Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rangers Clinch AL West

The Texas Rangers clinched their first AL West title since 1999 with a 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics today.

The Rangers pretty much took control of the division by June when they went 21-6.

The Rangers, guided by Ron Washington, enjoyed an MVP type season from Josh Hamilton, a resurgence by Vladimir Guerrero, good starting pitching and a sensational rookie closer in Neftali Feliz. The emphasis on good pitching can be laid at the feet of Rangers owner and pitching legend Nolan Ryan. Thank G-d, MLB didn't let Mark Cuban buy the team.

Yet it is interesting to note that the Rangers have the good fortune of being in the AL West. The Rangers have an identical record to the Boston Red Sox. Yet in the AL East, the Sox are seven games back of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers will face the Rays if they hold on and win the AL East in the ALDS.

The Rangers won the AL West in 1996, 1998 and 1999 under the guidance of the late Johnny Oates. However, they were stopped by the New York Yankees all three times in the ALDS. Their pitching is much better now than it was back in the late 1990s but whether it can overcome the Rays or the Yankees remains to be seen.

If nothing else I think Washington win probably win AL Manager of the Year although I think you can make a strong argument for Minnesota Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire.

With the Dallas Cowboys struggling, the sports media in Dallas-Fort Worth can lavish their attention on the Rangers.

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