ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers 11-game win streak has come in interleague play and against sub .500 teams in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Florida and Houston.
Ron Washington is not going to apologize for the Rangers' success during this stretch. The Rangers' 4 1/2 game lead in the AL West is the biggest in the majors. Texas is tied with the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox for the most home victories this season at 26.
The 11-game streak is impressive but it has come against struggling teams nonetheless.
"I didn’t see Pittsburgh lie down out there in those three games we played," Washington said. "I didn’t see Milwaukee laying down and I didn’t see Florida laying down. We played better baseball than them, bottom line. We did. We all know Pittsburgh is short, they got a bunch of young kids, but that’s not our fault, it’s Pittsburgh’s fault. When we had all those young kids around here, nobody was giving us reasons. No. it's part of the schedule. Everybody's got a weak part of the schedule, so people say."
Next week, the Rangers take on the second place Angels, and there is a perception -- fair or not -- that the Rangers need to win that series to be considered real contenders. Regardless of what's happened, you have to admire how the Rangers have moved forward despite an ownership situation that's unsettled and the fact two starters are on the DL.
"That series is not going to make or break of who we are or what we're planning on being, not yet," Washington said. "I don’t know, but there might be some people who think we’re going to walk up there and Anaheim is going to put a foot up our ass, it ain’t going to happen. We’re going to go play baseball, now what the outcome is going to be I don’t know until we play them, but we’re certainly not going to go there ahead of ourselves and we’re not going in there afraid. We’re going to play baseball ,and they better be ready to play too and I know they will and we will too."
The Rangers have the second best record in the majors at 44-28 only the New York Yankees (45-27) are better. In June, the Rangers have posted the best record this month at 18-4.
Yet you get this feeling that Washington feels as if the Rangers don't get enough respect. He respects every team his club has played, and is mindful of how important the upcoming series is with the Angels.
"It's June 25, and every team like they want to call it has a weak part of the schedule," Washington said. "If Anaheim was out there kicking ass, the way we’re kicking ass, they’d be a great [expletive] team. But since the Texas Rangers are doing, it's called weak opponents, they’re a major league team, man."