SIX!

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

Texas completed a three game sweep of Oakland Thursday afternoon with a 7-2 victory over the Athletics. It was their second consecutive three game sweep to extend their season high winning streak to six games, which is also the longest current winning streak in the Major Leagues. Last weekend, the Rangers dealt the Braves playoff chances a deadly blow by taking three; and this week, the Ranger wins helped eliminate Oakland from the A. L. West championship. The A’s go into this weekend holding the second Wild Card berth trailing Kansas City by 1/2 game and leading Seattle by 1-1/2 games. They have all but folded the tent with a 5-11 record in September.

Texas scored 19 runs in the series – six in each of the first two games to go along with Thursday’s seven spot. The most dramatic win came Wednesday night when the A’s took a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning and sent their closer Sean Doolittle to finish the game. The Ranger bats had been quiet all evening, as they managed just four hits in eight innings off Athletics’ starter Jeff Samardzija. However, they erupted for six runs in the top of the ninth, and three outs later, the American League West champion was Los Angeles. Rougned Odor doubled home the tying run with one out. Adrian Beltre was intentionally walked to set up a potential inning ending double play, but J. P. Arencbia foiled the A’s strategy. He homered to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead. The Rangers continued to rally for two more runs to put the game out of Oakland’s reach.

The surprising rally made Robbie Ross, Jr. the winning pitcher, improving his record to 3-6. Doolittle was charged with his fourth blown save and fourth loss of the year. His record is now 1-4.

Thursday’s blowout win was predictable after Oakland suffered Wednesday’s gut wrenching loss. Starting pitcher Nick Martinez was treated to a four run lead before he took the mound. Martinez retired the first six batters before running into trouble in the third inning. He gave up two runs, cutting the Ranger lead to 4-2. However, the Ranger hitters answered with a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth. They banged out 15 hits on the day, making a winner out of Martinez, who is now 4-11. 14 of the hits were singles and five different Ranger hitters had multi-hit games, including a four-hit day from Jake Smolenski. Oakland’s Sonny Gray, considered the A’s staff ace earlier this year, started and took the loss to fall to 13-9.

The series opened with the Rangers supporting starting pitcher Nick Tepesch with three runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings. The Rangers never trailed as Tepesch completed six innings allowing three runs on five hits. He’s 5-10 after being credited with the win in the 6-3 game. Three relievers kept the A’s off the scoreboard including Neftali Feliz, who pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his 10th save.

In another Ranger story, Ron Washington met the press Thursday afternoon in a Los Colinas hotel to explain the reason for his resignation as manager of the Rangers. He said that he was not true to his wife Gerry after 42 years of marriage with the implication that his resignation was to work on restoring the relationship. He hopes to be back in baseball soon. He did not take questions from the media after stating his case.

The six game winning streak all but assures the Rangers will avoid a 100 loss season. Their record is now 60-92, so they need just three wins in the final 10 games. The winning streak has endangered the Rangers’ clamp on the worst record in baseball and the number one pick in next June’s Amateur Draft. They are 1.5 games ahead of Colorado and Arizona in the reverse standings for the dubious honor.

The Rangers conclude the road portion of their schedule this weekend in Anaheim with three games against the Angels. Texas is just 3-13 against Los Angeles this season. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Lisalverto Bonilla (1-0) on Friday night, Colby Lewis (10-13) on Saturday, and Nick Tepesch (5-10) on Sunday afternoon.

INJURIES: It was announced this week that Sin-Shoo Choo underwent a second operation to remove a bone spur and cartilage in his ankle. He earlier underwent an operation to remove bone spurs in his left (throwing) elbow.

NOTABLE:

* The Rangers record is 24-18 (.571) in day games. They actually lead the season series with Oakland with eight wins and seven losses. The teams face each other four more times in Arlington next weekend to end the season. The consecutive series sweeps are the second and third of the year for the Rangers, as they swept a three game series with the A’s in April in Oakland.

* Derek Holland was the starting pitcher Wednesday night, allowing a run on three hits and three walks over 6.2 innings, which brings his ERA to 0.99 for the year. He is 1-0 in four starts, and the Rangers are 3-1 in those games.

* Neftali Feliz became the second Ranger to post a double digit save total this season joining Joakim Soria, who earned 17 prior to being traded to the Tigers. It is the first time since 2009 that the Rangers have had more than one reliever record a double digit save total.

* The Rangers have hit 10 home runs this season with more than one runner on base. J. P. Arencibia has hit three of them. Michael Choice with two is the only other Ranger with more than one.

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ANGELS NEAR PENNANT

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Los Angeles Angels arrived this week with the best record in baseball, and they left town with an even better one as they swept the Rangers in a three game set. They have all but mathematically clinched the West Division championship, as they headed to Anaheim for their final home stand of the season with a 10 game lead over second place Oakland and a magic number of seven over the A’ and six over Seattle. (Houston and Texas have already been eliminated.)

It’s an amazing turnaround, as they trailed the Athletics by four games in the middle of August. Playing the Rangers hasn’t hurt. They have dominated the season series 13-3 with three more games to be played in Anaheim next weekend. The Rangers beat the Halos just once this year in ten Arlington games.

