One heck of a baseball game. The kind you can imagine these two teams playing over and over in their 16 remaining matchups this year, and for the next few years, at least. That's as intense as June baseball can get. The game of inches moments, the blown fundamentals, far too many runners left on base, questionable bunt decisions and bullpen management - it was a game that very easily could have gone the other way.
To get to this point, having built a division lead that will stand no matter what happens in this series, a lot was made of the soft interleague schedule that the Rangers tore through, winning 13 of 15. But the schedule is what it is, and you have to go out and win the games. Last year, Texas split the season series with Toronto, Kansas City, and Baltimore, and lost 11 of 19 to Oakland - four of the five worst teams in the American League. The Rangers finished the year in second place in the West, 10 games back. If they'd properly beaten up on those teams and gone, say, 31-14 instead of 21-24, they'd have finished with the same 97-win total that the Angels did.
And that's partly because Texas managed to go 11-8 against Los Angeles last year. If the Rangers can repeat that success against the Angels this season (they've won 2 of 3 so far), they'll win this division.
Texas is 20-6 in June.
The Angels are 18-8.
Neither team is going away.
Hopefully Omar Beltre is half as impressive tonight as Alexi Ogando was last night (perfect, 12-pitch seventh, eight strikes).
I debated whether I needed to say something about what was said yesterday about being compensated by the Rangers to write. My website and my emails are independent. The Rangers don't tell me what I can and can't write, and never have. They don't censor my content. My sometimes obnoxious optimism about this team is 100 percent mine. It's who I am and always have been and always will be.
I do provide content to the Rangers every week for their own website, and provide content to the Rangers every month for their gameday program, and provide thousands of abridged Bound Editions to the Rangers every year so they can give a copy to each of their season ticket accounts. For a few years I also wrote and recorded video packages every homestand for the Rangers to air on the video board between innings; we've shelved that project so far this season. I don't give those things away. I have been compensated by the Rangers for those things, and also get some of my spring training trip reimbursed - that's a working week for me.
I invite website donations for about a week each year. My emails and website content have always been free to anyone who wants to read them. Those donations help keep the online content afloat and allow me to give something back to Scott Lucas, Eleanor Czajka, and several other good people who give their time and energy to this project.
My point of view with respect to the Rangers is no different today from what it was when I started writing about the team, which was many years before they compensated me in any way, or even knew who I was. It's optimistic, supportive, and hopeful. And it's mine. It always will be that way.
We chat during tonight's game, at www.foxsportssouthwest.com, starting shortly before the 9:05 first pitch. See you then.
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(c) Jamey Newberg