The Prologue -- an epic slump
For the Texas Rangers, it's amazing what a difference a week can make. Just last Friday, they entered play against the Oakland Athletics craving, needing, yearning for a win. And honestly, nobody cared how it would come about, either. Yet while a win sounded nice, a series win felt like something talked about by Rangers fans of yore: Stuff of legends, if you will. Series victories were tall tales about ancient heroes passed down by the elders of Rangers fandom.
At the time, Texas had dropped six of their previous seven games and dropped five of their previous six series. During that stretch, they completed the month of August with a 3-10 stretch and for the 19 games played over that time had a 4-15 record to show for it. Indeed, it was the worst of times.
Vanquishing the foes from the west
To most, that series-opening loss to Oakland at home last Friday night looked like much of the same. The Rangers jumped out to an early lead, only to squander it by the mid-point and the A's never looked back. But then, it happened. Like the story of Excalibur and King Arthur, Nathaniel Lowe drew the Rangers' swords ... er, bats out of the stone ... well, equipment bags, and ignited a victorious offensive assault on their foes like we hadn't seen in a long time.
Granted, the 3-2 score from Saturday didn't really showcase those bats, but Sunday's 9-4 series-clincher sure got some "ooh's and aah's" from the spectators. Six of the nine Texas offensive starters drove in a run, and the Rangers had won their first series in nearly two weeks.
Traveling to conquer the northern adversaries
The team then headed north for an international showdown with the Toronto Blue Jays, and they definitely kept their weapons unsheathed for the duration. They opened the conflict by pushing across 10 runs, which included rookie Evan Carter's first big league long ball and a Jonah Heim grand slam as the highlights.
The following night, the front lines of the Texas attack relied less on the heavier hits, although they still got a big homer from Robbie Grossman to fire the first salvo in the fourth.
The third skirmish featured a relentless barrage of home runs and skilled defense as Lowe, Grossman and Mitch Garver all left the yard. Meanwhile, Jordan Montgomery pitched seven brilliant shutout innings of four-hit ball. This of course guaranteed a triumphant excursion for the Rangers, but they didn't want to settle for just that. They wanted all of the spoils.
In the finale, as if wielding one final blow of superiority over the Blue Jays, the armaments remained steady for Texas. Corey Seager homered in the first to set the tone, and although Toronto would answer back immediately, he continued where he started in the first by driving in two more runs in the second with a two-out double. Meanwhile, the bullpen tacked up a clean sheet for the second consecutive encounter between the teams. On the series, the Rangers outscored the Blue Jays by a combined score of 35-9 in four games for an average margin of victory of 6.5 runs per game.
What looms next for the Texas Rangers
The battalion will head slightly southwest approximately 300 miles to northern Ohio for a clash with the Cleveland Guardians. Meanwhile, the rival squad of the Houston Astros (seated just a half-game ahead in the AL West standings now) will face the Kansas City Royals on the road for a triad of meetings. The Seattle Mariners (now seated a game behind Texas in the AL West) will host the Los Angeles Dodgers for three encounters. And finally, the battered and bruised Blue Jays (sitting two and a half games behind Texas in the wild card race) will host the Boston Red Sox for three sorties. For the Rangers, the march forward for October moves onward with just five series to go and 16 overall battles left! Godspeed, gentlemen ... godspeed.