Previously, we looked at some reasons the Texas Rangers might not have what it takes yet to win it all. However, there are still some fantastic arguments in the other direction, and maybe the glass really is half-full for one of baseball's hottest teams. So here are five thoughts that should give Texas fans hope for the final third of the season.
Reason 1 -- General Manager Chris Young
What can we say about Chris Young? Actually, what can we NOT say about him? The guy has been a master-mind at building this roster into a championship-caliber squad. From adding Jacob deGrom, Bruce Bochy and Mike Maddux in the offseason, and bringing in guys like Marcus Semien and Corey Seager the year before, there should have honestly been no surprises when he swung for the fences at this season's trade deadline. That's why first and foremost, the best thing to do is give credit where credit is due. He's the reason the Rangers are playing red-hot in August, and that's why he's also responsible for the second point.
Reason 2 -- The trade deadline was a catalyst for this club
Prior to the August 1 MLB trade deadline, Texas just seemed a bit sluggish. Which honestly, that's kind of understandable. The MLB season is the longest in sports and of the pro circuits, they play almost twice as many games per season as the second-closest competitors in the NHL and NBA. There are bound to be a few doldrums here and there. But once the news broke of the Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery trades, it's like a fire was lit under these players and something broke loose. Not to mention, both pitchers looked solid in their first starts for the Rangers, with the latter tossing six solid innings and allowing just two runs and striking out six. But the starters are not the only thing that have looked good thus far.
Reason 3 -- Clutch hitting has returned to Arlington
To see just how effective this lineup has been, look no further than Thursday's game with the Chicago White Sox. Yes, Scherzer started a little shaky, but as the radio play-by-play team pointed out that afternoon, the Sox got REALLY lucky on the six hits they amassed in those first two innings. Would you believe they had an average velocity of 80 MPH leaving the bat? The problem wasn't how well the Southsiders made contact with the ball, rather how well those hits saw their way into the gaps. But enough with the bats from Chicago.
The Rangers responded to that quick 3-0 deficit by chipping away an inning at a time. Josh Smith made it 3-1 with an RBI double to left in the second inning. The following inning, Adolis García hammered an RBI single to drive in Semien and make it 3-2. In the fourth, Mitch Garver slammed a no-doubter into left center to tie the score, and three hitters later, Semien put one deep into the left field seats to give the Rangers a lead they'd never turn back from and made it 4-3. But honestly, that's been the case most of the season for this team, who leads the league by a comfortable margin in batting average with runners in scoring position. And maybe the fans have had a bit to do with that.
Reason 4 -- Fans are showing up and showing out at Globe Life Field
The Rangers have boosted their attendance nearly 20% since 2022. With over 30,000 fans attending each game, it's made for an electric and exciting atmosphere in Arlington. Sure, they're still around the middle of the pack with the rest of Major League Baseball. But let's also not forget that GLF is a bit smaller than its predecessor. Now sure, more consistent sell-outs would put the Rangers at the top of the MLB list, but let's also not forget that this team has a history of fading when the hot months hit.
And while June and July made it appear that would be the trend again this season, the Rangers faithful have still continued to show up and be heard at a much louder clip than they did last season, making Globe Life Field feel like the mean streets of Queens.
And let's take this success one step at a time. If things go the way they seem to be for the remainder of this year, just imagine what the attendance will look and sound like in 2024! But let's not forget the final reason we should be optimistic about this team.
Reason 5 -- Bruce Bochy
There are few managers currently in the game like Bochy. With over 2,000 MLB wins, four pennants and three World Series rings to his credit entering the season, he trails only the Astros' Dusty Baker in wins among active managers. Bochy still has two more rings though, even though he's appeared in four less playoff series than Baker.
The Rangers skipper knows what it takes to win in the playoffs and furthermore, to win in the World Series. After all, Rangers fans witnessed it first-hand in 2010 when he won his first.
Sure, some will question his decisions from time to time, and he hasn't had a sterling record this season when it comes to winning challenges. But he knows how to manage players and he knows how to manage the game. And once the playoffs start, that's exactly the type of guy you want leading the charge from the dugout. The guy even came out of retirement to manage this squad, he was so excited by what he saw.
A lot of baseball remains to be played, and it will be exciting to watch. And if the current pace continues, there will be more games in October to watch and talk about, and it's been a while since Rangers fans have witnessed it. Maybe ... just maybe ... this is the year. One can only hope.