Rangers' Hamels tunes up for postseason vs. Brewers
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cole Hamels is gearing up for the playoffs by making his last start of the season Wednesday in the Milwaukee-Texas series finale at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers' ace won't see the mound again until Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
Hamels (15-5, 3.30 ERA) needs 6 1/3 innings to reach 200 for the eighth time in his career. If he beats the Brewers, Hamels would finish a win shy of his career-high 17 set in 2012. He also won 15 in 2007.
The lefty needs six strikeouts to crack 200 for a fifth time. After a pair of starts on extended rest, Hamels is back to pitching after four days off. His last outing was Texas' division-clinching win Sept. 23 at Oakland.
The rest of Texas' postseason staff and roster appears to be falling into place behind Hamels, as manager Jeff Banister is considering going with eight relievers and four bench players.
"I'm leaning more that way," he said. "Possibly no traditional long reliever and the extra reliever allows us to really shorten the game if we need to. The one thing we have been able to do in our bullpen, other than Sam Dyson, is multiple-inning stints for all our guys. We are comfortable with that part."
Banister had seven in the bullpen and five on the bench in the ALDS against Toronto last season.
Two of the arms in the 'pen will likely be Jeremy Jeffress and Tony Barnette, who have both returned in this series after long layoffs.
"That's two big pieces to get back in the bullpen," Texas catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.
Lucroy played a big part in Texas besting his former club 6-4 Tuesday night. Carlos Gomez, another former Brewer, had a three-run homer in the win the evened the series 1-1.
Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell was asked what it was like being beat by "your guys."
"They're not our guys," he said. "Carlos had a big hit, and Luc had a big hit."
The Brewers send Chase Anderson (9-11, 4.36) to the mound for his 30th start. Anderson last pitched Sept. 22 against Pittsburgh, earning the win after allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts.
He is 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA over his last 11 starts and has six quality starts this season. The club is 12-17 in his starts. Anderson is facing the Rangers for only the second time.
Milwaukee second baseman Jonathan Villar reached a milestone Tuesday, becoming the first player to have 15 home runs and 60 steals in the same season since Carl Crawford in 2009.
Villar needs two homers to become the fourth player in MLB history to put together a 20-60 season. Rickey Henderson did it last in 1990.
The Rangers (93-65) jumped ahead of Boston (92-65) in the race for the best record in the league. The Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees.
Lucroy knows his former teammates won't lay down in the series finale.
"Those guys are going to try to beat us and knock us off our perch," Lucroy said.