They’re the hottest team in baseball and they leading their division, much of the thanks has to go to, not a player, not a pitcher, not a coach, but interleague play. Interleague play is a time in the MLB season that has historically made or broke teams, case in point, the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox.
The Texas Rangers have won 11 straight games and are looking like the team that Nolan Ryan all but promised they would be before the season started. Ryan felt the team could win 100 games, while that is yet to be determined, the Rangers do lead their division ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in American League West and are looking like a post season contender. Interleague play has had plenty to do with the Rangers’ success, the Rangers are currently 12-3 in interleague play. The Chicago White Sox have also reaped the benefits of interleague play, as they are winners of 10 straight and are 13-2 in interleague play. For the White Sox, interleague play may have saved the season and the job of their skipper Ozzie Guillen.
If you’re betting on the Rangers to continue their winning ways, you should take comfort in knowing that they’ll be playing the lowly Houston Astros next, a team that is 2-10 against the American League and well below .500 on the year.
The Rangers have been getting it done through some extremely hot hitting from Josh Hamilton. Hamilton is raking everything he sees, his batting average over the last month is off the charts and this is a player with all the skills to carry a team. Everyone knows in baseball, hitting is contagious, and the hot hitting of the Rangers has Vlad Guerrero looking like the “Impaler” of old. His walk off hit to give the Rangers their 11th straight win was a beautiful site to see for Vlady fans. He’s a guy who if you love hitting, you love watching him play, he’s not the ruthless batter he used to be, but there’s still magic left in Vlad’s hands, which are some of the fastest and strongest baseball has ever seen.
The key down the stretch for Texas will be their pitching. The Rangers have been working very hard to change the culture of their pitching staff, which isn’t easy considering the boom box stadium they play in down in Texas. Balls leave that park in a hurry, but the Rangers have tried to instill mental toughness in their young staff and an air of confidence that comes down from the top, through Nolan Ryan. Currently, no regular starter on the Rangers has an ERA under 3, but Rangers president, Nolan Ryan, has some tricks up his sleeve, and may be looking to acquire veteran Roy Oswalt before the trade deadline.