The Rangers have 86 wins on the season, ensuring they'll be no worse than tied for second place. With one win in the final series against Seattle, they will be in sole possession of second place. With a sweep, they'll have 89 wins, which would be the fourth-highest total in team history.
So Ron Washington, it appears, has done a good job with this team.
And yet...and yet...
He claims he's putting the best lineup possible out there, but he has Andruw Jones -- who has done nothing for a couple of months now -- hitting cleanup. He leaves Kevin Millwood out there for the 9th inning in a blowout game.
After three seasons, I think we've gotten a pretty good read on Washington as an in-game manager. And from the outside it appears he is, at best, baffling, and at worst, clueless.
In Jim Reeves' game story, Ron Washington says finishing second in the A.L. West means "everything."
Marlon Byrd, Hank Blalock, and Michael Young are all expected to be back in the lineup tonight. Nelson Cruz has a sprained ankle, so he may be done.
T.R. Sullivan has a story up about this being Blalock's final series with the Rangers, with Blalock himself acknowledging he's not going to be back next year. He also offers some p.r. on behalf of Blalock:
He is hitting .235 with 25 home runs and 66 RBIs. He has a .462 slugging percentage in 122 games and 459 at-bats.
Those numbers are still respectable for a team looking for a left-handed power hitter. He also has a .277 on-base percentage and just 25 walks against 107 strikeouts. That's going to be the biggest mark against him in free agency. But he doesn't turn 29 until Nov. 21, and that could work in his favor.
"He's a streaky hitter, but the numbers are still there," hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo said. "He gets a lot of big hits, and he's had some big games. He always wants to play, and he always wants to be in there, and he's really conscientious about his preparation."
Scouts say Blalock still has value because of his power numbers and he has enhanced his value by being able to play first base. Among the teams that could be looking for a first baseman who is rated adequate-to-average defensively are the Mets, Orioles, Indians and the White Sox. The Mariners could be as well if they don't re-sign Russell Branyan.
It will be interesting to see where Blalock lands this offseason. I suspect he'll be one of those guys who doesn't sign until January or February, and who takes a one year deal for $3 million or so.
John Lackey yelled at Chris Davis yesterday for running too slowly after he hit a homer off of Lackey.
And Reeves has a column about Ian Kinsler needing to be -- and having the ability to be -- better than he has been this year, and has some quotes from Kinsler and from Washington about his struggles this year.