What a difference a few days can make. Entering play on Friday night, the Texas Rangers were scratching and clawing, attempting to keep themselves in the playoff picture in the American League. Thanks to a sweep of the Seattle Mariners, in front of a raucous crowd at Globe Life Field, plus an even more surprising sweep of the Houston Astros (at the hands of the very ordinary Kansas City Royals), the Rangers now have a firm grip on the AL West. But as anyone who has followed this Texas club this year (or any season for that matter - see 2011 World Series game 6) knows; nothing is certain until it is in the books.
Texas Rangers have a chance to score 900 runs
Speaking of in the books. This Rangers club has a chance to do something that has only been done four times in franchise history; score 900 or more runs in the regular season. Early on the team was on pace to shatter the runs scored record of 945 set by the 1999 team, but some offensive woes over the last few months have slowed the pace of runs.
Currently the Rangers sit at 860 runs scored through 155 games played. That is an average of 5.55 runs per game. Texas will need to average 5.71 runs per game over their last seven games of the season to hit the milestone number of 900. Currently, the 2001 squad holds the 5th place spot in franchise history with 890 runs scored and 4th place belongs to the 2008 club with 901.
Reaching 900 runs is not a goal for the Rangers this week. Their goal is to make the playoffs and win the AL West, but if they are able to hit the 900 plus mark, that would be a sweet byproduct of a great season.
Texas Rangers laser focused on winning the AL West
Texas opens up a three-game slate against the stumbling Los Angeles Angels tonight in LA. The Angels, who were hanging around in the playoff picture for most of the season, have absolutely dropped off the radar over the last couple of months. Through the end of July, they had a record of 56-51 and were only 4.5 games out of the AL West lead. But after the ill-advised decision to not trade, soon to be free agent, Shohei Ohtani at the trade deadline, but instead actually traded for some players, the Angels are a shocking 14-35.
Date and Time
Probable Pitcher Rangers
Probable Pitcher Angeles
Mon 25th - 8:38 CT
Jon Gray RHP 8-8, 4.22 ERA, 135 SO
Patrick Sandoval LHP 7-13, 4.19 ERA, 126 SO
Tues 26th - 8:38 CT
Reid Detmers LHP 3-10, 4.64 ERA, 161 SO
Wed 27th - 8:38 CT
Dane Dunning RHP 11-6, 3.88 ERA, 129 SO
Griffin Canning RHP 7-7, 4.39 ERA, 134 SO
That isn't to say that the Rangers will, or should, take their struggling division rival lightly. The Angels would like nothing better than to play spoiler as the Rangers desperately want to make the playoffs and win the division. If Texas is looking for an example of a team playing spoiler, they only need to look at the Royals as they have taken five out of six games against the Astros over their last nine games played.
Jon Gray will take the mound tonight in the series opener and will look to rebound from his recent trials. Over his last six starts Gray is 0-2, has pitched 23 2/3 innings, has yielded 33 hits (7 of which were home runs), walked 13, has struck out 29, but has a 7.99 ERA, and a .327 batting average against. Not good numbers at all. But the remarkable number, is the Rangers record in those six starts. Despite Gray's issues, the Rangers are 4-2 in those six contests. Texas will look to make it 5-2 in his last seven starts tonight, but hopefully it is because of a solid outing by the right-handed hurler.
West Coast swing
The Rangers will stay on the West Coast all week as they finish up their 2023 regular season. After the series with the Angels the team will head north to take on the Seattle Mariners for the final four games of the year starting on Thursday.
Playoff baseball doesn't officially start until next week, and the Rangers haven't punched their ticket quite yet, but these games are as close to a playoff feel as they come without being the real thing. We will have to stay up a little later to witness them, but how exciting to be battling for the division with a week to go.