The old saying goes that you don't win anything in April.
You can lose something, though, and that might be what the Angels did during the first month of the season. Their stumble at the starting line has drawn plenty of attention after they spent the offseason beefing up their roster in an attempt to compete with the Rangers. Their 8-15 record left them nine games out of first place in the division.
That's not a very good place to be. Since the start of divisional play, there have only been two teams that finished the first month of the season at least that far behind the leader and come back to win the division.
Neither the 1987 Tigers nor the 2006 Twins came back to beat a team as good as the 2012 Rangers, which makes it harder to think that the Angels are going to become lucky number three. It's certainly possible that the Angels are going to have a better record than the Rangers over the rest of the season, but it is difficult to believe that they are going to be nine or more games better without a catastrophe befalling Texas.
Baseball Prospectus gives the Rangers a 71 percent chance of winning the division right now, a number that's giving a lot of space to the possibility of just such a catastrophe. Neither the A's nor the Mariners can be considered real contenders to the division, something the odds report agrees with, so that leaves only the Angels as a challenger.
According to history, that challenge is a real long shot. That doesn't mean it is time to start buying champagne and ordering t-shirts commemorating a third straight division title, of course, but it does mean that the Rangers will have a serious upper hand on making those things a reality the rest of the way.