When asked after the game what it meant for his team to have won seven in row and clawed its way back to .500 after such a dreadful start, Rangers manager Jeff Banister acted as if he wasn’t even aware of his team’s record, and said that that sort of thing wasn’t important.
All of that is manager speak for “Getting this team back to .500 has been of paramount importance and weighting heavily on my mind every time I stepped into the dugout, and today’s game was the most important one of the season.”
How could getting back to .500 not have been important? That’s the litmus test of every team.
Now this team is back to even. Twenty wins, twenty losses. It didn’t seem possible last week. But we’ve seen this team do this sort of thing in the not-too-distant past.
The comparisons to 2015 are inevitable. That Jeff Banister-led Rangers team also got off to a miserable start, dug itself into a deep hole, then had to scrape and claw its way out. The 2015 Rangers didn’t get back to .500 until May 30.
At that point, the Rangers were six games behind the Houston Astros. But that Houston team was raw and just learning how to win. This Houston team is much more formidable.
So much so, in fact, that with this current seven-game winning streak the Rangers are enjoying, Texas has been able to pick up just one-half game in the standings on Houston.
Mathematically, that means, at the current pace the Rangers are playing over their last seven games, and the current pace the Astros are playing over that span as well, Texas would have to win its next 56 games in a row to tie Houston.
That just illustrates how hard it is to overcome huge deficits in the standings. The 2015 Rangers didn’t finally catch up to the Astros until September 15.
Unless you are playing that team, you can only control what you do, not what the other team does. Luckily, right now, the Rangers are doing everything right.
Zach Eflin (0-0, 2.81) vs. Andrew Cashner (0-3, 2.43)
Game time: 7:05