The 12-3 run through interleague play this month did a lot to keep people from pushing the panic button around the Rangers.
No one is hitting and pitchers are getting hurt with the frequency of World War I trench soldiers, but playing some of the worst teams the National League had to offer kept things from moving in the wrong direction. There couldn't be a more clear way to acknowledge the return to American League baseball then the one the Rangers experienced on Monday.
The Tigers crushed Justin Grimm and got a strong start from Rick Porcello (more on that in a bit) to fuel an easy 8-2 win at the Ballpark. The early runs off Grimm, who is likely headed back to the minors for a while as a result of the mess he made against Detroit, sucked all the life out of the game on the field and in the stands.
Perhaps all the quiet gave people time to contemplate how things slipped away so quickly. The American League has been the superior offensive league to the National for quite some time now, but the gap didn't seem as wide as the Rangers made it look in the opener to their three-game series.
Truth is, though, only those with short memories should have been surprised by the result. The Rangers were 3-7 against the American League before they got their early summer vacation to the National League. The reason for that? The offense.
The Rangers were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position Monday, a continuation of a month-long struggle in those situations. The Rangers have hit .223 in such spots this month, a poor number that is troubling even if it isn't all that indicative of a team's actual offensive ability. Just ask the Yankees that.
You don't even need to look at the RISP issues to see that the Rangers offense is off kilter. There have been children's party pinatas that have put up more than a fight than Rick Porcello has shown against the Rangers over the years -- Rangers hitters had a .405 average against hm before Monday night -- but Porcello barely broke a sweat on his way to victory.
Welcome back to the American League, fellas. You'll find that things are a little bit different in this neck of the woods.