09/08/2002 1:47 pm ET
MLBeat: Rangers like it back East
By Bob Bellone / Special to MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Rangers might have to be dragged kicking and screaming from Tropicana Field Sunday following the conclusion of their weekend series against the Devil Rays.
Texas heads into Sunday's contest with a 25-15 record against American League East Division opponents this season. Monday, the club begins a 19-game stretch against fellow AL West teams with a four-game series against the Mariners at The Ballpark in Arlington.
"We're playing in a division where it's almost not fair," Alex Rodriguez said. "We have three teams that are going to win a hundred games. They're going to fight to the end for the Wild Card.
"There are 15 pitchers that are starters. I would say out of those 15, you have nine potential Cy Young winners, so it makes it very tough."
Oakland began the day with the best record in the league (89-52). The Yankees (88-53) are the only other team with a better winning percentage than Anaheim (87-54) and Seattle (83-58).
The Rangers are 13-25 against divisional rivals, but manager Jerry Narron is looking forward to closing out the season against contending teams.
"I like the idea that we're going to be playing clubs that are trying to win," he said. "There's a different intensity from their club. There's a different intensity from the fans, which I enjoy and I think our players enjoy playing in."
Pen pal: Hot-hitting Herbert Perry is about to sign a two-year contract extension. He had no interest in testing the free-agent market.
"I'm not a gambler," he said after driving in a career-high five runs with a pair of homers in Saturday's 11-2 victory.
"It's not how much money you can make," Perry continued. "With the numbers I've had this year and the way I've played, I probably could have gone out there and found a job somewhere, but I wanted to be here. I love the guys. I love playing here."
Moving on up: Rafael Palmeiro needs to drive in one more run to take sole possession of 28th place on the all-time career RBI list. He entered Sunday's game at Tampa Bay tied with Tris Speaker at 1,562. Next up is Rogers Hornsby with 1,578.
Palmeiro, who is only 2-for-18 in his last five games, is one extra-base hit shy of joining Andre Dawson at 21st on the all-time list.
Fantasy Edge: Todd Hollandsworth collected three hits in each of the first two games of the weekend series against the Devil Rays. He is hitting .348 on the road trip, with two home runs and six RBIs.
Bob Bellone is a contributor to MLB.com based in Tampa. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or any of its clubs.