The Texas Rangers Are a Great Team. Or Just a Good Team with Great Timing?

With a little help from Andres Blanco, your Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-3, Tuesday night. They are now 71-54, their lead in the American League West is 8.5 games and their magic number to clinch their first division title this millennium dwindled to 27 over the Anaheim Angels and 30 over the Oakland A's.

Sounds pretty damn good, huh?

Sensational. Magical even.

Not so fast.

Again, the Rangers are 17 games over .500. So how much better are they than last year's team?

They're not.

Actually after 124 games last year the Rangers had the same record as this year's team: 70-54. Those Rangers got within 3.5 games of first place as late as September 4 before limping to the finish at 87-75, 10 games out.

The difference isn't the Rangers, but the Angels. In 2009 on August 25 the Rangers were 5.5 games back of Anaheim. In 2010 they are 10 up.

Now, I realize the Rangers are well-equipped for a post-season journey considering Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson and MVP-candidate Josh Hamilton and a reliable bullpen.

But essentially aren't they the same team in a crappier division?

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