Series Preview: Anaheim Angels @ Texas Rangers - The End?

Our Rangers - Jeff Gross

Regular season baseball at The Ballpark in Arlington comes to an end as the Rangers play their final home series of the season against the Anaheim Angels. Will the Rangers play past game 162? It will all be decided this weekend

Series Schedule:

Thursday, September 26 7:05: RHP Jerome Williams vs. RHP Matt Garza

Friday, September 27 7:05: LHP C.J. Wilson vs. RHP Alexi Ogando

Saturday, September 28 7:05: RHP Garrett Richards vs. LHP Derek Holland

Sunday, September 29 2:05: LHP Jason Vargas vs. RHP Yu Darvish

Let's face it, there was plenty of Your Texas without very much of Your Rangers this season. That might sound joyless, and I'm sorry Ron Washington, but while the Rangers have remained in the hunt for a playoff spot all season in 2013, they've been a hard team to love.

Where once there was "NAP O LI" reverberating through The Ballpark, we've heard the sound of balls careening off the backstop because A.J. Pierzynski had to reach to catch something. Where once we had Josh Hamilton carrying the team from the No. 3 spot in the lineup with legendary displays of talent, we've had Lance Berkman covertly ruining the Rangers from the inside instead of mouth off about them from his rocking chair in Houston. Where once we had Cliff Lee show us what it's like to have a real ace, a true difference-maker from the top of the rotation, we've had Matt Garza embarrass us via social media, and on the mound, while Yu Darvish gets the Tony Romo treatment from the local wags.

It's true that I've been quite sour of late - as the Rangers have gone from leading contender to scrambling for the final spot in Bud Selig's Excitement Zone in just a matter of weeks - nevertheless, this might be the last time to say anything nice in this spot about this team. Therefore, I will try my best to say something good about every person whom wore TEXAS across their chest even once this season.

Commence joy:

