The Rangers haven’t lost consecutive games in more than a month.
They’ve won 11 of 13 series, and eight of nine, which is what good teams do.
Yet, shockingly, they haven’t swept a series in nearly three months.
The only lefthander in franchise history to win more than the 17 games Matt Harrison has won this year was Kenny Rogers, who bagged 18 wins in 2004.
Harrison, who earned number 17 yesterday on birthday number 27 and trails only David Price (18) in American League wins, could make three more starts.
Koji Uehara earned his first save as a Ranger, obscuring the bigger deal, which is that since returning from his strained lat muscle in late August, he’s been scored on just one time in 10 appearances, holding opponents to a .214/.241/.357 slash with death-on-lefties stuff at a time when lefthanders Robbie Ross (injury) and Michael Kirkman (command) have become potential question marks for October and the three key relievers in the pen are in need of a bit of a lightened workload.
As for how long Uehara will be unavailable as a big three-game series in Anaheim gets rolling tomorrow, he’s pitched five times in six games, but he wasn’t used Saturday and is off today, and it’s also significant to note how efficient the righthander was in the Cleveland and Seattle series.
Facing 11 hitters and getting 10 outs, Uehara needed only 41 pitches in those five appearances.
A big reason why he needed only 41 pitches was that 34 went for strikes – a silly 83 percent (and to view it another way, only seven balls taken by 11 hitters) – and a Koji Uehara strike isn’t just any strike when he’s got his sink going.
I bet he’ll be available at least twice against the Angels.
Since The Lineout, Adrian Beltre leads the big leagues in batting average (.390 in 100 at-bats), hits (39), extra-base hits (23), home runs (14), and RBI (25).
And one final numbers note.
The next series features Dempster-Weaver, Holland-Wilson, and Darvish-Greinke, each late at night.
But before that, today, is the Rangers’ final day off until the two and possibly three that precede Game One, which lays out right now to be Yu Darvish’s to pitch, and the start of another year of #11things.
The Rangers don’t need to go 14-2 over the final 16 games like they did last year – though that would be one means of ensuring Oakland doesn’t get real annoying the rest of the way – but staying on the methodical (if not dominant) roll that they’ve been on for over a month might allow the club to get some key players some useful rest.
In the meantime, the whole team gets some of that today, for the final time over the scheduled 162, as do we, which at least in my case is probably a good thing as I get set for an otherwise full week of late starts to late-season baseball games that I won’t miss one pitch of, kicking off a stretch of 16 games against nothing but division opponents in preparation for 162+ against the best teams in baseball.