With a little over two weeks to go and a five game deficit in the AL Wild Card race, the Texas Rangers find themselves clinging to the hope of a playoff spot.
The 2017 Texas Rangers season hasn’t exactly been all that memorable. Yet, just a week ago, they found themselves within two games of a playoff slot and plenty of time to make it up. But now, Texas trails the second AL Wild Card by five games. So the question now begs, are they done?
Why they’re finished
The past week has proven quite difficult for the Rangers. A 2-5 home stand against the Yankees and Mariners may have dealt the back-breaking blow many have anticipated for the past several weeks. Even the ever-optimistic Jamey Newberg wrote a bit of a eulogy in his piece about the Texas Rangers Friday morning.
Following a great August where they finished 16-12 for the month and batted .275 as a team, they’ve seen that average drop in September. Meanwhile, pitching struggled just as much.
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"“It’s looking bleak for 2017, making Texas one of half the league’s 2016 playoff teams that in all likelihood won’t return this year.” -Jamey NewbergOpponents went from hitting .245 against Texas in August to .294 this month. That means they swung from their second-best average against in August, to their highest in September. As quickly as they gained ground for that very final playoff spot, they gave it all right back in the span of a week. But is there still a bit of hope?Why they may not be finishedIt all seems hopeless now. But then again, this is a team with a coaching staff that doesn’t believe in quitting. Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister has built this team around a die hard attitude. Just two seasons ago, the entire Rangers Nation clung to the #nevereverquit mantra and plastered it all over social media.Yes, Texas trails by five games. Yes, they have just 16 games left to pass four teams. But don’t bury this team quite yet. (You might not want to put the shovel too far out of reach, though.)In those 16 games, they will face two of the teams ahead of them in their next six games. With three against the Angels this weekend and then three against the Mariners to start next week, they could eat into the 1.5 and one game deficits they have behind both teams, respectively.The other two teams ahead, the Royals and the Twins, play the Indians three times each before the season ends. In fact, the Royals fell victim to that plasma-hot club Thursday night. This could help trim the difference between them and the Rangers as well. Granted, it’s a long-shot but a shot nonetheless.Next: What Rangers fans can expect from Willie CalhounRegardless of what happens though, let’s all remember that Texas Rangers fans have had it good lately. We’ve seen this team go 779-664 since 2009. The Rangers have won four AL West titles in nine seasons plus a Wild Card berth. In short, this team has averaged about 87.5 wins in nine years and made the playoffs five times. Had they won game 163 in 2013, that would have been six times. So as we watch these final 16 games play out, let’s just remember how good it feels to watch meaningful games in September. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that we weren’t.Published on 09/15/2017 at 6:30 PM EDTLast updated on 09/15/2017 at 6:30 PM EDT “It’s looking bleak for 2017, making Texas one of half the league’s 2016 playoff teams that in all likelihood won’t return this year.” -Jamey Newberg"