26-16 second-half record is the third-best mark in American League
By Mike Petriello
As late as July 15, the Texas Rangers sat next to last in the American League in MLB.com's postseason probabilities, ahead of only the White Sox. Though they weren't in last place in the traditional standings, it wasn't difficult to see why a team that had lost 95 games in 2014, had lost seven of eight headed into the All-Star break and had sustained such a brutal run of injuries that they used 10 starting pitchers in the first half wouldn't be looked upon with confidence.
That was six weeks ago. Since then, the seemingly buried Rangers have gone 26-16, the third-best record in the AL in that time. They've gone from six games behind the then-leading Angels to 3 1/2 games ahead of them in the AL West, and only four games behind the Astros for the division lead. Texas' playoff odds have shot from 7.2 percent on July 15 to 53.8 percent, even after losing 7-0 in San Diego on Monday night, and if the season ended today, the Rangers would be traveling to New York for the AL Wild Card Game.
Teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros are hoping to play deep into October. Regardless of their big league postseason fortunes, however, a group of select players from those organizations, as well as the other 28 in baseball, are guaranteed to be playing this fall.
That opportunity comes courtesy of the Arizona Fall League, which on Tuesday announced its preliminary rosters for the 2015 season. The campaign, the league's 24th, begins on Oct. 13 and runs through the championship game on Nov. 21. With all 30 organizations sending players to fill the six AFL teams' rosters, the league is once again providing one-stop shopping for prospect fans.
Rangers outfielder may have offseason knee surgery; club calling up Gallo, Stubbs, Jackson and Ohlendorf
By T.R. Sullivan
SAN DIEGO -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton will be limited to pinch-hitting duty for the immediate future when he is activated off the disabled list Tuesday.
Hamilton has been on the disabled list since Aug. 16 with a sore left knee that may need offseason "cleanup" surgery. He is not ready to play the field, but the Rangers, with rosters being expanded in September, feel he can help as a pinch-hitter.
SAN DIEGO -- The Rangers are calling up third baseman Joey Gallo from Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday to serve as a September bench player rather than have him finish out his Minor League season.
The Rangers see Gallo as a pinch-hitter as well as providing depth at the corner infield and outfield spots. Round Rock still has a week left in the regular season, but the Express will also likely win their division and advance to the Pacific Coast League playoffs.
Andrew Cashner and Yovani Gallardo will face off as the Padres and Rangers play their second game of a three-game series at Petco Park on Tuesday night.
Cashner lost for the 13th time in his last outing, allowing nine hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Nationals on Aug. 26. He has had bad luck, allowing 22 unearned runs. Tuesday marks Cashner's first career start against Texas.
SAN DIEGO -- Tyson Ross held the Rangers scoreless through seven innings and helped pitch the Padres to a 7-0 victory on Monday night at Petco Park. The loss snapped the Rangers' four-game winning streak and dropped them to four games behind the Astros in the American League West.
Ross allowed three hits, walked two and struck out seven as he improved to 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his past seven starts. He is 10-9 with a 3.27 ERA, marking the first time he has had a winning record or an ERA that low since April.
ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus at least tried to create something offensively for the Rangers. It seemed like the valorous thing to do on a night when nobody else could do much of anything against Padres starter Tyson Ross.
The Rangers weren't doing much hitting, so Andrus tried to jump-start the offense with the running game in the fifth. But he was thrown out trying to steal and Texas went quietly in a 7-0 loss to San Diego on Monday night at Petco Park.
Former Padres outfielder reunites with players, coaches
By Beth Maiman
SAN DIEGO -- Will Venable said it was not as weird as he thought it would be to stand on the field at Petco Park before his new club, the Rangers, opened a three-game series with the Padres on Monday night.
"I think I have gotten comfortable with the fact that I am no longer a Padre," said Venable, who received a warm ovation before his first at-bat Monday in the Rangers' 7-0 loss. "It was probably two days where it hadn't set in really. ... But now being around all these guys, the coaching staff, the training staff, the city of Arlington, I am comfortable over here now -- and I'm a Ranger."
Holland tosses three-hit shutout to complete sweep
By Brittany Ghiroli and Dave Sessions
ARLINGTON -- Texas starter Derek Holland mastered the Orioles in a 6-0, three-hit shutout Sunday, earning a series sweep for the surging Rangers and heaping more misery on a Baltimore club that has begun to see its postseason hopes fade over the past two weeks.
"He was terrific," Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said of Holland. "He was spotting his fastball in and out, his breaking ball was absolutely magnificent, he was making the guys chase, he was ahead in the count the whole game. It was huge for us."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and listen to her podcast.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Rangers second baseman recovering from torn fingernail
By Dave Sessions
Special to MLB.com |
ARLINGTON -- Rougned Odor continues to get closer to returning to the Rangers' lineup, manager Jeff Banister said Sunday. The second baseman could be ready to go when the Rangers visit the Padres on Monday, six days after he tore a fingernail on his throwing hand while fielding a ball.
