ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A four-game sweep at the hands of the Orioles has left many Ranger fans a little depressed heading into the All-Star break. The only other time a Rangers team was swept by one that was last in its division was 1994 when the A's (also the worst record in the majors) swept them. I wondered how other division leaders that have been swept before the break did in the second half. ESPN Stats & Information, with help from Elias Sports Bureau, found out.
Since 2005, five teams (not including the Rangers) have been swept going into the All-Star break:
2009: Yankees were swept by the Angels (3 games, NYY didn't lead division after series)
2008: Indians swept the Rays (4 games, TB did not lead after series)
2007: The Tigers swept the Red Sox (3 games, Boston still led division)
2005: Oakland swept the White Sox (3 games, CHW still led division)
2005: The Mariners swept the Angels (4 games, LAA still led division)
So how did those teams finish the season?
2009 NYY: Won World Series
2008 Rays: Lost in World Series
2007 Red Sox: Won World Series
2005 White Sox: Won World Series
2005 Angels: Lost in AL Championship Series
The point of all this is to remember the Rangers are still 4 1/2 games up in the AL West, the largest lead in any division. Yes, they had a rough homestand. And the schedule stiffens right after the break. But the 4-game sweep (only the second time in ML history that a team more than 30 games below .500 swept a team at least 15 games above .500 on the road) does not have to send them spiraling downward. This team has already shown an ability to bounce back at various times this season. They can do it again. History, at least when it comes to division leaders getting swept before the break, is on their side.