July 30, 2013
During the course of a 162-game Major League Baseball season, it could be hard to find a game that would qualify as a “must win,” especially in late July. If any team was facing that situation, it was the Texas Rangers on Monday night. Coming off of being swept by the Cleveland Indians on the shores of Lake Erie and having not scored a run in three of their last four games, things weren’t looking up for Texas as they began a series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. They were down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, and it appeared they were on their way to a fifth straight loss. Then an A.J. Pierzynski homerun to right-field, followed by a Geovany Soto homer to left-field, and suddenly the Rangers found themselves on the good end of a 4-3 comeback victory. As for the Angels, the loss was their fourth straight. Yes, it’s still not August and the Rangers still have some time and opportunities to make things happen, but this was a win the team needed desperately. Also considering the Oakland Athletics are threatening to runaway with the American League West, the urgency was even more magnified for the Rangers to get back on track. Over the last week, the Athletics have built the lead up to six games. From Thursday to Sunday, Oakland had the same amount of wins (three) as the number of times Texas was shut out. It was so bad the Rangers haven’t been able to score a run in the last 26 innings before finally breaking the drought with a run in the bottom of the sixth last night. Needless to say, Texas was struggling, and they couldn’t afford to lose anymore ground to Oakland. Every season has a turning point where it may go north, or way south. Hopefully, the win on Monday night is a proves to be a point where the Rangers can start to get on a little bit of a run. If the offense can find any type of consistency, this team is going to be tough to beat down the stretch. The pitching looks like the strength of the team when you can throw Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, newly acquired Matt Garza and Derek Holland out as your front line starters. The team is still in need of another hitter, and that need could be doubled if rightfielder Nelson Cruz is suspended from the Biogenesis investigation. With the trade deadline looming, there’s not a lot of time for the Rangers to get that bat. Only time will tell how the season will end up, but at least for one night, the Rangers were a happy bunch. That happiness hasn’t been seen in a little while with this ball club. It would be nice if we could see that happiness more. As for the division race, the Rangers will have some games with the Athletics coming up as they’ll start a three-game set in Oakland on Friday. As rough as the season has been at some points, the Rangers are still hanging in. Monday’s walk-off win showed as much, and one can bet the Rangers will fight until the end. In the big picture of things, that’s all we can ask for.
By Charles Taylor