The Rangers kicked off the most difficult stretch of their schedule -- a stretch I said I'd be happy with a 10-10 result during -- by going 6-1 in their first 7 games. Since then, they are 2-8, and need to take two of three in Atlanta in order to hit that 10-10 mark I pegged at the outset.
The good news is that the schedule is pretty easy after this weekend up through the All Star Break. The bad news is that the Rangers don't have the sort of cushion over the rest of the division you'd have hoped for at this point, with just a half-game lead over Seattle.
Jeff Wilson's game story talks about the Rangers wasting C.J. Wilson's stellar, 129 pitch outing. As irritating as it was that a clearly blown call helped cost the Rangers the game in the 12th, the reality is that there is no excuse for putting up just 2 runs. That was a game Texas should have been able to win.
T.R. Sullivan notes that the Ranger offense was held to 2 runs in 12 innings by the likes of Brian Gordon, David Robertson, Cory Wade, and Hector Noesi.
What is so frustrating about Wade is that he was a free agent earlier this week -- he was on a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays, opted out, and signed with the Yankees on June 13. The Rangers, in dire need of relief pitching, got shut down two days in a row by a reliever who was on the street and available at the beginning of the week.
Evan Grant has a story behind the paywall that is headlined, "When Young fails in the clutch, you know offense is struggling." The problem is this has the underlying assumption that Michael Young has an inherent ability to up his game and be better in "clutch" situations than in normal situations, and I doubt that that is the case.
Richard Durrett talks to Jon Daniels about his efforts to improve the bullpen through the trade market.
Wilson has some quotes from Elvis Andrus and Matt Harrison about going back to play the team they started their careers with.
The S-T's notes talk about Yorvit Torrealba confronting Andruw Jones about stealing signs, Nelson Cruz sitting yesterday, and the lineup shuffle with no DH this weekend. Ron Washington says Michael Young may play all three games, despite his recent struggles.
Sullivan's notes talk about the sign stealing, Daniels' search for relief help, and the team's hope that their top picks from the 2011 MLB Draft will sign shortly.
On the plus side, Scott Feldman threw 5 no hit innings in a rehab start last night. He could be an option in the bullpen shortly.