It's August. But after watching the Rangers clobber the second-place Angels the last two nights it sure feels like October.
As in, the West is all but won. On to the playoffs already.
For the second consecutive night the Rangers' offense pounced on an overwhelmed Anaheim starter and staff. Monday night they built an 8-1 bulge and Tuesday looked similar with Texas leading 5-0 by the 3rd inning.
Michael Young had three of the Rangers' 17 hits and Josh Hamilton homered before leaving with back spasms that aren't considered serious. Even missing big stick Adrian Beltre, the Rangers have obliterated the Angels early in two four-run wins.
Last night's 7-3 win -- guided along by an impressive performance by Derek Holland -- improved the Rangers to a season-best 19 games over .500 at 71-52. The reeling Angels have lost four in a row.
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A big reason Texas' magic number has dwindled to 34? The Angels weren't prepared for this series.
Manager Mike Scioscia had the chance to massage his pitching rotation so that the Angels threw Dan Haren and Jered Weaver in the first two games. Instead, Haren won't pitch and Anaheim starters Garrett Richards and Tyler Chatwood were boxed about the ears. The reward for Scioscia's stubborness? The Rangers have a season-high 6-game lead and have the Angels on the ropes.
I'm not saying the Angels didn't take the series seriously. But if it wasn't a crucial four games for both teams coming in, these last two are indeed now vital for one of the teams.