cheesin'As the Texas Rangers enjoyed their off day on Thursday, the team had a lot to reflect on and look forward to at the same time. The August schedule was a time that was looked at as a chance to pick up some momentum and carry it through the rest of the season. The Rangers have definitely taken advantage, as they have complied a 15-4 record during the month. This stretch has the team in first place in the American League West, holding a 2.5 game lead over the Oakland Athletics. The Rangers will now go on a six-game road trip, starting with a weekend series with the Chicago White Sox in the windy city. The trip will conclude with a series in the pacific northwest with the Seattle Mariners. It appears the Rangers are starting to peak at the right time. It seems like just yesterday when the free agency period passed, and Rangers fans were wondering why the team didn’t make any moves to try and sure up the offense. Right fielder Nelson Cruz was facing suspension for his connection with Miami clinic Biogenesis. Cruz, at the time he was suspension, lead the team in homeruns (27) and runs batted in (RBIs, 76). Even with Cruz in the lineup, Texas’ bats have been up and down during the course of this season. A little consistency could go a long way. Enter Alex Rios, the former White Sox outfielder who the Rangers were able to claim off of waivers. Rios not only give the Rangers a much needed bat, he also brings speed on the base pass, having stolen 30 bases with Chicago and Texas this season. With the players on the current roster, manager Ron Washington has as many options as anyone can remember. That does included the teams that went to back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011. A lot of these players, such as shortstop Elvis Andrus, second baseman Ian Kinsler and third baseman Adrian Beltre, have been able to get some days off from the field because you have backups such as Jurickson Profar who can step in. In the outfield, Leonys Martin and Rios can be replaced by Craig Gentry or David Murphy. What makes the different options so valuable is there isn’t a lot of drop-off offensively or defensively when you make these substitutions. The pitching has continued to be the strength of the team, and should continue to be just that. I don’t want to get too happy, but it looks promising the Rangers can make another run at the World Series. The stock is on the rise at the perfect time, and they will need that chemistry they’ve developed as they head down the home stretch. If August is any indication, things will be bright deep in the heart of Texas.

By Charles Taylor

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