Hampered by early-season injuries to key starters and position players, the Texas Rangers' task of simply "treading water" this month doesn't come easy.
They wrapped up a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays Sunday afternoon, dropping the first two but leaving Tampa with a win in the series finale. Texas' six-game road trip continues, as it will head to historic Fenway Park for three games with the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
Missing as many pieces as the Rangers are right now, this series against the Red Sox might be one of the toughest of the season.
I know what you're thinking.
"It will be April 7—these games aren't worth putting too much stock into."
But if you have a hard time tuning into regular-season games until later in the summer, remember this: The Oakland A's stormed back and stole the AL West division title from the Rangers in 2012, after trailing by 13 games in late June.
The Rangers just needed to win one more game at any point in that season, and then who knows? Maybe things might have turned out a bit differently than they did.
Bottom line: These early April games matter just as much as games in mid-September. This is a key series for the Rangers no matter what your approach is to the regular season.
With that said, here are five keys for the Rangers to leave Boston with a series win this week.
**All stats courtesy of Baseball-reference.com