So this is what pennant-chasing September is like? I'm not sure my ulcer can take another few weeks of this. But I'm willing to try.
The Royals, who really need to win every single game to stave off elimination, took their first step towards impossibilty by winning a thrilling 2-1 victory over Texas. The Rangers have now lost 17 of 25 and have fallen to a half-game back of a Wild Card spot. They are reeling, and we are just the team to finish them off this weekend.
Ervin Santana stepped up in the limelight in a big way, just as he has all year. He pitched into the eighth inning, giving up one run to the mighty Rangers on five hits with just one walk. He had tremendous help from his defense with terrific plays by Emilio Bonifacio and Alcides Escobar. But Santana was the star. Its like we need a clutch-based nickname for him too. How bout "Important Match Erv"? Catchy?
The two teams were engaged in a 1-1 deadlock heading into the late innings when Rangers manager Ron Washington and Royals manager Ned Yost engaged in a battle of the wits. The Rangers bullpen - which has been quite good this year - crumbled in the eighth in the face of the bottom half of the Royals lineup. After retiring Billy Butler and Sal Perez, Rangers pitchers allowed singles to Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas. Pinch-hitter David Lough struck fear in the hearts of Rangers pitchers, and drew a walk to load the bases.
That brought Alcides Escobar with the bags loaded and two outs. Now with all these baserunners, you'd think the Rangers may want to they're dominating closer - Joe Nathan, he of the 1.53 ERA and ten strikeouts per nine innings. BUT IT WASN'T A SAVE SITUATION. And Ron's gotta Washington.
In the other dugout, Ned Yost had decisions to make too. Alcides Escobar, his worst hitter, was scheduled to hit. But with Carlos Pena incapacitated, Ned Yost has no choice but to allow Eskie to hit. And hit he did not. He allowed four pitches to pass, drawing a walk and forcing in the lead run. Ned is so Moneyball!
What a game. The Royals are no worse than 2.5 games out tonight - just two out if Tampa Bay loses.
"There is only one god and his name is Death. And there is only one thing we say to Death: "Not today."