It seems that no matter how many previews I write in 2016 for the New York Yankees, their record will always be around the not-so-magical .500 mark. The Bombers are now 37-37, 7 1/2 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East and 2 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot, tied with four other teams. They are 3-2 on the current nine game homestand which continues tonight. However, the competition steps up right now. Into the Bronx for four games come the Texas Rangers.
In case you have been swooped up in Chicago Cubs mania, you have missed the fact that it has been Texas (and their 2010 World Series opponents the San Francisco Giants) that have the most wins in the Majors with 49. Perhaps even more remarkable is how the Rangers have even gotten to this point. Yu Darvish has made a total of two starts because of injuries. They have had an upheavel in the closer’s role with Sam Dyson replacing Shawn Tolleson. Prince Fielder is hitting .211 with an on-base percentage below .300. High-priced Shin-Soo Choo has missed two months because of injuries. So how are the Rangers doing it?
It is a combination of a productive offense and quality pitching when it counts. The Rangers rank sixth in the Majors in runs scored and seventh batting average. Center fielder Ian Desmond has been one of the best pickups for any team as he is hitting .322 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI’s. Right fielder Nomar Mazara has been one of the top rookies in the game, hitting .287 with 11 homers and 31 RBI’s. Since being recalled at the end of May, Jurickson Profar has finally lived up to the hype of being named the number one overall prospect a couple of years back. He has seen time at both first and second and is hitting .348 in 92 at-bats.
Despite being dead last in the Majors in strikeouts as a staff, Texas boasts a trio at the top of the rotation that is hard to beat. Cole Hamels has really settled in in his first full season in the Lone Star State with a record of 8-1 and an ERA of 2.79. Colby Lewis is 6-1 with a 3.21 ERA, dropping that number by almost a run and a half since last year. Martin Perez leads the team with 16 games started and is 7-4 with a 3.44 ERA. Dyson has shaken off that fallout from last year’s Jose Bautista bat flip to convert 15 of 16 save opportunities with a 1.93 ERA. Matt Bush, with his felonious past and burden of being the first overall pick in 2004, has carved out quite a comeback as a reliever with a 2.29 ERA in 21 games.
One other stat that is interesting about Texas. Since that brawl against the Toronto Blue Jays last month, they are 28-11, including 18-6 in the month of June. Maybe that was the jumping off point for the Rangers to where they are today.
Like Subwaybaseball on Facebook and follow on Twitter @subwaybaseball