By the end of the day, the Rangers could be one game out in the Wild Card chase, 3.5 games out in the West.
Or they could be four behind Boston, and 6.5 in back of the Angels.
They’re all big now, but a September doubleheader is something different altogether.
A tuck-away note, as Texas made personnel adjustments at half of the club’s defensive positions going into this season: The Rangers’ club record for fewest unearned runs allowed in a season is 50. They accomplished it twice, in 1996 and 1999, both playoff seasons.
With under four weeks to play, Texas has allowed 30 unearned runs this year. Only Philadelphia (29) has permitted fewer.
Last year: 107 unearned, the most in franchise history, and the worst in baseball in 2008, by a lot. Next most: 82 (Nationals).
The reference to 1996 and 1999 isn’t to suggest that those deficits in the division and Wild Card races are meaningless and to be dismissed. But defense, more so than pitching and offensive production, tends to show up with some consistency from year to year in a given player or set of players, and the vastly improved defense on this club (evidenced not only by fewer unearned runs but also by more plays made), while not as celebrated as some other aspects, is an important reason to feel very good about where this thing is headed over the next few years.
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(c) Jamey Newberg