All-Star Break Bullet Points On Your Texas Rangers.
Welcome to Rangers Revolver, the recurring feature that takes a closer look at some of the more pressing issues facing Your Texas Rangers by firing off six notable bullets worthy of your consideration.
With the All-Star Game going down last night in Kansas City, we're now officially halfway to October.
Although the White Sox sent our boys out of Chicago with their heads hanging, the home team got the best of the Twins in an exciting three-game shootout in Arlington before hitting the break.
And, once again, Your Texas Rangers appear to be on the path toward a World Series appearance — their third straight.
In hopes that the Rangers won't become the Buffalo Bills of baseball, let's load the chamber and take a closer look at just where the team stands at the moment.
• The Rangers' hottest hitter in the last seven days is Nelson Cruz (.267), who had nine hits and four doubles with four RBIs over the week. Ron Washington moved him up to the No. 5 spot in the batting order and the switch seems to have paid off; one of Cruz's hits was an RBI double that served as the game-winner in a 10-inning battle against the Twins. That walk-off hit helped the Rangers snap a five-game losing streak — their longest of the season.
• The AL-West leading Rangers (52-34) have won two games in a row thanks to a strong close to their series against the Twins, their last one before the All-Star break. They've got a four-game lead over the verbose Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and are a half-game behind the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball. To remain in this upper echelon, though, the Rangers had to settle themselves down a bit on Sunday night. After a little bit of thunder shook them up, the team rattled off three runs in the ninth inning and eventually beat the Twins in the 13th inning, when Ian Kinsler drove in the go-ahead run on a single to left-center.
• Things continue to look better for the team's pitching situation, with Roy Oswalt (2-1) tossing a solid 5 and 2/3 innings on Sunday after a horrible outing against the Chicago White Sox earlier in the week. Seeing Derek Holland return to the lineup is also a plus. And, hey, with his two-inning effort on Saturday, Joe Nathan recorded his first win of the season to go along with his 18 saves. Interestingly, that win came against the Twins, the club where he holds the franchise all-time saves record with 255.
• The Rangers sent eight players to the 83rd All-Star game last night in Kansas City, three more than any other team for either league. But, in a turn away from
normalcy tradition, the National League actually won the game. Meaning? Home-field advantage for the winner of the senior circuit's championship series. Yes, that one really counted.
• Fun fact: Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton may have finally gotten a grip. The slugger is now using spray glue on his bats to keep from accidentally and frequently tossing them into the stands. Interestingly enough, there are no rules against using this glue — unlike pine tar, which was at the center of a controversial 1983 game between the Yankees and Royals. In it, George Brett seemed to have given his team the upper hand with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth. Then the umpires inspected his bat and found him to be using an excess of the substance on his handle. The umps changed his home run to an out and ended the game with their call. Mr. Brett was not happy, and the rest is baseball highlight reel history.
• The Rangers only made two transactions in the last week, optioning RHP Justin Grimm to double-A Frisco and recalling Derek Holland from the 15-day DL.