If the baseball season were a person drowning in quicksand—which, you have to admit, it sometimes feels like it is—the day off after the All-Star Game would be about belly button deep into the season. That seems like a good position to reflect on the situation. You’re deep enough into the season to ponder on how you got yourself into this mess, but with enough time to prepare yourself for what comes next. Namely, being fully submerged in a season you hope you'll never forget.
There’s no better time than now to look back on the season that is from Opening Day Defending AL Champions to the 2011 All-Star Break.
Here's a timeline of the events we have witnessed from our first place ball club so far in games, moments, and .gifs.
Game 1 - April 1 - 1-0 Tied for 1st Place - Boston @ Texas:
Rangers 9, Red Sox 5
It was the defending 2010 American League Champions versus the pretending 2011 American League Champions on Opening Day. This might have been the most anticipated non-playoff-clinching regular season game in team history. It did not disappoint. The Rangers began their defense of the pennant with an exciting come from behind win.
Game 2 - April 2 - 2-0 Tied for 1st Place - Boston @ Texas:
Rangers 12, Red Sox 5
The Rangers won it for LSB Tailgate 2.0.
Game 3 - April 3 - 3-0 1st Place lead 1.0 - Boston @ Texas:
Rangers 5, Red Sox 1
The Rangers opened the season with a home sweep of the preeminent favorite. The 2011 season began flawlessly.
Game 4 - April 4 - 4-0 1st Place lead 2.0 - Seattle @ Texas:
Rangers 6, Mariners 4
And then it got even better.
Game 5 - April 5 - 5-0 1st Place lead 3.0 - Seattle @ Texas:
Rangers 3, Mariners 2
Alexi Ogando and Michael Pineda faced off in their first ever big league starts. These guys would end up as All-Star Game teammates.
Game 6 - April 6 - 6-0 1st Place lead 3.0 - Seattle @ Texas:
Rangers 7, Mariners 3
The Rangers swept the first homestand of the season and it seemed, at the time, like they may never lose.
Game 7 - April 9 - 6-1 1st Place lead 3.0 - Texas @ Baltimore:
Orioles 5, Rangers 0
Alas, all good things must come to an end. The Rangers had an off day and then a rainout in Baltimore which cooled down their bats enough to find themselves at the mercy of young Zach Britton in the first game of a doubleheader.
Game 8 - April 9 - 7-1 1st Place lead 3.0 - Texas @ Baltimore:
Rangers 13, Orioles 1
In game two, the Rangers got hot again and blasted off on Jake Arrieta to win their first road game of the season.
Game 9 - April 10 - 8-1 1st Place lead 3.0 - Texas @ Baltimore:
Rangers 3, Orioles 0
Derek Holland pitched six strong innings in the Rangers first shutout of the season. While new play-by-play announcer John Rhadigan decided to tell everyone that he's afraid of birds.
Game 10 - April 11 - 9-1 1st Place lead 4.0 - Texas @ Detroit:
Rangers 2, Tigers 0
Alexi Ogando pitches seven strong innings in the Rangers second shutout of the season. In doing so, he out-duels another future All-Star teammate in Justin Verlander.
Ten games into the season and the Rangers looked like the might be the best team in baseball...
Game 11 - April 12 - 9-2 1st Place lead 3.0 - Texas @ Detroit:
Tigers 5, Rangers 4
...and then the Rangers lost the league's MVP. After Josh Hamilton hit a first inning triple, he listened to the whispers of Dave Anderson, and followed the Rangers aggressive baserunning credo, and attempted to steal a run from the Tigers. Instead, he was out at home and out for two months with a broken humerus bone. It was no laughing matter.
Game 12 - April 13 - 9-3 1st Place lead 2.0 - Texas @ Detroit:
Tigers 3, Rangers 2
The Rangers led in every game in this series and yet lost two of the three thanks to a shaky effort by the bullpen. This would become a theme. #bullpenisamess was born.
Game 13 - April 15 - 10-3 1st Place lead 2.0 - Texas @ New York:
Rangers 5, Yankees 3
The long awaited rematch of the 2010 ALCS took place in the Bronx and it looked a little like October again as the Rangers beat the Yankees behind six GIDPs induced by Cap'n O.G. Readmore himself, Matt Harrison.
