Twenty-one games, twenty days.

Texas went through a twenty-one-games-in-twenty-days slog and came out with a winning record. Without Joey Gallo for any of it. And without Hunter Pence for some of it.

That is cause for optimism.

When this stretch started on June 4, the Rangers were ten game behind Houston in the West and tied with Boston for the second wild card. A 12-9 run later, they are 6.5 games behind Houson in the West, but a half-game behind Cleveland for the second wild card.

So, in the one race they have a legitimate shot at, they lost ground. That’s the life of a wild card team. You’re not quite good enough to be elite. But you’re better than the dregs.

Trouble is, so are other teams. 

So now Texas has a much needed off day to rest, heal, and load for bear. They go on the road for three against the woeful Tigers, then a real test of what they are truly about with three against the Rays. Then it’s back home for four against the suddenly resurgent Angels and three at Minnesota, the best team in the American League. That takes them to the All-Star break.

It’s still too early for must win games or must win series. You just need to put as many Ws in the bank as you can, when you can.

Beating the White Sox was important but expected. They would sweep the Tigers because the Tigers are horrible. The real test will be the Rays and the Twins. 

While not must win, they are should win if you want to be considered legit.