Los Angeles took the series opening game 9-3. Colby Lewis continued to make his bid to be in the Rangers’ 2015 starring rotation by pitching seven innings plus a batter and allowing three runs, two of which were earned, on five hits and no walks. He struck out four. One of those five hits was a home run off the bat of Kole Calhoun in the first inning, his 15th of the season.

Texas trailed 2-1 going into the eighth inning, and Lewis departed after giving up a lead-off single. The bullpen was terrible, as the Angels exploded for seven runs in the inning to put the game away. Mike Trout’s triple was the big hit.

Lewis (9-13) was charged with the loss, while Hector Santiago (5-7) was the winning pitcher. Adrian Beltre had three hits for Texas including his 18th home run.

Lewis is 3-7 with a 3.74 ERA in 10 starts since the All-Star break. Sadly, three wins ties him for the team lead in wins in that span.

The Angels ran up a similar score in game two, beating Texas 8-1. Los Angeles took an early lead with two first inning runs, when Albert Pujols tripled home Trout and later scored on Howie Kendrick’s single. Nick Tepesch (4-10) started and took the loss. He gave up three runs on 10 hits in 4-2/3rds innings.

The Angels finished strong by scoring in each of the final three innings to finish off the Rangers. Matt Shoemaker was the Angels’ starting and winning pitcher. He allowed the Rangers’ run on seven hits over 6-2/3rds innings. He earned his 15th win, a new Angels’ rookie record, against four losses.

The Rangers’ offense was puny again. They had nine hits on the night – all singles.

Game three was a bullpen game for the Angels, as they have been unable to find a consistent starting pitcher to replace the injured Garrett Richards. Thanks to September’s expanded rosters, Los Angeles used eight pitchers, with only two tossing more than an inning. They scored early with two runs in each of the first and second innings off Ranger starter Nick Martinez. They scored three runs late with one in the seventh and two in the eighth, to walk away with a 7-3 win to clinch the sweep.

Martinez (3-11) took the loss. He completed six innings, allowing the four runs, only two of which were earned, on four hits. Four relievers followed Martinez, with three of them allowing a run. Mike Morin (4-3), the fifth of the Angels’ eight pitchers, was credited with the win. Leonys Martin (seven) and J. P. Arencibia (nine) hit solo home runs to account for 2/3rds of the Rangers scoring.

Texas has now lost six of seven games on this home stand, and 11 of their last 12. They are a season high 37 games out of first place and 38 games under .500. At this point, a 100 loss season appears unavoidable as they have 92 losses with 16 games to play. Texas has all but wrapped up the worst record in baseball (and the number one pick in next season’s June Amateur Draft) as they are five wins behind Arizona and Colorado for the honor.

The Braves now come to town to complete inter-league play this weekend. Atlanta is all but eliminated from the National League East race as they trail Washington by 8.5 games. However, they are in the thick of the Wild Card race. They trail Pittsburgh by two games for the second Wild Card playoff berth. This weekend’s games will be the latest dates ever for the Rangers to play inter-league games. Texas is 6-9 all time verses the Braves. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Derek Holland (1-0), Scott Baker (3-4), and Colby Lewis (9-13).

NOTABLE:

* Rangers’ coach Bobby Jones received the Bronze Star for his service in the Viet Nam War in Patriot Day ceremonies prior to Thursday’s game.

* The Rangers have initially assigned pitchers Lisaverto Bonilla, Sam Wolff, Josh McElwee and Cody Kendall along with catcher Pat Cantwell and ourtifielder Nick Williams to the Arizona Fall League, which begins play on October 6. The AFL is a developmental league for elite prospects.

* Guilder Rodriguez made his Major League debut on Tuesday, which brought the total number of players used by the Rangers this season to 64, a new Major League record. He was also the 16th rookie to be used by the Rangers this season. He was 31 years, 47 days old on Tuesday, the oldest position player to make his Major League debut in Ranger history.

* Six of the Rangers’ eight position players in Tuesday’s starting lineup were rookies, the first time since 1983 to have as many as six in the starting lineup.

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THE CURIOUS CASE OF RON

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – It’s been three days since Ron Washington’s sudden and shocking announcement to resign as manager of the Texas Rangers. The announcement was made by the club with a statement from Washington that indicated he has a personal problem to deal with, and the best way to do so was to resign and take care of it. He closed the statement by saying “Please respect my privacy.” In other words, “I’m not telling what the problem is and don’t ask”.

General Manager Jon Daniels along with the two largest percentage owners of the team, Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, held a press conference Friday afternoon. They indicated that they had known about the situation with Washington for “weeks” and had discussed approaches to handling the situation, including a leave of absence. They indicated that Washington chose instead to resign immediately.

A first thought was a drug related situation as Washington tested positive for cocaine years ago, which came to light in spring training of 2010. Washington did authorize the team to say that the personal problem was not drug related.

Third base coach Gary Pettis, probably Washington’s closest friend on the coaching staff, told Channel 8′s George Riba that he hope Ron recovers and can return soon, which led many to believe that the problem is health related. However, team officials have assured local media that there is not a health problem for Washington or his wife Gerry. The couple have no children.