Game 14 - April 16 - 10-4 1st Place lead 1.0 - Texas @ New York:
Yankees 5, Rangers 2
The only thing that I remember about this game is Adrian Beltre hitting a shot down the right field line that would have put the Rangers ahead late but the ball somehow curved around the foul pole in ways that defied science. And then the Yankees shots down the right field line did not curve foul.
Game 15 - April 17 - 10-5 Tied for 1st Place - Texas @ New York:
Yankees 6, Rangers 5
The Rangers go 4-5 on their first road trip of the season.
Game 16 - April 18 - 11-5 1st Place lead 1.0 - Los Angeles of Anaheim @ Texas:
Rangers 7, Angels 1
Game 17 - April 19 - 11-6 Tied for 1st Place - Los Angeles of Anaheim @ Texas:
Angels 14, Rangers 4
Game 18 - April 20 - 11-7 2nd Place behind 1.0 - Los Angeles of Anaheim @ Texas:
Angels 4, Rangers 1
This was a pretty traumatic day. The Rangers lost their first home series of the season, against their most hated divisional rival, while being dominated by Jered Weaver—who was the best pitcher in the American League at that point—and in doing so, they dropped to second place in the AL West for the first time all season. The dream of a wire-to-wire season had come to an end.
Game 19 - April 22 - 12-7 1st Place lead 0.5 - Kansas City @ Texas:
Rangers 11, Royals 6
However, thanks to Angel losses on a Ranger off day and on the night of this shellacking of the Royals, the Rangers were back in sole possession of the AL West lead in just one game played.
Game 20 - April 23 - 13-7 1st Place lead 1.5 - Kansas City @ Texas:
Rangers 3, Royals 1
Game 21 - April 24 - 14-7 1st Place lead 2.5 - Kansas City @ Texas:
Rangers 8, Royals 7
Game 22 - April 25 - 14-8 1st Place lead 1.5 - Toronto @ Texas:
Blue Jays 6, Rangers 4
I don't remember much about this game other than Colby Lewis giving up like eight home runs in one inning while shutting down the Blue Jays for the entire rest of the game.
Pedro Strop pitched well for an inning for one of the only times that can be said. Therefore:
Game 23 - April 26 - 14-9 1st Place lead 0.5 - Toronto @ Texas:
Blue Jays 10, Rangers 3
Game 24 - April 27 - 15-9 1st Place lead 1.5 - Toronto @ Texas:
Rangers 7, Blue Jays 6
Cody Eppley blew a save and then vulture’d his first and only win.
Game 25 - April 28 - 15-10 1st Place lead 1.0 - Toronto @ Texas:
Blue Jays 5, Rangers 2
Game 26 - April 29 - 15-11 Tied for 1st Place - Texas @ Oakland:
Athletics 3, Rangers 1
I was at this game. This game was so bad, I left the state.
Game 27 - April 30 - 16-11 1st Place lead 1.0 - Texas @ Oakland:
Rangers 11, Athletics 2
I was driving away from California during this game. This game was how the state said its goodbyes.
Game 28 - May 1 - 16-12 Tied for 1st Place - Texas @ Oakland:
Athletics 7, Rangers 2
One month into the season and it kind of felt like the Rangers had squandered their amazing ten game start. However, with Hamilton still on the disabled list, and the team having gone 7-10 without him, they were probably lucky to still be tied for first place at this point in the season.
Game 29 - May 2 - 16-13 Tied for 1st Place - Texas @ Oakland:
Athletics 5, Rangers 4 in 10 innings
This was the first extra innings game for the Rangers this season. It didn't last long, however, as Darren Oliver gave up a home run to Hideki Matsui on the first pitch of the bottom of the 10th.
Game 30 - May 3 - 16-14 Tied for 1st Place - Texas @ Seattle:
Mariners 4, Rangers 3
Goodnight, Pedro Strop.
Game 31 - May 4 - 17-14 Tied for 1st Place - Texas @ Seattle:
Rangers 5, Mariners 2
The Rangers won this game and Chris Davis hit a home run in it. However, Nelson Cruz did not play in it and eventually had to be placed on the Disabled List due to a strained right quad. The Rangers were now without the reigning American League MVP and the guy many predicted could win it this season.
