By Tom Duerr, CBS 11 News

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – One-third of the baseball season is in the books, and we can be very thankful that the Rangers got off to such a hot start and the Angels struggled.

After a sub-par May and a poor start in June, I think it’s safe to say that the Rangers are pretty lucky to still be in first place right now. Yes, they are four-and-a-half games in front of the second place Angels and are ten games over .500, but can anyone honestly say they are comfortable with the way the Rangers are playing right now? The defense is horrendus, the starting pitching is as strong as it was to start the season and the bats are in the middle of a late spring, lumber-slumber.

Again, Rangers fans can thank that hot start for remaining on top in the AL West.

However, the road and roadtrip isn’t going to get much easier. Over the next week, the Rangers have four against a talented and somewhat surprising Oakland team, in Oakland. Then they head across the bay for a weekend set against San Francisco, a team that is starting to play better ball with each passing game.

This roadtrip has the potential to be one of the toughest this team will face all season. They are slumping and are heading into Northern California, where wins haven’t been easy to find in the past few years.

If the Rangers really struggle on this California swing and if the Angels continue their winning ways, Texas might find themselves on the outside looking in at the end of this roadtrip.

Is it too early to push the proverbial “panic button?” Yes, without question. But should we be a little concerned with what we’re seeing? Yes.

The Rangers are still one of the top teams in the majors. And as the season goes along, if some of these problems aren’t fixed, the Rangers could be relegated to a wild card team.

We’ve learned very well over the past two seasons that the playoffs are not about the “best” team, but about the team playing the best at the time.