DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) - The Rangers haven't played meaningful baseball in quite a while, seeing as they have won just 66 games this year, six more than last season, with four games to go.
That all goes out the window for the pitching staff beginning on Monday night when Aaron Judge steps to the plate in search of an American League record-breaking 62 home runs.
Judge, who tied Roger Maris' AL record of 61 home runs last week in Toronto, hasn't seen much to hit over the course of the last couple of weeks, as pitchers did their best bullfighter impersonations to avoid seeing themselves on highlight reels for years to come.
But the Rangers pitching staff won't be pitching around him in this series, according to the club's general manager Chris Young.
"I told our guys we're coming right after him. We're going to find out a lot about ourselves, too. You want guys out there who are competitive, who want to attack him, see how they match up against the best players in the world, and I think this is a great opportunity to do so," Young said on the GBag Nation on 105.3 The Fan.
Seeing that he's a former big-league pitcher himself, Young is more concerned about watching the arms he has on the roster compete in a high-leverage situation before he looks to add some big pieces to the rotation this winter.
"To me, it's the essence of competition. You want to see how you measure of against the best. And I think this is a great opportunity to do it both as a team and as an individual when you pitch against the best. I pitched against Barry Bonds when he [was chasing the MLB home run record], and this is what you play for," Young continued. There's a balance of trying to win a game and be smart about it. We just saw Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. We didn't pitch around them … and I expect our pitchers to do the same to Aaron Judge."
Young did add that while his focus is on winning baseball games, the fan in him recognizes how special Judge's home run chase is for the game.
"I like to see us win baseball games. Most importantly. But I do step back from a fan's perspective and I recognize how special this is in the context of the history of baseball. And so, while I'd hate for the Rangers to be on the wrong end of any part of history, this is special and this is bigger than our franchise. I'm certainly rooting for him as a person. Rooting for him as a fan. But at the end of the day, the thing I care about most is that we find a way to beat the Yankees the next four games."
And should Judge blast that record-breaking home run, there will be a lot of fans out in the outfield with their gloves on ready for an opportunity to catch a piece of history. The Rangers announced prior to the game that all outfield seats in Globe Life Field have sold out for all four games.