Everybody loves a nice blowout win, but one of the most important traits that can separate the “good” baseball teams from the “bad” baseball teams is the ability to finish out close ballgames. Thus far, the 2021 Texas Rangers have proven to be on the successful side of said trait, winning four of four extra inning ballgames this season.
Perched at 16-17 and just 3.0 games out of first place in the AL West at the moment, I’d make the argument that the Rangers have already exceeded expectations this season. Viewed as one of the league’s “bottom feeders” heading into Opening Day, the Rangers have quickly turned heads around baseball due to strong starts from a variety of different players.
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Guys like Kyle Gibson, Nick Solak, Nate Lowe, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Charlie Culberson, and of course Adolis Garcia come to mind when naming players who have helped guide the Rangers to their 16 wins.
This year’s Texas Rangers team undoubtedly has the “clutch gene.”
While the Rangers have definitely been playing solid baseball as of late, it’s their ability to battle during close ballgames that has really stood out to me recently. Not only are they 4-0 in extra inning affairs this season, but they’ve also shown a sense of resiliency during games that you typically don’t see out of below .500 clubs.
Even in some of the team’s recent losses, they were by a very slim margin. They lost to the Twins 6-5 on May 3rd, the Angels 4-3 on April 28th, and the White Sox 2-1 on April 24th.
While you’d obviously prefer to see Texas grabbing the W in every single close game they play moving forward, watching the team battle and keep scores close on a regular basis is a really good sign for the team’s future potential.
Moving forward, the Rangers have themselves some interdivisional play against the Seattle Mariners, with a chance to finish the weekend over .500 should they secure a sweep. Hopefully the Rangers make quick work of the Mariners during each game, but if not, I’m still feeling rather good about the team’s chances to grind out a close one based on the manner in which they’ve already performed in the clutch this season.