Prepping For June

JUNE
The Texas Rangers are off to a great start so far this season and currently have the second best record in the American League at 16-8. There have been a lot of discussions in the media and amongst the fans about the offensive struggles during the first month, but that struggling offense is fourth in the American League in runs scored going into Sunday’s game against Minnesota. With the pitching staff throwing as well as they are despite missing some key arms, it’s shaping up to be an encouraging season for the 2013 campaign. But, there is one red flag worth mentioning that could result in a tough patch for this ballclub in the near future and that is their schedule.

Prior to the first game in Minnesota, the Rangers had not played a team with a winning record this season. The April schedule has turned out to be favorable with these four games against Minnesota this weekend and then one game against the White Sox before we turn our calendars to May. It’s hard to make a solid argument based on strength of schedule because it all evens out by the end of the 162 game marathon, but it’s fair to say the Rangers have benefited early on because of that favorable schedule.

In May, the Rangers will play 28 games and 19 of them will be against teams with winning records as of today. Compared to the month of April when they will have played 25 games, but only four against a club with a winning record (Twins). If the Rangers beat Minnesota today, that would drop the Twins below .500 too. With six games against Oakland in May it could be a golden opportunity for them to create some separation from their division rival. The most difficult stretch of the month appears to occur from May 13th until May 22nd when they play 10 games against the Athletics and the Tigers. The month of May is without a game against the Angels, but based on what we have seen so far this season they may not be a factor by mid-May anyhow. As difficult as May seems compared to April it is crucial that the Rangers stay near the top of the standings as June arrives because June will be the turning point for this season.

The only soft spot during June may be three games at home against Cleveland, but the rest of the month is loaded with winning clubs. With Colby Lewis and Martin Perez expected to arrive sometime in the not so distant future, it could be important to have all hands on deck during this month. During the month of June the Rangers play the Royals (2), Red Sox (3), Blue Jays (7), Indians (3), Athletics (4), Cardinals (3), Yankees (3), and Reds (2).  Other than the Blue Jays and Indians all of those teams have winning records and several of them are leading their division. Despite Toronto’s early season struggles, they have always been a thorn in the Rangers side and will surely be playing better baseball by that time of the year as well.

Each season has one or two crucial months that sometimes define the season and June appears to be that month for the Texas Rangers. Having a great May to put them in a good spot in preparation for June is the key to this season in my opinion. If this ballclub can ride the wave of injuries and a slow start to the offense and still be above .500 and hopefully near the top of the division at the end of June, it could be a great first big step towards a return to the playoffs this fall.

Jeff Johnson is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at Jeff.Johnson@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @Houstonhog

Jeff Johnson

Leave a Reply