On July 1, the Texas Rangers were cruising. They beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2. They had won thirteen out of seventeen games, in spite of coming off a split of a four-game series in New York against the Yankees.
They were twenty-three games over .500.
Then the bottom fell out. They lost the next three to Minnesota, two out of three to Boston, three out of four to Minnesota again, two out of three to the Cubs, and got swept in a three-gamer against the Angels.
Since that high water mark of 52-29 on July 1, the Rangers are 21-24 after last night’s 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the last-place Cincinnati Reds, the third time the Rangers have been shut out in their last ten games. Since Cleveland also lost last night, the Rangers still have the best record in the American League at 73-53, one game better than the Indians.
But if you look at the last seven weeks, since July 1, you get a much different story.
This team that got out to a huge head start is now grasping for air, grabbing its side in agony, hoping it doesn’t get caught.
Here are the standings since July 1:
Toronto 28 15 .651
Boston 28 18 .609
New York 25 21 .543
Baltimore 22 24 .478
Tampa Bay 10 26 .422
Detroit 24 21 .533
Minnesota 24 22 .522
Cleveland 23 23 .500
Kansas City 23 23 .500
Chicago 20 24 .454
Seattle 26 19 .577
Houston 22 24 .478
Texas 21 24 .467
Los Angeles 20 25 .444
Oakland 19 27 .413
For the past forty-five games, which is a quarter of a season, the Rangers are the eleventh best team in the American League. It’s only because they are fortunate enough to play in a division where nobody else seems to want to win either that they are still enjoying a lead.
But it is slowly eroding.
Currently Texas has a five-and-one-half-game lead over Seattle. The Mariners have thirty-seven games left. If they continue playing at the .577 winning percentage they have been at since July 1, they will win twenty-one more games. They will end the season at 88-74.
They Rangers have thirty-six games left. If they maintain their .467 percentage they are on since July 1, they will win sixteen more games, ending up at 89-73.
Meaning, Texas will win the West by one game over Seattle.
So what is everyone worried about?
Yu Darvish (4-3, 2.75) vs. Tim Adleman (2-1, 2.96)
Game time: 6:10
How the Reds hit against Darvish.
The Rangers have never faced Adleman.