The Texas Rangers are closing out August in a fine fashion, but there are several players who will need to step up come September if the team intends to stay hot.
September's schedule will surely test the team's durability, as the Rangers only get two off-days and finish the season by playing 17 games in a row. The Rangers will also play the AL's current wild-card leaders, the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays, a combined 10 times.
In the middle of the month, the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are the National League's fourth-best team, will make the trip to Arlington for a three-game series.
Those three teams are all looking to nail down a playoff spot and make a run in their respective divisions. With the September competition stiffer, the Rangers will need to rise to the occasion.
Yu Darvish is one such player capable of doing exactly that.
In games that Darvish has pitched, the Rangers have gone 14-11. While Darvish does boast a 12-5 record, he's made many costly mistakes that have kept him from winning more games.
To paraphrase Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas, Darvish is held to a higher standard because he's such a great talent. If Darvish doesn't capitalize on a two-run lead, he has failed. It's nitpicking, but that's what is expected of him as an ace.
Another pitcher who will need to step up is Matt Garza.
The Rangers made the trade for the starter in July, but he hasn't had a stellar August. If the pitching rotation holds true, Garza's first September start will be against the Angels. He'll then face the Pirates, Rays, Royals and will finish up against the Angels.
These players and more must step up for the Rangers in September. Check out which of their teammates also made the list.