The month of August was a pretty awesome one for the Texas Rangers. They seemingly fell out of contention in July before a run late in the month behind a resurgent lineup got them in position to hang around. Then, they got Cole Hamels. Now, after a stellar August, they're in the second AL Wild Card spot and they're creeping up on the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West, just two games back.
So with all that said, let's take a look at September and the final series of the year in October, and how it could stack up for the suddenly streaking Rangers. It's a pivotal month of playing 28 games in 29 days, with only three of those games coming against anyone other than their AL West sister wives. We were dead on with our August prediction, as unlikely as it seemed. Can we do it again?
Sept. 4-6 — The Rangers go to Anaheim with a chance to end the Angels' playoff hopes, and they get to face a battered Angels' pitching staff coupled with a slumping Mike Trout who had an awful August. A sweep would be tremendous, but we'll give them a series win, and on the road, that's a victory as they improve to 72-63.
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Sept. 7-10 — This is a biggie. The Mariners have owned the Rangers this year. It's a bit misleading because a lot of their meetings came in months (April and June) when the Rangers were struggling. A trip to the Pacific Northwest with a Rangers team playing good baseball could yield different results, and at at this point, we'll call it a series split to move the Rangers to 74-65.
Sept. 11-13 — The Rangers return home after a 10-game road trip and they do it against the last-place A's who just have nothing to play for at the moment other than the future. As the Rangers showed last year by nearly upsetting some teams' playoff hopes, that can be dangerous. But the Rangers will take care of business here and sweep Oakland to improve to 77-65.
Sept. 14-17 — A four-game series at home against the first-place Astros (assuming they're still in first place). This is where things will get really fun. The last time the Rangers played Houston — also in Arlington — they swept the Astros to open their August schedule. To me, the Rangers' roster is simply better than Houston's now with the additions of Cole Hamels and Derek Holland as well as the revamped bullpen. The Rangers will win three of four here to improve to 80-66.
Sept. 18-20 — For whatever reason, the Mariners have had the Rangers' number this year, and they'll have it again here. Fortunately, the Rangers can afford to stumble against the Mariners as long as they handle business against the Astros and Angels. Seattle will take two of three, as the Rangers move to 81-68.
Sept. 22-24 — After their lone off-day for the remainder of the season, the Rangers head off to Oakland to face those same struggling A's. They don't pull off another sweep, but a series win can be expected here as the Rangers improve to 83-69.
Sept. 25-27 — A trip to Houston results in yet another series victory over the 'Stros in what will ultimately be the difference in the teams' finish in the AL West standings. Texas improves to 85-70.
Sept. 28-30 — The Rangers close out September with a return home to face Detroit for three games — their only three games against teams not in the AL West. The Tigers will have nothing to play for at this point but will manage to win two games of the bunch, as the Rangers move to 86-72.
Oct. 1-4 — The Rangers finish the regular season in a meaningful four-game series against the hated Angels, who by this point are just trying to play spoiler. The Rangers will take the series in pretty convincing fashion as they steamroll into the playoffs as the AL West champions at 89-73. Pretty crazy, huh?
Projected September record: 19-11
Projected August record: 19-9; Actual August record: 19-9.
Projected July record: 14-10; Actual July record: 10-14.
Projected June record: 16-13; Actual June record: 15-14.
Projected May record: 15-15; Actual May record: 19-11.