The Rangers have won 8 of their last 10 and 17 out of 24 overall, and own a 1.5 game lead in the race for the second wild card. This is the second time this year Texas has ripped off an extended run of winning baseball, and, like the last time, it's been the offense that's carried the team.
Over a 42-game stretch, from May 4th through June 17th, Texas went 28-14 (.667) and outscored opponents 212-167 (+45). Its offense, which has hovered around league average all year, generated 5.04 runs/game for 26% of the baseball season, propelling the Rangers from a dismal 8-16 start to a manageable 36-30 record.
Now, the Rangers are in the middle of a 17-7 (.708) surge, and have similarly handled their opponents by a composite score of 118-93 (+25), an average of 4.92 runs/game. In all other affairs in 2015, Texas is 19-38 (.333) and averaging 3.82 runs/game.
The overarching theme I'm trying to get at is simple: the difference between winning and losing has ultimately come on the shoulders of the lineup in 2015. There has been no middle ground with this year's club; as the record shows, it's been a split between a near-.700 team and one that would be in line with the #1 pick, and it rides on that one extra run per game.
The good problem the Rangers are facing now, is they aren't relying on Nick Martinez and Wandy Rodriguez and Chi-Chi Gonzalez to provide innings in the normal rotation. Their replacements -- Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and Martin Perez -- are likely worth a 4-5 win upgrade over the season's last two months. Further, Sam Dyson has been a revelation since being acquired from Miami, and he, Jake Diekman, Keone Kela and Shawn Tolleson combine for an unexpectedly potent back-end of the bullpen.
So, the offense has essentially driven the Rangers to where they are now, but there is reason to believe Texas isn't one prolonged slump from being out of contention, especially with the lukewarm compendium of American League clubs chasing them. I'm not comfortable saying Texas owns the necessary arms to go get a postseason berth at will, but if you're spotting me 1.5 games and the roster as it currently stands, I don't mind the chances.