Come September, when the Texas Rangers are wrapping up the AL West title for the third straight season, remember June.
The Los Angeles Angels went 17-9, which marked their best single month of baseball in two years. The Texas Rangers had six pitchers on the disabled list, joined by their starting first baseman. On June 1, the Rangers led the Angels by 4 1/2 games. On July 1, the Rangers led the Angels by 5 1/2 games. So when you look back on how the West was won in a few months, that's how.
The Rangers overcame injuries to three starting pitchers, arguably their best reliever, another crucial reliever and an upstart reliever in Mark Lowe, not to mention Mitch Moreland, who had started to find his stroke offensively. The Rangers still managed to go 19-9 from June 1 to July 1, gaining a game on the rival Angels.
Looking ahead to July, neither team has a breeze of a schedule, but the advantage certainly goes to Texas. Not only will the Rangers be getting back Derek Holland and Colby Lewis most likely out of the all-star break, but Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando are also close and will give a tremendous boost to the bullpen. That doesn't even include the possibility of the Rangers going out on the trade market, like they always do, and adding a big name or two.
The Rangers have July series against teams like the Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Oakland A's, as well as some tough ones against the Angels, Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox.
As for the Angels, well their July road is a little tougher. Coming out of the all-star break, extending into August, the Angels will have 20 of 23 games against the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays, White Sox and Rangers. Those five teams have a combined record of 220-175, a record brought down by the losing record of a ultra-talented Tigers club.
With all that being said, the Angels have to be cursing and swearing after watching the Rangers not only stay afloat in the division in the face of adversity, but gaining ground in it.