Series Preview: Anaheim Angels @ Texas Rangers - Thanks

Jeff Gross - Getty Images

We've arrived at the final home series of the 2012 Texas Rangers baseball season and you couldn't ask for a better opponent than the third place Anaheim Angels. The Rangers have an opportunity to clinch the division at home while also eliminating the Angels from postseason consideration.

It doesn't seem like it would be so but the Rangers are about to embark on the final home series of the season. We've had our ups and downs with this 2012 edition of Texas Rangers baseball just like with any season. But the downs have been masked with knowing we follow what has become one of the preeminent franchises in the sport of baseball. Simply put, the way baseball is trying now is different than the way baseball was trying before. Maybe that means we're spoiled. Maybe in this 40th season of Rangers baseball, we deserve to be.

Regardless, as we've dealt with the sports-expectations of winning in ways never broached by a baseball team in Arlington before, there has still been plenty to be grateful for from this 2012 season. As the Rangers take measures to appreciate us in their final regular season series in Arlington, I figure it's time to appreciate the Rangers for another fantastic season from a franchise with still too few of those to say we've truly earned a feeling of entitlement.

  • I appreciate Jon Daniels for showing us why he is Jon Daniels and we are not Jon Daniels when he took a gamble on Joe Nathan.
  • I appreciate Nolan Ryan and the owners for letting Jon Daniels and his scouts do more than they ever have with a budget that keeps expanding by need.
  • I appreciate Bob Simpson's apparent lust for nachos being second only to his desire to watch this whole thing flourish.
  • I appreciate Thad Levine, A.J. Preller, Josh Boyd and Don Welke for doing it better than anyone else.
  • I appreciate Jim Colborn and Joe Furukawa for the work that ultimately made Yu Darvish a Texas Ranger in 2012.
  • I appreciate Mike Maddux for not going to Boston and instead bringing his little brother back here with him.
  • I appreciate Tom Grieve, Dave Barnett, and Steve Busby for keeping us engaged all season long. Thanks Cookie Talk and Cookie Talk talk.
  • I appreciate Eric Nadel for the knowledge that it is worth it go back and listen to all of his big calls after the game, every time.
  • I appreciate Jim Knox because duh.
  • I appreciate Chuck Morgan for being a fan of Texas Rangers fans.
  • I appreciate Ian Kinsler for loving The Ballpark as much as we do.
  • I appreciate Elvis Andrus for being No. 1 on 8/01:

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  • I appreciate Josh Hamilton for being one of the strangest beings we'll ever know but also one of the most gifted.
  • I appreciate Michael Young for the impending grandiose.
  • I appreciate Adrian Beltre most of all.
  • I appreciate Nelson Cruz for surviving Game 6.
  • I appreciate David Murphy for being more than a fourth outfielder.
  • I appreciate Craig Gentry for being a fourth outfielder.
  • I appreciate Mitch Moreland for finally getting that grand slam that counted.
  • I appreciate Mike Napoli for surely saving all the Nap-O-Li! moments for October.
  • I appreciate Geovany Soto for keeping my hate muscle swollen in the absence of Brandon Snyder.
  • I do not appreciate Brandon Snyder.
  • I appreciate Mike Olt for ending Powder Blue Night on the right note.
  • I appreciate Jurickson Profar for not soon, but now.
  • I appreciate Joe Nathan for having a John Wetteland season without the John Wetteland ninth inning drama.
  • I appreciate Matt Harrison for being consistently very good even when it never feels like he is.
  • I appreciate Yu Darvish for proving he has the ability to be completely ridiculous just like we always wanted.
  • I appreciate Scott Feldman for at least trying to bring back Feldmania.
  • I appreciate Ryan Dempster for being actually funny.
  • I appreciate Derek Holland for trying to funny, sometimes...
  • I appreciate Colby Lewis for being a professional.
  • I appreciate Neftali Feliz for trying it.
  • I appreciate Alexi Ogando for accepting a return.
  • I appreciate Robbie Ross for sticking it to us.
  • I appreciate Mike Adams reliably looking great with a beard.
  • I appreciate Roy Oswalt, Justin Grimm, and Martin Perez for the innings when the Rangers finally couldn't dodge the pitching injury bullet.
  • I appreciate Tanner Scheppers, Yoshinori Tateyama, Michael Kirkman, and Mark Lowe for keeping it together when the injured rotation couldn't get those innings.
  • I appreciate Ron Washington for being a character when baseball has too few. Sure, we complain about bunts. We don't like the bench usage. We worry about the in-game strategy. We hate the preferential treatment of veterans. But there's something fun about winning with Ron Washington.

Lastly, I appreciate the 2012 Texas Rangers for giving us a great season of baseball and a reason for Tailgate V to exist.

