Sixty wins. Sixty loses.
Welcome back to .500, Rangers. It’s been a while. July 15, to be exact. And June 28 before that. And mid-May before that.
Every Rangers ride to .500 has been on the tail of a comet. A ten-game winning streak in May against the worst of the worst. A five-gamer in June, in which they beat the Nationals and Astros. Six of seven in May.
This one is thanks to a four-game winning streak over the lowly Tigers and White Sox, with four being the lucky number here.
The offense has enjoyed four innings during this four-game resurgence where they’ve scored four runs.
What a difference four runs makes over the one-run inning where they leave men on base and fail to capitalize.
All season long they’ve been tapping in thumb tacks. Now they are pounding in nails with a sledge hammer.
Four-run innings are game changers. Last night, down 4-0, the first of those tied the score. The second of those crushed the White Sox hearts.
The biggest difference of late is the Rangers ability to keep innings going. Driving in the runners they had been leaving on. Moving runners around instead of having them stand around waiting for the home run.
The home run is coming, but it’s more punctuation than salvation. That doesn’t just make for winning baseball, it makes for enjoyable baseball. Suddenly, the Rangers are exciting. They’re running, bunting, driving in runners in scoring position, playing fundamental baseball.
Now the Rangers have three more against what is essentially a Triple-A team, then it’s off to the real test. Ten out of thirteen against the Angels and Astros.
Speaking of four, now only four teams stand between the Rangers and the wild card.
James Shields (2-4, 5.90) vs. Andrew Cashner (7-9, 3.32)
Game time: 7:05