Hot July Puts Rangers on Track for First AL Flag

Of all the teams currently in contention for a division crown, I’d say the Texas Rangers are the most surprising of the bunch; their superb 20-9 record in July has them sitting comfortably in first place in the AL West, five games ahead of the defending AL champion Royals, and 6½ ahead of the Twins. The Rangers have yet to have a losing month, and their current mark of 64-41 is well ahead of last season’s pace, one that gave the ’77 squad a final record of 94-68, the best in the team’s short six-year history in Texas.

Everything seems to be going right for the Rangers this season, with four batters—Bump Wills, Al Oliver, Juan Beniquez, and Johnny Grubb—hitting over .300, starting pitchers Jon Matlack (16-3) and Fergie Jenkins (14-6) rolling towards twenty wins, and three relievers—Reggie Cleveland, Steve Comer, and Danny Darwin—sporting ERA’s under 2.00. The team leads the AL in stolen bases, with 148, and Wills is third with 54, behind Seattle’s Julio Cruz and Detroit’s Ron LeFlore. In July, Wills was the team’s leading batter, with 40 hits, 23 runs scored, and a .364 batting average, but an argument could be made for Grubb, who in just 18 games went 38-for-73, good for a robust .521. And though Matlack and Jenkins were no surprise with 4-1 won-lost marks for the month, Doc Medich stunned everyone with a 4-1 mark of his own, a 1.86 ERA, and three complete games in five starts.

To take a look at the Rangers team page for statistics through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

4 responses to “Hot July Puts Rangers on Track for First AL Flag

  1. The third place Giants have a better record than the Rangers at this point. Isn’t that the argument for why we needed Wild Cards, etc., so that teams that didn’t even win their division could get participation trophies as well? Go Rangers!

    • What a wonderful idea! Just like the little kids in T-ball…everyone’s a winner! I’ll send every team to the playoffs, and in the process extend my season by another 15 years! In the meantime, I think I’ll incorporate the pitch clock; if I don’t turn a Fast-Action card every twenty seconds, the chair I’m sitting on delivers an electric jolt to my backside. And yes…go Rangers!

  2. Love the hot Rangers! This club was actually a lot of fun to follow at the time. Today, they’re remembered most for their godawful ’73 season, but the last half of the Seventies, they had some tremendously talented players. Toby Harrah and Bump Wills were the heart of this team. I’m hoping they stay on top. Great replay.

    • Thanks, Terry, and I’m pulling for Texas as well (although I wouldn’t mind if Minnesota took the AL West, either). I once read a book about the ’73 Rangers, and yes, this ’78 squad is much better, in real life and on a game board. And with Matlack and Jenkins doing so well, the SP78 Rangers are slowly starting to pull away from the Twins and Royals…hopefully that trend continues!

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