Thanks to an obvious East Coast bias and its complete lack of competition, the AL West doesn’t get a lot of play here on Getting Blanked. Anytime a division features 25% injury-ravaged A’s, 25% offensively-challenged Mariners and the 25% charisma-devoid Angels; you aren’t left with much to talk about.
The incredible play from the Rangers makes it extra difficult to manufacture any storyline. The Rangers come into tonight’s action the winners of eleven games in a row, a fact that seems alien and unfamiliar due to its spanning the All Star break and most people are complete indifference towards the Texas Rangers. Texas sits four comfortable games up on the Angels in the AL West, with very little fanfare.
The well-worn Rangers narrative involves an explosive offense and generally bad pitching, wilted under the oppressive summer sun. A trip to the World Series last year proved they can indeed pitch in the heat of Texas. Over the last 30 days, the Ranges have a sparkling 17-7 record. They certainly score runs in bunches, averaging six runs per game over that stretch. Pretty much what we expect from the Arlington Stadium when the jet stream heats up.
The pitching is more than up to the task. The Rangers staff sports a tidy 3.45 xFIP across that span, good enough for the top ten in baseball. When your offense posts six runs every night, a top ten pitching staff is plenty.
Ian Kinsler is playing well and staying healthy, posting gaudy numbers both at the plate and in the field. Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton have eerily similar numbers over their last 100 plate appearances with 7 home runs and 18 runs scored apiece. Both sluggers have huge ISOs around .300 and wOBA at or around .390.
All five of their starters are turning in great turns, pitching deep into games and limiting home runs. C.J. Wilson is the best of the bunch, lasting at least 5 innings every time out this year, pitching at least 6 innings in all but two outings. The bullpen is bit of mixed bag, nothing a smart trade deadline acquisition won’t fix.
This is a team nobody wants to play come the playoffs. Seems obvious to say about the defending American League champions but with the Red Sox dramatic recovery and the Yankees serial killer-like focus & intensity, it is easy to overlook the AL West shoe-ins. For now, anyway.