Rangers right back where they started

Texas began this 12-game swing through the AL East on Aug. 10, after an off day following a long west coast road trip. On Aug. 9, they sat 8 games ahead in the AL West as the Yankees prepared to come to town. Texas went 5-7 against AL East opponents New York (1-1), Boston (2-1), Tampa Bay (0-3) and Baltimore (2-2).

So 12 days later they welcome the Minnesota Twins to town and where do they sit? 8 games up in the AL West.

Despite a struggling road trip and injuries, the Rangers managed to tread water and keep their lead, still the largest in the major leagues. Clearly, the Rangers need to play better baseball down the stretch with the A's and Angels -- both tied for second -- in position to pounce (though that hasn't happened yet). Not to mention that better play is needed for a good playoff run. But this is a reminder that it takes a combination of a rough stretch and great play by one or both of the teams behind Texas to tighten this race up considerably. So far, the Rangers have managed to do just enough to stay where they're at and the Angels and A's haven't put together the extended winning streak needed to close the gap. That, of course, could change at any time. We'll see whta happens during a tough homestand this week with four against the Twins and three against the A's.

Later this morning, we'll look at some numbers involving the Twins, whom the Rangers face in seven of their next 13 games.