As the A.L. West’s leaders by 5 1/2 over those pesky A’s of Oakland, and with a sparkling 65-45 record through their first 110 games, they have earned a much needed respite.
That being said, a day without a Texas Rangers game is similar to a summer day that doesn’t reach triple digits—it’s probably best for all parties involved—but it just doesn’t seem quite right.
So, what to do with a full day of zero Rangers baseball?
I decided to pass the time by conjuring up Texas Rangers moments of the past. Good ones, of course. You know how it goes, you spend the day digging up all the bad moments, and the next thing you know you’re sporting a vagrant-length beard, babbling about John Burkett, the GD Yankees, and C.J. Wilson—smelling so sour with bitter tears that you’re dog won’t even give you a sniff.
So, here’s a look at today in Rangers’ history as well as how the Rangers fared 110 games into the season during their playoff-run years.
August 9, in Rangers’ years past
August 9, 1996:
• Texas’ Bobby Witt improved to 11-8 on the season as he out-dueled Toronto’s Paul Quantril, 5-4 in Toronto. Rangers’ closer, Mike Henneman, picked up his 24th save of the season.
The win improved the Rangers to 64-52 on the season and pushed their A.L. West lead to three games over the Seattle Mariners.
The ’96 Rangers would close out the season by going 26-20 en route to their first-ever playoff appearance.
Through their first 110 games: 61-49
August 9, 1998:
• Boston’s Jim Corsi beat the Rangers’ Todd Stottlemyre 14-8, as Stottlemyre dropped to 10-10 on the year. The Rangers’ A.L. West lead shrank to just two games as their record fell to 63-53.
The Rangers would finish out their ’98 campaign by going 24-22 on their way to their second A.L. West Division crown in the last three years.
Through their first 110 games: 59-51
August 9, 1999
• The Toronto Blue Jays bludgeoned the Rangers at The Ballpark, 19-4. Perhaps the only saving grace was that the loss was witnessed by only 22,235 in attendance. That number seems small nowadays, but that’s quite a few people to witness a team that had only won one playoff game in their 27 years up to that point. Plus, it’s hot in August.
The lopsided loss dropped Mike Morgan’s record to 12-7 as the Blue Jays’ Joey Hamilton (5-6) earned the win. The Rangers record dropped to 66-45 but they still had a nice 6 1/2 game lead over the Oakland A’s. Billy Beane was just getting settled in as General Manager, as ’99 marked just his second full season at the helm.
The Rangers finished out the ’99 campaign by going 29-22, to finish at 95-67. The mark stood as their finest season until last year’s team went 96-66 on their way to a second-consecutive A.L. Pennant.
Through their first 110 games: 66-44
August 9, 2010:
Yes, hard to believe that the Rangers (as well as their playoff-starved fanbase) would have to wait 11 long years to put a halt to their nine-game playoff losing streak. The 2010 season, of course, would prove to be well worth the wait.
• Much like today, the Texas Rangers had the day off on Monday, August 9, 2010. Though idle, the Rangers held a 7 1/2 game advantage over the second-placed Oakland Athletics on this date.
Through their first 110 games: : 64-46
August 9, 2011:
• The Rangers improved to 66-51 on this date last season, the 7-6 walk-off win over the Mariners came at a crucial time in the season, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were just 1 1/2 games behind Texas in the standings…I’m sure few of us would have believed that last season we’d win the A.L. West by 10 games.
Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz (2-3) earned the victory, thanks to Josh Hamilton’s walk-off single that scored Ian Kinsler in the bottom of the ninth. Hamilton’s heroics came with two-on and no one out off of Mariner’s reliever Aaron Laffey.
Through their first 110 games: : 61-49
Rangers’ right-hander Scott Feldman (6-6, 4.52 ERA) looks to continue his Scooter-fied magic as he opposes Detroit’s heterochromatic-hurler, righty Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.72 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM (CST).