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.
Free agent right-hander Chris Tillman is narrowing his pool of potential suitors, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Returning to the Orioles is one option, of course, but Heyman also mentions another two undisclosed teams who are still in the running. An earlier report from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests that as many as four teams may be in the mix; either way, a final decision is expected by Monday.
Tillman, 29, has spent the entirety of his major league career in Baltimore. After posting career-high numbers in 2016, his progress was derailed during an injury-plagued 2017 campaign, during which he missed nearly six weeks on the disabled list with recurring right shoulder inflammation. He finished the season with a bloated 7.84 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 4.9 SO/9 over 93 innings.
While the mystery teams have yet to reveal themselves, the Blue Jays, Twins and Tigers have all expressed interest in the veteran right-hander this offseason. Both the Blue Jays and Twins have made big moves to bolster their rotations over the last few days, with the additions of Jaime Garcia and Jake Odorizzi, respectively. That doesn’t mean that Tillman is out of reach, however — if his price is right, he could provide some much-needed depth for pitching staffs that finished 15th and 22nd in the league last year.