The Texas Rangers are currently 48-39 and just a game and a half behind the Angels in the AL West. Not just are the Rangers firmly in contention to win the division, but I contend that they are in fact the favorite. Here’s why:
- Texas is 7-2 versus the Angels this year and have outscored them 58-43 in those games. The key is the 58 runs which is an average of over eight runs a game. The Rangers have destroyed the Angels’ pitching and have proven themselves as the better team
- Texas is 6-3 versus the Mariners. Third in the division at 46-42, the Mariners are in contention as well, but the Rangers have handled Seattle well this year. Overall, the Rangers are 18-8 against teams from the AL West. Half way through the season, the Rangers have proven themselves as the best team in the AL West based on games between the teams. The Angels are 11-16 and the Mariners are 16-15 against teams in their own division.
- Pitching. Pitching. Pitching. The Rangers finally have pitching. Kevin Millwood and Scott Feldman are bothhaving terrific seasons, with ERAs under four. Closer Frank Francisco has been very good out of the bullpen, which overall has been solid, not spectacular, but not terrible either. Their team ERA is just 9th in the AL, but the Rangers also have a 3.63 ERA since May 1st.
- Batting. The team also has a solid batting lineup. With Michael Young, Hank Blalock, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, and Marlon Byrd, the offense is something to be feared. Josh Hamilton has been injured much of the season, but is now ready to contribute for the second half of the season.
The Angels feasted on interleague play, going 14-4 during that time, but they are done playing NL teams for the rest of the regular season and that will cost them. Texas, meanwhile, has feasted on playing teams within their division and they have plenty of games left there. For the first time in many years, the Rangers have a team that can compete with anyone in the league. The offense and defense can stack up against the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Yankees and that’s why they will prevail in the AL West.