BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – The 2017 season mercifully came to a close last Sunday for the Texas Rangers. They split four games with Oakland to finish 78-84, good enough for a third place tie with Seattle in the American League West.
Oakland took the first game of the series by a 4-1 score, which extended the Rangers’ season high losing streak to seven games. Oakland’s Sean Manaea was masterful, allowing just one unearned run on three hits over 6-2/3rds innings. He finished the season with a 12-10 record. A trio of relievers blanked the Rangers on one hit to close out the win. Blake Treinen earned his 15th save, and Miguel Gonzalez (8-13) took the loss for Texas.
On Friday night, Texas came back with a 5-3 win to end the losing streak and assure a finish above last place in the division. Martin Perez gave up all three runs on five hits over the first six innings to earn the win. He finished the year at 13-12. Keone Kela, Jake Diekman and Alex Claudio each pitched a scoreless inning to complete the game. Claudio earned his 11th save.
Texas came back with another win on Saturday night, 8-4. The Rangers pushed across four runs in the second inning to jump out front early. Nomar Mazara singled and Joey Gallo homered to start the inning. Two outs later, Rougned Odor and Jared Hoying doubled to bring home the third run. Delino DeShields capped off the scoring with an RBI single. Gallo followed an inning later with a second home run to extend the lead to 5-0.
Andrew Cashner was the starting pitcher for Texas, and he shut down the A’s over the first five innings. Oakland touched him for two runs in the sixth to finish his night. His final ERA was 3.40 for the season, ninth best in the American League. Cashner’s record evened at 11-11 with the win.
Willie Calhoun doubled home a run in the bottom of the sixth and then scored himself on Elvis Andrus’s double to return the lead to five runs at 7-2. The Rangers tallied again in the seventh, while Oakland pushed across single runs in the eighth and ninth innings for the 8-4 final score.
Oakland got the win Sunday 5-2. Cole Hamels started and was scheduled to throw no more than five innings. He didn’t last that long though, getting knocked out after three He gave up three runs on five hits.
Yohander Mendez relieved and completed 4-2/3rds innings. He allowed two runs on five hits.
Nomar Mazara finally put the Rangers on the scoreboard with a two run single in the eighth inning.
Adrian Beltre was taken out of the lineup once the Rangers were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. However, Manager Jeff Banister started him at designated hitter Sunday. He led off the fifth inning with the Rangers’ first hit of the game and was removed for a pinch runner to a rousing standing ovation.
MILESTONES: Nomar Mazara drove in four runs in the series to push his RBI total into triple digits. He led the Rangers with 101 for the season. Joey Gallo’s two home runs on Saturday put his total into the 40′s. He finished with 41 and is just the sixth Ranger player to hit 40 in a season. Juan Gonzalez (four times), Alex Rodriguez (three times), Rafael Palmeiro (three times), Josh Hamilton and Mark Teixeira (one year each) are the other five. Rougned Odor appeared in all 162 games becoming the eighth Ranger to do so. Michael Young in 2006 was the last Ranger to play all games in a season. Elvis Andrus batted first in Sunday’s batting order to become the first Ranger since 1983 to bat in all nine batting order spots during the course of the season. (Billy Samples was the Ranger that did so in 1983.)
* The final attendance figure for the season was 2,507,760, an average of 30,960 per game. That’s about 200,000 fewer than 2016, roughly a 7.5% drop. However, the Rangers still out-drew the Houston Astros by a few more than 100,000 fans despite the Astros playing in an air conditioned stadium with a retractable roof and having a pennant winning team.
* Alex Claudio was named the Rangers’ Player of the Month for September. He had a 1-1 record with four saves and a 1.59 ERA in 11-1/3rd innings pitched.
* The Rangers have informed Martin Perez that they intend to pick up the option in his contract for the 2018 season.
* Texas will have the 15th pick in next June’s amateur draft by virtue of their finish. Seattle gets the 14th pick with the same record because their 2016 record was worse that the Rangers.