It is becoming clear that the American League West will be a very exciting division throughout the summer with the Oakland Athletics leading the way and the Los Angeles Angels finally making a push with all of their talent.
While those two teams front the pack, the Texas Rangers — despite injuries — are not falling out of the race. The Rangers picked up a series win over the Minnesota Twins after a 5-4 victory at Target Field Thursday. Rougned Odor drove in the game-winner in the eighth inning when he brought in Leonys Martin with a sacrifice fly.
The Rangers have now won seven of their last nine games and moved to within 4.5 games of the first-place A’s after the game. The Rangers have tossed more shutouts than any other MLB team and the offense is slowly coming around. Shin-Soo Choo drove in three runs Thursday and is looking like the player they hoped to have after signing him in the offseason. He is dealing with a bum ankle, but can still stick it as well as anyone.
The pitching staff is certainly a mish-mash of tossers, but with Yu Darvish slated to make his return Sunday, the team will have their ace back. Darvish was scratched earlier this week, but should be back to form for his start this weekend. If injuries do not bog him down, the Rangers know they have an almost sure win every five days.
The remainder of the staff does not offer any big names, but it is consistent enough to give the Rangers a chance every day. The pitching staff does not — and should not — have to be perfect for Texas to compete because the offense has the ability to put up runs in bunches.
It will not be easy for the Rangers to stay within reaching distance of the Athletics and Angels, but there is enough in Arlington to keep fans interested no matter how hot the Texas heat gets this summer.