Series Outlook: Red Sox (17-17) at Rangers (18-17)

On Thursday, the Rangers capped off a brutal 1-3 home-and-home series by shutting out the Rockies, 5-0. Aside it being Matt Harrison's first win since late 2012, and the much anticipated major league debut of top prospect, Rougned Odor, there are few positives to take from this week against Colorado. I thought last week's sweep at the hands of the Athletics was the worst baseball I'd seen from Texas in at least 5 years, but they may have trumped themselves. 

Still, 18-17. 

To date, the American League is so wide open. It's like if you stretched your arms so far back as to make the widest possible distance between both of your hands. You know, before all the lactic acid builds up and it starts to hurt. 

Here are all the American League teams with records of .500 or better:

  1. Detroit, 20-10
  2. Oakland, 20-15
  3. Baltimore, 18-14
  4. New York, 18-15
  5. Seattle, 18-16
  6. Texas, 18-17
  7. Toronto, 18-17
  8. Boston, 17-17
  9. Chicago, 18-18

And here are the rest of the AL teams:

  1. Anaheim, 16-17
  2. Kansas City, 16-18
  3. Cleveland, 16-18
  4. Minnesota, 15-18
  5. Tampa Bay, 15-20
  6. Houston, 11-24

Basically, crap. That's a lot of teams in the same range. The Rangers are 2.0 games out of first place in the West, and 0.5 games out of 4th place. It's been 35 games and we've already seen Texas win 8 out of 10 and lose 9 of 11; this has been a weird ass season up to this point. 

Undeterred, because it's just baseball, this weekend the Rangers begin on their quest to create some separation from the rest of the pack.

Oh, and they're playing the World Champs:

Friday -- Clay Buchholz (2-2, 5.63 ERA, 4.17 xFIP) vs. Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.87 ERA, 3.53 xFIP)

Saturday -- Jon Lester (3-4, 2.59 ERA, 2.58 xFIP) vs. Martín Perez (4-2, 3.59 ERA, 3.59 xFIP)

Sunday -- Jon Lackey (4-2, 3.72 ERA, 3.38 xFIP) vs. Robbie Ross (1-3, 4.74 ERA, 3.87 xFIP)

It can be argued that Martín Perez has been the Rangers' most valuable pitcher so far in 2014, but over his last two starts his ERA has ballooned from 1.42 up to 3.59 -- over two full runs. In two starts. I don't want to get involved in the speculation game by saying things like "maybe the league is catching up with him," or "maybe his arm is tired from the early workload," but mostly because I'm not buying it. Perez is a helluva pitcher, and I anticipate he gets back on track this weekend against the Red Sox. (Well, I suppose that last sentence is a speculation, but whatever.)

Boston is a stiff opponent, so, as always, two out of three would be appreciated. 

Go Rangers.