With those doors closed, the conspiracy theorist have thrown out many possibilities including a rift between Washington and Daniels. Over the years, Daniels has for sure become more involved in duties normally left to the manager. Daniels especially has been involved in hiring almost an entire new coaching staff over the past two seasons, with apparently little input from Washington. In fact among the current coaches, Pettis is the only one in which Washington had significant input.

The team said little about their intentions for their search for a replacement. Bench Coach Tim Bogar was named interim manager for the balance of this season. Bogar was a finalist for the Astros managerial job two years ago when Bo Porter was hired. With Porter’s recent firing, Bogar has been speculated as a serious candidate for that job again.

Many in the local media make Bogar the front runner for the job on a permanent basis. He certainly has a leg up on any candidate, save and except pitching coach Mike Maddux, from the standpoint of knowing the current personnel. Bogar managed the final three games of this weekend’s series with Seattle and got his first managerial win with a 1-0 victory on Sunday.

Washington leaves as clearly the most successful manager in Ranger history, indeed franchise history including the first 12 years in Washington. He has the most wins (664) as the Rangers had won at least 90 games in each of the last four seasons, a first in team history. After taking the team to the World Series twice, he has the most post season wins and playoff series wins, as Texas had won just one playoff game before Washington took over as manager.

This was Washington’s eighth season, and perhaps it was time for him to go anyway. He has always been more comfortable with a veteran team. He had few rules for his players, and younger players often need more discipline. It was certainly questionable as to whether Washington was the right man to rebuild this team into a contender with young players.

There also does seem to be some discord between Washington and Daniels, and Daniels may not be all that unhappy about seeing Washington leave without having to fire him. After eight years, the team may just be ready for a new voice at the top, though it’s more than evident that Washington is adored by most of the players, who professed one and all to be as shocked as anyone about the announcement.

In any event, Washington’s career in baseball does not appear to be over. He’s texted various people in the media that “I’ll be back”. It seems obvious though that if Washington returns to professional baseball that it won’t be with the Texas Rangers.

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SEATTLE TAKES THREE

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas ended an eight game losing streak Sunday with a 1-0 win over Seattle. Derek Holland threw seven sparkling shutout innings, Adrian Beltre drove home Leonys Martin with a sixth fbinning sacrifice fly, and Shawn Tolleson and Neftali Feliz finished off the final two innings to complete the shutout, the Rangers’ 17th of the year. The win improved the Rangers’ record to 54-89.

Texas needs to win nine of the final 19 games to avoid a 100 loss season. The eight came losing streak halted Sunday effectively seals last place in the West, as they now trail the Astros for fourth place by nine games, as well as the worst record in baseball (and the number one pick in next June’s amateur draft). Colorado and Arizona each have 59 wins as the next closest teams to Texas for the dubious honor.

Seattle needed the three wins for their playoff quest. They left town holding the second Wild Card spot 1/2 game ahead of Detroit (one in the loss column) and trailing Oakland by two games for the top Wild Card spot. Cleveland, New York and Toronto are the next three teams in the Wild Card chase after Detroit.

Seattle blasted the Rangers and starting pitcher Robbie Ross in Thursday’s series opening game. Ross was knocked out in the second inning allowing six earned runs. The Seattle lead grew to 9-0 before the Rangers scored. 10-2 was the final, and Ross’s record fell to 2-6. Rougned Odor hit his eighth home run.

On Friday night, Seattle jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second inning; extended it to 5-1 in the fifth and won 7-5. Scott Baker (3-4) couldn’t complete five innings and took the loss. Adam Rosales hit his fourth home run.

The start of Saturday’s game was delayed for more than three hours, the first weather delay of the season at home for Texas. Texas scored two unearned runs in the fourth inning off Highland Park grad Chris Young, who went five innings, allowing just those two runs on four hits. Seattle rallied for two runs in the sixth and two more in the eighth inning to take a 4-2 win. Neal Cotts (2-9) was charged with the eighth inning runs to take the loss.

The Rangers are off Monday, then host the first place Angels for three games beginning Tuesday. Los Angeles has taken charge of the division with an 87-55 record (.613 winning percentage), the best record in baseball. They now lead Oakland by seven games. Their magic number to clinch the division is 14. The Angels lead Texas 10-3 this season, with another three game series in Anaheim still to go after this week’s action. The Rangers have announced that Colby Lewis (9-12) and Nick Tepesch (4-9) will start Tuesday and Wednesday’s games. Thursday’s starting pitcher is TBA.

ROSTER MOVE: Infielder Guilder Rodriguez, a 13 year minor league veteran, was added to the Rangers’ roster on Sunday, a day after Frisco was eliminated from the Texas League playoffs. Yu Darvish was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Rodriguez on the roster.

NOTABLE:

* The Rangers announced their 2015 schedule. They will open the season in Oakland on Monday, April 6. The home opener is Friday, April 10 against Houston. The home inter league opponents are the Dodgers, Giants, Diamonbacks and Padres.

