The Texas Rangers enter Monday 1.5 games out of the Wild Card standings.
I am sure that everyone has heard enough whining about how the team has fallen apart in the last month and now they might not even have a shot a playoffs, so I am not going to focus on the negative. Rather, what really matters is that Texas has seven more games this season and they are all in Arlington. The stage is set for the Rangers to make a playoff run and steal a Wild Card spot.
The first series in this homestand is against baseball’s finest, the Houston Astros. Normally I would say that Rangers fans should breathe a sigh of relief…but that might jinx something. Texas has played well against their intrastate rival, taking the last 9 of 10, however this series should not be overlooked. Texas needs to hit the Astros hard and not get lazy on the field. The energy of this Houston team could really help them in a low scoring ballgame where the decision is based on hustle.
With a four game series against the Angels following this one it could be very easy for Ron Washington and the Rangers to come out lackadaisical against Houston. However, a sweep against the Astros could seat Texas right back in the Wild Card standings and give them the confidence they need against Los Angeles.
Nathan just recorded his 40th save of the season Saturday. He is currently 6th in the league in saves recorded. Nathan’s talents may be essential to Texas’ playoff run if the team is unable to put up crooked figures on the board.
Andrus is hot right now. He is hitting just under .300 with 7 RBI’s and an uncharacteristic 2 home runs. He has been a silent but important part of this lineup all season but now he is starting to flex a little but more and drive in runs. Look for Andrus to be in clutch situations in these next two series.
Power, Power, Power
It seems to me that home runs are often what is produced when there is a lot of adrenaline flowing in a pressure situation. The Rangers would do themselves well to make sure a few guys in their lineup are ready to launch a few. All-Star Adrian Beltre has certainly not been one of those guys during the month of September. He only has 1 homerun in the last 30 days. Texas wants a problem to correct? Try starting with the fact that your three-spot hitter has fewer homeruns than your shortstop!
Ogando threw a scoreless seven innings Sunday against the Royals. He had 5 K’s and only allowed two hits. Good numbers for Ogando so I am interested to see if this trend continues.
This is crunch time for the Texas Rangers. I expect to see very good, technical baseball coming out of Arlington this week. I am talking hit and runs, suicide squeezes, and double steals baseball. Ron Washington is going to roll up his sleeves and grind out a Wild Card berth for the Rangers.