SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 10: Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers hits a bases loaded double driving in two runs in the fourth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 10, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Over the first 13 days of the Texas Rangers' dreaded 20-games-in-20-days stretch against some really good teams, things went just about as badly as they could've possibly imagined.
The Rangers lost four straight series to Boston, Toronto (twice, including a four-game sweep) and Cleveland. After that, the Rangers were set to face the red-hot Oakland Athletics, who had overtaken the Rangers for first place in the AL West and a chance to leave town with as much as a seven-game lead in the division. Instead, the Rangers took three of four games from Oakland and have since retaken the top roost in the AL West, and then went to St. Louis, the scene of the crime from the heartbreaking World Series loss in 2011, and proceeded to sweep the owners of the best record in baseball.
Over that seven games, the Rangers lost just one game (last Tuesday to Oakland) and that was with Yu Darvish on the mound. They won games with Josh Lindblom, Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm, Derek Holland and Martin Perez starting, and now they're on their longest win streak of the season at five games.
The returns of Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland from the disabled list and Nelson Cruz hitting red-hot in the third spot in the lineup has rejuvenated the offense, and the Rangers are right back on track and have the best record in the American League once again.
What a difference a week can make — good or bad.