*. Leonys Martin was 3-4 with a run scored Sunday batting leadoff against Seattle left-hander James Paxton. Martin is now hitting .352 in 17 starts as the lead-off batter.

* Adrian Beltre has reached base in 23 straight games, the second longest active streak in the American League.

* 16 of the Rangers’ final 19 games are against American League West foes.

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K. C. BARBECUES TEXAS

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

Kansas City, in a tight race for a playoff berth, swept the Rangers in three games to start the week. Texas scored just five runs in the series to lose 4-3, 2-1, and 4-1. The Rangers are now a season high 33 games under .500 at 53-86 and 30.5 games out of first place. Texas has all but kissed fourth place in the division good-bye as they trail Houston by 7.5 games with 23 to play, and Colorado is 2.5 games ahead of the Rangers in the battle to avoid having the worst record in baseball.

The Royals extended their lead over Detroit in the Central Division to 1.5 games (two in the loss column), as they attempt to reach the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 1985.

Colby Lewis went seven innings in game one, giving up all four runs. Derek Holland followed with a seven inning, one run performance on Tuesday. Nick Tepesch gave up all four runs in Wednesday’s finale, though one was unearned, as he went 6-2/3rds innings. The culprit was the offense as Texas hit no home runs and had just seven extra base hits in the series. Texas was 3-28 batting with runners in scoring position.

Holland and Michael Kirkman appeared in Tuesday’s game to bring the total number of players used this season to 61, and the total number of pitchers used to 38, both new Major League records. Those totals will only grow from here, as two more pitchers have been called up – Lisalverto Bonilla and Spencer Patton. Even more could be called up once Frisco’s playoff run in the Texas League comes to an end.

The season continues at home this weekend with a four game set against Seattle. The announced starting pitchers are Robbie Ross (2-5) on Thursday, Scott Baker (3-3) on Friday, Nick Martinez (3-10) on Saturday and Derek Holland (0-0) on Sunday. Seattle’s starting pitcher for Saturday’s game is Highland Park grad Chris Young who has won 12 games for the Mainers this season.

This is the start of a 10 game home stand, with the Angels and Braves following the Mariners next week. Texas completes the season with a seven game home stand against Houston and Oakland over the final week of the season.

NOTABLE:

* All but three of the Rangers’ remaining games are against divisional opponents. The exception is the Braves, who will finish up inter-league play over the weekend of September 12, 13 and 14 in Arlington.

* Adrian Beltre had at least one hit in all three games of the Royals’ series to extend his hitting streak to 10 games against Kansas City.

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THE BOOT TO HOUSTON

BY: Richard W, Humphrey

The Rangers outscored Houston 17-15 in the weekend series, but lost three of four games to the Astros, who claimed the Silver Boot trophy for the first time since 2006. The trophy is rotated annually to the winner of the season series each year. This year, Houston holds an 11-5 lead with the two teams facing each other in Arlington in the final week of the season. The Rangers blasted the Astros 13-6 on Friday night, but dropped the other three games by scores of 4-2, 2-0 and 3-2.

Friday’s rout was led by four rookies batting consecutively from seventh to first in the batting order – Tomas Telis, Rougned Odor, Michael Choice, and Daniel Robertson. They combined to go 8-18 with six runs scored and eight runs driven in. Included in the hits were Odor’s seventh home run and Choice’s ninth. Scott Baker was the starting and winning pitcher, evening his record at 3-3.

Robbie Ross turned in the most notable start in the series for the Rangers on Saturday. He had pitched for Round Rock on Thursday, but assured pitching coach Mike Maddux and manager Ron Washington that he could go. He completed five no-hit scoreless innings on 70 pitches, before they took him out. It was the third time this season in the Majors and the sixth time in Ranger history that a pitcher exited a game having thrown five or more hitless innings.

Ryan Rua made his Major League debut on Friday, becoming the 59th player to appear for the Rangers this season. He was in Friday’s starting lineup at first base and was 3-12 in the series. 59 players ties the Major League record for players used in a season. Derek Holland is scheduled to make his first appearance of the year as Tuesday’s starting pitcher in Kansas City to break the record. The September call-ups include three more players that have not appeared in a Ranger game this season, so the record of 59 players used in a season will not only be broken, but shattered.

The Rangers’ record fell to 53-83 as they are 30 games under .500 for the first time this season. They have been mathematically eliminated from winning the West Division. The series win went a long way toward Houston clinching fourth place in the division, as they hold a five game lead over Texas (four in the loss column), which has 26 games to play. Texas needs to win 10 of those 26 games to avoid a 100 loss season. The Rangers also held the distinction of having the worst record in baseball, as Colorado is one game better at 54-82.

The Astros have already won more games this year than they did in 2013. They appear to be a young team on the rise, but despite their success, General Manager Jeff Luhnow fired manager Bo Porter and bench coach Dave Trembley on Monday. Tom Lawless (manager) and Adam Everett (bench coach) will serve in those positions on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. The Astros made it clear that special assistant Nolan Ryan would be involved in the managerial search.

