Last night was the Park Place Dealerships Triple Play Game Show Spectacular, a huge fundraising event the Rangers put on each year to support their Foundation’s efforts in the community. It was the 10th year of the event, the sixth during Ron Washington’s tenure as Rangers manager.
It could have been the fifth straight without him.
But there’s something kinda cool about what this team tends to do with Triple Play looming on the schedule.
In 2007, Texas – with the second-worst record in the American League – swept a three-game series against the Blue Jays going into the Sunday evening event.
The 2008 event will always occupy a footnote in franchise history. As the story goes, Washington was apparently on the verge of being fired that weekend, as the club had baseball’s worst record and had lost seven straight, and 12 of 14. But management reportedly didn’t want to cast a pall on the April 27 charity event, which was also two days before Washington’s birthday, and so the decision was tabled.
The Rangers then won two of three that weekend against the Twins, including a Sunday afternoon 10-0 pasting of Minnesota, a game that featured Vicente Padilla’s lone complete-game shutout as a Ranger and home runs from Milton Bradley, Jason Botts, and Josh Hamilton, the latter of which accounted for the first run that Twins closer Joe Nathan had allowed all season.
Washington earned a stay of execution.
Those two wins out of three turned into six of eight, 11 of 15, and 15 of 21.
In 2009, the Rangers swept home series against both the Mariners and Angels, maintaining a seven-game win streak and season-high 4.5-game division lead as they showed up for the Triple Play event.
In 2010, Texas lost back-to-back one-run games to the White Sox going into the Sunday night party, after having won five games in a row – four of which were by one-run margins – including home sweeps of the Angels and Orioles.
Last year, Texas won on the day of the event, culminating a stretch of three wins in four games in which the club allowed a combined total of one run.
This year: A sweep of the Blue Jays leading up to Triple Play. Two blowout wins sandwiched around the first walkoff victory of the season. Three packed houses and 34 runs, and a season-high-matching 6.5-game lead.
Yu Darvish didn’t have an awesome day, but man, he had an awesome night.
You’ll see footage of it eventually. Don’t miss it.
If Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson this Saturday night is better than Darvish was yesterday afternoon and is as awesome as Darvish was last night, then . . . .
I have no idea how to finish this report, because I refuse to shoehorn in a “business up front, party in the back” reference. Get me out of this mess and let’s just punish Kevin Millwood tonight.