The Texas Rangers must step up their game as the Houston Astros close in on AL West

Jul 2, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) runs the bases
Jul 2, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) runs the bases / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers have been in a fierce battle with the Houston Astros throughout the 2023 MLB season, for the top spot in the AL West division. Their once comfortable lead is dwindling, as the Astros have closed the gap to just two games. The Rangers must address their recent shortcomings and elevate their performance in the second half of the season if they hope to maintain their aspirations of winning the division title.

The Rangers' batting statistics for the 2023 season demonstrate their overall competency at the plate. They have consistently reached base with a team batting average of .274 and an on-base percentage of .341. Their power numbers are also commendable, with 124 home runs and a slugging percentage of .460, resulting in an impressive .801 OPS. These figures indicate that the Rangers possess the offensive firepower to compete at a high level.

On the pitching front, the Rangers have had mixed success in 2023. Their win-loss record of 52-39 equates to a respectable .571 winning percentage. However, their team ERA of 4.01 reveals room for improvement. The pitching staff has shown some vulnerability in allowing 359 earned runs over 805 1/3 innings pitched. Nevertheless, they have recorded 730 strikeouts, displaying the ability to generate outs when needed.

The Houston Astros, the reigning 2022 World Champions, have quietly closed in on the Texas Rangers

Houston's batting statistics highlight their offensive prowess, albeit slightly trailing the Rangers in certain areas. With a team batting average of .247 and an on-base percentage of .316, the Astros have been productive, but not as consistent as their rivals. They have, however, launched 108 home runs, showcasing their power potential.

The Astros' pitching staff has been instrumental in pursuing the division title. With a win-loss record of 50-41 and an ERA of 3.66, they have exhibited a more robust overall performance than the Rangers. Holding opponents to 331 earned runs over 814 innings pitched, they have demonstrated greater control and efficiency on the mound. Their impressive strikeout count of 843 reveals their ability to overpower opposing hitters.

As the Houston Astros continue to close in on the Texas Rangers in the AL West division, the Rangers must acknowledge their recent decline in form. While their batting statistics have been solid throughout the season, their pitching staff must improve their performance to maintain their lead. Addressing the pitching inconsistencies and enhancing their overall team ERA will be crucial for the Rangers to fulfill their aspirations of winning the division.

With the second half of the season getting underway tonight, the Rangers must regroup and find ways to outperform the Astros. They have the offensive firepower to keep up, but their pitching staff must step up and deliver consistent performances. By tightening their defense and finding ways to limit opponents' runs, the Rangers can re-establish their dominance and stay ahead of the Astros in the race for the AL West division crown.