ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 01: The Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox stand during the National Anthem on Opening Day at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Yes, it's only June 20th, but the Texas Rangers have a really legitimate chance at putting a nail in the coffin of the rest of the AL West in the next three weeks.
In what will be the Rangers' easiest stretch of the season, they have 19 games before the break, 16 of which are in the friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark, where they are 20-13 this year, and all of them, I repeat, all of them are against teams with losing records (as of now).
It starts tonight as the Rangers host interstate "rivals" Houston in the battle for the "coveted" Silver Boot. Yay. In fact, the Rangers have six games against the Astros in this stretch — three at home, three in Houston — and could easily win at least four of those as the Astros are the proud owners of the worst record in all of baseball.
Of course, when the Rangers and Astros get together, you can throw everything out the window.
That was sarcasm.
Aside from those games, they have three at home against the bad, but surging Mets, three at home against the stumbling Marlins, three at home against Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles and four at home against the AL West cellar-dwelling Oakland A's, who actually are coming off a weekend sweep of the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants.
With so many of these games coming at home, it's not inconceivable in the least bit for the Rangers to go 15-4 or so in this final stretch before the All-Star break. The hitting always picks up at home, as does, oddly enough, the pitching.
And with the way the rest of the AL West is playing with the exception of Seattle (ALL pitching, no hitting), the Rangers could easily be up double digits on the bottom of the division by the time the break hits. They just have to seize the opportunity.