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Saturday a.m. Rangers things

So, yeah, it was a little more excitement at the end than we would have liked, but a win is a win.

That's 5 in a row, 8 of their last 10, and enough to ensure that the Angels will leave town in second place, even if they win the last two games of the series.

Evan Grant says the Rangers were disappointed after the game over letting the Angels back into it late.  Grant also has praise for Elvis Andrus for sparking the Rangers big 4 run 3rd by working a walk against Joe Saunders.

Kevin Millwood says he could have pitched better, but personally, I think allowing just two runs in 6 innings isn't anything to sneeze at.

Jeff Miller has a story up at Inside Corner with some comments and quotes from the Angels about the '09 Rangers.

Jeff Wilson has some notes up at the S-T, including some comments from Ron Washington about the relievers not getting a ton of innings -- Kris Benson hasn't pitched in over a week, and Jason Jennings hasn't pitched since Sunday -- and about Nelson Cruz sitting against a lefty.  Cruz has sat twice this week against lefties, with Hank Blalock starting in both games, which I don't get. 

Nevermind that the team is better off defensively with Cruz in the outfield and Andruw Jones at DH...Blalock is a career .228/.281/.366 hitter against lefties, and has been even worse this year, going .171/.190/.268.  Evan Grant noted that Cruz has been slumping against lefties of late, going 6 for his last 30 against them, but Blalock only has 7 hits against lefties all year in 41 ABs.  And Ron Washington tried to justify it by saying that Blalock is too hot to sit, but against pitchers other than Brandon Morrow, Blalock is 0 for his last 12, and has dropped to a.244/.280/.553 line on the year.  

There's no excuse for a healthy Nelson Cruz to be sitting against a lefty this season, and there's no reason for Hank Blalock to be DHing against a lefty from here on out, either.  Blalock is a platoon player.  You brought Andruw Jones in here to be the DH against lefties...let him DH against lefties.  And let Nelson Cruz play against lefties.

The bullpen meltdown yesterday could be a bad sign, as Evan Grant says that the series -- and possibly the A.L. West -- should be won or lost by the bullpens of these two teams. 

Jeff Miller has a lengthy article up at Inside Corner on the improved Rangers defense that is a must read.  It includes discussion of Defensive Efficiency Rating and a quote from Jon Daniels about the defense being the most improved part of the team this year. 

Ben Sheets was at TBIA yesterday, but he isn't throwing and doesn't know when he's going to start.  The talk about adding Sheets around the All-Star Break seems sounds like he might not be ready until 2010.