Special to the Daily Light
AL West Tightens
Texas started the week with a two-game advantage over the Los Angeles Angels after building a four-game lead after the All-Star break. That has changed.
Shortly after Texas won its game Friday night in the 11th inning, the Angels’ Vernon Wells singled home the winning run in the 10th inning to keep the Angels within one game of the Rangers.
The two candidates to win the AL West nomination to the post-season will play seven more times head-to-head this month and will end the season with a three-game series in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has won seven of its last 10 games after Friday’s walk-off while Texas has won only four of its last 10.
The Texas Rangers fortified a disappointing bullpen as the week began with two trades right before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
General manager Jon Daniels on July 30 acquired RP Koji Uehara and cash from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for INF Chris Davis and SP Tommy Hunter.
Uehara is a top of the line relief pitcher known for throwing strikes and when you pair him with Mark Lowe, Texas now has two strong bullpen options.
Daniels was able to not give up prospects while moving Davis along and allowing Hunter a chance to start somewhere else as the Rangers’ rotation could be set for a while barring injury.
On July 31 before the deadline, Texas acquired RP Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres giving up two prospects at the AA level.
Those two pitchers were considered legitimate pitching prospects but never would likely rise above number three in the rotation.
Daniels transformed the Texas bullpen into a strong pen without giving up much from the farm system.
The week that was
The Texas Rangers began the week in Toronto with the Blue Jays and a fantastic pitching performance from Derek Holland who earned his 10th win as the Rangers rolled 3-0.
Sunday, CJ Wilson struggled in arguably his worst outing of the season as Texas lost 7-3, losing the series with Toronto.
Texas was able to test the waters with it two new relief pitchers Tuesday and Wednesday night in Detroit. Mike Adams gave up a late solo-home run and Texas lost Tuesday’s game 6-5. Wednesday night with Texas trailing by one run, the Rangers turned to Koji Uehara, who gave up a solo home run of his own en route to another Texas one-run loss 5-4.
Thursday, Alexi Ogando became the first Ranger starter to win 11 games this season with a 5-2 win over the Tigers as Texas salvaged the last game of a tight series. Both Adams and Uehara recorded scoreless outings.
Friday night did not start too well for Derek Holland or the newly acquired Ubaldo Jimenez for the Cleveland Indians. Neither starter lasted five innings in the 105 degree heat.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, on an infield single by Josh Hamilton, Elvis Andrus turned on the after burners and as Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was fielding Hamilton’s slow roller, Andrus came around to score and the Rangers took the first game of the series 8-7.
With two outs and one on in the bottom of the ninth, Michael Young hit a two-run HR to send the game to extra frames off Indian closer Chris Perez.
This week Texas will complete its three-game series with the Indians, host Seattle for three games and then fly to the west coast to play a three-game series with Oakland.