So here we are. We began with 48 teams worth of Texas Rangers—or at least 46 of Rangers and 2 of Senators, to even the numbers up—and now only two remain. 8th-ranked 2010 was the first Rangers team to make the playoffs. 3rd-2016 was the team that took the American League by storm, winning game after game despite having a run differential that barely hovered in the positive.
Once again, both teams have been given sufficient rest to set their rotations as best they see fit.
Let’s get started.
WP: Darren Oliver (1.2ip)
LP: Sam Dyson (2.0ip, 4H, 2R, 2ER)
S: Neftali Feliz (5)
HR: Josh Hamilton (4), 10 Mitch Moreland (5), Ian Desmond (1)
2010 leads series: 1-0
Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels were teammates in Philadelphia in 2011, but stood opposite one another in tonight’s opening game. Ultimately, Lee’s 2010 squad would emerge victorious, when—who else—Josh Hamilton’s solo home run in the top of the 10th put 2010 up for good.
WP: Alex Claudio (1ip, 0R)
LP: Neftali Feliz (1.2ip, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 1K)
HR: Josh Hamilton 2 (6), Ian Kinsler (6)
Series tied: 1-1
There they are. Yu Darvish a three-run home run to Josh Hamilton before he got a single out, but the 2016 team came back to take the lead in the third when back-to-back doubles from Shin-Soo Choo and Ian Desmond followed an RBI single from Nomar Mazara. Hamilton hit another one in the seventh inning, giving him six for the tournament (one behind Mazara for the tournament lead), but it wasn’t enough: after a Tony Barnette wild pitch allowed Nelson Cruz to score the go-ahead run in the top of the tenth, Ian Desmond hit a two-out, two-run double to walk it off.
WP: Colby Lewis (6ip, 8H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K)
LP: Colby Lewis (4.1ip, 11H, 7R, 7ER, 2BB, 2K)
HR: Nomar Mazara (8), Vladimir Guerrero (4)
2010 leads series: 2-1
I bet Colby Lewis would be good friends with himself. I mean that as a compliment. I would hate putting up with another version of me, and I’d be willing to bet that most of us would not enjoy having a second us to deal with. But not Colby. He could use the extra hand around the house. He could get twice the work done and have a good buddy to play long toss with and not talk too much. They might hang out the whole day and say fewer than ten words to each other, and it would be the best day ever. I started this exercise because I was bored, but now I just want to clone Colby Lewis. Get on it, science.
WP: Martin Perez (6ip, 9H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K)
LP: Tommy Hunter (5.2ip, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 1BB, 8K)
S: Dyson (5)
HR: Carlos Beltran (1), Rougned Odor (5), ’10Mitch Moreland (6)
Hunter, Darren O’Day and Darren Oliver all struggled in the later innings. In the sixth inning, Adrian Beltre singled home Ian Desmond, then scored when Nelson Cruz dropped a fly ball in right field. No, I am not making it up. Look.
It’s okay, it’s 2010 Cruz, it doesn’t count.
Mitch Moreland continued to rake, hitting his sixth home run, but it was too little too late. The series is now tied at two each.
WP: Scott Feldman (9.0ip, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 6K)
LP: A.J. Griffin (5ip, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 4K)
HR: Andrus (1), Hamilton (7), Murphy (2), Moreland (7)
HOLY COW Scott Feldman threw a perfect game. It nearly ended on the last pitch: Nomar Mazara lifted a ball into the night sky that appeared to have enough distance to make it onto Greene’s Hill. But Josh Hamilton, racing back with reckless abandon, reached his glove just far enough over the top of the fence to rescue the ball, the gem, and the historic night. There were dogpiles on the mound and in center field.
2010 takes a 3-2 lead with the win; the teams will take a day off and return to action in…
WP: Cliff Lee (7ip, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K)
LP: Cole Hamels (7ip, 5H, 5R, 4ER, 3BB. 4K)
S: Neftali Feliz (6)
HR: Vladimir Guerrero (5)
In the third inning, as Mitch Moreland was rounding third after Ian Desmond’s single found its way through a maze of infielder’s gloves, that old 2016 magic felt like it was creeping back in. It lingered in the crisp night air for another inning as Cole Hamels carved his way through the 2010 lineup, and held its breath as Odor and Andrus singled with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. But what Mitch hath wrought, Mitch hath squelched: Moreland flied out to right field, and the rally was dead. Half an inning later, so was any spark of life remaining in the 2016 Rangers, as Vladimir Guerrero’s three-run home run proved to be the difference in the game.
By the ninth inning, as Moreland stood in with one on and two outs, the crowd stood to cheer. They had seen all of their favorite Rangers, from Jenkins to Ryan to Hamilton to Gallo, and now they stood as one. “Rangers, Rangers, Rangers,” came the chant. Moreland stepped out of the box and one by one, each player on the field doffed their cap. Players in the stands, hanging out just to see how the tournament ended, also stood and acknowledged the applause. The ovation lasted a few minutes.
But there was baseball yet to be played. As the crowd hushed, Moreland fouled off a Neftali Feliz pitch, then watched a ball high. A curveball found the zone for strike two. Moreland dug his back foot into the dirt. The pitch was a fastball, 96mph. Moreland knew this fastball well. He swung hard and the contact was good, but the trajectory was too low. The 104mph line drive seared the air between the plate and Elvis Andrus’ glove, landing with a raucous *thwack*
The Tournament was over, and somehow the Texas Rangers had [record scratch] STILL MANAGED NOT TO GET ADRIAN BELTRE A RING UGH *SPIT* GROSS, THIS SUCKS.
I joke. This was fun. I hope you didn’t read it all in one sitting, that would make it less fun. Sorry we had to crank it all out so fast. Just had to wrap it up before the big announcement.
Here’s your final bracket!