A couple of national writers have stories out today on the pennant races which include a particular focus on the Texas Rangers...
Jon Paul Morosi has a story on how there is no clear favorite in the American League race, with the Rangers and Yankees battling it out for the best record in the league, while the A's, Orioles, Angels and Rays all have quality records and are also fighting for playoff spots.
The Tigers and the White Sox are both laggards, but one of them will end up with a playoff spot anyway, by virtue of winning the A.L. Central.
Joe Posnanski, meanwhile, has a blog post up about the state of the races in both leagues, and at the end, devotes a couple of paragraphs to asking why the Texas Rangers haven't locked up both the A.L. West and the best record in the American League already, which includes this comment:
The Rangers, I believe, should be the best team in the American League. I think -- based on what should be five good starting pitchers, an impossibly talented bullpen and the highest-scoring offense in baseball -- that they should be the best team in baseball, and not by a small margin. I don’t see how anybody matches up to their talent.
And yet, as Posnanski notes, the Rangers could fool around and end up blowing the A.L. West, putting themselves in a position where they have a one-game Wild Card play-in game.
I struggle to evaluate this team this year, and how good it really is. The Rangers have suffered two huge injuries to the rotation, with Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz each going down with season-ending ailments, and there have been some issues with the health of the bullpen this season.
But all in all, the Rangers have been healthy this year. They have, as Posnanski points out, probably the most talented team in baseball. But it doesn't seem like they've necessarily played that way.
And it leads me to question whether this team has played up to its talent level this season, if Ron Washington, who has gotten lots of credit for getting the most out of this team the past several years, shouldn't be getting some scrutiny for the 2012 team not playing to its talent level.
Which, again, seems kind of insane when you consider this is a team that will put up a win total in the mid-90s, that still, right now, has the best record in the A.L.
But at the same time, I have a hard time saying that, since the team's hot start in April, they've played to capabilities.
We've said before this team seems to be able to flip the switch and turn it on when the time is right. Hopefully, a week from now, when the playoffs start, we'll see the Rangers do exactly that.