If Six Flags is looking to name a new rollercoaster, they could name their next one, "2023 Texas Rangers". There have been more ups and downs in this season than most that I can recall. To the team's credit, they have hung on tight, and battle back from the dead multiple times over the last several months. They will have to fight back yet again if the playoffs are in their future.
Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Ed Kasputis, the creator of Baseball PhD podcast which has been around for over a decade. Ed was a pleasure to visit with, and I enjoyed our time talking baseball in general, and specifically Texas Rangers baseball. Baseball PhD focuses on the ballparks where games are played and the teams that occupy them.
Ed has been to Arlington to both the new and old (old is a relative term) stadiums. We shared our love for the new Globe Life Field, and how having a climate-controlled setting in Texas is a game changer for both the fans and the players. Plus, he was especially fond of the Texas Live setup. With the adjacent hotel (soon to be hotels), in addition to Jerry's World, Arlington is now quite the entertainment destination.
A big part of the conversation revolved around the current state of the team and their playoff chances. We recorded our conversation last Wednesday evening as the Rangers and Blue Jays were just getting started with their third game of the series. Since that point in time, Texas finished off the four-game sweep of Toronto, to only find themselves getting swept by the down and out Cleveland Guardians. Again, rollercoaster ride anyone?!
I stand by my predictions (although I hope I am wrong about the AL West) that Ed and I fleshed out last week for his Rangers episode. With the Astros holding the tiebreaker over the Rangers and sitting at 1.5 games in front of Texas in the AL West, the division is Houston's to lose. Texas currently has 2 less wins than Houston and thus will need to record three more wins than them over the last two weeks of the season to claim the AL West title.
To me, the more reasonable path to the playoffs at this point is via the wild card. Toronto is back ahead of Texas in the standings by 0.5 game, but the Rangers do hold the tiebreaker over them. And then there is the looming seven games that remain on the Rangers schedule against Seattle, who is one game behind Texas. The Rangers control their own destiny, and this late in the season that is all you can ask for (unless your team is really dominant and already clenched a playoff berth - see Braves, Dodgers, Orioles, and Rays).
The Rangers have 13 games left. That's it, 13. The journey of the 2023 regular season is quickly coming to an end. In just two weeks we will know if we will be spending money on playoff tickets and postseason merch or diving headlong into football, basketball, or perhaps hockey while being envious over other MLB teams, as they play October baseball.