The Texas Rangers season, so far, has been a unique one. Essentially, the Rangers have played three different seasons, and managed to cram it into half of a regular season.
There was April, when the Rangers were right in the conversation of being the worst team in baseball, along with teams like Colorado and Philadelphia. Then, there was May, which saw Neftali Feliz lose his closer's gig before the team immediately reeled off the best May record in all of baseball behind spectacular starting pitching.
June and the first part of July were somewhere in the middle of the two polar opposites, but probably leaning a little more toward April. The result? The Rangers are six games out of the AL West lead and 5 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot, not great but not insurmountable either.
Let's take a glass-half-empty look at the remaining 2 1/2 months of the season and explain why the Rangers should build for 2016.
*The Rangers are just atrocious against left-handed pitching. They were decent in May, but then Adrian Beltre got hurt and Shin-Soo Choo quit hitting. The result? A team .232 batting average against lefties, good for 26th out of 30 teams. It's gotten so bad, teams are beginning to adjust their rotations to throw lefties at the Rangers, even going as far as to call up prospects to start against them.
*The Rangers have a .381 winning percentage at home, and to make matters worse, they've been demolished by division opponents in Arlington, which makes it tough to compete in the AL West. Luckily, they're the best road team in baseball, which just makes zero sense, or they'd be in really bad shape.
*Josh Hamilton just can't stay healthy. It's not real surprising, given his accelerated rush to the the bigs after a brief "rehab assignment" following his trade from the Angels in late April. If he's healthy, he can still be a productive player, but every time he runs you envision a hamstring pulling or a groin giving out. Pins and needles, y'all.
*Adrian Beltre's lingering thumb injury is killing the Rangers' offense. He is just now beginning to drive the ball again, as he hit his first home run post-DL on Friday. One bad swing, and it could all go to hell again, and that would be disastrous.
*Speaking of waiting for something bad to happen, look no further than Mitch Moreland. Moreland would be the team's MVP this year if not for Prince Fielder, and we're all holding our breath that Moreland doesn't have his customary injury and DL stint. Losing his bat in the lineup would be a death blow. Go back to March and ask yourself if you'd ever believe that. If you say yes, you're a liar.
*The bullpen is not good, other than Shawn Tolleson. Keone Kela has shown flashes, but he's also been overworked in his rookie season and will surely hit a wall.
*The rotation has somehow held it together without Yu Darvish or Derek Holland, thanks in large part to an unreal (and unsustainable) April for Nick Martinez, and a blistering start for Chi Chi Gonzalez before he expectedly returned to Earth. They're now relying on two guys who haven't pitched in 14 months in Matt Harrison and Martin Perez. One of those guys is not like the other.
*Shin-Soo Choo, y'all.
*Elvis Andrus, you guys.