The Texas Rangers finished off a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals Sunday to close out an 8-2 road trip.
They’re back home for six games before leaving for another season-long, 10-game road trip to New York, Minnesota and Boston.
After that, it’s the All-Star Break and we’re halfway home. Boy, time flies when your team is winning, right?
I bring up the All-Star Game, in part, to remind Rangers’ fans that their favorite players are still sorely lacking in All-Star ballot love. Ian Desmond wasn’t even in the top 10 for outfielders in the last update. Rougned Odor? Nada.
The Rangers bring home a club-record nine consecutive series wins and winners of 20 of their past 25. They’ve won a club-record 10 consecutive home series and are 20 games over .500 (45-25) before the All-Star for the second time (2012) in club history.
Here are two thoughts on the St. Louis sweep and more details on their consecutive series wins streak:
1. Hustling to the bag — Twice in the series, including in the pivotal eighth inning Sunday, Rangers’ base runners beat a throw to a bag to keep rallies alive. Rougned Odor beat out an infield single on Saturday and Mitch Moreland, not the fleetest of foot on the team, beat a throw to second in the eighth inning Sunday on a fielder’s choice that would have ended the inning. Instead, after the Rangers’ challenged the out call on the field, replays showed Moreland beat the throw. Moments later, Moreland scored the second and go-ahead run on Jurickson Profar’s two-run, pinch-hit single.
“The first baseman was playing over towards the [second base] hole a little bit which allowed me to get a comfortable lead,” Moreland said. “I knew if Elvis [Andrus] hit one to that side I had to beat it out.”
Moreland’s show of speed followed a 456-foot fourth-inning home run that tied Paul Goldschmidt and Jay Bruce for the longest homer at the current Busch Stadium by an opposing player. He hit five homers with seven RBI in seven starts on the road trip.
2. Manufacturing wins — The Rangers are winning games even when the offense isn’t exactly running at full power. Profar’s game-winner was the first run-scoring hit with a runner in scoring position in the entire series. Odor’s solo homer on Friday was enough for a 1-0 win. On Saturday they stranded eight runners and were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position but scratch out four late runs on a wild pitch, an error, a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly. The Rangers finished 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position, the Cardinals 4 for 13. What exactly, if anything does this show? At the moment, at least, that the Rangers are doing whatever is necessary to win games.
3. Whatever you say, Elias — The Rangers’ franchise record of nine consecutive series wins will be on the line Monday against the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are in town to make up a rain out from April 17. Elias Sports Bureau says the single game constitutes a series and will extend or end the Rangers’ streak. The nine series wins are the most since the Nationals won nine in April and May 2015. The Rangers have the longest streak in the American League since the Tampa Bay Rays won 10 consecutive series in June-July 2013.