The difference. 179 comments

Shin-Soo Choo slides into third as he triples in two runs to put the Rangers up 4-2 in their eventual three-game sweep of the hapless Angels.


It’s been nearly two years since the Rangers have been three games over .500. The last time was May 19, 2017. Texas had just won its tenth game in a row. To pull itself out of a 13-20 tailspin.

Of course, they then proceeded to lose twelve of the next sixteen, and settled in for a long summer’s nap, eventually finishing the season twenty-three games behind Houston. But there’s something different here.

With last night’s win, their fourth in a row, they are continuing a season-long ability to hit when it counts.

It used to be, if you wanted to defeat the Rangers, if you wanted to ensure they could not possibly score a run, all you had to do was load the bases, preferably with no outs. A strikeout and a double play would inevitably follow. Watching the Rangers try to perform with men in scoring position was like watching a dung beetle in its futile attempt to push a ball up a hill. Poor dung beetle, when would it ever learn?

But this Rangers offense is different. While its overall team hitting is in the middle of the pack, seventh of fifteen American League teams, where this version of the Ranges is excelling is exactly where it has been failing the past two seasons: with runners in scoring position.

The Rangers were twelfth in the A.L. last year and tenth in 2017 in hitting with runners in scoring position, .243 and .252 in respective seasons.

This season?

First. Top of the heap. Numero one.

The Texas Rangers are batting .297 with runners in scoring position. And that makes all the difference in the world.

If they get them on, now they are getting them in instead of stranding them like a motorist without a cell phone.

It’s a phenomenon called a “rally.” As a Rangers fan, I of course could not possibly be being familiar with the term, so I looked it up.

A rally refers to an occurrence in baseball in which the batting team records several sustained hits in a row resulting in more than one run. Most often an instance is labeled a rally if the batting team begins the inning tied or trailing the defensive team. The most common type of rally referenced in baseball is the “two out rally”, in which the batting team is down to its final out in the inning and records several consecutive hits to score enough runs to bring the game close, even, or to take the lead.

I like this rally of which they speak.