Ace in the Hole?

When Texas Ranger pitcher Matt Harrison defeated the Seattle Mariners on Monday night, he became the fifth Rangers pitcher to earn his 10th win of the season; and this happened on Aug. 8 with more than six weeks left in the season. 

Never has this historically pitching challenged franchise been able to brag about having five 10-game winners.  

Without a doubt the Rangers have finally developed a formidable rotation that is built for the grind of a 162-game schedule.

But who will be the Cliff Lee or Tim Lincecum of this very balanced rotation?  Or perhaps better asked this way, “Who can beat a Cliff Lee or Tim Lincecum?”

Although the Texas Rangers have one of the best and most consistent rotations in baseball today, this is a staff that lacks a predominant ace in the rotation.

C.J. Wilson is a legitimate No. 2 in any rotation. Alexi Ogando who has 11 wins, has been dominant at times, but will he be able to do that in October after throwing the most number of innings ever in his career?

Matt Harrison has been consistent, but seldom has completely shut down an offense for eight or nine innings. Derek Holland at one point threw three shutouts in five outings, but then gave up seven runs in five innings and five runs in 2/3 of an inning.

Then there is Colby Lewis, whose stuff is not as good as Wilson’s, but consistent enough to be a strong No. 3 in any rotation.  

Who on this staff would beat the Los Angeles Angels potential Cy Young award winner Jared Weaver, in a one-game playoff or in the final game of the season if needed?  Who beats Lee if the Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies square off in the World Series?

Someone on the Rangers’ staff will have to perform like a legitimate ace if the Rangers progress through the playoffs the way they did last year.

But, who will that be?

The Week that Was…

Neftali Feliz blew his sixth save of the year when the Cleveland Indians rallied to beat the Rangers on Saturday night by a 7-5 score.

Texas bounced back on Sunday night and won the series from the Tribe with a 5-3 score as the Rangers ran off five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Monday night was the Seattle Mariners’ first night in town and they were greeted with a nine-run Ranger onslaught and Matt Harrison’s 10th win of the season.

Tuesday night Josh Hamilton singled home Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the ninth (pictured) to complete a Texas 7-6 comeback win after trailing 6-3 following three innings.  

Seattle was able to edge the Rangers in the final game of the series by a 4-3 score Wednesday. Another soft-tossing lefty was able to beat Texas as Jason Vargas earned his seventh win of the season.

Thursday night, the Angels lost to the New York Yankees while the Rangers were idle.  

The Angels’ loss increased the Rangers’ lead in the division to two games.  Last year, the Rangers at this point were only one game better and held an eight-game lead over the Angels.  

The Week Ahead…

This weekend the Rangers will complete their three-game series in Oakland against the Athletics. Monday through Thursday an important four games will take place in Los Angeles as the Rangers and Angels jockey for first place in the division. Texas then flies to Chicago to take on the White Sox in a three-game series.