To call his outing “shaky” would be a gross understatement. However, thanks to Geovany Soto icing two runners attempting to steal 2nd, conflated by two inning-ending double play balls, Darvish limited Tampa Bay to only 2 runs on 5 hits. The 4 strikeouts Yu posted ties a season-low, and it’s only the 2nd time in 2013 he has walked more hitters than he’s punched out.

The reason Yu Darvish was able to record his 13th win of the year was due to an offensive barrage that started early on and never really lost steam.

Mitch Moreland — Texas’s perpetual He’s About To Break Out 1st baseman — had one of his finer moments of the year, going 3-4 with an opposite-field jack (off a lefty!) and two singles.

Craig Gentry, also known as the most underrated player in MLB, went 4-5 with a triple and 3 stolen bases.

Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, and Alex Rios combined to go 6-15, with the latter two each depositing solo homers to left. Kins mixed in a couple walks, to boot.

The win solidifies very little, but in earning a split with the Rays it keeps destiny in Ranger control, and let’s be honest, a split on the road against a team fighting for postseason positioning is far from a bad thing.

There are only 3 road games left:

Martin Perez vs. Ervin Santana

Matt Garza vs. Jeremy Guthrie

Alexi Ogando vs. James Shields

I don’t care how it happens, but 2 out of 3 this weekend would be sweet.