The Time Is Now For The Texas Rangers
The time is now for the 2013 Texas Rangers. After taking two out of three at the first place Oakland A’s over the weekend, the Rangers now find themselves just 2.5 games out of first place in the AL West. Since being swept by the Cleveland Indians on July 28tt and falling to a season high six games out of first place, the Rangers have won six of their last seven games. If this team is to make a push toward another division title they will need to take advantage of their upcoming stretch of games against lesser opponents.
Starting tonight in Anaheim, the Rangers’ next 24 games come against opponents with a measly combined record of 274-385 (14-26 vs. TEX). During the same stretch of games, Oakland will be facing much stronger opponents who are a combined 19 games over .500 and 23-22 vs. Oakland on the season. Some of these opponents include the first place Detroit Tigers and possible playoff contenders Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays.
When these two teams meet again on September 2nd in Oakland, it is very possible that the Rangers could be in control of the division by several games. This will all be contingent on how the Rangers offense can fare if/when they lose outfielder Nelson Cruz to suspension, which appears to be very likely at this point according to SportsDay DFW. The Rangers will sorely miss Cruz’s production from the lineup and will need players such as Mitch Moreland and David Murphy to step up in his absence.
The next 24 games may play a pivotal role in deciding which team will win the American League West in 2013. If the Rangers can beat up on much weaker competition they may have a chance to leapfrog Oakland by the time these two teams meet again in September. If not, expect this divisional race to come down to the last few games of the season. After losing the division on final game of the season last year, that is the last thing the Rangers want to happen.