Rangers Even Record, Eye First Place in Tight AL West
When the Seattle Mariners traded for ace lefthander Cliff Lee in the offseason, they were thinking about a series within the division tilting in their favor starting Lee and Felix Hernandez back to back.
With Lee coming off the disabled list Friday against Texas and Hernandez set to start Saturday, the Mariners were able to get their first look at their offseason vision.
It did not go well for Seattle.
The Rangers outlasted Lee and the Mariners with an extra inning win in the series opener and took advantage of the extremely rare off start for King Felix, who was not helped by a surprisingly poor defensive effort.
Now, the odds of the same thing happening in a later series with Seattle are remote, but for now the Rangers will take what their rival has given them.
After a rough opening road trip that saw the Rangers drop from a first place tie with the Oakland Athletics to last place, the Rangers have won six of ten and find themselves half a game behind the young upstart Athletic team in the West.
The Rangers have played well in every phase of baseball at some point thus far, but have yet to put it all together and go on a run.
The past two games, the Rangers have pitched very well, closed out games thanks to incredible bullpen pitching and for the first time in a year have been patiently aggressive at the plate.
I know, patient and aggressive are not two words that go together, but the Rangers are doing just that.
They are taking close pitches they used to ground to the middle infielders and jumping on mistakes when pitchers offer them.
Josh Hamilton is starting to do the things that made him an all-star in 2008, Julio Borbon and Elvis Andrus have settled into their new roles very well and Ian Kinsler has shown little rust since his season debut Friday night.
With the rotation and bullpen settling into their prospective roles, the Rangers could be on the verge of another May to remember with an offense much more suited to sustain the team throughout the summer.
Then again, another rough patch and the fan base will be back to calling for Ron Washington's head on a plate.