  • A.J. Pierzynski: You seem like you wouldn't let a kid drown (if the child were within arms reach, of course) if you noticed a kid were drowning.
  • Mitch Moreland: You have hit a home run in each World Series that the Rangers have appeared in. You can count the number of people who have done that, among the billions that have ever lived, on your one chaw-stained hand.
  • Ian Kinsler: No one in baseball loves you but us and that's a shame because you genuinely seem like a good dude. Don't sweat it man, I wouldn't want to talk to Gerry Fraley either.
  • Elvis Andrus: It took a while but eventually Big Bear did do thangs.
  • Adrian Beltre: You're the reason I devote three hours of existence, per night, for 180 days, to watching baseball.
  • David Murphy: Since it seems like you've been a Texas Ranger forever now, it stands to reason that I either have some good memories of you or you've been a Texas Ranger for too long.
  • Leonys Martin: May they always look to take the extra base on you.
  • Nelson Cruz: I don't care that you took PEDs. I just wish you hadn't gotten busted.
  • Lance Berkman: When you're gone, your carbon will probably be recycled into use by a better human being. Then again, isn't that the hope for all of us?
  • Jurickson Profar: You're going to be good. Someday.
  • Craig Gentry: You've really grabbed that gritty white guy baton from David Murphy and ran with it.
  • Geovany Soto: The presence of A.J. Pierzynski has made me like you.
  • Alex Rios: Thank you for being an actual good acquisition from a Chicago-based team.
  • Jeff Baker: I'm sorry A.J. Pierzynski derailed your season with an enthusiastic high-five.
  • Leury Garcia: Thank you for helping Jon Daniels call Chicago's bluff on Alex Rios.
  • Engel Beltre: You're really good at running down baseballs.
  • Jim Adduci: For a little while there, you made people think about a future with you in it. That's quite an accomplishment.
  • Chris McGuiness: You played for the Texas Rangers.
  • Robinson Chirinos: You were freed but then everyone wanted you to be imprisoned again. It was rude.
  • Joey Butler: People were forced to keep a straight face when talking about how you would replace Nelson Cruz when he was suspended and you honored them by not embarrassing yourself out there.
  • Adam Rosales: You're so easy to make fun of. But, deep down, we all wish we could be Adam Rosales even for one day.
  • Julio Borbon: Wait, you were still here?
  • Derek Holland: You've never once told Ron Washington to get off your mound while you're trying to work when he came out there mid-game to babysit your emotions and that showed more restraint than any forced Harry Caray impression that Joe Buck put upon you.
  • Martin Perez: You had maybe the best rookie season by a Rangers' starter ever. And you did it in basically half a season.
  • Nick Tepesch: In my eyes, you're the second coming of Colby Lewis.
  • Yu Darvish: I forgive you for only being the best full-season starting pitcher that the Rangers have had in like three decades. Jesus, DMN media.
  • Justin Grimm: You took the ultimate bullet. You became a Chicago Cub.
  • Alexi Ogando: Sometimes a yo-yo's string breaks. I understand.
  • Michael Kirkman: For what it's worth, I think you and the organization have handled the whole pitching while having cancer thing pretty well.
  • Tanner Scheppers: It takes a big man to sort of admit to losing a bar fight or something. That whole thing was weird. Also, when you're not trying to kill Max Stassi, you've been really good.
  • Joakim Soria: Of the like dozens of mid-season reinforcements we thought we'd see this season, you were the one that actually made it back.
  • Kyle McClellan: You're a person. Never forget that.
  • Ross Wolf: Who would have guessed that the bean farmer's son from Illinois would have basically spent the entire season with the Rangers? You beat Jarrod Parker. You were more Your Rangers than most.
  • Cory Burns: Like the beard, bro.
  • Matt Harrison: You could say /puts on sunglasses this one was a real back breaker /hollers
  • Robbie Ross: Brittany seems nice. See you next first half.
  • Joseph Ortiz: I liked Joe a lot.
  • Neal Cotts: Brad Holman deserves a medal.
  • Derek Lowe: Without you being so terrible, the Rangers may have never turned to Neal Cotts.
  • Jason Frasor: I'm honestly very sorry for lumping you in with the likes of Derek Lowe at the beginning of the season.
  • Joe Nathan: Of all the impending Ranger free agents, you're the one I actually like. I wish that you could be the guy to close out the World Series.
  • Neftali Feliz: I also wish that you had been the guy to close out the World Series. It's great to have you back, though.
  • Travis Blackley: You weren't the worst pitcher in baseball as a Texas Ranger.
  • Wilmer Font: Your name is too rad to not be in the bullpen next season.
  • Josh Lindblom: Maybe one of these days you won't be "That guy the Rangers got for Michael Young." Or maybe that'll be Lisalverto Bonilla. The race is on.
  • Matt Garza: Because you look like a muppet, you made headline writing easier.
  • Ron Washington: My world has had more joy with you in it but not enough joy so that you should remain.

The 2013 Texas Rangers: At least they're not the 2005 Texas Rangers.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against an Angel team guaranteed to sit at home in October for the fourth straight season:

  • Matt Garza: 10-6, 7.98 K/9, 2.40 BB/9, .281 BABIP, 73.7% LOB, 3.90 FIP, 3.71 xFIP, 2.1 WAR - Last three starts: 10 runs allowed in 16.1 innings
  • Jerome Williams: 9-10, 5.75 K/9, 3.01 BB/9, .287 BABIP, 70.9% LOB, 4.66 FIP, 4.26 xFIP, 0.1 WAR - Last three starts: 8 runs allowed in 17.2 innings

Advantage: Matt Garza nearly tossed a shutout last time out. I see now why the Rangers threw Neil Ramirez in that deal.

The Rangers have a history of alternating between pummeling Jerome Williams and getting flummoxed by him. It's anyone's guess which is more likely.

