Texas Looking Playoffs-Bound Early

Texas is hitting as they always do, but pitching and defense may put them over the edge in 2009

The Texas Rangers will have a very real shot at the postseason in 2009.

Some would dispute this claim, but those are, in all likelihood, the same people who would dispute the idea that Texas would spend even one day in first place.
 
At this point, it’s been something like a week and a half.

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On Thursday, Chris Davis hit a walk off home run in the ninth to give Matt Harrison his second consecutive complete game win. Harrison has won 14 of his first 22 games in the big leagues.
 
More importantly, he provides the Rangers with a legitimately effective number three starter; behind Vicente Padilla, who has looked increasingly untouchable over his last few starts and Kevin Millwood, who has been near-untouchable for the great majority of 2009, Texas’ playoff hopes are becoming more and more real.
 
There’s no need to spit hackneyed praise for Texas’ offense on the page here; we all know, they’re big, strong, and dangerous.
 
But Texas’ improvement has little to do with the vaunted bats of Arlington, Texas.
 
If Texas makes the playoffs, and there is a very real chance that they will, it will be because of pitching and defense.
 
Yes, I said pitching.
 
The rotation, as we've seen, has been at least solid.  The somewhat motley bullpen, after something of a rough start to the year, has proved effective and, in some instances, ice-cold.
 
Texas’ defense, which was another source of concern last season (because they were dead last in the league), has improved to fifth in the A.L.
 
And after watching Chris Davis’ shot on Thursday, one must wonder if the fates are beginning to turn for the beleaguered team.
 
The looming weekend series with the Angels should be a decent indicator; Los Angeles has, more or less, owned the division over the past few seasons. They currently sit in second place behind Texas but, with that kind of rotation, it would be illogical to think the series won't be a tough one for the streaking Rangers.
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