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After an Up and Down August, It’s Go-Time for the Texas Rangers

After an Up and Down August, It’s Go-Time for the Texas Rangers

The Rangers finished the month of August with a record of 15-12, which is crazy given the downhill slope the team took went down the back end of the month. Texas entered the month with a half-game lead over the Astros, but that’s not the staggering part. The Seattle Mariners gained six games on the Rangers in a month where Texas had an eight-game winning streak. August was a Jekyll and Hyde month where the team hit .265 for the first half and scored 82 runs but hit .237 with 47 runs scored in the back half.

Of course, the offense suffered a setback, but the Rangers pitching staff had a more drastic turn throughout August. In the first half, the Rangers pitching staff bolstered a 2.07 ERA, and the bullpen was lights out at a 2.06 ERA clip. During the rough patch at the end, starters struggled to a 4.77 ERA, and the bullpen inflated to a 5.94 ERA. If I had to pinpoint a few precisely, Josh Sborz posted a 1.29 ERA in 7 appearances to start the month but finished allowing five runs in 2.1 (19.29 ERA) to close out the month. Aroldis Chapman walked six in his last five outings of the month compared to walking two in his first eight. Finally, Grant Anderson, who showed exceptional results in his rookie season, saw struggles that eventually sent him down to Triple-A Round Rock. It was as 180 of a month as anyone has ever seen.

Now it’s go time; the Rangers begin a nine-game home stand to start September with a familiar foe in the Minnesota Twins. After two gut-wrenching losses and a blowout loss, Texas looks to take advantage of home-field against a potential playoff opponent. However, the key is the middle series of the home stand against the Houston Astros, a team for the first time this season is looking down on the Rangers instead of up. Finally, the nine-game home stand concludes with a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics, a team Texas took 2 of 3 from in each of the three series this season.

Texas enters September a game back of both the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. Looking ahead to all three teams (Texas, Seattle, and Houston), six of the nine series for the Rangers are against teams with winning records, including one with the Astros and two with the Mariners. Seattle has a tough road trip to start the month with stops in Cincinnati and Tampa Bay and a series with the Dodgers in Seattle. The Mariners conclude their season with seven against the Rangers and three against the Astros. Finally, Houston has six games against the Kansas City Royals, but their last two weeks come against the Orioles, Mariners, and Diamondbacks (who could be in the thick of the NL Wild Card). At first glance, the Astros seem to have the easier road but have played two more games than the Mariners and Rangers.

As Bruce Bochy mentioned on Monday, go-time is now, and with 29 games remaining on the schedule, one game could determine if the Rangers make an auto-bid to the ALDS, play a wild card game, or if another skid happens, another playoff-less season. It feels fitting that the first two starters the Rangers send out against Minnesota are Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery. Now we wait and enjoy September baseball (hopefully).

Credentialed Media Staff Writer covering the Texas Rangers for Dallas Sports Fanatic | 2014 University of North Texas graduate with a Bachelor's in Radio, Television, and Film. I talk about things. Find me on the tweeter @aplinckTX

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