July Baseball

**ORIGINAL POSTED DATE 7/22/12**

It’s July! Baseball season is over the halfway mark. The Rangers are still in first place. As of right now, they are 6 games up on the Angels. The Rangers still have the second best record in baseball, and went 18-9 in June. I tell you all this to give you good news before the bad news. July has been quite unfortunate. 
Before starting the Angels series on Friday, the Rangers record in July was 5-7. Compare that to the Angels 7-8, and the Athletics with an impressive 11-2. Normally, I wouldn’t include Oakland in the discussion, because they were never really seen as a threat. However, they’ve been hot lately, and it’s impossible to ignore that.  From July 1st to July 19th, the stats are as follows:
The Angels pitching has managed to keep them at bay for the time being, but the Athletics pitching has allowed them to inch closer to the top. Offensively, the Athletics aren’t producing a mass amount of runs, but with a pitching staff with a sub-3.00 ERA, they don’t really have to. The Angels are producing runs. A .270 batting average combined with a .335 on-base percentage has allowed them to sneak wins through where their pitching might have failed. The Rangers pitchers aren’t terrible, but not phenomenal either. The bats have all but disappeared, and their patience at the plate seems to have as well with a .297 OBP.

Just for fun, let’s look at the Rangers worst performers for July. If you guessed two of the Rangers eight All-Stars, Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton with .107 and .171 batting averages respectively, you would be correct. (And of course, I am writing this while watching Napoli hit two home runs in one game. Maybe I shouldn’t write while watching baseball games.) They’ve also struck out more than anyone else on the team, both above 20%. Josh has the ability to arguably be the best player in baseball, so it is particularly frustrating watching him consistently get out. Plus the quotes from Ron Washington via Tim Cowlishaw’s twitter (@TimCowlishaw) about Hamilton’s lack of willingness to adjust do not help to raise optimism levels regarding his at-bats.


Of course nineteen days in July is a small sample size for performance stats. However, at this point in the season, the Rangers cannot afford to be in a slump for too long. Including tomorrow’s game, the Rangers play the Angels eleven more times this season, where the Angels and their explosive offense could easily make up ground. I can’t tell you the Rangers will break out of it, even though I think they will. I can’t tell you the Athletics will cool down, even though I think they will. I can’t tell you the Angels aren’t a direct threat right now, because they most definitely are. I can, however, tell you the Angels and the Athletics heating up at a time when the Rangers are cooling down could mean an extra tight race in the AL West. 
Emily Cates is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. You can reach her at Emily.Cates@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter at@EmLikesBaseball.
Emily Cates

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