Hot.

As a few of you pointed out to me yesterday, the fact that the Rangers can set a franchise attendance record this season is extra-remarkable considering it’s been just about the worst weather summer any of us can remember.

One reminder to those of you planning to go Saturday: since the national network decided two days ago it wanted to prop Alexi Ogando vs. King Felix to center stage, that game’s first pitch has been changed from 7:05 p.m. to 3:10 p.m.

Texas has a five-game edge on the Angels right now.  If, after Wilson-McCarthy/Haren-McGowan tonight, Lewis-Cahill/Santana-Alvarez tomorrow, and Harrison-Vasquez/Weaver-Gonzalez on Friday, neither team gains ground on the other and the lead remains at five, then a win over King Felix on Saturday afternoon while the Angels wait to play that night would mean . . .

Nah, not going to complete the sentence.

This is going to be a great weekend at the Ballpark.

Texas has caught Detroit at 89-65 (with former Rangers 4-A Luis Mendoza silencing the Tigers in what was his first Royals appearance of the year), though in order to edge the Tigers for playoff home field the Rangers will have to finish with the better record, as a tie would go to Detroit based on head-to-head competition.  The two teams played three series of three games apiece this season, with the Tigers winning two of three each time.

Four of Detroit’s six wins over Texas were by one run, including two such games in April in which the Rangers had at least one lead but lost in walkoff fashion.

Clay Rapada, Willie Eyre, and Pedro Strop combined to face six Boston hitters and get all six out in Baltimore’s 7-5 comeback win over the reeling Red Sox yesterday.  Strop in particular has been brilliant for the Orioles since going over in the Mike Gonzalez trade (7.2 scoreless innings, two groundball singles, two walks, nine strikeouts), and that’s a very good thing.  Rangers fans should want Rangers trades to work out well for the other team, too, particularly when they involve players developed in the Texas farm system.  Bodes well for future trades.

I wrote this on January 9, regarding a Peter Gammons report that Texas had offered Tampa Bay a package including Derek Holland, Frankie Francisco, Engel Beltre, Cubs minor league catcher Robinson Chirinos (who reportedly would have cost Texas Chris Davis), and cash to Tampa Bay for Matt Garza, before the Rays shipped the righthander to the Cubs:

I’m a Garza fan. . . . He’d have been an outstanding addition to C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis atop this rotation, but removing Holland as part of the deal makes you ask the question of how much better you believe Garza will be than Holland in 2012 and 2013, the final two years of control the Rangers would have with Garza.  I’m not able to answer that question with conviction.

I left 2011 out of that paragraph.  Using most advanced metrics, Garza has been a slightly better pitcher than Holland this season, but it’s not a dramatic difference, and at this point I’ll take the 24-year-old lefthander making close to league minimum and under team control through 2015 over the 27-year-old righty making about $6 million this season with arbitration paydays ahead in 2012 and 2013 before he can be a free agent.

Texas recalled the seven minor league players on its 40-man roster yesterday, though strictly procedurally and without invitations to report to the big club.  It’s an agate-type point, but notable in that the list includes Taylor Teagarden, Julio Borbon, Eric Hurley, and Cody Eppley, who under a different set of circumstances might have been thought of as candidates to at least see some September action.

A clarification on Baseball America’s Arizona League prospect rankings from yesterday’s COFFEY discussion: I noted that lefthander Kevin Matthews narrowly missed the top 20 list, but as it turns out he didn’t qualify for inclusion as he lasted only 12 innings in Surprise before his promotion to Spokane – and BA suggested the first-rounder likely would have landed in the AZL’s top 10 had he qualified.

A round of sample shots from last night’s Twitter Sports Bar:

C’mon, Rich Harden.  Be Rich Harden.

Busby (on Beltre’s home run): “That ball would have gotten out in a hurricane.”

And @Dutch_Oven45 continues to get sick first-inning support.

Oh, how I love that this Rich Harden is still pitching in baseball games against the Texas Rangers.

There are very few opposing SP’s who I wish wouldn’t run up high pitch counts early.  Harden tops the list.  #stayinthere  #please

Rich Harden is, indeed, being Rich Harden.  #BeingRichHarden

Rich Harden is not more left-handed than you, but he’s more Rich Harden than you.  #Napoli  #BeingRichHarden

Well, among several things made clear tonight is that @Dutch_Oven45 is ready to start playoff baseball games.  He’s really matured this year.

Lost amid the big damage several TX hitters inflicting this month is the spectacular Sept that Elvis having: .355/.459/.565 before tonight.

5.0 and holding.  #ballgame  #wegotthis  #omenatwork

Texas won 90 games last year.  Club is now at 89 with eight to play.

The Rangers haven’t been 24 games over .500 since 1999.

But more importantly, they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2010, and with eight games left – and a real chance to do at home this weekend what the club did last year 1,450 miles away – the Rangers are about to put another 162 in the books and play on.

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