Rangers finish homestand in good position

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It wasn't the ending to the 10-game stay at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington that the Texas Rangers wanted, but overall they are pleased with their standing in the AL West and as they prepare for September.

Texas is 4 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland A's in the AL West and up two games on the New York Yankees for the best record in the American League after going 7-3 against Baltimore, Minnesota and Tampa Bay. Two of those teams are squarely in the wild card hunt. But that's not why they are happy. Manager Ron Washington said the club just worries about itself and the last 10 days have shown they are playing better overall baseball.

The Rangers' offense, dormant for much of June and July, has roared back in August. This homestand was no exception. The club hit .294 in the six games. They had 17 home runs and scored 63 runs, an impressive 6.3 per game. The pitching staff had a 3.00 ERA during that span. That included a ridiculous 0.68 ERA from the bullpen, which had 31 strikeouts and five walks and held the opponents to a .188 batting average.

"We still have room for improvement, but I think we're happy where we're at right now," veteran Michael Young said. "Happy is not the same thing as satisfied. I think this homestand you saw a team that started to recognized that the stretch drive is right around the corner. We've said all along we wanted to improve as the season progressed, and I think we've done that."

Washington said he was glad that his team played more to its capabilities and did what it needed to do to win games. It puts the Rangers in a good position as they begin the final month of the season.

"The key is to just keep winning series," Washington said. "Right now we’re grinding to do what we’re doing. I'm not at all surprised. The bigger the challenge, the better we play. We've got a challenge the rest of the way, so I think we'll play well."