Extra Bases: Another April to remember
The Rangers have this April thing down.
The Rangers won for the 17th time Tuesday night, beating the Chicago White Sox 10-6, and have gone three consecutive Aprils with at least 16 wins. It's the third time in club history they've won 17 games in April. The 1989 Rangers -- with new acquisitions Nolan Ryan, Rafael Palmeiro and Julio Franco -- faded and finished 83-79. Last year's Rangers were 17-6 in April and reached the American League wild-card game.
The 1998 Rangers are the only team in club history to top that, going 18-7 in April. They went on to win the club's second AL West title before losing to the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series.
Pitching carried the Rangers this April. They have a 3.14 ERA, best in baseball. Yu Darvish was 5-0, with all the wins coming after Rangers losses. The offense was inconsistent but might be re-energized after Tuesday's 10-run outburst, which was sparked by the continued surge of Mitch Moreland and a two-run home run by Adrian Beltre.
"We're a good team. We're a very good team," Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "We have a lot of guys on this team that love to win and love to play baseball. We work hard, and when you have that and you win, it snowballs. We're a good team, and we're going to continue to play good baseball and see what happens."
1. Opening wins: The Rangers won their eighth straight series opener going back to their loss to Houston on opening night. The Rangers have been able to grind through the schedule because of it. They are 17-0-3 in their past 20 series when winning the opener.
2. Cruising in April: Nelson Cruz carried the Rangers in the last two weeks of the month. He hit safely in nine of 12 games, and batted .364 with five home runs and 15 RBIs. He sparked the Rangers again Tuesday night with a two-out home run to left field to cut Chicago's lead to 2-1. White Sox starter Jose Quintana, who had allowed two hits before Cruz's homer, gave up five hits to the next nine Rangers batters.
3. Beltre breaks out: Beltre snapped an 0-for-11 stretch with runners in scoring position with a two-run home run to cap a six-run sixth inning. Manager Ron Washington proved prophetic, having said on "Fitzsimmons and Durrett" on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM on Tuesday that Beltre would do something big in his fourth at-bat. The manager knows.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.