ANAHEIM -- Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers still haven't decided on a rotation for the postseason beyond C.J. Wilson pitching Game 1. Washington said the rotation could be decided by whom they play.If the Rangers play the Tigers, they may prefer two right-handed starters -- Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis -- to go with two (rather than three) left-handers. Ogando is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this season. Against the Red Sox -- with a lineup that includes left-handed hitters David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury -- they may prefer three left-handers. Yankee Stadium always favors left-handed pitchers because of the dimensions. But the Yankees are 35-16 when the opposing team throws a left-hander and Lewis beat the Yankees twice in the playoffs last year. Washington said he'll make his decision based on instincts as much or more than numbers. "We'll wait and see who we play and where we play before we decide how to set it up," Washington said. "It just depends on my gut and who do I trust. We're not going to try and outsmart ourselves. But we'll do what we think is best for us." Lewis is still scheduled to pitch on Tuesday and Matt Harrison on Wednesday in the Rangers' final two regular-season games against the Angels. Washington said that might change. He also said the Rangers want to get at least a couple more innings for Ogando while they are here. "Whether it's starter or reliever, I'd like to pitch him," Washington said. Washington also said the Rangers are still discussing whether to use seven or eight relievers in the playoffs. Going with seven relievers would allow them to carry an extra position player. That would most likely be a third catcher.
Young in chase for second batting title
ANAHEIM -- The American League playoff picture remains unsettled and so does the batting race. Rangers infielder Michael Young remains in the running for his second batting title with three games to go.Detroit's Miguel Cabrera went into Monday's games leading the league with a .340 batting average with Young and Boston's Adrian Gonzalez second at .338. Young won a batting title in 2005 with a .331 batting average. "I haven't thought that much about it," Young said. "An added bonus for playing on a good team is that it allows me to put my focus [on the playoffs]. Regardless of what happens with that, I like my approach and I'm going to take it into postseason. Don't get me wrong, it would be great to win it. But it's not at the top of my priorities." Cabrera said that is the right approach. "It's going to sound like you play by numbers, and I play by winning," Cabrera said. "I think that's more important to me. Right now if I start talking about the batting title or anything, it's going to sound bad because we work to the playoffs and win in the playoffs. I think that's the mind we've got to have right now." Young is finishing strong as the playoffs approach. He was 11-for-20 in his last five games entering Monday with a .358 average since the All-Star break. Last year he batted .262 after the break and .284 for the season. The biggest difference this year is Young has cut down his strikeouts. He went into Spring Training with the goal of "bearing down on the strike zone" and he has succeeded. He had 115 strikeouts last season and 78 going into Monday's game. He also raised his two-strike batting average from .201 to .239 this season. "That was big for me," Young said. "I definitely wanted to cut down on my strikeouts, put the ball in play more with two strikes and get on base more. I feel like I made a good adjustment and I want to keep that going for the rest of my career." Young was in the lineup again on Monday against the Angels after getting Sunday off. The Rangers are still competing for home-field advantage in the playoffs and there are no plans to give anybody extended rest this week. "He's going to get his at-bats," manager Ron Washington said. "We're trying to win, so he's going to be in there." Young, with 209 hits, is the first Major League hitter to get 200 in a season while starting at least 35 games at three different positions. He has started 68 games at designated hitter, 37 at first base and 38 at third base. On Monday he made his 14th start at second base with Ian Kinsler starting at designated hitter.
Napoli to start every day in playoffs
ANAHEIM -- Mike Napoli was in the starting lineup at first base on Monday. Rangers manager Ron Washington considered it a half-day off for him rather than going behind the plate and squatting for nine innings.Napoli could catch again this week but will definitely do so in the playoffs. He could also play first base or designated hitter, but Washington said Napoli will be an everyday player in postseason. "In some way shape or form," Washington said. "We need his bat in there. We need his presence." Napoli went into Monday's game hitting .441 in September, highest in the Major Leagues. Since being activated off the disabled list on July 4, he was at .378 with 18 doubles, 16 home runs and 44 RBIs in 64 games. Rangers catchers as a group went into Monday's game hitting .299, the highest from that position in the American League. They are third with 23 home runs after the two hit by Yorvit Torrealba on Sunday. Torrealba has seven home runs and Napoli has hit 16 of his 26 home runs as a catcher.
Derek Holland's victory on Sunday gave the Rangers two pitchers with at least 16 wins. The last time that happened was in 1998, when Rick Helling won 20 and Aaron Sele won 19. The Rangers were 52-29 at home this season, a .642 winning percentage that is the best in club history. The Rangers' 15-4 record against the Mariners constituted their most victories ever against a team during the regular season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.