The remedial part of the schedule is behind the Rangers. They could have played to their competition but instead they are six games over .500 in the first half of the season.
After losing 95 games last season, they were the surprise team in baseball in the first half.
Here are some first-half facts, from baseball-reference.com.
Longest winning streak, six. Longest losing streak, five. Walk-off wins, three. Walk-off losses, five. Times the shutout their opponent, three. Times they were shutout, two. Biggest deficit, ten games under. Biggest lead, never had one. Extra inning record, 4-4. Record in one-run games, 14-13. Record in blowouts (five-plus runs), 15-15. Record at home, 29-17 (.630 winning percentage). Record on the road, 19-25 (.432).
But now the walk in the park is over. Now they are facing actual competition.
The Rangers are 15-21 against teams that are currently over .500. Thirteen of their next eighteen are against such teams.
Four at home against the first-place Astros.
Two at home against the second-place Diamondbacks.
Then three at Houston against the Astros.
They have four against Oakland.
But they do get some free parking with five against the Mariners.
The true test will be if the Rangers come out of this with a winning record.
We are about to see exactly what the Rangers are. And that will lead to which direction the Rangers lean as the July 31 trade deadline looms. The speculation is that the Rangers will be looking to bolster their rotation. Which is smart because, well, because of their rotation. But it begs the question: Why didn’t they do that in the offseason when they had four months to work with, rather than now when they have three weeks?
Smyly, Miller and Volquez were never the answer, unless the question was: Who are the worst three-four-five pitchers in baseball?
So now, Jon Daniels has the next eighteen games to see if he has a real team or not. Can they play with the Astros? Can they play with the Athletics? Is this actually a team he believes in for October?
And if so, can he do in a few weeks what he wasn’t able to do in an entire off-season: find competent starters?
TBD (—, -.–) vs. Lance Lynn (11-4, 3.91)
Game time: 7:05