ARLINGTON, Texas -- So long record streak. Winning streak? No, that thing is long gone. The Texas Rangers are splitting town just in time to miss our scorched patch of the planet shatter a three-decades-old heat streak of 42 consecutive days of 100 degrees. Today is day No. 41.
The Rangers set a stadium record recently with a 106-degree temperature reading at first pitch, and every game on this just-concluded homestand started in the triple digits. Now comes a 10-game road trip starting on the coast, the West Coast, California. First north to the Bay, Oakland. Then South to the O.C., Anaheim.
The trip finishes up in Chicago's steamy South Side. But, that's off in the distance. The sweat-drenched Rangers are clearly California dreaming.
"We're going to be sitting in about 70-degree weather for seven of them [games on the road trip]," said Michael Young, spoken like a true Southern California native. "Looking forward to that."
Indeed, the forecast for both locales calls for wonderfully mild weather. Players always like to insist that they don't scoreboard watch to see how the competition is faring, but Josh Hamilton admitted he couldn't help glance up at the small electronic board high above left-center field that flashes the time and, more urgently, the temperature.
"I never thought I'd say I'd actually look forward to going on the road, but this trip I'm looking forward to going on the road," Hamilton said. "It should be a time to get your body feeling good again. Obviously, big games coming up, but overall just a sense of relief."
Well, be careful what you wish for. In spite of the record heat and the Rangers have been raining on opponents on their ultra-dry turf. After Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners, Texas dropped to 39-23 at home. They lead the American League in home wins (third best in the majors) and are tied with the Yankees for second-fewest home losses behind the Red Sox (22).
This is obviously a significant trip with four games starting Monday against the second-place Angels, who play at New York today and with a win can move one game behind the Rangers.
On the road, Texas is a below-.500 ballclub at 27-29. In comparison, the Red Sox are 35-22 on the road, the Yankees are 32-22 and the Angels are 32-28.