Money.

It’s the final day off for the Rangers before the one that follows Game 162 and precedes Game One.  Some players might find a spot in the Bay Area to pull Angels-Blue Jays up this afternoon at 4 p.m. Pacific, but Ron Washington will apparently attend the Oakland premiere of “Moneyball,” the semi-true story of the 2002 A’s season.

A look at the IMDB cast credits for “Moneyball” curiously reveals no mention of Brent Jennings, whose portrayal of Wash was key enough that it shows up prominently in the movie trailer, and no mention of Barry Zito or Mark Mulder or Tim Hudson or Cory Lidle or Aaron Harang, though middle relievers Chad Bradford (understandably) and Jim Mecir are credited characters.

The absence of Oakland’s starting five probably means that there is less mention in the movie than there is in this morning’s local papers about the fact that Oakland, in that 2002 season, threw 19 shutouts, a mark that no American League staff has exceeded since 1989, when Wash was last a big league ballplayer.

The reason that number is getting play in today’s papers is that, yesterday, the Texas Rangers equaled those 19 shutouts that the 2002 A’s fired.

The signature of that Oakland team, which won the West before getting bounced from the playoffs in the first round, was its starting pitching.  When Texas starts its series on TBS in a week and a half, the studio analysts and game announcers are likely to credit the Rangers’ potent offense for the club’s return to the post-season, but compare the numbers that the Texas rotation has put up this season to those of the 2002 A’s.  They’re very close.

And while A’s starters completed five of those 19 shutouts in 2002 (Hudson twice, Lidle twice, Mulder), Texas has authored seven such games so far this season (Holland four times, Wilson, Lewis, Ogando).  Matt Harrison hasn’t joined the party, but three times he’s carried the heavy oar in a team shutout, once against Philadelphia’s Roy Oswalt, another time against Oakland’s Trevor Cahill, and yesterday against King Felix.  Money.

They’re not going to make a movie about the 2011 Rangers, and that’s OK.  The real story is compelling enough.

But if they did, you can bet that the central characters would be the transcendent left fielder, the lightning rod second baseman, the flashy left side of the infield that can beat you in all sorts of ways, and the catcher that the Angels didn’t think could play.  Whoever would play Wash would never get it right – but he’d still get a film credit, at least.

The number one pitcher would be one of the lead actors, but unless he were also the screenplay writer and director (not out of the question), his rotation-mates probably wouldn’t show up on IMDB.

Wilson, Holland, Harrison, Lewis, and Ogando ought to be a big part of the story that the folks at TBS are probably working up right now, but I’m not holding my breath.

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