Rangers blow yet another save, still cannot figure out Toronto
by Rex Factor Scores & Statson
By The Rex Factor
Let the record show that the Texas Rangers have blown 13 saves this season, which is tied for first in the American League with Detroit and Tampa Bay. They have only saved 11 games, and that sub-500 percentage is worst in the league. Matt Bush has eight of those saves, but he's now blown two of the last four chances and Toronto scored twice to edge the Rangers 7-6 in Arlington on Monday.
The Rangers are now 9-21 against Toronto since 2013. Things could be worse for the Rangers and Jays, each of which sit at 34-35 on the season heading into Tuesday night's game, the second of the four-game set. See the whole MLB standings here.
They could be Baltimore.
While the Orioles had the same 34-35 record heading into another home game against Cleveland, the Orioles broke an American League record Monday by allowing the opposing team to score at least 5 runs in 16 straight games. That's a reason why Baltimore is last in all of baseball with a team ERA of over 5. The O's are minus-57 runs, and the future bodes more ominous for them than for Toronto (minus-16) and Texas (plus-12).
Still, the Jays have much to look forward to considering their abysmal start. Unlike Texas, Toronto can actually still win the AL East. The Yankees are crashing back to Earth a little, having lost six straight out west last week and Boston hasn't been hitting consistently. Toronto has been the most consistent team in the division since the end of April and two more months in July and August like May and June would put Toronto right in position to compete for a division crown.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are sitting a full 12 games behind Houston, which has established itself as the best team in the league. See all the scores and odds here at Scores and Stats.
Texas scored five runs in the fourth inning in a game the Rangers badly wanted to win. This was the first time the two teams faced off in Arlington since last season's Sunday finale in which second baseman Rougned Odor clocked Jose Bautista in the face with a right cross after Bautista came in with a hard slide late in the game to try and break up a double play.
Remember, that came on the heels of Bautista's infamous bat-flip after his clinching home run to help knock Texas out of the 2015 playoffs. So the blood has been bad between these sides for the better part of 21 months, and the inability of the Rangers to beat Toronto much in the last four years has probably exacerbated the animosity on the Texas side.
Still, the Rangers are going to have to find a way to close out games if they're going to perform up to the level of their win-expectation, which is two-and-a-half more wins than they have now. The bullpen came in to relieve Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who struggled early but left with the lead. From there, Tanner Scheppers, Dario Alvarez and Jose Leclerc got the game to the ninth inning, where Bush promptly blew it.
There is one other 34-35 team heading into play Tuesday, and that's Kansas City. While the Royals are the hottest of the four sitting near. 500 with the same record (8-2 last 10), they are also minus-31 in run differential. Assuming that stat doesn't lie going forward, things still seem most promising for Toronto and Texas to be in better position to claim playoff spots by the time the league hits its All-Star break in less than three weeks. Texas plays in the tougher division but has established itself as the best of the four teams to this point, while the Jays have been clawing their way back into the AL East race.
But the Rangers had better figure out what to do when they lead heading into the ninth inning.