  • Alexi Ogando: 7-4, 6.22 K/9, 3.29 BB/9, .237 BABIP, 81.9% LOB, 4.37 FIP, 4.64 xFIP, 1.1 WAR - Last three appearances: 1 run allowed in 13.2 innings
  • C.J. Wilson: 17-7, 7.94 K/9, 3.53 BB/9, .301 BABIP, 73.7% LOB, 3.49 FIP, 3.89 xFIP, 3.2 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 22.1 innings

Advantage: C.J. Wilson has weighed in on the Rangers' Sept. struggles. Everyone can stop writing and talking about it now. Ceej has it covered. But while we may be annoyed that C.J. is doing his best local writer parody, it should be noted that he's probably been the best non-Trout player on the Angels this season.

Alexi Ogando seems healthy. Because Alexi Ogando seems healthy he's throwing 95-96 mph as a starting pitcher. Because Alexi Ogando is throwing 95-96 mph as a starting pitcher, he's only allowed a single run over two starts while being on a pitch limit. I think Alexi Ogando is better suited as a reliever, but I'm willing to be wrong about that.

  • Derek Holland: 10-9, 7.99 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, .303 BABIP, 75.9% LOB, 3.48 FIP, 3.69 xFIP, 4.6 WAR - Last three starts: 8 runs allowed in 18.0 innings
  • Garrett Richards: 7-7, 6.33 K/9, 2.75 BB/9, .300 BABIP, 70.9% LOB, 3.68 FIP, 3.56 xFIP, 1.4 WAR - Last three starts: 11 runs allowed in 18.1 innings

Advantage: Derek Holland tossed his second CGSO of the season his last time out. Needless to say, it seems he's over Flinch Fest 2013. Recommence Eternal Goofball Fest.

I think I saw that Garrett Richards cut his hair. Now I won't be too mad every time I see him because I instantly think of Jered Weaver.

  • Yu Darvish: 13-9, 11.87 K/9, 3.44 BB/9, .264 BABIP, 83.9% LOB, 3.26 FIP, 2.85 xFIP, 4.9 WAR - Last three starts: 5 runs allowed in 17.1 innings
  • Jason Vargas: 9-7, 6.58 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, .309 BABIP, 77.7% LOB, 4.14 FIP, 4.26 xFIP, 1.3 WAR - Last three starts: 12 runs allowed in 19.1 innings

Advantage: If this is to be the final time we see Yu Darvish pitch in 2013, the least he can do is go out with a perfect game, right?

If this is to be the final time we see Jason Vargas pitch in 2013, the least he can do is go out and not look so miserable the whole time, right?

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Anaheim Angels (78-80, 3rd Place in AL West)

Rangers' Record vs. Anaheim: 11-4 (5-1 at The Ballpark)

Anaheim's Recent Results: 2-1 home series win against the Oakland A's

Anaheim's 2013 Road Record: 39-38

Ballpark in Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 112/102 - Runs: 112/109

SB Nation Angels Blog: Halos Heaven (Just say no.)

Match-up: (as of 09/26) Rangers Angels Advantage
Batting (RAR) -25.0 (15th) 58.5 (4th) The Mike Trout free agency clock ticks away
Base Running (RAR) -0.2 (16th) 3.5 (10th) So close, you guys!
Starters (RAR) 115.3 57.1 It almost doesn't feel right missing Jered Weaver
Bullpen (RAR) 66.4 (2nd) 16.2 (22nd) Whatever happened to that Robert Coello guy?
Defense (UZR) 32.9 (6th) -6.9 (18th) Heh, 6.9
Overall (UZR + RAR) 189.4 128.4

See you in hell, Scioscia

Questions to Answer:

  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers play more than 162 games this season?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Joe Nathan saves three of the four games in this series.)
  • Over/Under: 5.5 stolen bases by Alex Rios, Elvis Andrus, Leonys Martin, and Craig Gentry combined in this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Yu Darvish in the Rangers' 2013 regular season finale on Sunday?
  • On a scale between 1 and 10: What is your personal rating for this season?
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