It appears the schedule makers at Major League Baseball had some quirky fun with the Rangers this week. How else to explain off days today and Thursday with two games in Kansas City in between?
The Rangers head off on an 11-day, three-city road trip. But they only play eight games in that span with three off days in the span of a week. It's a chance to refresh, but the club, first in the AL West by two games, would certainly trade one of these off days now for another one in August or September.
That isn't how it works, of course. So they'll focus on playing better away from home. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has become a huge homefield advantage for the Rangers. They are 18-9 at home, including 5-2 on this last home stand (they lost two straight to the Cubs over the weekend). But on the road, Texas sports a 7-11 record. They were 1-6 through a six-game stretch at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park in April. They lost two of three in Oakland and were swept in Toronto.
It doesn't come as a shock that the Rangers' numbers are down on the road as opposed to home. A quick glance (note that the Rangers have played 18 games on the road and 27 at home):
* Texas has 68 runs on the road. Only Oakland has fewer among AL teams.
* The Rangers are hitting just .236 as a team away from Arlington with nine homers (fewest in the AL). Texas is batting .292 with 33 homers at home.
* Only four regulars are hitting better than .250 on the road. They include Elvis Andrus (.357), Ian Kinsler (.290, but in just 31 away at-bats since his return), Michael Young (.278) and Vladimir Guerrero (.258).
* Texas has a team ERA of 4.41 on the road, which is actually fifth in the AL. But it's 3.84 at home.
* Colby Lewis is 1-2 with a 3.77 ERA in five road starts, the most for any Ranger. Scott Feldman is 0-3 with an 8.64 ERA in three road starts. Rich Harden is 1-1 with a 6.05 ERA and that includes his solid start in Oakland earlier in the month. BTW, C.J. Wilson has pitched very well on the road this season: 1-1, 1.83 ERA in three starts.
So the Rangers will try to alter the trends of these numbers. They'll face the Royals, who are nine games under .500, for two games. Then, after yet another off day, they head to Minnesota for three in the new Target Field. The Twins are 26-18 and on top of the AL Central. After not playing on Memorial Day, the Rangers take on the White Sox for three games. Chicago is 18-25.
This should be an opportunity, at least in two of the three series, for the Rangers to get going. How do you think they'll do on this 8-game road trip?