Red Fever
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Roller Coaster Could Take Toll on Rangers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Rangers have played more games than any other team in the major leagues since the start of the 2010 season.

    This is a good thing, obviously, but it isn't something that comes without a price. Playing more games than everyone else means more physical and mental exertion over the same period of time, a state of affairs that has to lead to greater stress and fatigue.

    The last eight days have probably upped those two levels as well. In that time frame, the Rangers traded for Ryan Dempster, lost two games to a divisional rival, watched Yu Darvish get wrecked, came back from nine runs down to win that game, watched Dempster get wrecked in another game they wound up winning, heard Roy Oswalt tell them he just didn't feel like pitching anymore and finally watched Darvish get trounced again while worrying about Joe Nathan's shoulder all the while.

    No one's going to blame you if you need a deep breath after all of that. Now imagine you were having it all happen five feet in front of your face. That would make for a roller coaster month, but it's been little more than a week and every day seems to bring a wild new mood swing to the table.

    This last stretch comes on top of everything else that has happened this season. Josh Hamilton's travails, two starting pitchers lost of the season, everything Darvish dating back to his acquisition and the constant looking in the rearview mirror at the Angels (and A's, more recently) are just some of the highlights of a list that makes it hard to believe there's still two months or more of baseball left to be played.

    It isn't hard to see the toll all of it has taken on the Rangers. There's a lifelessness to the team some nights that forces you to double check the standings to make sure that they're accurate. After all of these games and all of these twists, this season has turned into a grind.

    That's true off the field as well. A feeling of entitlement accounts for some of the Chicken Little-ish responses to every loss, but the mood swings created by the team's play result in heightened emotions at every peak and trough. That leads to more questions about the bad stuff after every game and, in turn, more of that dreaded stress and fatigue that we mentioned up top.

    The Rangers are good enough to go the distance. It might be time to worry if there's enough gas in the tank.