Following a split in a four-game series on the road in Tampa, the Rangers return to Arlington winners in 5 of their last 7 games, and 13-18 overall. In the muddled American League West, Texas is currently 6.5 games behind division leader Houston (20-12), who is the only team with a record above .500.
On that sort-of-positive note, after 31 games here are -- by the numbers -- what various baseball sites have to say about the Rangers:
Baseball Prospectus's 3rd Order Winning Percentage, which is based on strength of schedule and other underlying statistics, gives the Rangers a .396 winning percentage (11.9-18.1), which ranks 14th of 15 American League clubs. Only the White Sox (.367) are rated worse.
FanGraphs's Playoff Odds give Texas a 1.4% chance of either winning the division or earning a Wild Card berth. In all of MLB, only the Phillies (0.0%) have less of a shot at making the postseason. At a projected 71.6 wins in 2015, the Rangers are expected to finish with the second-worst record in baseball, according to FanGraphs.
ESPN.com, using some form of a pythagorean model, surprisingly has the Rangers expected win-loss record at 13-18 -- the same as it is in real life -- which suggests whatever formula it uses doesn't view Texas as a worse team than they really are, like BP and FG, for instance. I know it sounds silly that I'm talking about a team that's five games under .500 as if they've been overachieving, but I can't shake this feeling that, right now, we are seeing roughly the best this team has to offer this year.