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Best Rangers Team Ever?

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The 1999 Texas Rangers were probably the best in the history of the franchise. Through their first 75 games, they won 42. The 2010 Rangers have won 46. That's a better start than even the first Texas playoff team, the 1996 Ranger who won 45 of their first 75.

The '99 Rangers ended up scoring 86 more runs than they allowed. The 2010 Rangers are already 72 runs ahead of their opponents.

The 1983 Rangers allowed 3.92 runs per game, 83% of league average. The 2010 team is allowing 4.3 R/G, which is 95% of league average, in a much more hitter-friendly park than the '83 squad had to deal with. The 697 RA pace would be the fewest of any Rangers team since the 1993 offensive surge by 47 runs (not counting strike years, the previous low being last season).

The '99 Rangers scored 5.83 R/G, which was 113% of league average. The 2010 Rangers are scoring a "mere" 5.35 per game, but that's 118% of league average. Compared to the league, this team is scoring better than the highest-scoring Rangers offense ever, and it's preventing runs in a way this franchise has not done since pre-expansion and pre-Ballpark in Arlington.

Yes, it's a little early to really use the title I did, but oh well. And, yes, some of this is playing a really weak schedule lately. But the Rangers have absolutely pounded that schedule, they haven't just beaten it. Baseball Prospectus's Playoff Odds have the Rangers finishing the season with 93 wins, two back of the '99 team. And that does take schedule in to account but it does not assume things like a healthy Nelson Cruz getting more games in the last 87 than he did in the first 75.

It's way too early to crown the Rangers, but it's not to early to take a moment on this off day and think about something: there is a very good chance you are watching the best Texas Rangers baseball club that has ever taken the field. The Rangers just tied a franchise record by winning their eighth series in a row, and setting the record with the ninth will tell us a lot. As long as it's going well, don't just enjoy it as in-the-moment fun, appreciate it as potentially something special.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.