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The Baseball Notebook


July 24, 2010 7:26 AM

Texas' Other Lefty Ace

CJWilson.jpgThe Texas Rangers continued their quest to bring an early finish to the AL West race, getting another sterling pitching performance in beating the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night. This time it was C.J. Wilson who came up big, throwing eight shutout innings and making Michael Young's first-inning home run stand up in a 1-0 win. It continues a lot of frustration for the Angels, who wasted a great outing from Joe Saunders as they fell seven games back and now really need to win today and tomorrow to even keep within shouting distance. For Wilson, it's his second straight big-time outing. Last Sunday he beat Jon Lester at Fenway. Now he shuts out the team has club needs to beat the most. When you consider he's not even the best lefthander on a staff led by Cliff Lee, it adds up to making Texas a very scary club. Could this be the Rangers' squad that gets Lone Star minds off the Cowboys and Longhorns this autumn? It may have to wait until October, because at their current rate, September's going to be quite unsuspenseful.

Elsewhere...

Josh Beckett was strong in his return for Boston last night, working into the sixth inning at Seattle and giving up one run. Especially noteworthy in the 2-1 win is the work of middle man Scott Atchison. While media attention understandably focused on Beckett and Bill Hall's home run in the seventh, it was Atchison who got four key outs and set the table for Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon to slam the door. Tampa Bay lost in Cleveland, so the Red Sox close to within three games of the wild-card. However Boston got an unjustified break in the latter case. The Rays-Indians game was called due to rain after seven innings. In this day and age, calling games early doesn't happen much anymore, and it simply should not happen in a game that can impact the playoff race. Tampa was only trailing 3-1, Cleveland's bullpen is lousy and the teams are obviously playing each other throughout the weekend. Someone tell me why they couldn't have finished the last two innings today?

The Phillies routed the slumping Rockies 6-0 last night, as they finally hit up and down the lineup and gave Roy Halladay plenty of support. The Mets also had an offensive breakout, although it took until the eighth inning when a four-run outburst put away a 6t-1 win. Jason Bay, whose struggles have been noted here in the Notebook, had two hits. And finally San Francisco kept rolling, beating Arizona 7-4. There were some rare pitching lapses for the Giants--Jonathan Sanchez pitched five good innings (1 ER), but taking 109 pitches to do it meant an early night for the bullpen. Santiago Casilla had a rare meltdown in giving up three runs and coughing up the lead, before the offense, led by Aubrey Huff's three hits and 19th home run re-took it and the rest of the pen settled things down. Although if a high pitch count and one reliever having a bad night count as pitching problems, a lot of managers will trade with Frisco's Bruce Bochy.

Trade talk...

Earlier this week, the Notebook implored Philadelphia not to trade rightfielder Jayson Werth. I'm not as sold on the other corner man, left fielder Raul Ibanez. He may also be dealt and the Phils would be wise to ship him now. Frankly, they'd have been wise to deal him in December when his value was artificially high after a phenomenal '09 that was unlikely to be repeated. But at this point of the season teams that are desperate for another bat may overpay, and Philly can get a good return and then just plug Ben Francisco into that spot.

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