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Rangers Can Enter All-Star Break On 7-Game Win Streak With Victory Sunday

After a dream June and a dream trade (for Cliff Lee), but then a bit of a nightmarish final first-half series, in what seemed like a dream 2010 season, the Rangers entered the MLB All-Star break with a record of 50-38. That July sweep at the hands of the Orioles aside, almost everything had seemed to go right for the Rangers. They were winning close games and coming back late, and they had a 4.5-game lead in the AL West despite what was already a nightmare ownership transfer process.

The 2011 season has seemed to be the antithesis of 2010 for the Rangers in many respects. Despite leading the division for most of the first half, the Rangers could not gain separation on the Angels. They sit with a one game lead entering Sunday’s games, so they will have at least a share of the lead, but they also won’t possess anything resembling a safe division lead either.

The back half of the bullpen, a strength in 2010, has struggled this time around, starting with Neftali Feliz and continuing through every setup candidate aside from Darren Oliver. The lineup regressed from their 2010 resurgence under Clint Hurdle, as they’ve already fired his replacement, Thad Bosley, and replaced him with Scott Coolbaugh. They’ve already missed Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz for long stretches.

But through all of that, a win Sunday would give them a record of 51-41 entering the break, just one back of last season, thanks to a late rally that has allowed them to carry a six-game winning streak into this final game.

Matt Harrison (6-7, 3.28) will take on Trevor Cahill (8-6, 3.17).

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