This weekend is about appreciating. The Rangers are appreciating the fans. We, the fans, are appreciating meaningful, exciting September baseball. But, as a "prominent local columnist" made it abundantly clear today, the ride could end abruptly in October. We wait and we wait and we wait, counting down the magic number, with tick tock and scoreboard watching, wanting to move time forward so we can watch the Rangers battle for the ultimate prize. But there's beauty in the 162 game. Even if you're just playing out the string. Let's not lose sight of the fact that we're watching an all-time great Texas Rangers team today just because we want the calendar's page to quickly turn. Let's appreciate this team.
I appreciate Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, and Mike Gonzalez for improving an obvious weakness.
I appreciate Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis for improving an obvious weakness.
I appreciate Ryan Tucker, Mason Tobin, Cody Eppley, Brett Tomko, Arthur Rhodes, Michael Kirkman, and Dave Bush for leading the Rangers to Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, and Mike Gonzalez.
I appreciate Darren Oliver, Yoshi Tateyama, and Mark Lowe for holding down the fort.
I appreciate Pedro Strop for making me think of The Stroke. Every time.
I appreciate Merkin Valdez and Mark Hamburger for their punny names and their yeoman's work.
I still appreciate the Darren O'Day chant and Scott Feldmania.
I appreciate Bengie Molina for fixing Neftali Feliz.
I appreciate C.J. Wilson for being an ace.
I appreciate Alexi Ogando's arm holding up as long as it did.
I appreciate Matt Harrison finally getting a library card.
I appreciate all of the goofy things Derek Holland does in between preparing to pitch well every five days.
I appreciate Colby Lewis being a solid member of the rotation every five days regardless of expectations.
I appreciate Omar Quintanilla keeping Andres Blanco's seat warm.
I appreciate Taylor Teagarden keeping Matt Treanor's seat warm.
I appreciate Matt Treanor for going away long enough to get Mike Napoli more playing time and coming back in time to relieve Teagarden.
I appreciate Julio Borbon for starting off the season the only way it could have begun; with a Borboner.
I appreciate Leonys Martin soaking up pennant race baseball.
I appreciate Esteban German for, I'm going to assume, causing the Red Sox's current collapse by drilling a huge dong over the Green Monster.
I will forever appreciate Andres Blanco for being infinitely gifable. His weird back issues this season cost us at least a half dozen gifs.
I appreciate Craig Gentry for doing his part to keep Josh Hamilton healthy while playing the best outfield defense on the team.
I appreciate Endy Chavez for trolling.
I appreciate David Murphy for surviving the horrors of the Murphy Strike.
I appreciate Yorvit Torrealba for being as advertised after all and immediately being the among the most enthusiastic players on the bench.
I appreciate Mitch Moreland for being better than Justin Smoak.
I appreciate Nelson Cruz for those hot streaks that carry the team even if they come with those cold streaks.
I appreciate Mike Napoli for being just ridiculous with the bat, decent behind the plate, and for making the AL West race hilarious.
I appreciate Elvis Andrus for being my favorite Texas Ranger. He's got power now!
I appreciate Adrian Beltre for literally everything he does.
I appreciate Josh Hamilton's presence on this team even if we are disappointed that he doesn't take over a game every night like we assume he can.
I appreciate Michael Young's finest moment.
I appreciate Ian Kinsler for being the MVP of the Texas Rangers.
Friday, September 23 7:05: LHP Anthony Vasquez vs. LHP Matt Harrison
Saturday, September 24 3:11: RHP Felix Hernandez vs. RHP Alexi Ogando
Sunday, September 25 2:05: LHP Charlie Furbush vs. LHP Derek Holland
For information on available tickets for this series, visit the LSB/TiqIQ page.
Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups in this final home series of the regular season:
- Anthony Vasquez: 1-4, 4.13 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, .295 BABIP, 52.5% LOB, 8.23 FIP, 5.28 xFIP, -0.7 WAR - Last three starts: 10 runs allowed in 14.2 innings
- Matt Harrison: 13-9, 6.27 K/9, 2.80 BB/9, .297 BABIP, 72.8% LOB, 3.55 FIP, 3.81 xFIP, 3.7 WAR - Last three starts: 5 runs allowed in 18.2 innings
Advantage: Matt Harrison over a Double-A starter
- Felix Hernandez: 14-13, 8.60 K/9, 2.58 BB/9, .296 BABIP, 74.0% LOB, 3.12 FIP, 3.12 xFIP, 5.4 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 21.0 innings
- Alexi Ogando: 13-8, 6.67 K/9, 2.33 BB/9, .268 BABIP, 71.2% LOB, 3.69 FIP, 3.95 xFIP, 3.3 WAR - Last three appearances: 3 runs allowed in 12.0 innings
Advantage: If only Matt Harrison were matched up against King Felix
- Charlie Furbush: 4-9, 7.00 K/9, 3.22 BB/9, .322 BABIP, 68.6% LOB, 5.01 FIP, 4.29 xFIP, 0.0 WAR - Last three starts: 12 runs allowed in 17.2 innings
- Derek Holland: 15-5, 7.23 K/9, 3.08 BB/9, .306 BABIP, 72.5% LOB, 3.88 FIP, 3.80 xFIP, 3.4 WAR - Last three starts: 5 runs allowed in 20.2 innings
Advantage: Derek's Mustache over Charlie's Furbush
Seattle Mariners (66-90, 4th Place AL West)
Rangers 2011 Record vs. Seattle: 12-4 (5-1 at Rangers Ballpark)
Seattle's Recent Results: 2-1 Series win vs the Minnesota Twins
Seattle's Road Record: 28-47
Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 119/114 - wOBA: 103/107
SB Nation Mariners Blog: Lookout Landing
Match-up: (as of 9/23)
Base Running (RAR)
Overall RAR + UZR
Questions to Answer:
- What are the chances that Eric Karros awkwardly brings up the fact that the Rangers let Josh Lewin go during the broadcast on Saturday?
- Who is your pick to lead the Rangers in hits in this series? (I'm going with the Josh Hamilton.)
- Over/Under: 2.5 dongs off of Anthony Vasquez tonight in his start?
- Over/Under: 1.5 dongs by Adrian Beltre off of Felix Hernandez?
- Yay or Nay: Josh Lewin calls "BALLGAME!" as LSB celebrates a division title on Saturday?