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Rangers Facing Fairly Tough April

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    SURPRISE, AZ - MARCH 02: Manager Jeff Banister #28 of the Texas Rangers watches from the bench during the cactus leauge spring training game against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium on March 2, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    The Texas Rangers are projected by most people out there to make the postseason, whether it's as the AL West champions or one of the AL Wild Card teams.

    They'll have their work cut out for them in the season's opening month after getting off to an awful start to the season last year before a late push in September got the job done.

    ESPN analyst Buster Olney ranked the strength of schedule for American League teams in April based off last year's results and this year's projections (so with a bit of flawed logic), and the Rangers are pretty much in the middle of the pack.

    The Rangers rank ninth out of the 15 AL teams on Olney's list, and here's what he had to say about the Rangers' opening month. To read the entire thing, you'll need ESPN Insider access.

    Home cookin': 22 of their first 39 are at home.

    Games against teams with records of .500 or better in 2015: 23 of their first 39.

    Notable: Most teams have a fair number of days off in April, but the Rangers' schedule is unusual: They play 14 straight days to open the season, and have only two days off before May 12. The upside is that the Rangers will have more days off later in the season. The downside is that with Darvish due to return in mid-May, his rotation replacement will have to account for more innings.

    The Rangers' AL West bunk mates aren't so fortunate.

    The Mariners are listed as having the toughest April schedule in the AL, while Oakland is third and the Angels are seventh. The Astros are the most fortunate though, coming in at 15th out of 15 teams with just 16 of their first 42 games coming against teams that finished 2015 with a winning record.