DETROIT, MI - APRIL 12: Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers slides into home plate during the third inning while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 12, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Hamilton was out from a tag by Victor Martinez (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Josh Hamilton
Since Josh Hamilton broke his arm on an ill-advised head-first slide into home plate against Detroit almost a month ago, things have gone quickly downhill for the Texas Rangers.
After starting the season 9-1, they've since dropped six of their last seven series, including one each to their three AL West rivals: Angels, A's and Mariners.
They've fallen out of first place and are now tied for second with the A's, two games back of the Angels, and just two games up on last-place Seattle.
Now is another big series starting today against the A's, with C.J. Wilson toeing the rubber against A's ace Trevor Cahill. This is one the Rangers could definitely benefit from by winning.
With all that's gone wrong in the last month for the Rangers, it's actually pretty remarkable that the standings don't look a lot worse.
There's, of course, the Hamilton injury, which in hindsight has been the rock that started the avalanche. There was Neftali Feliz's trip to the 15-day DL which subsequently saw the Rangers drop three games late thanks to Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes being out of their comfort zones in the bullpen.
There was Colby Lewis struggling to find his stuff, and now the same problem for Matt Harrison.
There was even Alexi Ogando's blister that forced him to miss Sunday's start against the Yankees in a game which would've won the Rangers a series with a win.
If the Rangers can just stay afloat for a couple of more weeks, Hamilton is saying he'll be ready in two weeks (it might be more like three), and just remember how last season started.
Hamilton was basically a non-factor until he exploded in June, the rotation included Scott Feldman and Rich Harden, Feliz was a promising, unproven closer and no one had even heard of Mitch Moreland.
As bad as things are going right now, it could be worse. And it was last season. Concern has set in, but it's not time to panic. Yet, anyway.