Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rockies Slip Past Giants; Rangers Folding Fast

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 17, 2009 American League The Texas Rangers have been hanging onto hopes of catching either the Red Sox for the wild card spot or the Angels in the AL West, but they have run into a slump lately that seems to be scuttling their post-season aspirations. Helping the Rangers fold into the September sunset is divisional rival Oakland, especially the pitching staff of the A's, which completed a three-game series sweep of the Rangers with a 4-0 whitewash in which A's starter Trevor Cahill gunned down the Rangers on one hit and a pair of walks over 7 innings, at one point retiring 16 consecutive Texas batsmen. Cahill (9-12) followed up the outstanding pitching of Brett Tomko, who delivered a 5-hit complete game shutout in the series opener for a 9-0 win, and Edgar Gonzalez and a parade of five relievers who engineered a 6-1 win in the middle game of the series. Cahill, a rookie, has posted wins in three of his last four starts, though Wednesday's effort was far and away his best. The 6'3" righty struck out 7 and needed only 94 pitches to keep the rangers in check. A pair of relievers - Michael Wuertz and Andrew Bailey - pitched perfect 8th and 9th innings, respectively. The Rangers have lost four of their last five and scored just one run in their three straight losses to the A's. With Boston beating the Angels, 9-8, Texas falls further behind - 6 1/2 games - Boston in the wild card race and remained 6 games shy of the Angels, against whom they begin a three-game series Friday in Arlington. The Rangers and Angles meet again in Anaheim later this month for a 4-game set from September 28 through October 1. By that time, however, depending upon the results from this weekend, the division and wild card may be out of reach for Texas. National League After four straight losses, the Colorado Rockies finally snapped out of their funk, but not before almost giving the game away in the 9th inning in a 4-3 win over the resurgent Giants. Jorge De La Rosa (15-9) hurled 8 shutout innings at the Giants, allowing just 3 hits and 2 walks while fanning 9 before turning the ball over to the Rockies' bullpen. Franklin Morales, who racked up six straight saves before a loss last week to San Diego, came on in the ninth and allowed three straight hits before giving way for Rafael Betancourt, who survived a Troy Tulowitzki error to earn his first save of the season. The Rockies' win boosted them back to a 3 1/2 game lead over the Giants in the wild card chase and 5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Colorado's mini-losing streak helped the other wild card contenders. Florida is just 4 1/2 off the pace, the Braves are 5 back.

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