September has not been friendly to the Rangers. They wrapped up August with a 79-56 record and a two-game lead in the AL West. Since then, they have lost 10 of 12 and now trail the Athletics by 5.5 games in the division following this afternoon’s gut-wrenching 1-0 loss. Yu Darvish started for the Rangers and, aside from allowing an RBI double to Brandon Moss in the first inning, pitched very well. The right-hander struck out ten over seven innings, allowing just the one run on four hits and a walk.
As good as Darvish was, though, A’s starter Bartolo Colon was even better. The 40-year-old blanked the Rangers over eight innings, allowing seven hits and a walk while striking out seven. Grant Balfour shut the door in the ninth to wrap up the 1-0 victory, saving his 38th game of the season.
The Rangers have now lost their last three games against the Athletics and will attempt to avoid the series sweep tomorrow as Martin Perez will oppose Jarrod Parker. The Rays can tie the Rangers for the first AL Wild Card spot with a victory over the Twins tonight. The Indians, Orioles, Yankees, and Royals all sit between 1.5 and 3.5 games out of the second Wild Card. The Rangers have exhausted any wiggle room they had entering the month. It’s do or die for them now.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: