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Rangers look to find consistency battling Oakland in AL West

The Texas Rangers have led the American League West much of the first half of the season.

However, they find themselves in second place a half game behind the Oakland Athletics as they approach the All Star game, the proverbial halfway point of the major league baseball season.

Of late, the Rangers have not found consistency on the field having gone just 6-4 over their last 10 games played.

Three players Joe Nathan, Martin Perez and Engel Beltre have played exceptionally well over the past week. Nathan was the Delivery Man of the Month for the American League in June after he saved all 11 opportunities during the month.

Nathan now has 28 saves on the season and is 28 of 29 for the year. Nathan currently has pitched 9 1/3 scoreless innings.

Perez had a scoreless streak of 16 2/3 innings end on Thursday after the Seattle Mariners scored an unearned run. Perez, in all of his three starts since being called up from Triple A, has pitched fiving innings and given up just two runs or less.

Perez has been able to pitch well coming up from Triple A, while rookies Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch have struggled

Beltre is a 23-year old rookie, and has brought excitement to the Rangers ball club.

On Thursday night, Beltre scored the team’s go-ahead run from third base on a very shallow line drive into left field. In his past three starts, Beltre has two that were multi-hit games.

Part of the Rangers problems this season have been on the mound and at the plate. A.J. Pierzynski, Neal Cotts and Robbie Neal have had their ups and downs of late.

Pierzynski has been in a slump of late with just two hits over his last 21 at bats heading into Texas’ weekend series. He did have a single that helped to key a rally on Thursday night. However, he has not hit a home run since June 22.

Three other Rangers hitters ended streaks of 20 games or more without a home run this past week.

Both Cotts and Ross have had fine overall seasons on the mound, but both allowed home runs at a time their games were tied this week against Seattle. Ross gave up an 11th inning home run and the Rangers eventually lost that game 4-2.

The Rangers looked a bit to the future this week when they took a huge risk and signed veteran slugger Manny Ramirez to a minor league contract.

Ramirez, who is 41, signed last season with Oakland but the team released him prior to him spending any time in the majors.

He spent three months with the Rhinos in Taiwan before returning to the U.S. in late June.

In Taiwan, Ramirez was hitting .352, with 8 home runs and 43 runs batted in. The Rhinos wanted him to stay, but the veteran wanted to return to the U.S.

Ramirez last played in the majors in 2011 with Tampa Bay. In 2009, he received a 50-game suspension for testing positive to a banned substance.

He then retired to not face another 100-game suspension, but unretired and agreed to a 50-game ban playing in the minors for Oakland.

He could eventually give the Rangers some much needed power at the plate, as he has hit 555 home runs in his career, which places him 14th overall. However, only time will tell how that works out.


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