ARLINGTON, Texas - Just when you thought it was safe to order Texas Rangers American League Divisional round tickets without the fear of having your money applied to next season's mini-plan, they are doing it again.
I never thought thought they could do this again, not after last season's collapse starring Josh Hamilton.
Don't blame this latest Rangers gag on the absence of right fielder Nelson Cruz, although that doesn't help. After the Rangers' 7-5 loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete their three-game sweep I asked Rangers manager Ron Washington why this team in 2013 will not collapse the way they did in 2012.
(BTW - The Rangers rank ninth in the MLB in runs scored, and seventh in batting average.)
The Rangers are going to be three games behind Oakland for first in the AL West by Thursday morning.
To the 2013 Rangers credit, they are not waiting until the last week of the regular season to blow the division title the way they did last season. They're getting that done right now.
On Sept. 24, 2012 the Rangers led the A's by 5 games in the AL West and did not win the title.
On Sept. 1, 2013 the Rangers led the A's by 1 game in the division.
While the offense has been awful, the rotation and now the bullpen can be thrown in the bear pit, too. This is equal opportunity garbage.
The team is 3-9 in its last 12 games. In their last 20 games, the only Rangers starting pitchers to earn wins are Martin Perez (twice) and Travis Blackley.
The next 10 games, and really the next three, will likely determine if this team has any shot of winning the division and reversing a second consecutive September Gag. Their next three series are against the A's, Rays and Royals.
By the time the Astros come to Arlington for a three-game series on Sept. 23 wearing a giant life perserver, it may be too late.
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