ANAHEIM -- The Rangers entered Wednesday one game behind the Athletics in the American League West. Perhaps nobody appreciates their position more than veteran reliever Jason Frasor.
Frasor has appeared in 567 regular-season games since 2004 and has never been on a playoff team. That's the second most by an active pitcher in the Major Leagues behind Jamey Wright of the Rays. Frasor had spent his entire career with the Blue Jays, except for a two-month stint at the end of the 2011 season with the White Sox, before he signed with the Rangers as a free agent last winter.
"It's just so much fun contributing to a winning team this late in the year," Frasor said. "It's new. It's different. I've never been in a pennant race before. In 2006, we finished second in the division, but we were 10 games behind first place and had no chance to make the playoffs. The other years we had some good teams but we were always .500 in the AL East. There were always two teams better than us, some combination of the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays. It's almost the middle of August and this is my first pennant race."
Frasor has responded. Since the beginning of June, he is 2-1 with a 2.21 ERA and opponents are hitting .192 off him. He has allowed five earned runs and 60 percent of them came when Frasor gave up a three-run home run to Ryan Raburn in an 11-8 loss to the Indians. He was in his third inning of work because the Rangers bullpen was operating short-handed that night.
"Once you are out there, it feels like another big league outing," Frasor said, "Obviously there is more at stake. You are not out there only for yourself trying to earn a spot on the roster for next year. It's really cool being out there fighting for a postseason spot."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less