Don't Look Now, But We've Got Ourselves a Rangers' Pennant Race

Well, that didn't take long.

From almost 8 games a week ago tonight, the Rangers' lead in the AL West is suddenly down to 2.5. The magic number, seemingly tumbling toward the 20s, is now stuck at 30.

This is a good thing.

Because, seriously, if the lead stretched to 10 we'd all get bored the last month of the season. Now, especially with the second-place Angels coming into Arlington this weekend, baseball is getting interesting. Baseball is getting dangerous. Baseball is getting fun.

What's not good is how we got here. Mike Adams gives up a 2-run homer in Anaheim last Thursday night, the Rangers don't finish the sweep and now they've lost 5 of 7 including last night's 13-2 blowout to the Red Sox.

The last two nights Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison have been vomitspit awful, each allowing seven earned runs and never giving Texas a chance. Team president Nolan Ryan says his team looks tired. Nelson Cruz is in a slump. Adrian Beltre is still out. The Rangers are relying on a no-hitting dude named Omar Quintanilla.

And there was even a break-dancer named "Bat Boy McCoy" atop the team's dugout last night.

Things ain't going great. But ...

Isn't it also who the Rangers are playing as much as how they're playing?

Texas crafted that earlier 12-game winning streak against Baltimore, Oakland and Seattle and stormed into Anaheim with momentum last week by feasting on the A's and Mariners. This just in: Boston is better than Oakland.

The 11-run loss last night is the biggest of the season. And, unlike last week, the Angels are gearing up for this weekend's big three-game series in Arlington.

Late last night I was watching Jered Weaver cruise against the White Sox when manager Mike Scioscia pulled him after 7 innings. Why? So he could pitch in Sunday's series finale against the Rangers. Up 8-0 on Chicago Weaver left after 96 pitches, even though he'd thrown at least 110 in 16 of his previous 17 outings. Maybe Ervin Santana will also pitch on three days' rest this weekend.

After further review the Angels aren't dead. And the Rangers are in the midst of 16 consecutive games against teams with winning records until they get another dose of Oakland come Sept. 9.


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