The Texas Rangers are just a few weeks away from going to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. Over a decade that is a very long time, especially if you are a hardcore Texas Rangers fans. You have watched them come close in 2004, and to be honest it wasn’t that close to begin with. They were in it in September, and any long-time Ranger fan remembers the walk-off double hit by David Dellucci against the Oakland As that kept the Rangers in the race. That was the closest Ranger fans have gotten to playoff excitement in over a decade, but it’s all changing now thanks to the 2010 Texas Rangers.
For years now Ranger fans have been mumbling to themselves, “The young guys they’ll be coming up and we’ll be fine,” and for a few years it looked like that wasn’t going to happen. With the Teixeira trade, new hope began to spread. In that trade the Rangers got their star shortstop Elvis Andrus, their star closer Neftali Feliz, and an average lefty in Matt Harrison. The only player out of that trade that didn’t really work out was Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who has now been traded to the Red Sox.
Now who do you have to thank for that impressive haul of players? Jon Daniels, the Texas Rangers general manager. He was young, but he pulled off one of the biggest trades in a long time. Those young guys in that trade are now in the majors, contributing in a big way and mixing in well with Young, Hamilton, Vlad, Kinsler, and Cruz.
Now it seems as though it’s all in place. Sure there are still some guys who have yet to even make it to the majors, yet. Martin Perez, Engel Beltre and Tanner Scheppers to name a few. Let’s focus on the big-league team, though. Because for once we can finally do that and feel proud.
The Texas Rangers have a magic number of 16 as of September 9. The magic number is the combined number of wins by the team that is in the lead and the losses of the team chasing them to clinch a playoff spot. So when are realistic times to start watching for the Rangers to clinch? Well realistically it probably won’t happen until at least the four-game Oakland series, which is the 23rd through the 26th. I think your best bet though is the Seattle series in Arlington the 27th through 29th.
So buy your tickets now to those games, and you could be a part of history. Enjoy this now because it hasn’t happened in a long time. With a rotation of Lee, Wilson and Lewis and a lineup that has Hamilton, Cruz, Vlad, Young and Kinsler, this team could contend in the playoffs. Their bench might not be the strongest, but it does include Murphy and Blanco, both of which have been very good for the Rangers this season. The bullpen is also strong with O’day, Ogando, Oliver, Kirkman and Feliz.
So get ready Ranger fans, and get your red T-shirts out, buy your foam claws and playoff tickets. Bring a jacket and your loud voice to cheer on OUR Texas Rangers in October, because unlike most years, Halloween candy won’t be the only treat we are in for.