Certainly Ryan brings considerable credibility to the organization. After joining the Rangers, he was instrumental in the hiring of pitching coach Mike Maddux, bench coach Jackie Moore, and hitting coach Clint Hurdle; three key members of the on field management team that got the Rangers to the 2010 World Series. With Ryan’s credibility and with the improved team, the Astros will undoubtedly have better candidates for the position than they had two years ago when Porter was hired.

The Rangers’ Mike Maddux was linked to a number of managerial jobs after the 2011 season, but declined for family considerations. His daughters have now graduated from high school, so Maddux no longer has family considerations to constrain him, and he could be a candidate.

The Rangers lost in Kansas City Monday night 4-3, and play two more to complete the current 10 game road trip. Derek Holland is scheduled to start Tuesday’s game for his 2014 debut, and Nick Tepesch (4-8) is Wednesday’s announced starting pitcher.

ROSTER MOVES: First baseman/outfielder Jim Adduci was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion. Nick Tepesch was optioned to Round Rock. Robbie Ross was recalled from Round Rock. Derek Holland was activated from the 60-day disabled list, and Mike Carp was designated for assignment. Ryan Rua was called up from Round Rock. On Monday when the roster expanded, Tepesch was recalled from Round Rock, along with pitcher Lisavlerto Bonilla and Luis Sardinas. Left-handed pitcher Michael Kirkman’s contract was also purchased from Round Rock. A corresponding move to make room on the 40-man roster will be made Tuesday. The likelihood is that Tanner Scheppers or Sin-Shoo Choo will be transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Relief pitcher Spencer Patton, who was obtained from Kansas City in the Jason Frasor trade, will be called up on Thursday.

NOTABLE:

* Joey Gallo hit his 21st home run as a Rough Rider in the team’s final game of the season. He fell one short of the Texas league lead. The 21 that he hit at high-A Myrtle Beach ended up leading the Carolina league. His 42 for the season is a new Ranger minor league record.

* The Rangers were 10-18 in August, which was better than Chicago (9-19) and Toronto (9-17). Sadly that’s the Rangers’ third most wins in any month this season. April at 15-12, is the Rangers only winning month in 2014.

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RANGER ROUT WINS SERIES

BY: Richard W, Humphrey

Texas routed Seattle Wednesday afternoon to win a series for the first time in their last six series. Colby Lewis should be named offensive player of the year for Texas. When he takes the mound, the Rangers’ feeble offense scores runs, usually early and often. The Rangers have scored in double digits four times in Lewis’s starts and are averaging 5.1 runs per game when he is the starting pitcher.

Wednesday in Seattle, the Rangers scored 10 runs over the first four innings and cruised to a 12-4 win over the Mariners, with Lewis pitching a complete game. The two big blows came from rookie players who weren’t expected to see the light of day in the Major Leagues until 2016. Rougned Odor, the youngest player in the Majors hit a grand slam home run, while catcher Tomas Teles (pronounced Tay-Lees) stroked a three run double to account for seven of the runs. Leonys Martin, getting a chance at batting leadoff with Sin-Shoo Choo out for the season, also had three hits, including his sixth home run, and drove in three runs.

Lewis walked one and gave up seven hits over the nine innings. He struck out seven and moved his record to 9-11 as he bids to be part of the Rangers’ 2015 starting rotation. Two of the seven hits were solo home runs. There was considerable doubt as to whether Lewis would ever pitch again after the hip surgery he underwent last year. He has proved the doubters wrong, as he leads the Rangers with 24 starts and is second to Yu Darvish in innings pitched.

Seattle initially announced Felix Hernandez to start on Wednesday. They later moved him back to Friday to face the Washington Nationals in inter-league play and started Erasmo Ramirez instead. Ramirez was blasted for 10 runs on nine hits and a walk. He dropped to 1-6, and the Mariners in a tight race for a playoff spot lost a game they could ill afford to lose against the hapless Rangers.

The Rangers blanked Seattle in the series opener 2-0, their 16th shutout of the season. J. P. Arencibia singled home a run in the fourth inning, and Odor grounded out to drive home another in the seventh inning to account for the scoring. The story of the game though was the battery – pitcher Miles Mikolas and catcher Tomas Telis.

Mikolas turned in eight shutout innings, by far the best of his 10 starts with the Rangers. His performances this season have strangely been much better on the road than at home. He had sufficient rest to start last Sunday at home, but was pushed back a day to start on the road. Mikolas gave up three singles, walked one and struck out five to win his second game against five losses. That improved his road record 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA in six starts. In Arlington, he is 0-4 with a 13.73 ERA.

Telis made his Major League debut. Mikolas gave him a lot of credit for pitch calling. He told MLB.com’s T. R. Sullivan, “I think I only shook him off a handful of times. We were definitely on the same page most of the game.” Telis was 1-4 at the plate, with a bunt single in the seventh inning that contributed to the second Ranger run.

Neftali Feliz gave up a single in the ninth, but retired the other three batters he faced to nail down his seventh save. Roenis Elias (9-11) was the hard luck losing pitcher for Seattle, as he gave up a run on three hits over five innings.

