cheesin'When the Texas Rangers began an 11-game home stand last Monday, it was supposed to be a time where the team could take advantage of some home cooking. The home stand actually began pretty well with a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians. What followed afterwords has the Rangers, and us as fans, scratching their heads. The Indians would take the last two games of the three-game set, then the Rangers were swept in a four game series by the Toronto Blue Jays. During the six-game losing streak, the Rangers couldn’t score any more than two runs in each game. Over the course of this season, the offense has been inconsistent, but this was a complete slump. Not only has this slump contributed to a six-game losing streak, it also put the Rangers behind the Oakland Athletics for first place in the American League West division. On Monday night, the Rangers began a four-game set with the Athletics, and it was probably as big of a series a team can have during a baseball season in mid-June. Texas came into the series three games behind Oakland in the standings, but were able to win three out of the four to trim the Athletics’ lead to one game in the division. Not only did the Rangers get a much needed series win against a division rival, they were able to salvage a home stand that began with the team losing six of the first seven games. The last victory was a 4-3 decision on Thursday afternoon, and the game was ended on a play at the plate, where Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus threw out Oakland’s Josh Donaldson. Things won’t get any easier for the Rangers, as they now have to go on the road and play back-to-back series against the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees. The Cardinals are the owners of the best record in Major League Baseball, and the Yankees are, well, the Yankees. Let’s be honest with ourselves. The Rangers’ latest skid had the look of something that could have the team spiraling out of control. The starting pitching, outside of the ace Yu Darvish, has been inconsistent at best. This was on top of the struggles the offense has seen. But even with everything the team has gone through, you can never doubt the heart and grit the team plays with. Let’s not forget the team lost some players who were crucial parts of the team’s success over the past few years. The replacements that were brought in are good solid, players in their own right, but those stretches of inconsistency will still happen from time to time. All a team can do is keep playing, and the Rangers do just that. Everything else will fall in to place as long as a team is willing to put in the work. Maybe the best is yet to come from the Rangers as the season goes on. The team is getting healthier, getting players such as second baseman Ian Kinsler back from the disabled list. Kinsler had a big hit in Thursday’s game that help propel the Rangers to victory. With some health, along with the effort, the Rangers can still be one of the best teams in the league. We can only hope as Rangers fans.

By Charles Taylor

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