Extra Bases: Rangers not letting up in West
August, 22, 2013
By Todd Wills | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers take a break from the schedule Thursday, and they also take a break from playing the American League West when they open a three-game series on Friday night in Chicago against the White Sox.
It's also a break for the rest of the division.
The Rangers have torn through the AL West this season, posting a 41-16 record against division foes. That's 55 percent of their wins. It's the best record of any major league team against its own division.
The Rangers beat Houston again Wednesday night, 5-4, on a walk off sacrifice fly by Elvis Andrus for their seventh win in 13 days against the Astros.
Texas was 27-30 against the AL West in 2012 and lost the division by a game to Oakland. The Rangers aren't making the mistake this season of playing poorly in the most important games on their schedule as they've built a 2 1/2 game lead on the A's.
"I make that point of emphasis every spring," manager Ron Washingotn said. "If you want to be successful, you have to be successful in your division."
The Rangers are 14-2 against Houston and have swept four of six series. The Rangers are 10-2 against the Los Angeles Angels and 8-5 against Oakland.
After the White Sox, the Rangers play three games at Seattle. The Mariners have posed the biggest problem to Texas this season. The Rangers are 9-7 against the Mariners.
Seattle might be the toughest team in the West right now -- even tougher than Oakland -- despite a 59-67 record. The Rangers will face Hishasi Ikakuma and Felix Hernandez again.
"If we could find a way to pull Seattle out of our side, then we could really be good in the division," Washington said. "Those guys just play us so tough. They have a good lineup. They have power. They have speed. And they can always pitch. They have a good bullpen. It just didn't come together for them like they thought it would. But on any given night, they can tear you up."
What's up now: Rapid Reaction from Wednesday's 5-4 walk off victory over Houston. The Rangers got clutch performances from three veterans in the late innings Wednesday. Also, it's time for a run of lefty starters opposing the Rangers.
On deck: An off day, the third consecutive Thursday the Rangers won't play.
Question of the day: Should the Rangers bring back the catching duo of A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto next season?