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Monday, August 16, 2010

The Texas Rangers are a legitimate World Series contender, fact

When you watch the AL East (baseball's best division) day in and day out, it's easy to overlook other AL divisions and especially the National League.

However, seeing quality teams like the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox allows you to know talent when you see it and this season, the Texas Rangers appear to have the right combination of pitching, great lineup and a closer to go deep into October.

The Rangers (67-49) took two out of three from the Sox (67-52) over the weekend, sealing it with yesterday afternoon's 7-3 win.

The temperature hovered around 100 degrees for each game and it was an easy metaphor to say that Boston's playoffs hopes continue to wilt as the summer quickly vanishes.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-4; 6.2 innings, 4 earned runs, 7 hits, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts), who has quietly become Boston's third best starting pitcher, deserved a better fate on this scorcher of a day.

Dice-K left down 2-0 (sacrifice fly in the second and bunt single in the seventh) with two outs in the seventh but Manny Delcarmen allowed a three-run homer to Michael Young (2 hits) on his first pitch of his outing.

Down 5-0, the Red Sox decided to make it somewhat interesting. Marco Scutaro had an RBI double and Darnell McDonald hit a two-run homer which cut it to 5-3.

It wasn't enough though as Texas added two more in the eighth to close it out.

C.J. Wilson (11-5) beat Boston for the third time this season. He went 7.2 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.

The big 10-game road trip fittingly ended 5-5 for the Red Sox. They're six games behind New York in the AL East and five games behind the Rays for the wild card. Neither of those teams are playing particularly well at the moment either but Boston has been unable to gain any ground.

Dustin Pedroia is returning to the lineup tomorrow (out since June 25) as the Sox kick off a nine-game homestand vs. a favorable trio of teams (Angels, Blue Jays, Mariners). Boston will not go anywhere unless they catch fire in the next week or so, time is running out.

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