Great couple of games last night. I was sitting there, when Gagne came into game 1, thinking, "No, don't bring him in...Benoit is pitching great, so leave him in for the 9th, and then you've got Gagne available for game 2." I didn't think there was any way Gagne would pitch in game 1 and in game 2...
But if there were any doubts from potential suitors about Gagne's ability to bounce back, picking up non-save and a pair of saves over a two day period should have put them to rest.
And getting 13 2/3 innings from Kam Loe (who got hosed on a phantom foul tip call against Raul Ibanez, and should have gotten the win) and John Rheinecker was huge, keeping the bullpen from being completely run into the ground.
13 games back of Anaheim now, and 3.5 games back of Oakland, 11 games under .500. Getting single digits in games under .500 would seem like a major success, at this point...
Evan Grant notes that yesterday's work lowered the Rangers' ERA for July to 3.49, the lowest in the A.L. Amazing...where the hell was this back in April and May?
And Mike Heika has some love for Travis Metcalf, who was outstanding yesterday.
Heika also says that Akinori Otsuka won't be activated before the trading deadline, so scratch him from the players the Rangers might possibly deal. That sucks, given how in demand relievers are, but it also increases the chances that Joaquin Benoit is dealt this week.
Orange County Register columnist Randy Youngman thinks the Angels should be offering Casey Kotchman, Brandon Wood, and a pitching prospect to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira, but given Bill Stoneman's history of refusing to part with his top prospects, he doesn't think it is likely.
The L.A. Times says the Angels are talking to the Rangers about Teixeira and the ChiSox about Paul Konerko.
In Beantown, the Boston Herald says simply that the Red Sox are still interested in, and in on, Teixeira, with recently DFA'd Oakland outfielder Bobby Kielty a fallback option.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talks about Jarrod Saltalamacchia's dealing with the ongoing trade rumors, particularly the Mark Teixeira rumors (since Saltalamacchia would almost certainly head back to Texas if Atlanta acquires Teixeira). With Julio Franco starting five of the last six for the Braves at first base, and Brian McCann entrenched behind the plate, Saltalamacchia is relegated to a bench role right now.
Bob Wickman, incidentally, blew a save for the Braves last night, while the Tigers saw their bullpen have a complete meltdown against the ChiSox. So perhaps there will be some increased interest in the Rangers bullpen arms...
And there are several articles in the New York papers today, saying that the Yankees want Teixeira but aren't going to give up Philip Hughes and Joba Chamberlain to get him. One specifically mentions how the Yankees played the waiting game with Philly last year, and ended up getting Bobby Abreu for nothing, although I have a hard time imagining something similar happening with Teixeira. If the Yanks aren't going to part with Hughes or Chamberlain (or even Ian Kennedy and Alan Horne, as some places have suggested), they just don't have the pieces to get a deal done.