From Tuesday to Tuesday, Aug. 2-Aug. 9, the Texas Rangers played eight road games.
They lost the first two, with Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels on the mound, but finished the trip by winning five of the final six games to guarantee themselves at least a seven-game lead in the American League West.
There wasn’t a blowout among the wins, though two runs these days seems to be the widest margin the Rangers can manage. I’m only half-kidding.
Within the 5-3 road trip the Rangers learned what newcomers Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Beltran and Jeremy Jeffress can do and what effect they will have on the team down the stretch.
All of it is good.
The Rangers also showed that they aren’t an easy team to beat, no matter how bleak things might look during a game. The two games at Coors Field sum that up.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies.
1. The news that Prince Fielder is retiring/being forced to retire hit just after lunch, so thanks to Ken Rosenthal for showing such consideration to the beaten-down Rangers beat guys.
The news isn’t surprising. The end appeared to be inevitable as soon as he hit the operating table July 29. I’m no doctor, but neither is anyone else who speculated the same thing.
That includes Rangers officials, who had more information available than anyone else but sat on it to give Fielder time to wrap his mind around the inevitable.
Fielder, never a man of many words, really didn’t have to say much Wednesday during an afternoon news conference. But if there’s any surprise it’s that he didn’t at least give physical therapy a try.
Fielder is no quitter. He was baseball’s iron man before his first cervical spinal fusion surgery in May 2014. He plays the game. Bottom line.
Doctors, though, have suggested that he stop playing. These aren’t just doctors. The two specialists to treat Fielder last month — Dr. Robert Watkins and Dr. Drew Dossett — are considered the best around.
They recognized the risk. They know what can go wrong. They know that Fielder is 32 and has two boys who mean the world to him. Baseball is all that has filled Fielder’s life, thanks to a father who played the game and to an almost unmatched ability to hit home runs.
But he has a lot of living still to do.
2. For anyone who remains worried about the Rangers’ bullpen, just take a look at the Rockies’ bullpen.
Colorado’s relief corps, thinned out by injuries but still with a few capable veterans, gave away two straight to the Rangers. Of course, the Rangers’ hitters had something to do with the late rallies Monday and Tuesday.
In the middle of both were Ian Desmond and Adrian Beltre, two struggling hitters who provided a spark to the rallies. Both continue to bat high in the lineup despite their woes, which are responsible for the woes of the Rangers’ offense.
But like the ace who finds a way to keep his team in the game without his best stuff, Desmond and Beltre, veteran hitters and All-Stars, are finding a way to contribute.
The offense, as a result, has scored 17 runs the past three games. They’ve dragged their feet a little bit to do it, but a win is a win.
3. They have a chance to keep on winning now that a road-heavy portion of their schedule is behind them.
The Rangers played 25 road games since June 29, going 10-15, and now have more home games remaining than any team in the majors. They will finish the season with 30 of 48 games at Globe Life Park, where they are 34-17.
Among the remaining road foes are Tampa Bay (last place, AL East), Cincinnati (last place, National League Central), Anaheim (fourth place, AL West) and Oakland (last place, AL West).
Only Seattle and Houston have winning records among the Rangers’ final road opponents.
“The schedule in theory sets up well for us,” manager Jeff Banister said. “However, we still have to play well.”