Game 32 - May 5 - 17-15 2nd Place behind 1.0 - Texas @ Seattle:
Mariners 3, Rangers 1
If I could, I would just omit this game from this recap.
Game 33 - May 6 - 17-16 2nd Place behind 2.0 - New York @ Texas:
Yankees 4, Rangers 1
I don't even remember the details of this game and I'm annoyed for my then self who watched it. The beginning of May really wasn't very much fun. With this loss the Rangers dropped to two games back in the standings for the first time all season.
Game 34 - May 7 - 18-16 2nd Place behind 1.0 - New York @ Texas:
Rangers 7, Yankees 5
Clearly missing Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz desperately, the Rangers had scored two runs in their last 18 innings of baseball coming into this game. They scored seven for us on this night and ushered in the era of pizza hits and rangers7.
Game 35 - May 8 - 18-17 2nd Place behind 2.0 - New York @ Texas:
Yankees 12, Rangers 5
We didn't watch this game. We watched the Mavericks finish off the Lakers.
Game 36 - May 9 - 18-18 3rd Place behind 2.0 - Oakland @ Texas:
Athletics 7, Rangers 2
Trevor Cahill beat C.J. Wilson again and dropped the Rangers to .500 and third place in the AL West. This game can be described thusly:
Game 37 - May 10 - 19-18 2nd Place behind 2.0 - Oakland @ Texas:
Rangers 7, Athletics 2
Colby Lewis beat Brett Anderson again and lifted the Rangers over .500 and back into second place in the AL West. This game can be described thusly:
Game 38 - May 11 - 20-18 2nd Place behind 1.0 - Oakland @ Texas: Rangers 7, Athletics 0
Oh wait. This never happened because Gerry Davis had a plane to catch. My Bad.
P.S. You can't take the sky from Mitch.
Game 38 Take Two - May 13 - 20-18 2nd Place behind 0.5 - Los Angeles of Anaheim @ Texas:
Rangers 4, Angels 1
I was at this game. It was my first since returning to Texas. This one had everything I could ever want from a baseball game. The Rangers beat their bitter division rival with Jered Weaver on the mound. Alexi Ogando continued to be a phenom. Adrian Beltre hit a home run and did this:
And to top it all off, the rarest bird of all made an appearance; the Elvis Andrus home run.
What a game.
Game 39 - May 14 - 20-19 2nd Place behind 1.5 - Los Angeles of Anaheim @ Texas:
Angels 3, Rangers 2
I was not at this game. I am glad that I was not at this game. You know who was at this game, though? Endy Chavez. This was the game where he made his 2011 big league debut.
Game 40 - May 15 - 21-19 2nd Place behind 0.5 - Los Angeles of Anaheim @ Texas:
Rangers 5, Angels 4
Brett Tomko blew a lead in this game. That means the Rangers were counting on Brett Tomko in a close game with a series against the Angels on the line. If that doesn't tell you the state of the bullpen at that point, I don't know what could. Nevertheless, the Rangers won.
The game ended with a hilarious strike 'em out, throw 'em out of Alberto Callaspo and Howie Kendrick and the Rangers finished off a series win against the Angels.
Game 41 - May 16 - 22-19 1st Place lead 0.5 - Texas @ Chicago:
Rangers 4, White Sox 0
Colby Lewis pitched a complete game five-hit shutout and the Rangers regained first place.
Also, Mark McLemore's pre-game "Player to Watch" was Endy Chavez. Chavez, who hadn't gotten a hit since being called up, went 3 for 5 with a double and two runs scored.
McLemerlin was born.
Game 42 - May 17 - 22-20 Tied for 1st Place - Texas @ Chicago:
White Sox 4, Rangers 3
The Rangers lost another close game in the late innings thanks to people like Cody Eppley and Arthur Rhodes. However, that doesn't matter. What matters is that this happened:
John Rhadigan had succumbed to madness live on television and the end was nigh.
Game 43 - May 18 - 23-20 1st Place lead 1.0 - Texas @ Kansas City:
Rangers 5, Royals 4 in 11 innings
For what felt like the first time all season, the Rangers scored a late run to put themselves in position to win a game. For what felt like the millionth time all season, the Rangers blew the lead when Neftali Feliz gave up a game-tying leadoff home run to Eric Hosmer in the 9th.
