As Dallas competes for NBA and NHL crowns, the Texas Rangers are struggling with their title defense – Metro US

As Dallas competes for NBA and NHL crowns, the Texas Rangers are struggling with their title defense

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Texas Rangers reliever Jacob Latz, center, waits as manager Bruce Bochy (not shown) comes to make a pitching change during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Sunday, May 26, 2024, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

The Dallas Mavericks are one win away from the NBA Finals, and the Stars are still in the mix for the Stanley Cup. It’s enough to push the Texas Rangers — the reigning World Series champions — onto the back burner in the Metroplex.

Not that the Rangers have done much to compete for attention lately.

In the middle of all that basketball and hockey hoopla, Texas hosts the Arizona Diamondbacks this week in a rematch of the World Series. Both teams are under .500, costing the matchup some of its luster. For the Rangers, injuries to prominent starting pitchers are just part of the problem.

Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer haven’t pitched at all this year, and Nathan Eovaldi and Jon Gray are on the injured list now as well. Despite all that, Texas’ starters have an ERA of 3.65, which is in the top half of baseball. The bullpen, however, has the second-worst ERA in the game at 5.09, with eight blown saves in 17 chances.

Offensively, the Rangers were expected to receive a boost from top prospects Evan Carter and Wyatt Langford, but Carter is batting .188. Langford is at .224, and he’s currently on the IL.

The good news for Texas is that only Seattle (28-26) is above .500 in the AL West at the moment, and the Mariners lead the Rangers by just three games. The whole division is in negative territory in terms of run differential. Texas manager Bruce Bochy has shown time and time again that all you need to do is make the playoffs to have a shot at winning it all, and the Rangers have plenty of time left to turn their season around — and try to add to this impressive run for Dallas-area sports.

Last year, 10 of the 12 teams that were in playoff position as of Memorial Day went on to make the postseason. The year before, it was eight out of 12. A fast start that’s lasted this long is generally enough to put a team in very good shape.

The postseason odds at FanGraphs already have the Dodgers (98.7%), Phillies (98.6%), Yankees (98.1%) and Braves (95.7%) as near-locks to make the playoffs. The Orioles (88.8%) aren’t far behind.

Of the teams not currently in playoff position, FanGraphs gives the Astros (53.1%) the best shot to get in.

The last two times both defending league champions finished under .500 were in shortened seasons: It happened to the Astros (29-31) and Nationals (26-34) in 2020 and the Blue Jays (55-60) and Phillies (54-61) in 1994. When is the last time it happened in a full season?

Baltimore’s Kyle Bradish struck out 11 in seven no-hit innings as the Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 4-1 on Sunday. Bradish left after 103 pitches and Danny Coulombe immediately allowed a home run to Danny Mendick, but that was the only hit of the game for Chicago.

Pittsburgh trailed by four runs in the bottom of the ninth against San Francisco on Tuesday night before rallying to tie it. Nick Gonzales then hit an RBI single in the 10th to give the Pirates a 7-6 win. The Giants had a win probability of 99.4% in the ninth, according to Baseball Savant.

That was the start of a wild week for San Francisco. The Giants overcame deficits of 5-0 and 6-2 to beat the Pirates in their next two games. Then they beat the Mets after being down 6-2 on Friday night and 2-1 in the ninth inning Saturday. New York finally returned the favor Sunday, scoring three runs in the ninth to beat San Francisco 4-3.

The Royals beat the Cardinals in the 1985 World Series. In 1986, Kansas City went 76-86 and St. Louis was 79-82.

This story has been corrected to show that the Texas Rangers are in the AL West, not AL East.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB