The Texas Rangers begin what could be the most exciting month of baseball in Arlington since the last time this team got to the World Series back in 2011.
They were so close. Twice.
Four years later they are that close to doing something no one in the national media thought they could do. They can take control of their own destiny and chase down the Houston Astros who are hearing loud footsteps behind them, leading the Rangers by just three small games.
If Texas wants the best path through the playoffs, they have to either catch the New York Yankees, who are four games up on the Rangers, for the top wild card spot in the American League or make up the three games in the AL West and win the division outright. The latter is doable and is more possible than it was this time two months ago.
The team is gelling at the right time and they’re getting different guys to step up with big hits from one game to the next. One night it’s Elvis Andrus, the next night it could be Adrian Beltre or Mitch Moreland or even the big fella, Prince Fielder.
Even Shin-Soo Choo, who fans were ready to run out of town a few months ago, has become the player the Rangers were hoping for when they signed him to a big free agent contract. Better late than never, I suppose.
They’re not only getting timely hits, and wins when they need them, but they’re getting bit pitching performances from Derek Holland and Cole Hamels and even though Yovani Gallardo had a rough night against San Diego on Tuesday night, he has come up big time after time and not trading him at this point looks brilliant right now because they have needed him to get where they are at this point in the season. Even Martin Perez and Colby Lewis give the team six to seven strong innings when they need it the most.
The Astros aren’t going to hand over the division to the Rangers on a silver platter. They are too good of a team to do that. The Los Angeles Angels are imploding right before our very eyes so it’s up to the entire roster, and new manager Jeff Banister who seems to have this team believing in something big, to get themselves into a position to make a deep run in the playoffs.
It’ll take a team effort from a group that has exceeded expectations and done what most thought they couldn’t. September baseball in Arlington matters again and it has fans watching the baseball team and not 100 percent focused on the team that’s about to begin their season down the street from Globe Life Park.
It’s possible. It’s doable. They just have to believe from one man to the next.
After one last night in San Diego, the rest of the month will be what decides if the Rangers play baseball past game 162. They have three with the Angels, seven against the Seattle Mariners, six against the Oakland Athletics, and six against the Astros before they finish the regular season with three, possibly huge games, at home against the Detroit Tigers.
These are big games and, the way they’re playing, they already believe they can win them all. And, in the words of their manager, they won’t ever, ever, quit.