However, for once, the Rangers battled and eventually won their first extra innings game of the season thanks to a two run RBI single by Adrian Beltre.
Game 44 - May 19 - 23-21 1st Place lead 1.0 - Texas @ Kansas City:
Royals 2, Rangers 1 in 10 innings
The Rangers held the Royals scoreless for eight innings and headed into the 9th inning holding a 1-0 lead. Once again, Neftali Feliz blew it. And then in the 10th the tag team of Darren Oliver and Cody Eppley gave up the winning run. #bullpenisamess indeed.
Game 45 - May 20 - 23-22 1st Place lead 0.5 - Texas @ Philadelphia:
Phillies 3, Rangers 2
Interleague! C.J. vs. The Doc! This game took 2:20 minutes to complete. And though the Rangers only trailed by two runs for most of it, and scored in the 8th, never once did it feel like they would win it. Roy Halladay, ladies and gentlemen.
Game 46 - May 21 - 23-23 1st Place lead 0.5 - Texas @ Philadelphia:
Phillies 2, Rangers 0
Game 47 - May 22 - 24-23 1st Place lead 0.5 - Texas @ Philadelphia:
Rangers 2, Phillies 0
Butterfly in the sky, Matt Harrison went twice as high as the fourth ace of the Phillies four aces.
Game 48 - May 23 - 25-23 1st Place lead 0.5 - Chicago @ Texas:
Rangers 4, White Sox 0
The Rangers were coming off a seven game road trip where they averaged scoring 2.7 runs per game. They needed help. They needed Josh Hamilton. The Rangers went 15-21 without Hamilton. Thankfully, both he and Nelson Cruz returned from the DL for this game.
Hamilton homered in his first at-bat and that would be all the runs that Alexi Ogando would need in a complete game five-hit shutout. However, for good measure, Cruz also homered.
Knowing those two guys were back felt like snuggling up in your favorite blanket with a loved one and having them change the channel from Vampire Diaries to discover a classic episode of The Simpson had just started, and they say, "OH! This is a good one!"
Game 49 - May 24 - 25-24 1st Place lead 0.5 - Chicago @ Texas:
White Sox 8, Rangers 6
A couple of things here:
1. This game took like six hours to complete because of hail, tornadoes, and severe weather delays. Gerry Davis was bed by like the 6th inning.
2. This play was the nail in John Rhadigan's play-by-play career coffin:
3. Goodnight, Brett Tomko
Game 50 - May 25 - 26-24 1st Place lead 0.5 - Chicago @ Texas:
Rangers 2, White Sox 1
The Rangers won this low-scoring affair where, shockingly, only their starting pitcher C.J. Wilson allowed a run.
And yet, somehow, the bullpen not imploding wasn't the biggest surprise. The biggest surprise ended up being that this game was the first of Dave Barnett's reign as television play-by-play announcer. As we would learn hours later, John Rhadigan had been mercifully sliced from the broadcast.
Goodnight, John Rhadigan.
Game 51 - May 27 - 26-25 Tied for 1st Place - Kansas City @ Texas:
Royals 12, Rangers 7 in 14 innings
This was the worst game of the season. I don't even want to talk about it.
Game 52 - May 28 - 27-25 1st Place lead 0.5 - Kansas City @ Texas:
Rangers 10, Royals 1
I'm still mad about that last game. How do you give up 12 runs to the Royals and then hold them to one run the next day? How do you score seven runs in the first two innings and then not score for 12 straight innings against the Royals? AND THEN SCORE 10 RUNS THE NEXT DAY?!
I hated everything about that game.
Game 53 - May 29 - 28-25 1st Place lead 1.0 - Kansas City @ Texas:
Rangers 7, Royals 6
This allowed the healing to begin:
Game 54 - May 30 - 29-25 1st Place lead 1.0 - Texas @ Tampa Bay:
Rangers 11, Rays 5
The Rangers began the now fabled 17 of 20 road games stretch which had us feeling that we would be satisfied with a 10-10 record.
It was nice to know that things hadn't changed from the 2010 ALDS.
Game 55 - May 31 - 29-26 1st Place lead 0.5 - Texas @ Tampa Bay:
Rays 5, Rangers 4
It was not nice to know that the Rangers bullpen was still terrible.
