The only thing left for the Texas Rangers this season is four home games — and a chance to watch New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge chase history.
The Yankees visit Globe Life Field from Monday through Wednesday for four games, including a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. These are games that would have been played at the start of the season, had the labor lockout not happened.
Now, the Rangers will watch as Judge tries to break the American League’s single-season home run record.
The Rangers look like easy prey for Judge and the Yankees. After losing to the Angels 8-3 on Sunday, the Rangers are now 66-92. Texas has lost five straight, eight of their last nine, 25 of their last 33, gone 25-43 since the All-Star Break and are 15-29 under interim manager Tony Beasley.
Judge is sitting on 61 home runs, which ties him for the AL record with another Yankees slugger, Roger Maris. Judge’s pace has slowed considerably in the past two weeks.
He tied Babe Ruth at 60 home runs on Sept. 20. Since then, he’s hit just one home run, which came on Sept. 28. Judge won’t approach Barry Bonds’ record of 73 home runs in a season — unless Judge homers in basically every at-bat in the next four games.
But one home run? That’s certainly possible for Judge.
The Rangers will throw their two best pitchers against the Yankees. Martín Pérez, the left-hander, will start on Monday. Jon Gray, the right-hander, is set to got in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. In between, the Rangers haven’t set a starter for Tuesday’s afternoon game, while Glenn Otto is scheduled for the finale on Wednesday.
Judge can also win the Triple Crown, if things break his way. He has the home run and RBI titles basically sewn up — he’s eight ahead of Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez. As for the batting title, Judge’s .313 average is two points behind the .315 average of Minnesota’s Luis Arraez.
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While the Rangers have no postseason to play for, some of the individual players are chasing milestones.
Pérez can tie his career-best in victories with a win on Monday against the Yankees. He won 13 games in 2017.
First baseman Nathaniel Lowe can continue to add to his impressive season. Lowe is the seventh Rangers player to reach 175 hits, 26 doubles, 27 home runs and 44 walks in a season. His average is at .302 and he’s trying to become the first Rangers hitter in a half-dozen years to hit .300 in a season.
Right fielder Adolis García needs two RBI to reach 100 for the season, which would make him the first Rangers player to do so since Nomar Mazara did it in 2017.
Second baseman Marcus Semien needs a stolen base to be a 25-25 player for the season, which would make him the second Rangers player this season to reach at least 20 home runs and 25 stolen bases (García is the other).
Shortstop Corey Seager can add to his career-high of 33 home runs and he’s now the fifth player in Rangers history with at least 30 home runs, 80 RBI and 80 runs scored in his first season with Texas.
But all eyes will be on Judge starting on Monday.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard