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The Texas Rangers and the dynamics of the A.L. West Race

Don't look now, but the Rangers are looking pretty good in the A.L. West race...

AL West Standings

Texas 35 28 .555 0 Won 1
Seattle 32 30 .516 2.5 Won 1
Los Angeles 30 34 .468 5.5 Lost 5
Oakland 27 36 .428 8 Lost 9

(updated 6.9.2011 at 10:30 AM CDT)

The Rangers not only are leading in the A.L. West, but are tied with Boston for the most wins in the American League.

Only Philadelphia, among first place teams, has a bigger lead than the 2.5 games Texas is up on Seattle.

Oakland, the pre-season chic dark-horse pick, is now 8 out, and their starting pitching, which was their strength, has been hit with injuries.

And Anaheim, who was breathing down the Rangers' neck just a week ago, is suddenly 5.5 games back, mired in a 5 games losing strike, and really pissing off Mike Scioscia.

Right now, the other three teams in the A.L. West are playing vintage 1960s baseball. Anaheim, Seattle, and Oakland are the three best teams in the A.L. in run prevention, allowing 3.8 runs per game or fewer. But they are also the three worst teams in the A.L. (aside from Minnesota) in terms of scoring runs...Oakland is scoring 3.5 runs per game, and Seattle and Anaheim are each scoring 3.7 runs per game.

According to BP, the Rangers have an 83.8% chance of making the playoffs right now. That seems remarkable, given the problems with the bullpen, the injuries, the erratic nature of the offense (and a few of the hitters in particular)...

But as the Rangers get ready to play 4 games in Minnesota, they have to feel good about things. I thought a 10-10 record over the 20 game stretch we are halfway through would be good, and Texas is 7-3 in that stretch so far. Texas has never won at Target Field, and then Atlanta and the Yankees are next week, but Texas is well-positioned right now to come out of this stint in first place.

And you have to feel good about that.