Seattle rookie Jim Paxton returned the shutout favor on Tuesday as he tossed 6-2/3rds scoreless innings scattering four Ranger hits, all singles. He improved to 4-1 on the season with a sparkling 1.83 ERA in seven starts. Danny Farquhar retired all eight batters he faced in relief of Paxton to complete the game, as once again, the Rangers’ offense was feeble. It was the eighth time the Rangers have been shutout this year.

Nick Martinez started and took the loss. He gave up a home run to Robinson Cano in the first inning and another run in the second when the Rangers could not turn a double play on a bases loaded ground ball with one out. Seattle knocked him around for three more runs in the fourth inning. He walked the leadoff batter, then gave up a single and a double to score two more Seattle runs. Former Ranger Endy Chavez hit the double, but was out trying to stretch the hit to a triple. However, the M’s added another run on a two out triple followed by a single.

5-0 was the final score. Martinez fell to 3-10 with the loss.

The two Ranger wins against Seattle brings their win total to 52 for the year. They need to win 11 of the final 30 games to avoid a 100 loss season. Their record is still the worst in baseball behind Colorado. All but seven of the final 30 games, all against the Astros, are against teams with winning records and in contention for a playoff berth.

The road trip continues with four games in Houston this weekend. The announced starting pitchers are Nick Tepesch (4-8) on Thursday night, TBA on Friday, Miles Mikolas (2-5) on Saturday and Nick Martinez (3-10) on Sunday afternoon.

INJURIES AND ROSTER MOVES: Sin-Shoo Choo underwent season ending surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow. Michael Choice was called up from Round Rock to take his place on the roster. Alex Rios came out of Tuesday’s game with a swollen thumb and did not play Wednesday. Derek Holland’s final minor league rehab start is scheduled Thursday night for Round Rock.

NOTABLE:

* When Tomas Telis played Monday night, he was the Rangers’ 58th player and 19th rookie to perform for the team this year. 58 players used in one season is a new team record, while 19 rookies ties the team record set in 2008. The Major League record for players used in a season is 59.

* Neftali Feliz has been astounding in his career against the Mariners. With Monday’s save, he has faced the Mariners 18 times encompassing 17 innings. Austin Jackson singled in the ninth on Monday night, and that is the only hit he has allowed in the 18 appearances. He is 2-0 with 10 saves. The M’s are batting .019 (1-52) against him. Only five other Mariners have reached base against him – four walks and a hit batsman. He has 21 strikeouts.

* 16 Ranger shutouts this year rank third in the Majors behind St. Louis with 18 and Tampa Bay with 17.

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ROLLING ROYALS TAKE TWO

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas beat the hot Kansas City Royals Sunday 3-1 to avoid a sweep of the series. The Royals are on a serious roll, having won 24 of their last 31 games to take over first place in the Central Division, two full games over Detroit. Sunday’s win was the 50th win of the season for Texas, which has the worst record in baseball, two games behind Colorado.

In Friday’s series opener, the Rangers scored first on a single, double, ground out in the first inning. The lead didn’t last long though. Colby Lewis had breezed through a 1-2-3 first inning, but he wasn’t fooling anybody in the second. Billy Butler tied the game with a lead-off home run. After a ground out, Lewis hit the next batter and surrendered singles to the next three. That pushed across two more runs to give the Royals a 3-1 lead.

Lewis pitched well after the second. He completed six innings allowing one more run on a Josh Willingham home run leading off the fourth inning. He struck out just two, but walked no one. He took the loss to drop to 8-11 for the year.

Royals fireballer Yordano Ventura started and earned the win for K. C. He also completed six innings, but he allowed just the first inning run. He got the win, his 10th against nine losses.

Kansas City scored a run off Phil Klein in the seventh and another unearned run off Jon Edwards in the ninth inning. Texas came back to score two seventh inning runs off Royals’ reliever Francisley Bueno, but that was as close as they got. 6-3 was the final score. Greg Holland racked up his 40th save of the year with a perfect ninth inning.

On Saturday night, the game began 20 minutes late for the induction ceremony of Tom Schieffer, former club President, into the Rangers Hall of Fame. Schieffer was instrumental in the construction of the ballpark, and has gone on to be the U. S. Ambassador to Australia and Japan since leaving the Rangers.

Both teams got a solo home run in the first inning. Alex Gordon hit his 15th for Kansas City and Sin-Shoo Choo hit number 13 for Texas. The game stayed tied at one until the fifth inning, when three Nick Tepesch walks led to three Kansas City runs. The Royals added two more in the seventh to take a 6-1 lead into the ninth inning. Leonys Martin singled home a pair of ninth inning runs to make the final score 6-3.

Tepesch took the loss to fall to 4-8. Royals’ starter Jeremy Guthrie pitched eight innings of five hit ball for the win to improve to 10-10.

On Sunday afternoon, the Rangers had a multitude of scoring opportunities early, but cashed in for just three runs, one in each of the first three innings. That however proved to be enough. Scott Baker came out of the bullpen to make his fifth start of the season. He gave up a solo home run to Billy Butler over five innings. Shawn Tolleson, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz finished the final four innings allowing one hit and retiring the other 12 batters they faced to take the series finale 3-1. Baker won for the second time against two losses, but it was his first win as a starting pitcher. Feliz earned save number six.

