After one hundred one games, the Texas Rangers find themselves in third place in the American League Western Division, eight full games behind the first place Houston Astros.
They lag well behind in the race for one of the two available Wild Cards, as well. And yet, this team was part of a blockbuster trade this week. They acquired the services of the Philadelphia Phillies ace left-hander, Cole Hamels.
Texas fans may be wondering why their team, with nothing to play for this season, would go and get one of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball.
The answer is simple. Texas is stocking up for 2016. That is when they get back their other ace starting pitcher, Yu Darvish and will have two number one pitchers that can carry them all the way to the playoffs.
But there are still sixty-one games remaining to be played this year. And good performances, especially against playoff contenders, will almost certainly draw fans out to Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Texas Rangers Schedule indicates that there are indeed important games on the calendar.
Beginning on August 3 and lasting through August 5, the home team will welcome the Houston Astros to Globe Life Park in Arlington. There will be lots on the line for the league-leading Astros and, by extension, for the home team Rangers, too.
Graphic via ftw.usatoday
Houston leads the second place Los Angeles Angels by only two games. They have to keep winning to stay ahead of the hard-charging club from Anaheim. For its part, the Rangers have a great chance to play the role of spoiler.
Wins against Houston can give meaning to the entire season for Texas. That makes the games important. But why stop there.
The Texas Rangers Schedule features a season-ending four game series against the Angels. The games are slated to take place at Globe Life Park in Arlington on October 1, October 2, October 3 and October 4 which is the last day of the regular season.
There will be no pressure on the home team, but there can be lots of pressure on the visitors. And that favors the squad that plays eighty-one games a season in Globe Life Park in Arlington. Baseball tradition literally requires that the team with nothing to play for gives maximum effort against the team with lots to lose.
That tradition makes baseball the great game it is, a game that entertains millions and millions of fans every summer.
Texas could easily wreak havoc on the fortunes of the Los Angeles Angels. And in 2016, when the Rangers expect to be playoff contenders, the squad from southern California may very well find itself in the position to return an “unwanted favor.”
Graphic via snipview