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Friday, August 29, 2008

The Rally Monkey Saves Jon Garland: Angels 7, Rangers 5

It's been a weird season for the Rangers, who almost accidentally seemed to have discovered a superstar-caliber bat in Josh Hamilton, only to trade away a Cy Young-caliber starter (Edinson Volquez) to get him. They can bash with the best of 'em, and own the best offensive record in the league; their 748 runs scored is not only tops in the AL, it's almost 60 runs better than the second-best team, the Boston Red Sox.

Jon Garland spotted the Rangers four runs early, and that should have been enough for the Angels to lose; by the time I started paying attention to this game (after the conclusion of the Dodgers fiasco above), I couldn't deal with it and decided the Angels could lose without me. However, I also forgot that the Rangers have also surrendered the most runs in the league with 803. While it is unlikely they will touch the franchise record of 974 given up by the 2000 club (featuring Darren Oliver as a starter!), it is conceivable that they will come close. If their pitching staff continues at their current rates, they will allow 963 runs total once they are done with their remaining 27 games, making this the third worst staff in franchise history.

After his first-inning implosion, Garland managed to contain the Rangers' powerful offense to only a single additional run, that of Chris Davis' fourth inning solo blast. The Angels meanwhile pecked away at Brandon McCarthy, who was making only his second start of the year for Texas after being placed on the 60-day DL just after spring training. From what I saw in the replays, McCarthy looked fresh, as he should have been given the extensive time off, and in fact left the game with a quality start.

That left matters to the Rangers' relief corps, and Jamey Wright simply couldn't get anything right. He walked the bases loaded to Garret Anderson, and then let Mike Napoli get a free pass to score the Angels' third run. After he got Brandon Wood to pop out, that brought in former Angels product Warner Madrigal, who gave up a bases-clearing double to Juan Rivera that decided the game. Francisco Rodriguez then came into the game, allowed a pair of baserunners on a hit and a hit batter (pinch hitter Brandon Boggs), and induced a game-ending 1-6-3 double play off Michael Young.

Thanks to Mike Scioscia's decision to leave Garland in to spare a taxed bullpen, Garland ended up with a victory. I guess it's fair.

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