Yes, it's only mid-June, but the Texas Rangers upcoming nine-game road trip which kicks off Friday night in Seattle will do a lot in determining what the Rangers do in 2014.
The Rangers will face the Mariners, A's and Angels — the three teams ahead of them in the AL West standings — and a highly successful, yet unlikely, result could vault them right back into the thick of the division race. An awful showing could effectively end any and all hope the Rangers might have in making the postseason, either as a division winner or a wild card.
The Rangers have consistently been successful against their AL West foes over the years, and that's been the case this year, too. They're 10-8 against the three teams in front of them this year and are at or above .500 against each of the three teams.
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But things have changed since the last time they played this bunch, notably several players hitting the disabled list.
The Rangers face the Mariners' top two pitchers this weekend, and they're throwing Nick Tepesch and Nick Martinez, who have both struggled terribly, against them. On the surface, you'd have to think a 1-2 trip to Seattle would be the most realistic outcome. Then, it's off to Oakland for three games. Of course, the Rangers swept them in Oakland in April and then got swept in Arlington. So who knows? But again, you'd have to think a 1-2 trip would be about the best they could do there. The Rangers already won two of three games in Anaheim once year, and they can do it again and finish with a 4-5 mark on the road trip, which would be respectable and keep them about where they are — treading around the .500 mark.
The last time the Rangers were supposed to be killed by a road trip, it was a season-long 11-game trip and they ended up going 7-4.
Anything better than 4-5 would be great, and anything worse could be catastrophic. How do you see it going?