A little dip in their quality of schedule didn’t hurt, but the Rangers used sweeps of the Orioles and A’s to carry a seven-game winning streak into the all-star break. That streak was good enough to hold a one-game lead over the Angels, as the Angels held serve by sweeping the Mariners in their own four-game series. With the divisional sweeps, the AL West race is – for all practical purposes anyway – down to the Rangers and Angels.
The hot finish also allowed the Rangers to finish just one game behind their pace at the break last season. Their current pace puts them on track to win 90 games, the exact number they won in 2010. They did hold a 4.5 game lead one year ago, thanks to the Angels’ struggles.
Their final victory of the first half can be credited to Matt Harrison’s pitching and Adrian Beltre’s hitting. Harrison threw 7.2 very strong scoreless innings before Mark Lowe took the mound and saw Mike Napoli throw out Jemile Weeks trying to steal second.
Beltre’s two-run home run accounted for all of the runs in the game, as Neftali Feliz closed the door in the ninth. Feliz’s blown save in the last game before the break last season was the low point in his season. His recent performance could have him on the upswing in a much more challenging season.
The Rangers will start the second half in Seattle Thursday and will look to continue both teams’ current streaks.