Eight in a row.
The Texas Rangers have their longest winning streak since 2017, when they won ten in a row from May 9 to May 19.
That was back when they had Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner, AJ Griffin, and Martin Perez in their rotation. The team was coming off back-to-back playoff appearances. It was Jeff Banister’s third year as manager of the Rangers. After that ten-game winning streak, they went from fifth place in the West to second place.
Then they proceeded to lose twelve of their next sixteen. That started a six-year slide into oblivion.
This team has a rotation of Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery, Dane Dunning, Jon Gray, and Andrew Heaney. And, if they are lucky, maybe even Nathan Eovaldi.
But this team has a much deeper offense, capable of sustaining losses to All Star after All Star. Of course, it is against the Oakland Athletics who, with tonight’s loss, are guaranteed a losing season. Had Oakland have won tonight, and then their next forty-eight straight games, they would have finished at .500. But the Rangers, playing spoiler, made sure that won’t happen now.
After his first start, in which he had a rocky first inning, Max Scherzer gave Rangers fans a front row seat into his brilliance, going seven innings at Oakland, allowing just three hits and one run.
Seven innings from a starting pitcher in 2023 is considered extra innings. That’s an extra-inning game he pitched.
Again, yes, it’s Oakland. And, yes, Oakland is on pace to win 45 games this year. But a couple of their players are legitimate major leaguers. So, you can’t totally dismiss them.
And yes, Oakland is one of those cities that if a tornado ripped through it, it would do hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth improvements. It’s a city on the brink of losing its team to Las Vegas. But, it is still officially a major league baseball franchise. And the Rangers beat them 6-1 last night behind a brilliant start from Max Scherzer, and contributions up and down their lineup. Only Adolis Garia and Mitch Garver didn’t get hits among their starters. Once again, it was a total team effort, pounding out thirteen hits, seven for extra bases.
So, how did the trade deadline work out for the Rangers? Max Scherzer has won both of his starts. Jordan Montgomery won his only start (he goes again tonight). Aroldis Chapman and Chris Stratton have doused the dumpster fire that was their bullpen. And Texas is now 8-0 since the trade deadline. This is a talented team, with a lock down rotation, a suddenly reliable bullpen, and an offense that is as deep as any they’ve ever had.
Yes, this is gushing. And, yes, this might be Oakland fever, that rare affliction that comes from taking three games off in the middle of a major league season to play a minor league team.