Rangers Roundup: August 23rd


After being shutout in the series opener against the Detroit Tigers, the Rangers rebounded to take the next three of the series to jump over the Angels into sole possession of second place in the AL west and now are in sole possession of the second wild card spot. June was the last time they held either of those distinctions.

It goes without saying that every series from here on out is crucial, but this next week is perhaps more crucial than others because they welcome the Blue Jays, a team in contention for the AL east/first wild card spot, and the Orioles, one of the teams chasing them for the second wild card spot, to Arlington.

Apr 10, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland (45) throws a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday the Rangers open the series against Toronto with Derek Holland going to the mound against Mark Buehrle. In his first start in over four months, Holland looked fantastic against the Mariners, throwing 6.1 innings and allowing just two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts. Wednesday Colby Lewis goes against Toronto ace David Price and in the series finale Yovani Gallardo takes on Marco Estrada.

This will be as stiff of a test as the Rangers will face the rest of the season as they goes against a Toronto lineup that has produced the most runs in the majors by a wide margin. Toronto’s 670 runs so far this season are 85 more than second place–the New York Yankees. Furthermore the Jays are on pace to score about 875 runs, which would be the most in baseball since 2011, when Boston produced 875 runs. For a little more perspective, last year the Angels lead the majors with 773 runs scored. The Jays will breeze past that number before season’s end. Toronto also has the top run differential in the majors at +164, far ahead of second place St. Louis at +109. In their three game set against the Angels over the weekend, the Jays scored 36 runs. Needless to say, the Jays have been on a tear in August, losing only four games this month and just nine since the break. But the Rangers have won 12 of 16 games at home since the break, including 10 of their last 12. Something’s gotta give in this series.

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While not putting up monster numbers, the Rangers offense has been among the best too. The Rangers are tied with the Rockies for fifth in the majors with 548 runs, and they are doing with a lot more than just the longball. The Rangers are top 10 in RBIs and batting average in addition to being top 10 in homeruns. The power throughout the lineup is balanced, with Mitch Moreland leading the Rangers with 18 homeruns, tied for 41st in the majors. The Rangers also have speed on the basepaths, with 71 stolen bases they are tied for third in the AL. While the Jays offense has certainly stolen the show recently with enormous displays of power, the Rangers offense has more versatility and can beat teams in a number of ways.