To win the AL West for a second straight season, the Texas Rangers are going to have find a way to navigate some tough lineups with the likes of the game's best player, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols out west and also with Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis, George Springer and Jose Altuve south down I-45.
This offseason, they added to their already deep bullpen by trading Leonys Martin for late-inning reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, who closed games and served in many other high-leverage capacities for the Seattle Mariners.
And in doing that, they might've acquired their secret weapon to win the West.
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Wilhelmsen has been lights out against some of the best hitters in the AL West with plenty of chances against them coming from the divisional bunkmate Mariners.
As the Dallas Morning News wrote this week, Wilhelmsen has had a ton of success against the likes of Trout, Pujols, Correa, Altuve, Gattis, Springer, etc.
Wilhelmsen has held Trout to a single and two walks in 12 previous meetings. Pujols has three hits in his 16 at-bats. The Astros group is a combined 1 for 21 with 3 walks and eight strikeouts. That's more than a coincidence. That's what you call a trend, and it could be the secret key to the Rangers winning the West yet again.