It’s hot in Texas. And in a season where we know the Rangers won’t make the postseason, it’s refreshing to see the team playing solid baseball on the way to a decent 14-11 split in the month of June. The Rangers have won 5 of their last 5 series’. Their run differential for June was a very positive +22, the first positive run differential month for this team this season.
So the Rangers are hot.
As we meander into the hottest part of the summer, the Rangers are set to face the reigning World Champion Houston Astros. The Rangers have faced off against the Astros in 14 games already this season and, well, it hasn’t been too pretty for Texas (4 wins and 10 losses). And just like everything else in Texas is hot right now, the Astros are no exception. Houston comes to Globe Life (for the last series in Arlington this season) with a 55-31 record, good for 2nd best in all of baseball.
The Silver Boot rivalry has definitely had its July moments going back to Houston’s National League days and this got me thinking about a certain Rangers vs. Astros July match-up in 2004. And while I was reminiscing about that game (more on that in a bit), I thought we’d take a quick look back at how the Rangers have fared in July 4th games going back to the year that the Y2K bug didn’t destroy the Earth (that’s the year 2000 for our younger audience).
2000 - W (10-7) vs. OAKLAND
2001 - W (6-3) vs. SEATTLE
2002 - W (11-8) vs. TAMPA BAY
2003 - W (7-3) vs. SEATTLE
2004 - W (18-3)* vs. HOUSTON
2005 - W (6-5)** vs. BOSTON
2006 - L (2-3) vs. TORONTO
2007 - W (4-2) vs. LOS ANGELES ANGELS
2008 - L (4-10) vs. BALTIMORE
2009 - W (12-4) vs. TAMPA BAY
2010 - L (3-5) vs. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
2011 - W (13-4) vs. BALTIMORE
2012 - L (4-5)*** vs. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
2013 - W (5-4) vs. SEATTLE
2014 - L (5-6)**** vs. NEW YORK METS
2015 - L (0-13) vs. LOS ANGELES ANGELS
2016 - L (5-12) vs. BOSTON
2017 - L (4-11) vs. BOSTON
* - 7/4/2004: Hank Blalock hit a grand slam in the 6th inning and then Mark Teixeria hit another grand slam in the 9th inning. A nice game indeed.
** - 7/4/2005: A walkoff win for Texas on a Kevin Mench single to LF.
*** - 7/4/2012: A walkoff loss for Texas on a Kevin Youkilis single to LF.
**** - 7/4/2014: This season never happened so this loss definitely never happened.
So since 2000, the Texas Rangers have a decent 10-8 record in July 4th games with a +11 run differential. Obviously the last 4 seasons haven’t been kind to the Rangers (0-4 and outscored 14-42 for a -28 run differential).
Texas hopes to turn things around in the 2018 July 4th game as the Rangers send Mike Minor who had a perfect game bid going in his last start against the Padres until an Eric Hosmer single in the 7th inning ended it, while the Astros are slated to start Lance McCullers (9-3, 3.55 ERA, 0.8 WAR, 1.155 WHIP).
The biggest takeaway from this quick look back at Rangers’ 4th of July games is that guys named Kevin have come up big for their respective teams.
This July 4th, enjoy your cookout or BBQ (two different things) and the fireworks from the home runs and the actual fireworks, too. There will be plenty of both.