Rangers losing streak came at worst possible time to open door for division rivals

Texas got back in the win column on Wednesday, but the damage was already done.
Texas Rangers pitcher Jose Leclerc
Texas Rangers pitcher Jose Leclerc / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

No need to panic, Rangers fans, but there is some cause for concern. The Texas Rangers picked the worst possible time to lose five straight games. Texas was swept by the Colorado Rockies and have lost the series to the Cleveland Guardians. Thank goodness the Los Angeles Angels (who are without Mike Trout and have the worst record in the AL West) are up next.

Losing isn't fun, that's for sure. But it's been made worse by what else is happening within the division. In the midst of the Rangers' five-game slide has been the Houston Astros three-game winning streak (now four). Texas' arch nemesis is feeling their oats and are beginning to climb out of the AL West cellar.

Not only did the Astros win three in a row, but Houston has been on the smiling-side of the scoreboard in five of their last six games. Even the sticky situation with starter Ronel Blanco on Tuesday night didn't stop the Astros from gaining another game on the Rangers in the AL West standings.

Rangers losing streak coming as Astros beginning to heat up

When it comes to the AL West, most fans assumed that it was going to be a three-horse race throughout the season. The Los Angeles Angels lost Shohei Ohtani, so their chances of winning the division were over before the season began. The Oakland (soon to be Sacramento) A's are more concerned about where they'll be playing in 2029 than anything going on in 2024. This season was all about the Rangers, Astros, and Seattle Mariners.

But the early-season struggles the Astros were battling gave Rangers fans a false sense of security — believing perhaps that a new manager, contract squabbles with some of their biggest stars, and injuries would derail Houston's hopes of competing for the division crown.

But in the span of week, the Rangers have gone from 22-17 with an 8.5-game advantage over the Astros to 23-22 and a mere four-game lead over the defending AL West champions. In fact, the Rangers have ceded control of the division to the Mariners who now hold a 1.5-game lead over Texas.

Bruce Bochy's club needs to dig themselves out of this funk and get back to winning ball games. Of the Astros' next 11 games, eight are against opponents with a sub-.500 record. The Rangers play seven of their next 10 games against teams with a winning record. Sorry, Rangers fans, but the Astros aren't going away that easily.

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