Rangers salvage road trip, come back to sweep Rays

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 30: Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor could fetch a good bullpen arm. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 30: Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor could fetch a good bullpen arm. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers managed to avoid a disastrous road trip by winning three in a row in dramatic come-from-behind fashion.

The up-and-down season for the Texas Rangers continued over the weekend. Is it frustrating? Surely. An encouraging series win in Kansas City was followed by a dismaying four-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles. But just as soon as they appeared dead in the water, a wild thing happened in what is likely the ugliest ballpark in the major leagues.

Somehow, someway, they discovered the Ranger mojo that propelled them to so many Houdini acts last year. In the process, they came from behind in the sixth inning or later in all three games. Granted, wobbly defense and poor pitching helped. But as is the case in all sports, you’ve got to beat who is on the schedule. And after the egg they laid in Baltimore, they deserve full credit for rebounding in Tampa Bay.

In the grand scheme, does it mean anything? Well, that’s becoming an increasingly interesting question as the trade deadline looms. As they imploded in Baltimore, word began circulating that the Rangers were at least listening in regards to trading embattled ace Yu Darvish. More recently, the Dodgers are reportedly very interested in the right hander.

The reality of the situation, though, is that the Rangers stand only 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot in the American League. Yes, I know that’s become a tiresome refrain for those of us who follow this team closely. The conventional wisdom states that a good two week run puts them front and center for a postseason berth. Moreover, despite this team’s glaring weaknesses, they’re not a bad ballclub.

Now does this mean they have some heretofore unseen gear they’re hiding from us? No one really knows. It’s hard to recall a more mystifying bunch, especially in this current era of Rangers’ baseball. Most of the past eight seasons featured a club accustomed to October ball. The jury’s still out on this campaign, but if we’re being honest, the eyeball test suggests a half-empty glass. They’re simply too inconsistent, and that doesn’t foretell any sustained run of success even if they do somehow scratch their way to a wild card.

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So if that’s the case, the other vexing question begs asking. Are the Rangers buyers or sellers at the looming trade deadline? My gut tells me maybe neither. I honestly don’t think they’re coming off of Yu Darvish unless someone just floors them in return. Furthermore, I also think they’re not-so-secretly keeping their powder dry in anticipation of the Shohei Otani sweepstakes. Having Darvish on board for the future might help lure the Japanese phenom to Texas.

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It will ultimately be up to General Manger Jon Daniels to pull those strings. Does he convince himself that these guys can not only win a wild card spot, but also make some noise once they get there? He’s got to have his doubts about the latter. Selling off assets is an obvious white flag to the fan base, and I’m not sure the organization is too keen on that. At this point, I could definitely see them making an concerted effort to sign Darvish in the offseason and retool for another push next year.

To that end, as maddening as they’ve been this year, the Texas Rangers aren’t that far away. A steadier bullpen and a little more stability in the lineup would’ve gone a long way to solidifying their playoff position.

I don’t know if the division crown was ever in play, but they never gave themselves a chance in the first place.

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It’s easy to be all doom and gloom sometimes. This season is a prime example of that. The reality of the situation is rarely as good or as bad as it seems. It’s been a trying year to be a Rangers’ fan this season. Even then, they’re contending for a postseason spot. They still play hard every night, and given the result of the last three games, maybe they’re finding the old magic a little. Right now, we can only hope they find a groove. There’s still time.