Texas Rangers’ Tear Started Before “The Punch”


The Texas Rangers won another series, this time against Boston. Their tear might seem confined to June, but the seeds were quietly planted in early May.

Rewind to May 5th. The Texas Rangers had just lost three of four to the Toronto Blue Jays and looked like the hapless little brothers in a rivalry dominated by the paper champions from Canada. The Rangers were bobbing along at 15-14, and while they’d shown flashes here and there, their play reflected their record: average.

There wasn’t much to suggest a huge turnaround was about to take place, but prior to the Rangers’ torrid June, it’s safe to say that the infancy of this massive run started with a three game sweep of the Detroit Tigers between May 6-8. The team followed that up by coming home and winning two of three versus the White Sox. A small bit of momentum had been established.

The stumbling block to further progress presented itself as another match up against the Blue Jays, this time in a three game series in Arlington. The Rangers and Jays split the first two games without much fanfare, but of course, the real fireworks exploded in a game that launched this Rangers’ season into overdrive.

It’s safe to say that “The Punch” was one of the more gleeful incidents in Texas Rangers’ history. Fan bases hold grudges. We remember heartbreaking losses and perceived slights. Elvis was the goat, Bautista had that maddening bat flip. Somewhat lost in the emotions surrounding that glorious haymaker was the fact that the Rangers not only won that game, but their third consecutive series as well.

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The subsequent three game sweep at the hands of the Oakland A’s seemed almost inevitable, given the effort the Rangers poured out against Toronto. Losing three in a row to the A’s was disappointing, yes, but we were all still too stoned off of Rougned Odor’s right cross to care. Baseball fights are funny that way.

Here’s the thing: The Texas Rangers haven’t lost a series since May 18th. Let that sink in for a moment. The closest they came to losing a series was splitting a two-gamer with the Cincinnati Reds last week. Since their 15-14 start, the Rangers have gone 34-13, which has rocketed them to the top of the American League, 3.5 games better than the Baltimore Orioles.

34-13 translates to a .723 winning percentage. If it weren’t true, it would seem silly. But it is true, and that begs the question of whether or not it will last. Can the Texas Rangers weather the concurrent losses of Yu Darvish and Colby Lewis from the pitching rotation? Will centerfielder Ian Desmond continue to play out of his mind? Will first basemen Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland continue to swing their way out their protracted early season doldrums?

Right now, the answer is a somewhat surprising “Yes”. Save for a rare bullpen meltdown on Friday night, the Rangers would have swept the Red Sox in very convincing fashion. In winning last two games by a combined score of 16-5, the Rangers made short work of a pretty solid Boston ballclub.

Now, this isn’t to get too far ahead of ourselves. The law of averages will likely catch up with the Texas Rangers at some point. But here’s another interesting tidbit: with their current record of 49-27, the Rangers could play .500 ball the rest of the way and still finish with 92 wins. As it stands, they’re on pace for 103-104 wins.

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Of course, another series of key injuries could dampen the fire. Anything could happen to either curb momentum or halt it altogether. A poor showing against the Yankees this week could have the doubts creeping back in. But until then, there is no reason not to enjoy this run. This team is very, very good, and they show no signs of slowing down.