The Texas Rangers needed a win in their final three games to avoid last place in the American League West and got it Friday. That's good, Delino DeShields said (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com
The Texas Rangers needed a win in their final three games to avoid last place in the American League West and got it Friday. That's good, Delino DeShields said (video by Jeff Wilson). Jeff Wilson jwilson@star-telegram.com

Texas Rangers

Rangers won’t finish last, but it was close

September 29, 2017 10:16 PM

UPDATED September 29, 2017 11:11 PM

ARLINGTON

After the three-game sweep at Oakland Coliseum last weekend, the Texas Rangers were still mathematically alive in the wild-card race even if their elimination seemed inevitable.

The math also said that the Rangers were closer to last place in the American League West than the postseason, but with seven games left to play, it seemed inevitable that the Rangers would avoid the cellar.

Four losses later, though, with three games left, a player had question.

“What happens if we lose all three?” Shin-Soo Choo asked.

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The answer was last place.

To many players, the season essentially ended Tuesday after the Minnesota Twins won to stick a fork in the Rangers. But no one asked Friday wanted to finish last, especially after being only  2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot with 10 games to play a week ago.

Alas, the Rangers made sure they won’t be found at the bottom of the standings at season’s end by beating the Oakland A’s 5-3.

“Obviously, you don’t want to get last place,” center fielder Delino DeShields said. “But right now we’re letting some inexperienced guys play and get some playing time. At this point, we’ve been out for four or five days already, but it’s not like we’re out here trying to lose.

“From a pride thing it means something, but I really think we’re just trying to get a good feel going into the off-season and looking forward to next year.”

Perez, Banister talk about lefty's big second half

Texas Rangers left-hander Martin Perez finished his season with another win, his ninth of the second half, with a quality start that has him and manager Jeff Banister feeling good about 2018 (video by Jeff Wilson).

jwilson@star-telegram.com

To get passed by the A’s would have meant that the Rangers lost 10 straight games to end the season, and many of the seven entering Friday weren’t even competitive games. They were outscored 37-7 by the Houston Astros in three losses earlier this week, and their final loss in Oakland on Sunday was 8-1.

But the 1-0 loss last Saturday might be the one that deflated the Rangers. A win there would have allowed them a chance to win the series, and again they pitched well only to see their bats go limp.

They lost the next five games by a combined score of 49-9.

The last two featured watered-down lineups. Adrian Beltre (left hamstring), Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Gomez sat out both, and were on ice Friday and will be the rest of the season as the Rangers give them chance to heal ahead of their off-season workouts.

The Rangers were pinning their hopes of one more win on Willie Calhoun, Drew Robinson, Brett Nicholas and A.J. Jimenez, young players who have something to show. There were veterans in the lineup Friday, and Choo delivered a two-run homer and Martin Perez allowed three runs in six-plus innings to help end the skid.

Club brass is watching, and the Rangers are still trying.

“It’s not like you just give up out there,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “We’re going to keep trying. We’re going to play as hard as we can until the end. But it’s one of those things where there’s no meaning. It’s tough to engage. We’re going to keep pushing.”

Andrus is from the school that it doesn’t matter where the Rangers finish if they’re not going to finish first. Call it the Ricky Bobby School — if you’re not first, you’re last.

“If you’re not in first place, it doesn’t matter if your in second, third or fourth,” Andrus said. “I don’t think there’s anything different from being third or fourth. If you don’t win, you’re a loser. We’re still going to be watching guys in October.”

Banister: Calhoun coming on, Choo capping strong season

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister continues to like what he sees from rookie Willie Calhoun and Shin-Soo Choo (video by Jeff Wilson).

jwilson@star-telegram.com

Perez capped his strong second half with a win, his 13th. Andrus played with the goal of reaching .300 for the second consecutive season and scoring 100 runs, which he accomplished in the first inning.

Joey Gallo was seeking his 40th home run. Nomar Mazara needed three RBI to reach 100, and he collected two with a first-inning single.

And the Rangers were seeking at least one more win in their final three games. They took care of that.

“Winning matters,” manager Jeff Banister said. “That’s why you play the game. You show up to get in the playoffs and win the World Series. That team shows up to win baseball games. There is something to be said about competing all the way to the end.”

Oakland

000

000

300

3

7

1

Texas

200

030

00x

5

9

0

Oakland AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Semien ss

5

0

0

0

0

1

.247

Chapman 3b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.234

Lowrie 2b

3

0

1

0

1

0

.279

Davis lf

2

1

1

0

2

0

.243

Healy 1b

3

1

1

0

1

0

.273

Nunez dh

4

1

1

3

0

2

.214

Phegley c

2

0

0

0

0

0

.201

Maxwell ph-c

1

0

0

0

0

0

.241

Barreto ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.191

Canha rf-cf

4

0

1

0

0

1

.212

Smolinski cf

2

0

1

0

0

0

.250

Joyce ph-rf

2

0

0

0

0

2

.241

Totals 33

3

7

3

4

8

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields cf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.268

Choo rf

2

2

1

2

2

0

.261

Andrus ss

4

1

1

0

0

0

.298

Mazara dh

4

1

2

2

0

1

.253

Gallo 1b

4

0

1

0

0

2

.206

Calhoun lf

4

0

3

1

0

0

.269

Rua pr-lf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.216

Odor 2b

4

0

0

0

0

3

.202

Nicholas c

4

0

0

0

0

0

.255

Robinson 3b

3

1

1

0

0

0

.218

Totals 33

5

9

5

2

7

E—Chapman (13). LOB—Oakland 7, Texas 6. 2B—Chapman (22), Lowrie (48), Andrus (43). HR—Nunez (1), off Perez; Choo (22), off Alcantara. RBIs—Nunez 3 (3), Choo 2 (78), Mazara 2 (99), Calhoun (3). Runners left in scoring position—Oakland 4 (Lowrie, Healy, Nunez 2); Texas 1 (Odor). RISP—Oakland 1 for 5; Texas 2 for 3. Runners moved up—Davis. GIDP—Healy. DP—Texas 1 (Odor, Andrus, Gallo).

Oakland

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Alcantara, L 1-2

4 1/3

5

4

4

2

2

80

7.12

Moll

1 1/3

3

1

1

0

1

28

10.50

Castro

 1/3

0

0

0

0

1

4

4.29

Casilla

1

0

0

0

0

1

10

4.19

Coulombe

1

1

0

0

0

2

16

3.48

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Perez, W 13-12

6

5

3

3

2

2

89

4.82

Kela, H 11

1

0

0

0

0

2

14

2.79

Diekman, H 5

1

1

0

0

2

2

25

2.53

Claudio, S 11-15

1

1

0

0

0

2

16

2.50

Perez pitched to 3 batters in the 7th. Umpires—Home, Rob Drake; First, Tony Randazzo; Second, Mike Estabrook; Third, Gerry Davis. T—2:54. A—28,459 (48,114).

Rangers vs. Athletics

7:05 p.m. Saturday, FSSW