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-full look at the remaining 2 1/2 months of the season and explain why the Rangers should be seen as postseason contenders.
*Martin Perez is starting on Friday for the first time in 14 months, and by all accounts, he's basically back to form. That's a huge boost for the Rangers' recently ailing rotation. Sometime within the next month, Derek Holland is expected to return, and before we know it, we might have a pretty salty rotation, despite still be void of an ace...
*...Unless, the Rangers are still in the talk of possible trade suitors with Philadelphia for ace lefty Cole Hamels, who would not only give them an ace this year but also make a really formidable 1-2 punch for years to come with Yu Darvish.
*The Rangers are literally the worst home team in the American League and only a game better than the league's worst home team in the Milwaukee Brewers. Logic would say that's going to turn around, at least some. And conversely, the Rangers are the best road team in all of baseball. That's a remarkable feat, and one that shows the Rangers are not a bad team. Doesn't matter how lucky you are — you can't chance yourself into having the best road record in baseball through 3 1/2 months if you're a bad baseball team.
*Jon Daniels has said time and time again that he's looking to add a right-handed bat and get some bullpen help before the trade deadline. The Rangers have been horrendous against left-handed starters this year, but adding a quality right-handed bat (Ryan Braun, perhaps) could help shore up that problem.
*Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton will have had four days of doing nothing when they return to action on Friday. Beltre was beginning to show he could drive the baseball again just before the break, which was great to see and a positive sign of his injured thumb possibly getting back to normal. Beltre's presence in the lineup has really been name only for the past month, and if they can get the old Beltre back it will fix all kinds of problems.
*Shin-Soo Choo can't be this bad, can he?
*The AL West isn't overwhelming. The fact the Rangers are in the hunt basically tells us that. The Mariners have been a major disappointment, the Astros are floundering and have been getting questions all year of whether they can sustain their hot start. The Angels are relying partly on an aging Albert Pujols who could break at any moment and are working with a bit of a smoke and mirrors pitching staff. This division is really pretty bad, and it's winnable.
Keep hope, Rangers fans.