- Derek Holland went 6.1 IP, allowing 3 ER on 3 hits, with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. It wasn't peak-Holland, but nonetheless a welcome sign after his last 4 starts (combined 22 IP, 21 ER, 33 H, 10 Ks, 11 BBs).
- Adrian Beltre provided the decisive hit in the game: Following a single, popout, walk, RBI double, walk sequence, Beltre stepped in with the bases loaded and one out, and a reeling left-handed rookie on the mound. On a 2-2 count, Andrew Haney floated an offspeed pitch down and in, and Beltre hooked it into the left field corner for a double, clearing the bases and giving the Rangers a 4-1 lead they would never relinquish. Like so many others, Adrian has been super in the second half, generating a .310/.367/.493 (129 wRC+) slash line, worth +3.0 fWAR.
- I have to give props to Jeff Banister's lineup tonight. As some (including myself) have been clamoring for for awhile now, Banister finally sat one of his beefy left-handed bats, Mitch Moreland, against a left-handed starter. This allowed Mike Napoli's bat to stay in the lineup at first base without putting the defense in jeopardy, as when he plays left field.
In spite of all the good things Moreland has done in 2015, he shouldn't start against lefties, not with a super-platoon option like Napoli. This year Mitch is hitting .245/.289/.387 (78 wRC+) against same-handed pitching, which is roughly in line with his .233/.289/.359 (71 wRC+) career slash line vs. LHP.
After the Angels cut the lead to 4-3 in the top half of the 7th, Banister's perfect storm came to fruition. With Cesar Ramos, a lefty, on the mound, Mike Scioscia opted to leave him in to face the right-handed Adrian Beltre, knowing that lefty Prince Fielder was on deck. Beltre shot a single to right, and Prince lofted a base hit to left, putting men on first and second with nobody out. Scioscia then called on a right-hander to face Napoli, and Banister was able to pinch-hit him with Moreland --a better option vs. a RHP, while upgrading the defense at 1B in the last two innings. This is the idea that makes so much sense, and tonight it unfolded to perfection.
- With the win, the Rangers have eliminated Anaheim from AL West contention, and now have the smallest Magic Number that exists. Over its final three games, all Texas needs is one win or one Houston loss to clinch the division outright.
For now, the club has clinched a postseason berth for the 4th time in 6 years, and will play 162+ for the 5th time in 6 years.
This team is amazing.