Friday, September 28 7:05: RHP Jered Weaver vs. RHP Ryan Dempster

Saturday, September 29 3:05 (Tailgate V!): RHP Ervin Santana vs. LHP Derek Holland

Sunday, September 30 2:05: RHP Zack Greinke vs. RHP Yu Darvish

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the on the outside looking in preseason favorite Anaheim Angels:

  • Ryan Dempster: 12-7, 7.83 K/9, 2.57 BB/9, .269 BABIP, 77.2% LOB, 3.61 FIP, 3.75 xFIP, 3.3 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 17.0 innings
  • Jered Weaver: 19-4, 6.77 K/9, 2.04 BB/9, .240 BABIP, 79.6% LOB, 3.72 FIP, 4.13 xFIP, 3.0 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 20.1 innings

Advantage: There's nothing in the world that I would want on the final Friday Friday Friday Night of the season than to see the Rangers prevent Jered Weaver from winning his 20th game of the season. To do that, however, Ryan Dempster will have to pitch well in his third attempt at pitching well against the Angels. Dempster has been pretty miserable, in limited innings, against the Angels since coming to Texas. Weaver, for what it's worth, hasn't ever really fared all that well at The Ballpark relatively, so let's hope for that to continue one last time.

  • Derek Holland: 11-6, 7.59 K/9, 2.60 BB/9, .254 BABIP, 69.2% LOB, 4.69 FIP, 4.07 xFIP, 1.8 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 17.0 innings
  • Ervin Santana: 9-12, 6.78 K/9, 3.08 BB/9, .239 BABIP, 70.1% LOB, 5.44 FIP, 4.41 xFIP, -0.4 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 19.2 innings

Advantage: It's the battle of underachievers on Saturday. Derek Holland gets to finish his disappointing 2012 regular season the same way it began: in front of the disapproving glower of the Lone Star Ball tailgating masses. Hopefully Holland can have an outstanding outing that propels his season to a 2.0 WAR campaign. As inconsistent as Holland has been this year, it's nothing compared to Santana. Or, really, a case can be made that Santana has been consistent--only consistently bad. In fact, among qualifiers, Santana has the lowest WAR of any starter in baseball this season. And he's done all of this with his lowest BABIP for a season in his career. What a waste. Santana's September has been his best month of the season, however. He's allowed two or fewer runs in every start this month. He's also allowed at least one home run in every start but one since the middle of July. Of course, so has Derek Holland.

  • Yu Darvish: 16-9, 10.43 K/9, 4.29 BB/9, .290 BABIP, 70.1% LOB, 3.30 FIP, 3.56 xFIP, 4.9 WAR - Last three starts: 3 runs allowed in 23.0 innings
  • Zack Greinke: 15-5, 8.65 K/9, 2.28 BB/9, .310 BABIP, 74.9% LOB, 3.06 FIP, 3.16 xFIP, 5.0 WAR - Last three starts: 3 runs allowed in 21.1 innings

Advantage: This is very likely the last regular season start for Yu Darvish. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the news that the Rangers had won the bid to negotiate with Darvish after all the rumors indicated he was heading to Toronto kept the expectation of jubilation at bay until that glorious Jeff Passan tweet broke the news. If that seems like only yesterday, Yu Darvish's nightmare first inning as a big league pitcher in April feels like only a lunch break ago. There have been Ace-like highs not witnessed since October Cliff Lee and the lows of inconsistency that we were warned of with Yu's acclimation to being a Major Leaguer. All in all, it's been a successful first season from Yu Darvish in which, cumulatively, he's been one of the ten or so best starters in baseball. And the way he's pitched over the last month and a half is one of the biggest reasons to look forward to the 2013 season. Yu will face Zack Greinke in what could be Greinke's final start in his rental half-season with Anaheim. Obviously, Greinke is very good. If we see a repeat of Sept. 20--where Yu and Greinke faced off in Anaheim--in the final 2012 regular season game in Arlington, we're in for a treat.

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Anaheim Angels (86-70, 3rd Place in AL West)

Rangers Record vs. Anaheim: 8-8 (4-3 at The Ballpark)

Anaheim's Recent Results: 2-1 series win against the Seattle Mariners in final home series of season

Anaheim's Road Record: 40-35

Ballpark In Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 116/117 - Runs: 117/116

SB Nation Angels Blog: Halos Heaven (Decidedly Not United)

Match-up: (as of 09/28) Rangers Angels Advantage
Batting (RAR) 49.1 (6th) 97.3 (1st) Angels
Base Running (RAR) 6.8 (4th) 9.9 (3rd) Angels
Starters (RAR) 92.5 69.2 Rangers
Bullpen (RAR) 54.8 (7th) 8.7 (28th) Rangers
Defense (UZR) 22.5 (5th) 40.4 (1st) Angels
Overall (UZR + RAR) 225.7 225.5 Rangers (ha!)

Questions to Answer:

  • What do you appreciate most about the 2012 Texas Rangers?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Elvis Andrus seems to like hitting against the Angels.)
  • Over/Under: 3.5 dongs allowed by Derek Holland and Ervin Santana combined during Saturday's game?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Yu Darvish in his likely final regular season start of 2012?
  • What do you think Albert Pujols has planned for his early October vacation?
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