ARLINGTON -- Everybody knows the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908, the longest drought in Major League history. But the Rangers hold the record for most seasons by a franchise without having won a World Series.That goes back to 1961, when they were introduced as the Washington
ARLINGTON -- Everybody knows the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908, the longest drought in Major League history. But the Rangers hold the record for most seasons by a franchise without having won a World Series.
That goes back to 1961, when they were introduced as the Washington Senators -- meaning they have been around longer others searching for their first title, like the Astros, Padres, Nationals and Mariners.
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But here are three reasons why the Rangers' drought can end this year.
1. Andrus batting ninth
Elvis Andrus is having his best offensive season, with a chance to set career highs in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Yet he has been batting ninth lately. This is a player who batted leadoff in the 2010 World Series and second in '11. Being at the bottom of the order is proof how deep Texas' lineup is after the August acquisitions of Carlos Beltrán, Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gómez.
The Rangers' depth could be even better if the club can get Shin-Soo Choo back for the postseason. But Gomez has given them an added boost by showing he can handle the leadoff spot. The heart of the lineup is still Ian Desmond, Adrián Beltré, Rougned Odor and Mitch Moreland, who have all enjoyed solid to outstanding seasons.
2. The No. 1-2 starters
The Rangers have six healthy starters in Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis, Martin Pérez, Derek Holland and A.J. Griffin. They'll pick four as their postseason rotation.
There is no doubt about the first two. Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP, has big-game experience. And Darvish has big-game stuff. Despite his injuries Darvish's 11.45 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.14 WHIP are close to his career average of 11.26 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.19 WHIP.
Lewis, Holland, Perez and Griffin have all had moments of excellence, so Texas should be able to fill out a strong rotation from that group.
3. Trial by fire
The Rangers spent the season winning one intense game after another, and they proved their toughness when the pressure was on in the late innings.
Texas is 36-11 in one-run games and has 47 come-from-behind victories. Eight of those came when the club trailed after eight innings. The Rangers have won 20 games decided in the last at-bat, including eight walk-off victories. They also set a club record with 39 relief wins, two short of the Major League mark set by the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers.
Also noteworthy: The Rangers were 56-29 against all AL teams with winning records. They had some trouble against last-place teams, but those squads will be at home in October. Texas knows how to win tough, hard-fought, intense games.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.