So...Texas is 60-42 with 60 games to go. 8.5 games up on Oakland. 9 games up on Anaheim. Even if the Rangers get swept by the Angels this weekend, they are still at least 5.5 games up on the A's and 6 up on Anaheim. According to Baseball Prospectus's Playoff Odds Report, the Rangers have a 92.8% chance of making the playoffs, the highest in baseball.
I'm feeling good about things right now.
Jeff Wilson's game story talks about how, after a slow stretch, the bats woke up yesterday, with Josh Hamilton and Michael Young leading the charge.
And of course, there was the shocking Taylor Teagarden home run, the blow that Chris Cox's game story calls the "exclamation point" on the game.
Yesterday saw the bottom of the lineup shake out as Joaquin Arias, Mitch Moreland, and Taylor Teagarden, a trio you wouldn't expect the Rangers to be riding in a pennant race. We may see quite a bit of Arias, though, as Evan Grant says that Ian Kinsler's groin injury is expected to sideline him more than two weeks. The good news is that Grant reports this isn't a recurrence of the sports hernia that ended Kinsler's 2008 season.
We've railed all season about Joaquin Arias hanging around as the 25th man. I think there was one logical reason -- not one I necessarily agreed with, but logical -- reason to be keeping him around: concern that Kinsler was going to miss more time this season. If that was a factor, the organization has been proved right, although I'm still not convinced they wouldn't be just as well off with Esteban German filling in right now.
Kinsler was replaced on the active roster by Mitch Moreland, and Drew Davison's notes in the S-T includes some quotes from Moreland about being a major leaguer.
Jeff Wilson's story about Jorge Cantu joining the team, however, says that Kinsler indicated he expects to be ready to go after missing the minimum. I suspect the Rangers are going to want to be conservative on bringing him back, particularly if they maintain a sizeable lead in the A.L. West, since they are going to want to ensure he's healthy come October.
T.R. Sullivan has a story on the Cantu acquisition that includes extensive quotes from Jon Daniels about the deal, the positive reports they've gotten around baseball about Cantu's work ethic, and his belief in this team, along with praise for the scouts who found players like Evan Reed and Omar Poveda and brought them into the organization, putting the team in a position to make this move.
The notes on the Rangers' website include discussion of Tommy Hunter starting tonight, with Scott Feldman scheduled to start tomorrow, although there remains the possibility that Rich Harden could be activated and could make the start.