The Texas Rangers added to their winning streak last night with a walk-off win on a wild pitch from Pete Fairbanks. They have now won four in a row to open the second half. This is their longest winning streak since winning five in a row from June 2nd through June 6th. They have a chance to equal that season-high winning streak of five with a win on Tuesday night. Before we jump forward to the game on Tuesday let's look back at what are the four biggest reasons for this four-game winning streak.
The revival of the starting rotation
The success of this team early in the season was primarily led by the success of the starting rotation and a prolific offense. The rotation was going six or seven innings nearly every night and putting the bullpen in a position to have to pitch only two to three innings to close out wins. It was a formula that led this team to a 40-20 start.
The 12-19 mark leading into the break was primarily because the rotation was no longer going deep into games and the offense stunk with runners in scoring position. The bullpen pitched much better, but there were not many leads to protect. The reasons for these failure are many, but the main reason appears to be fatigue. The 30 games in 31 days prior to the break obviously wore on these players
The team has come out of the break and is playing refreshed and it is once again being led by the rotation. Keep in mind that Nathan Eovaldi has not pitched since the break and will go on Tuesday night. Jon Gray went six nnings, Andrew Heaney pitched 5 1/3, Martin Perez pitched five innings, and Dane Dunning on Monday night pitched seven innings. Each starter has pitched long enough to qualify for the win and that was not the case through much of June and into July.
Dunning had the best start of any of the starters on Monday night. He gave up two early runs on a Randy Arozarena sac fly in the first, and then a home run off the bat of Nathaniel's brother Josh in the second inning. He was lights out after that. He did not give up any more runs in his last five innings. He was pitching against Tampa ace Shane McClanahan, who is probably the leading contender for Cy Young award this season. Dunnings' ability to keep Tampa from adding to that lead allowed Texas to eventually take the lead.