Saturday’s loss plunged the Rangers 30 games under .500, which was not only a season high, but the first time they were 30 games under since the end of the 1985 season, when they finished 37 games under .500. Texas is 11-23 since the All-Star break with Sunday’s win, which was the Rangers’ seventh in August, one more than in July.

This week, the Rangers return to the road and return to division play. In fact, the only six remaining games that are not against divisional opponents are a three game series in Kansas City to start September, and a three game inter-league series against the Braves over the weekend of September 12, 13 and 14. They open up Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Seattle, followed by four games in Houston next weekend. The announced starting pitchers for the Seattle series are Miles Mikolas (1-5) Monday night, Nick Martinez (3-9) on Tuesday night, and Colby Lewis (8-11) in Wednesday’s matinee.

INJURIES AND ROSTER MOVES: Derek Holland was scheduled to make his final minor league rehab start Sunday pitching for Round Rock in Las Vegas, but was scratched due to back spasms and re-scheduled for Thursday. He is expected to be activated from the disabled list on September 1. Yu Darvish is on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow. He is eligible to be activated on Monday, but likely will not be. He actually may not pitch again this season. Geovany Soto was traded to Oakland during Sunday’s game for cash considerations. Tomas Telis will be called up from Round Rock on Monday to take Soto’s roster spot. Sin-Soo Choo was not in Sunday’s lineup as he was reportedly “under the weather”.

NOTABLE:

* Friday Night’s game was played on the 25th anniversary of the night that Nolan Ryan struck out his 5,000th batter (Ricky Henderson). Ryan is still the only pitcher in baseball history to strike out 5,000 batters. The Rangers gave away Nolan Ryan replica jerseys to fans Friday night.

* Jim Adduci hit his first Major League home run on August 9 against Houston, but did not get another one until a single on Saturday, going 0-26 in between.

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A SPLIT LOOKS GOOD

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

The Rangers split a pair in Miami this week, taking Wednesday afternoon’s finale 5-4 after losing Tuesday’s series opening game 4-3 in 10 innings. It was their first split of a road series and brings their record to 2-4-1 over the past seven series. Wednesday’s win brought the Rangers’ road winning percentage to .400, the lowest in the American League, but actually higher than their home winning percentage.

Wednesday afternoon, the Rangers jumped on Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi for five runs in the first two innings, and Nick Martinez and three relievers made the early lead stand up for a 5-4 win. The Rangers pushed across three first inning runs with four consecutive two out hits, and Alex Rios doubled home two more in the second.

Martinez gave up two runs over six innings on six hits. Jon Edwards and Roman Mendez shut down the Fish in the seventh and eighth innings with one hit. Neftali Feliz came on to close the game in the ninth and ran into immediate trouble. He gave up a lead-off home run to Marcell Ozuna. One out later, Jarrod Saltalamacchia cut the lead to 5-4 with another solo home run. Feliz settled down to strike out Jeff Baker, but put the tying run on base with a walk to Christian Yelich.

At that point, Feliz had to talk manager Ron Washington out of making a pitching change. He convinced Washington to let him stay, and he paid off his manager’s confidence by striking out Donovan Solano to end the game.

Martinez (3-9) was the winning pitcher. Eovaldi (6-8) took the loss. Feliz earned his fifth save.

The opening game of the series was tightly played. Both teams pushed across a run in the fourth inning, with the Marlins’ coming on Marcell Ozuna’s 17th home run. The Marlins took the lead in the sixth inning with a pair of runs that scored on a single and sacrifice fly. Texas came right back to tie in the seventh. Rougned Odor opened the inning with a double, and aggressively scored on the play as Giancarlo Stanton fumbled the ball in right field. The Rangers’ third run scored on a bases loaded walk.

The game was still tied after nine innings, but Stanton made up for his misplay with a two out RBI single in the 10th for the Marlins’ 11th walk-off win of the year.

Miles Mikolas was the Rangers’ starter giving up three runs on eight hits over five plus innings. Neal Cotts (2-7) took the loss, though Feliz actually gave up the game winning hit to Stanton. Miami’s Sam Dyson (2-0) was the winning pitcher.

The Rangers finished 2-2 against Miami this year, splitting two game series in Arlington and Miami. All time, the Rangers lead the Marlins 10-9. The games this week were the first for Texas in the Marlins new stadium. These two games completed the Rangers’ inter-league road schedule for the year. The only remaining inter-league games are three against the Braves over the weekend of September 12, 13 and 14.

The Rangers still hold the dubious honor of worst record in baseball as Colorado is one game better. Houston is 4.5 games ahead of Texas for fourth place in the division.

Texas is back in Arlington this weekend for three games with Kansas City. This is “Alumni Legacy Weekend” with former team official Tom Schieffer getting inducted into the Rangers’ Hall of Fame. The announced starting pitchers are Colby Lewis (8-10) on Friday night, Nick Tepesch (4-7) on Saturday, and Scott Baker on Sunday. This will be the first meeting of the year with Kansas City, which is the hottest team in baseball having won 22 of their last 28 games. The Royals have over taken the Tigers to lead the Central Division.

