The second half of the season begins tonight for the Texas Rangers, and they know the importance of getting off to a strong start.
The Rangers are on an eight-game, 10-day road trip at Seattle for three games, and then move to Oakland for a two-game series and Anaheim for a three-game series.
“Looking for us to come out of the blocks hard,” manager Ron Washington said. “We’re coming out of the blocks in our division, so we better. We certainly showed what we were made of the last two games.”
Those last two games were walkoff victories over the Minnesota Twins leading into the All-Star break. The Rangers finished the first half at 52-34, four games ahead of the Angels in the American League West.
Still, the Rangers believe they haven’t played their best baseball yet. The offense hasn't found consistency, and the pitching staff isn't at full strength with Alexi Ogando, Neftali Feliz, Koji Uehara, Colby Lewis and Mark Lowe all on the disabled list.
“Hopefully those 3-4 days off will help us," Adrian Beltre said. "So we can be mentally fresh and start fresh."
Said Josh Hamilton: “We really haven’t played on all cylinders as a team yet this year, so excited to see that happen.”
Texas’ schedule to start the second half won’t be easy.
After the Seattle series this weekend, the Rangers have 10 of 11 series against teams who are .500 or better and in playoff contention, including two against Anaheim and Boston, as well as series against the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers.
“It’s tough,” Washington said. “I never looked at the schedule and thought it was going to be easy.”
-- Drew Davison