Banister said throwing accurately could be difficult for Odor, who spent some time before Sunday's game working on his throwing.
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers maintained their grip on the second Wild Card playoff spot in the American League on Saturday night, while the Orioles continued to slide in the other direction.
Bobby Wilson's RBI double put the Rangers ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning, and they held on for a 4-3 victory over the Orioles at Globe Life Park. The Rangers, with their third straight win, have a 1 1/2-game lead for that second spot; the Orioles, with their ninth loss in the last 10 games, are now 4 1/2 games behind in the Wild Card race.
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers reinforced their bullpen with non-waiver Trade Deadline deals for left-hander Jake Diekman and right-hander Sam Dyson. Bringing back rookie right-hander Keone Kela from his short interlude at Double-A Frisco has also helped.
The Rangers gave Kela 10 days off in Frisco from Aug. 1-10 to ease his workload and he has been outstanding since his return. On Saturday night, which came to an end with closer Shawn Tolleson's dramatic strikeout of Baltimore's Manny Machado, Kela may have procured the two biggest outs in a 4-3 victory.
ARLINGTON -- The official word on Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton as he recovers from a sore left knee: He is improving, but he is not ready.
That's the assessment of both Hamilton and manager Jeff Banister just two days before Hamilton is eligible to come off the disabled list. Hamilton has been taking batting practice, which suggests he is close to being able to at least pinch-hit, but running is still the issue.
ARLINGTON -- Rangers starter Cole Hamels had one shaky inning of control issues but was otherwise brilliant, holding the Orioles to two hits over eight innings in a 4-1 victory on Friday night.
The Rangers' victory was their 11th in their last 15 games, and they remain a half-game ahead of the Twins in the American League Wild Card race. The Orioles have lost eight of their last nine and are now 3 1/2 games behind the Rangers.
Profar has been assigned to Class A Hickory on a rehab assignment and went 1-for-4 with a single in his first game, on Thursday night, the first time he has played in a game since Sept. 27, 2013. He has missed two years with a torn muscle in his right shoulder, an injury that was surgically repaired in February.
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have had their eye on left-hander Andrew Faulkner ever since he made a couple of cameo appearances in Spring Training.
Back then they saw Faulkner as a possible candidate for their bullpen, and on Friday they made it a reality. Faulkner was called up from Triple-A Round Rock, and right-hander Nick Martinez was sent down after just one day in the bullpen.
ARLINGTON -- Rangers left fielder Will Venable made his first start in five games with a right-hander on the mound for the Blue Jays and made a terrific defensive play in the second inning of a 4-1 win on Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
The Blue Jays had Ben Revere on first with two outs when Cliff Pennington sliced a drive to left field. The ball was not hit deep, but Venable was playing shallow and had to race straight back to catch up. At the last moment, he made a diving catch going away from home plate. If he doesn't catch the ball, Revere would have scored easily.
ARLINGTON -- Tough pitching on a hot afternoon helped the Rangers avoid a sweep as they cooled off the Blue Jays with a 4-1 victory on Thursday.
Five Rangers pitchers combined for the victory, led by starter Yovani Gallardo. He held the Blue Jays scoreless for 5 1/3 innings before relievers Keone Kela, Jake Diekman, Sam Dyson and Shawn Tolleson battled their way through 3 2/3 innings. The Blue Jays had eight baserunners on in the last four innings, but they managed just one run. Toronto was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.
ARLINGTON -- There's nothing about the Rangers that really computes. Not that they care.
Texas somehow pulled out a 4-1 victory against the American League East-leading Blue Jays at Globe Life Park on Thursday afternoon, and it now has sole possession of the second AL Wild Card spot after the Twins lost to the Rays, 5-4.
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have called up Nick Martinez from Triple-A Round Rock to reinforce their bullpen and sent down Spencer Patton.
Martinez has been a reliever on occasion in the past, but he has been used only as a starter this season. Right now, he is needed as a long reliever because the Rangers used Anthony Bass for three innings in a 12-4 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday.
ARLINGTON -- Justin Smoak hit a two-run home run in the fifth to put the Blue Jays ahead for good and Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam in the sixth in a 12-4 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday night. The score was 2-2 when Smoak connected off Rangers starter Colby Lewis for his 13th home run of the season.
The Blue Jays, with their fifth straight win, now lead the Yankees by two games in the American League East. The Rangers, with their second straight loss to the Blue Jays, fell a half-game behind the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot.
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have lost two straight to the Blue Jays, and manager Jeff Banister was quite candid about the meaning of Thursday's series finale.
"When you get punched in the mouth twice, you've got to come out swinging," Banister said after Wednesday's 12-4 loss. "To go where we want to go, we've got to come back and play well tomorrow. We have to have our 'A' game. We have to be focused tomorrow and find a way to grind one out however it goes. We can't give another one away."