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Thursday morning Rangers stuff

And the Rangers keep rolling, knocking the magic number down to 8, and getting the lead in the A.L. West to 10 games, the biggest lead the Rangers have ever had in the history of the franchise.

Colby Lewis wasn't at his sharpest, and defensively, he was his own worst enemy, but with the bats blasting, he did enough to keep the Rangers in the game, and get his 11th win in an 11-7 win to close out the homestand.

Jeff Wilson's game story talks about the Rangers playing as well right now as they have in some time.  Despite all the fretting about the Rangers' second half swoon, they are now 32-25 since the All Star Break, and 35-33 since their red-hot June. 

T.R. Sullivan, in his game story, notes that the Rangers are embarking on an 11 game road trip today, and when they return, it will most likely be as the A.L. West division champions.

Evan Grant says Rangers fans should be rooting for the Yankees to win the A.L. East, so the Rangers will face New York rather than Tampa Bay.  While I agree with his assessment that the Rangers would be better off not playing on Tampa's turf and avoiding Tampa's deeper pitching staff, I don't think that Tampa's better road record -- one of the points Grant uses as a reason to want to avoid Tampa -- is a reason to not want to play Tampa.  After all, since Tampa and New York have basically the same record, if Tampa has a better road record, New York has a better home record...and while the Rangers don't have to sweep at home to win the series, they will have to win at least one on the road.

Richard Durrett writes that Jeff Francoeur has started working at first base, with the Rangers apparently hoping he can provide them with a backup option at the position that would allow them to take him while leaving the very disappointing Jorge Cantu off the playoff roster.

Anthony Andro's notes in the S-T has Ron Washington talking about the catching situation, saying he has confidence in both Matt Treanor and Bengie Molina, while not tipping his hand as to who will be getting the majority of the starts in the playoffs.

Sullivan's notes has an update on Frank Francisco, and talks about Neftali Feliz's return to Texas yesterday after being gone on Tuesday for the birth of his daughter.

Grant writes that yesterday's outing by Darren Oliver gave him enough innings to trigger his 2011 vesting option, meaning Oliver is now under contract for 2011 at $3.25 million.

And Jennifer Floyd Engel talks football with Michael Young, and says that the Rangers have been able to absorb the loss of Josh Hamilton because of the play of David Murphy.