INJURIES AND ROSTER MOVES: Derek Holland pitched more than five innings for Round Rock on Tuesday night, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks. He struck out seven and threw 87 pitches. He thinks he’s ready, but the Rangers apparently don’t. He’ll make at least one more start in the minors and likely will not be activated until rosters expand in September.

NOTABLE:

* The Rangers have now used 57 players and 36 pitchers this season, both team records. They have also used 18 rookies, which leads the American League.

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ANGELS TAKE FIRST

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Los Angeles Angels took two of three from Texas this weekend to move past Oakland into first place in the American League West. Oakland has held first place alone since April, but L. A. moved percentage points ahead with a win on Saturday, and both teams lost on Sunday. The two teams will play each other 10 more times this year.

Sunday afternoon the Angels took a 2-1 lead into the ninth inning, but closer Huston Street, pitching on the third consecutive day, was unable to retire a batter as he gave up two runs and was charged with a blown save and the loss. Street is now 1-1 on the year. The blown save was his first as an Angel and just his second this year.

Texas avoided the sweep on a fine pitching effort from starter Nick Tepesch. He gave up the two Angel runs on six hits over six innings. The two runs scored in the second inning, when the Angels pieced together four hits to push across the only runs they would score on the day. Shawn Tolleson, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz finished the game with Feliz (1-1) earning the win. Tolleson and Cotts combined to strike out the side in a dramatic eighth inning after L. A. loaded the bases with no outs.

Adam Rosales had the walk-off hit in the ninth inning to drive in the winning run. Texas was 2-5 this week on the current home stand, and Rosales drove in the winning run with a bases loaded walk in the 14th inning of the other Ranger win.

The Angels were in position to sweep Sunday after winning the first two games each by the score of 5-4. In Friday’s series opener, Nick Martinez turned in six innings, allowing four runs on four hits. The big blow for the Angels was a three run home run off the bat of Cole Calhoun in the sixth inning that snapped a 1-1 tie. Tolleson gave up what proved to be the deciding run in the seventh inning that extended the Angels lead to 5-1. Texas rallied for three runs in the eighth to pull within one, but Street needed 15 pitches to put out the fire with a perfect ninth inning.

Garrett Richards (13-4), the Angels emerging ace, pitched into the eighth inning allowing two runs on seven hits for the win. Martinez’s record fell to 2-9 with the loss.

On Saturday, Colby Lewis turned in a strange pitching line. Five of the first 10 batters he faced got base hits, three of which were for extra bases and drove in runs. He gave up two more runs in the fourth inning for a total of five allowed, all earned, over six innings. The Angels tagged him for 10 hits; but on the other hand, he struck out a season high 10 batters and didn’t walk a batter. It was the 11th time in his career to reach a double digit strikeout total.

After getting down 5-0, Texas came back with a pair of fourth inning runs on a lead-off home run from Sin-Shoo Choo, his 13th, and a run scoring single from J. P. Arencibia. Relievers Phil Klein, Neal Cotts and Roman Mendez retired all three batters each faced over the final three innings to hold the Angels to five on the night. Alex Rios singled home two more runs for Texas in the seventh to draw within one. That was it for scoring as Joe Smith pitched a perfect eighth and Street pitched a perfect ninth to complete the 5-4 Angels win that moved them past Oakland into first place.

Lewis fell to 8-10 with the loss. Matt Shoemaker (11-4) was the winning pitcher, and Street earned his 33rd save.

Texas fell to 48-76 with the series loss. They are slightly ahead of Colorado (48-75) for the dubious honor of worst record in baseball. The dream of catching Houston for fourth place in the division continues to fade as the Astros are now 3.5 games ahead, three in the loss column. Texas has 38 games remaining in the season.

The Rangers intend to go with four starting pitchers over the next week as there are two off days. Texas is off on Monday, then travels to Miami for two with the Marlins. The Rangers and Marlins split two games in Arlington earlier this year. The announced pitchers for the games are Miles Mikolas (1-5) on Tuesday night and Nick Martinez (2-9) on Wednesday afternoon. Both games will be televised locally on Fox Sports Southwest. Texas is off again on Thursday before opening a brief three game home stand next weekend.

ROSTER MOVES: Robbie Ross was optioned to Round Rock a day after taking Yu Darvish’s start on Thursday, and reliever Jon Edwards had his contract purchased from the same club.

NOTABLE:

* The Angels have won the season series with Texas as they lead 10-3 with six games remaining. Sunday’s win ended an Angels’ winning streak of nine straight games against Texas and ended a four game losing streak since beating Tampa Bay last Tuesday. The Rangers are now 12-25-3 in series this year and are 10-19 since the All-Star break.

* Colby Lewis’s game on Saturday was the 18th time in Rangers’ history that a pitcher had a double digit strikeout total without walking a batter. However, it was the first game of the 18 that the Rangers lost.

* Joey Gallo hit his 19th home run for Frisco Sunday, which was his 40th of the season to pull within one of the Ranger minor league record.

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