MLB Standings Watch: Red Sox show promising signs of improvement

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Aug 23, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher

Cole Hamels

(35) pitches in the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


Texas Rangers: Seven wins in their last ten games has vaulted the Rangers into a Wild Card spot. Texas has a top-5 offense this season, but it’s their pitching that has really turned around their season lately, with a 3.69 ERA that places them 4th in the league in August.

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What’s odd about the success of this Rangers pitching staff is that they are doing it without much contribution from their prized trade deadline acquisition, Cole Hamels. The former Phillie missed a couple of starts this month with a groin injury, but hasn’t resembled the pitcher they thought they were getting when he has taken the mound.

Hamels was knocked around for a total of 9 earned runs in 13.2 innings over his first two starts with his new team and owns a 4.73 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in his brief tenure with the Rangers. His last two starts since returning from injury have been more promising, so perhaps he is starting to adjust to pitching in a new league. If he returns to form and the rest of the rotation continues to pitch the way they have this month, watch out for the Rangers.

Can Texas keep this up? Their -24 run differential suggests they are a team that should be below .500, not four games above it. However, they are a stronger team now than they were earlier in the season, regardless of what they get out of Hamels. The emergence of Rougned Odor (.328/.350/.599 since the break), along with several veterans rebounding from slow starts, have made the lineup stronger. Even Mike Napoli is thriving in Texas (1.036 OPS in 11 games), with the Rangers using him selectively against left-handed pitching.

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