The last time the Rangers were this close to first place in the American League West:
- Dallas-Fort Worth was dealing with Spring flooding.
- The Mavs and Rajon Rondo were about to tip off Game 1 of the playoffs against the Rockets.
- We weren’t yet tired of Bruno Mars’ new hit, "Uptown Funk."
- The baseball season was but 12 games old, and Texas was counting on players such as Neftali Feliz, Leonys Martin, Ross Detwiler, Jake Smolinski, Carlos Peguero.
Yep, April 18 feels like forever.
Obviously, the Rangers are a better team at 73-64 than they were at 5-7. But that’s the last time they were only one game out of the lead in the division. They reached that pinnacle again Tuesday – some 21 weeks later – after a 9-6 victory over the Mariners that now has them breathing heavily on the neck of the Astros.
The Rangers are nine games over .500 for the first time since ending the 2013 season at 91-72 and their lead in the AL Wild Card is up to 2.5 games over the Twins.
From mid-April, this team has been transformed by the steadiness of closer Shawn Tolleson, the awakenings of Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo, the emergence of Delino DeShields, the arrival of Cole Hamels and the return of Derek Holland. It’s not only a better team, it appears to be one on the verge of a magical September rally.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.