A reminder to myself and the rest of the FW-d media: Never believe a GM when he says his team isn't going to be active in the trade market.
One of the many things Jon Daniels has learned since taking over in 2005 for John Hart as Rangers GM is to say a lot without saying anything.
If you don't include dealing four players in return for a pair of badly needed relievers to bolster the weakest part of their team, the Rangers were not active in this latest version of MLB's deadline deals.
The Rangers had no chance of keeping their AL West lead if they continued to prove unable to hold leads.
This is not the Rangers going after Cliff Lee last year, or the Indians dealing the farm for Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. (Not in cahoots with the Rangers' ticket office: Jimenez is scheduled to make his Indians' debut against your Rangers on Friday night at The Ballpark.) With Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, Daniels at least gave his team the very best chance from the seventh inning on.
Ultimately, however, it is what starters one through five will do in innings one through six or seven that will determine the Rangers' fate.
A starting staff beset with questions, doubts and concerns coming out of Surprise, Ariz., has started 106 of the 109 games this season. That is disabled list-defying amazing. This means not only have the starters been good but they have been knock-on-wood healthy.
But... if the Rangers are going to win the AL West, a division series, championship series or a World Series, one or two of these five must develop into something more than he is already.
Someone has to be The Hammer.
One of these five must show the ability to go into a game and win it by himself, make an opposing hitter question everything he's ever believed about his swing, and demoralize a fan base and a city.
He has to do what Cliff Lee did for the Rangers during the ALDS and ALCS. That is the way you win a series.
As the baseball Giants proved last season en route to winning the World Series in Arlington, The Hammer does not necessarily have to be named Lee or Lincecum.
Guys like Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner stuck it to the Rangers just as well.
The Rangers have that Hammer on their staff; we just don't know which one of the five.
C.J. Wilson is left-handed, cocky as a boxer and, given his stuff and his proven ability to fight, you can make the argument that this is the guy. He will likely be a Game 1 starter, but I prefer him as the No. 2.
Colby Lewis hasn't had his best season, but in a short series he demonstrated in '10 that he can concentrate long enough to get quality hitters out. Nothing overwhelms this guy in a big game.
Alexi Ogando is one of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in the majors these days, but you have to wonder how he is going to hold up for another two months simply because he has never done it before. I can envision five or six quality innings, and high pitch counts.
Matt Harrison is big, he is left-handed and he is proving he can pitch when not everything is working. Can he do it in a playoff series? My gut tells me he is going to be either nasty dominant, or two-innings ugly.
Derek Holland is my guy, and not just because of his three shutouts in his last five starts. The smartest decision the Rangers made with this guy was to give him the ball and let him figure it out. When he trusts his stuff and attacks the strike zone, hitters can't deal with him. He is only 24, and he has true celebrity ace material.
His World Series performance in San Francisco is enough to warrant doubt, but it obviously did not derail him this season.
Two months remain in baseball's painfully long regular season. The Rangers have 10 games remaining against the California Angels of Orange County, only three of which are home.
There is plenty of time for things to go wrong, for an untimely injury, and for an Angels team that is not going away to get 13-game winning streak hot and leave the Rangers in second.
Glass half full: The race between these two goes until the last week of September, as it should. The Rangers now have the bullpen to lock down leads when they are given.
What is left to determine is if these relievers will have a lead to play with when the games turn super serious.
I am buying that they will, and that there is a Hammer in this group.
Follow Mac Engel on Twitter @MacEngelProf.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697