Back in Spring Training, I realized that the 2014 Texas Rangers and the 2018 Texas Rangers had the exact same record to end the season, 67-95. I then realized that the both ended those season with an interim manager and their next season with new managers.
So naturally, I decided to keep an eye on any possible parallels between 2015 and 2019. Not surprisingly, there have been a few.
At the end of the 2015 season, Prince Fielder won the A.L. Comeback player of the year. This year, it’s very much possible that Hunter Pence wins — especially considering San Francisco threw him a retirement party at the end of last season and no one expected him to have any kind of impact on the 2019 Rangers.
Hunter Pence is one of the Texas Rangers All-Stars this year, being voted in as the starting DH. While he didn’t start the game, Prince Fielder was the Texas Rangers only All-Star in 2015, also at the DH spot.
At the beginning of June, I randomly went to look up what the 2015 Rangers record looked like. At 57 games into the season, 2015 and 2019 were the exact same, 30-27.
Before the end of Sunday’s game, I went to look compare the records 89 games into the season. They weren’t the same, in fact, they were the exact opposite.
The downside to comparisons is that in 2015 the Rangers needed just 88 wins to win the division that year, and it’s almost certainly going to take more than that to win this year. (2016 Rangers had 95 wins, 2017 Astros had 101 wins, 2018 Astros had 103 to take the division.)
At 90 games in, the 2019 Rangers are 48-42 and the 2015 Rangers were 43-47, which would seem to give the edge to this year’s club. This, however, is where the level of competitiveness in the division having changed in those four years hurts. In 2015, with a losing record and four games under .500, they were in third place and seven games back in the division. The 2019 team is six games above .500, in third place in the division andnine games back.
(Also in looking for other comparisons, the 2015 June record and the 2019 May record were the exact same, 14-13. I don’t know what this means but in a game of so many variables, I just find it interesting when numbers match up like that which is made obvious by this entire post.)
The 2019 Rangers have also been in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. They’ve spent a number of days with a spot in the second wild card spot.
In 2015, the Astros had the second wild card spot with 86 wins since then the second wild card winner has had 89, 85, and 97 wins. Currently Tampa Bay and Cleveland occupy the wild card spots with 52 and 50 wins respectively.
2015 was also the year the Rangers went and got Cole Hamels. They’re not likely to make a move that big this year, if they make any at all. But they do have the potential to make a playoff run that no one expected if they get off to a strong start against the Astros on Thursday.
One last comparison: the first series after the All-Star break for both the 2015 and 2019 Texas Rangers were against the Houston Astros. In 2015 it was a three game series, the Rangers winning just the middle game. We shall see if the 2019 Rangers continue to mirror their 2015 counterparts.