For practically the entire season the Rangers bullpen had been lapping the field in terms of worst bullpen by RAR. This game did not help with that statistic when Arthur Rhodes allowed a game-killing 8th inning two run home run to Evan Longoria.
Game 56 - June 1 - 30-26 1st Place lead 1.5 - Texas @ Tampa Bay:
Rangers 3, Rays 0
This didn't even happen in this game, but, whatever. Look at Adrian Beltre being Adrian Beltre:
Game 57 - June 2 - 31-26 1st Place lead 1.5 - Texas @ Cleveland:
Rangers 7, Indians 4
The Rangers won a road game started by Dave Bush against a team that had the best record over all and best home record in the American League at the time. The Rangers even trailed 3-0 early.
This one looked, at the time, like it could have been one of those turning point games.
Game 58 - June 3 - 32-26 1st Place lead 1.5 - Texas @ Cleveland:
Rangers 11, Indians 2
Game 59 - June 4 - 33-26 1st Place lead 2.5 - Texas @ Cleveland:
Rangers 4, Indians 0
Derek Holland pitched in front of his family and friends from Ohio and while doing so pitched a complete game shutout. Why are the Hollands not on the payroll yet?
Game 60 - June 5 - 34-26 1st Place lead 2.5 - Texas @ Cleveland:
Rangers 2, Indians 0
There was a robot at the game.
Game 61 - June 6 - 34-27 1st Place lead 2.5 - Detroit @ Texas:
Tigers 13, Rangers 7
Draft night!! It wasn't fun at all!!
Game 62 - June 7 - 34-28 1st Place lead 2.5 - Detroit @ Texas:
Tigers 8, Rangers
I honestly don't remember anything about this game. That Dirk Nowitzki Game-Four-series-tying-sinus-infection game was pretty sweet, though.
Game 63 - June 8 - 35-28 1st Place lead 2.5 - Detroit @ Texas:
Rangers 7, Tigers 3
The Original Pizza Dong™.
Game 64 - June 9 - 35-29 1st Place lead 2.5 - Texas @ Minnesota:
Twins 5, Rangers 4
The Rangers lost a 5-4 game in the 9th inning on a hit given up by Arthur Rhodes? No way. NO. WAY.
Game 65 - June 10 - 36-29 1st Place lead 2.5 - Texas @ Minnesota:
Rangers 9, Twins 3
This would be the first time that the Rangers have ever won a game at Target Field. This would also be the last time that the Rangers would win a game at Target Field.
Game 66 - June 11 - 36-30 1st Place lead 2.5 - Texas @ Minnesota:
Twins 8, Rangers 1
This was a day game and Josh Hamilton struck out three times in it.
Game 67 - June 12 - 36-31 1st Place lead 1.5 - Texas @ Minnesota:
Twins 6, Rangers 1
Game 68 - June 14 - 36-32 1st Place lead 2.0 - Texas @ New York:
Yankees 12, Rangers 4
I was really looking forward to this matchup between the 7-0 future 2011 Cy Young Award winning Alexi Ogando and CC Sabathia and then Ogando dealt a 6 hit, 6 run, 6 ER line in 1.2 innings.
Not that you needed proof, but the Yankees are Satan.
Game 69 - June 15 - 36-33 1st Place lead 1.0 - Texas @ New York:
Yankees 12, Rangers 4
This isn't a mistake of copy and paste. The Yankees beat the Rangers 12-4 again.
Game 70 - June 16 - 36-34 1st Place lead 0.5 - Texas @ New York:
Yankees 3, Rangers 2 in 12 innings
Yep. This road trip replaced Cheese Nips on my list of bad things.
Game 71 - June 17 - 37-34 1st Place lead 0.5 - Texas @ Atlanta:
Rangers 6, Braves 2
Game 72 - June 18 - 38-34 1st Place lead 1.5 - Texas @ Atlanta:
Rangers 5, Braves 4 in 10 innings.
I don't think I can even describe how unlikely it was that the Rangers beat the Braves bullpen while using their own bullpen.
Game 73 - June 19 - 38-35 1st Place lead 0.5 - Texas @ Atlanta:
Braves 4, Rangers 2
Apparently the Rangers and Braves played this game on the surface of the sun.
