ARLINGTON -- On June 3, the Rangers entered a three-game series against the Mariners at Globe Life Park staring right down the barrel of a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. At the time, they held a one-game lead over the Mariners for first-place in the American League West.After
ARLINGTON -- On June 3, the Rangers entered a three-game series against the Mariners at Globe Life Park staring right down the barrel of a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. At the time, they held a one-game lead over the Mariners for first-place in the American League West.
After their win over the Reds on Wednesday night, they found themselves with a 10-game lead in their division, and ended the grueling stretch at 16-4. The owners of the best record in the American League won't be caught patting themselves on the back, though.
"I don't think any player in here could tell you what the [division] lead is, and that's a good thing," said Ian Desmond, whose solo homer decided Wednesday's win.
Either way, it's hard to keep quiet about the team's play of late.
"We've had a really good stretch here lately," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "It's been a lot of fun going out there every night and putting together complete ballgames."
"With the bullpen that we have, even if we keep it close, I know we've got a good chance," Adrian Beltre said. "Once we get the lead, its game over. That's the way it's been."
The Rangers will catch their breath Thursday, before welcoming the Red Sox to Globe Life Park for a three-game series. The series against Boston opens up another long stretch of 17 games in 17 days leading up to the All-Star break.
"A lot of good things going on right now with the team and everyone is starting to come around and feel good," Desmond said. "It's going to be good to have a day off and rest the body, then get ready for another big stretch."
Eight of the team's wins during the 20-day period were by one run. Their last three victories have been in come-from-behind fashion, and they lead the Majors with 23 comeback wins.
That's helped build camaraderie throughout the clubhouse, which has been full of smiles and pumping with music after games more often than not.
"Probably the most positive vibes I've experienced day in and day out. We're enjoying each other and we're enjoying the moments out on that field," Cole Hamels said. "We understand that [when] you're not going to get a day off for a while, you're going to have to be really close to each other. I think we enjoy that."
Hamels' strong outing Wednesday -- striking out eight, and allowing one run over six innings -- came on the back of news that put a damper on the win, and the starting rotation. Before the game, the Rangers placed Derek Holland on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, and announced Colby Lewis would miss at least two months with a Grade 2 strain in his right lat muscle.
They're not ready to let the injuries kill their groove.
"We have confidence that someone will be able to step up and fill those roles," general manager Jon Daniels said. "That's kind of been the nature of our season."
Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.