A disastrous seventh inning prevented the Texas Rangers from winning their fourth consecutive series, but the schedule still sets up nicely.
Up until yesterday, the Texas Rangers had won eight of their last ten. Moreover, they looked primed to take two of three during yesterday’s series finale in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels. They’d staked themselves to a seemingly comfortable 5-1 lead, but a calamitous bottom of the seventh saw their advantage turn into a 7-5 deficit. They managed to pull within a run in the top of the ninth, but the comeback ultimately fell just short.
But in the course of a 162-game grind, there will be days like this. What’s certain now is that, almost one-third of the way through the season, the Rangers find themselves in an unexpected position. Namely, they’re in the thick of the second wild card race. Of course, in this year’s American League, one needs to take such proclamations with a grain of salt.
The fact of the matter is, the Rangers are in a group of about six teams that could stay in contention for that spot, or could fall out of it depending on how a given week goes. The AL this year, save for Astros, Yankees, Twins, and Rays, is a combo platter of mediocre-to-awful baseball teams. The Rangers, unfortunately, fall into that category. But if we’re being optimistic here, their brand of mediocrity is good for hanging around the periphery of the playoff picture.
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The other thing that warrants mentioning is their upcoming schedule. Seriously, it’s littered with teams they can beat. The only teams that give you serious pause are the back-to-back series against Oakland and Boston during the second week of June. Forgive me for putting the cart in front of the horse here, but the Rangers have a really solid chance to build on their unexpected start and compete well into the summer. For a team of reclamation projects and odds and ends, it’s a testament to their chemistry. There’s a certain fight to their play, so a lot of credit needs to go to first-year manager Chris Woodward.
Speaking of Woodward, the guy has seemingly stepped into his role pretty effortlessly. Now, this team probably wasn’t as far gone as they showed at the end of last year under old manager Jeff Banister. They were probably more mentally checked out than physically gone. But Woodward has effectively infused a breath of fresh air into this club, and he has them playing above their paper–at least for right now. From that perspective, any day they spend around or above .500 this season qualifies as a success.
So yesterday’s late-inning hiccups aside, the Texas Rangers have a good opportunity to continue to exceed their admittedly low expectations. No one outside of their organization was anticipating anything special. And while this year’s squad probably won’t morph into a legitimate postseason contender, it doesn’t mean that they can’t make it a fun ride into at least the All Star break, maybe further.
- Published on 05/27/2019 at 12:00 PM
- Last updated at 05/27/2019 at 06:36 AM