And so, after the 17 of 20 road game stretch, the Rangers did indeed go 10-10. However, after starting the stretch 6-1, with a series win at Tampa and a sweep of the Indians, it sure felt like a disappointing 10-10.
Game 74 - June 20 - 39-35 1st Place lead 1.0 - Houston @ Texas:
Rangers 8, Astros 3
Game 75 - June 21 - 40-35 1st Place lead 2.0 - Houston @ Texas:
Rangers 5, Astros 4 in 11 innings
Game 76 - June 22 - 40-36 1st Place lead 2.0 - Houston @ Texas:
Astros 5, Rangers 3
Game 77 - June 24 - 41-36 1st Place lead 2.5 - New York Mets @ Texas:
Rangers 8, Mets 1
Game 78 - June 25 - 41-37 1st Place lead 2.0 - New York Mets @ Texas:
Mets 14, Rangers 5
They broke Ogando! :'(
Game 79 - June 26 - 41-38 1st Place lead 1.5 - New York Mets @ Texas:
Mets 8, Rangers 5
This happened. I mean, I'm reading it again right now. It's actually a thing that happened.
Game 80 - June 28 - 42-38 1st Place lead 1.5 - Texas @ Houston:
Rangers 7, Astros 3
Game 81 - June 29 - 43-38 1st Place lead 1.5 - Texas @ Houston:
Rangers 3, Astros 2
Game 82 - June 30 - 43-39 1st Place lead 1.0 - Texas @ Houston:
Astros 7, Rangers 0
That Silver Boot hangover was a killer, man.
Game 83 - July 1 - 44-39 1st Place lead 2.0 - Florida @ Texas:
Rangers 15, Marlins 5
They fixed Ogando! :D
Game 84 - July 2 - 44-40 1st Place lead 1.0 - Florida @ Texas:
Marlins 9, Rangers 5
Here's a fun fact for you: Someone named Brad Hand started this game for the Marlins and the Rangers lost the game. Sorry, I meant a terrible thing that happened.
Game 85 - July 3 - 44-41 Tied for 1st Place - Florida @ Texas:
Marlins 6, Rangers 4
Here's a not so fun fact at all for you: This was the Rangers 7th straight series finale loss.
Game 86 - July 4 - 45-41 Tied for 1st Place - Baltimore @ Texas:
Rangers 13, Orioles 4
Game 87 - July 5 - 46-41 Tied for 1st Place - Baltimore @ Texas:
Rangers 4, Orioles 2
Here I was not paying attention and suddenly Tommy Hunter was back and winning baseball games for the Texas Rangers.
Good thing Adrian Beltre was paying attention.
Game 88 - July 6 - 47-41 1st Place lead 1.0 - Baltimore @ Texas:
Rangers 13, Orioles 5
With this sweep of the Orioles, the demons unleashed by the mid-July 2010 Rangers had finally been exorcised. This Rangers Ballpark is clean.
Game 89 - July 7 - 48-41 1st Place lead 1.0 - Oakland @ Texas:
Rangers 6, Athletics 0
R.I.P. Shannon Stone
Game 90 - July 8 - 49-41 1st Place lead 1.0 - Oakland @ Texas:
Rangers 8, Athletics 5
The Rangers finally got an opportunity to face Gio Gonzalez officially for the first time since Gerry Davis called the game in which he gave up seven runs and allowed a Mitch Moreland grand slam.
He gave up seven runs and allowed a Mike Napoli grand slam.
Game 91 - July 9 - 50-41 1st Place lead 1.0 - Oakland @ Texas:
Rangers 7, Athletics 6
Game 92 - July 10 - 51-41 1st Place lead 1.0 - Oakland @ Texas:
Rangers 2, Athletics 0
The Rangers ended the first half of this 2011 season by conquering a beast once thought to be immune to earned runs ‘round these parts. The Rangers, thanks to the mighty Adrian Beltre, had finally defeated Trevor Cahill.
In doing so, they swept Oakland, reached the 10 games above .500 mark for the first time on the season, and held onto first place heading into the second half. The Rangers seven game winning streak to end the first half of the season was also the team’s longest of the season.
I have enjoyed this half of a baseball season and find it to have been quite memorable. I look forward to being consumed by the hills and valleys left in this adventure ahead us.