2010 to 2019 was unquestionably the most successful decade in the history of the Texas Rangers franchise. It saw two American League pennants, four divisional titles, and both the highs and lows of electric players like Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder and Joey Gallo, just to name a few.
I, just like the rest of you, have had to come to terms with the fact that the high points of this franchise are pretty meek in the grand scheme of things. Our not-so-friendly neighbors down south have been to three World Series and five straight American League Championship series in the last five seasons. Only Cleveland has a longer drought without a championship – and they actually have won two, so the Rangers are the team with the longest current drought WITHOUT a title.
The effervescent medicine for hurting baseball fans like us is that the brightest days are ahead of us. I always tell my Rangers friends that all the pain we have endured will one day lead to the sweet, succulent aroma of a well-earned World Series trophy, and all the hurt will accumulate into a grandiose feeling of pure ecstasy. And it will! Someday, the Texas Rangers are going to dogpile aside the pitchers’ mound and throw their gloves into the air and “World Series Champions” will be in the @Rangers Twitter bio. There will be a parade and everything. It WILL happen. Maybe not in 2022, maybe not even by 2122, but someday.
But, right now, owners and players don’t like each other, and I’m trying to think of things to write about. So, today, we’ll be looking at what stand out – at least in my humble opinion – as the ten greatest Texas Rangers games from 2010 to 2019. It is easy to get swept away in the broad strokes of success and to forget about some of the individual performances that got us to those points. I could include games that were objectively good from the eyes of a baseball fan (a la Game 6 from the ’11 World Series), but this is a list of the best *Rangers* games – the most thrilling matches where the good guys came out on top.
The 10 best Texas Rangers games of the 2010s
#10: Rangers clinch AL West in 2015 (October 4): Rangers 9, Angels 2
Starting off the list, we’ve got a nice little trip down memory lane with our old friend Cole Hamels.
Hamels was a wildly discussed target for Texas in the summer of 2015, and it had been a while since the club fronted a true ace. His acquisition at the trade deadline on July 31 turned out to be a monumental push for the Rangers, as they were gifted a 7-1 record from Hamels, as well as a 116 ERA+ and a 1.195 WHIP.
All of his dominance, however, climaxed on his very last start of the 2015 regular season. Texas entered the final game of the year with a one-game lead over Houston for the divisional crown, but what I think really stands out about this game is that it was the first real “we’re back” moment for the fans since Game 6 in 2011, even though the club would go on to lose in historic fashion to Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays in the ALDS.
The Angels jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a 2-run home run from Albert Pujols, but Hamels absolutely shut the Angels down the rest of the way. He finished with a complete game three-hit effort, Adrian Beltre drove in three runs, and the Rangers offense coasted the rest of the way.
Ultimately, this game isn’t an all-time highlight of the franchise, but it was such a moral win for a franchise that had seen a lot of heartbreak over the last few years. 2014 was a miserable season ridden with injuries, and the club saw the departure of Ron Washington. The Rangers lost the Game 163 tiebreaker to the Rays at home. The Rangers lost the 2012 Wild Card game to the Orioles at home. We all know how 2011 ended. It was an (albeit brief) instantaneous burst of joy to celebrate a Rangers turnaround for the better.