This last 10 game-stretch for the Texas Rangers has been bad. Yes, it was nice to go into Anaheim and win the series, but that bright spot is surrounded by a lot of bad baseball. It’s one thing to be caught in the middle of a slump and go on a four or five game-losing streak, but it’s another thing to get punched in the mouth on a nightly basis. Their starting pitchers are getting shellacked, their offense isn’t scoring runs, and their defense is poor. Right now as I’m writing this, the Rangers have been outscored by the Rockies 27-3 in the last 2 ½ games and that’s with 14 innings left in this series. Combine these scores with their last five losses and the Rangers have been outscored 63-17 against the Rockies, Angels, Oakland, and Seattle during this stretch. I don’t believe this is a trend that will sustain throughout the season and I understand the ebb and flow of a long baseball season, but 63-17???
But, once again…
This team has holes throughout the lineup, and it is not anyone’s fault within the organization because Jon Daniels put together a solid ballclub on paper during the off-season. At some point this season, hopefully, we will get to see that team on the field at the same time for an extended period. I’ve already seen some ridiculous tweets about jobs being on the line and which heads will be chopped first if the Rangers don’t turn this thing around quickly, but let’s be realistic for a moment and look closer at what Ron Washington has at his disposal on a daily basis.
Catcher– Prior to the season, I wrote here about the weak catching position the Rangers were in, but that was before Soto was injured and the everyday catcher became Robinson Chirinos. Chirinos does a great job behind the plate and is a valuable piece to any team, but not as the primary catcher. It’s not his fault that Arencibia forgot how to play baseball during the winter, but this team should not be relying on these two to carry the load behind the dish.
Second Base– Donnie Murphy and Josh Wilson have done an admirable job trying to fill in for Jurickson Profar. There have been a few stretches where they really stepped up and did a fantastic job, but this is supposed to be Profar’s breakout year. This is the year that Profar plays every day and emerges as a superstar at his position. Regardless of the decent job that Wilson and Murphy have done, this hole cannot be filled until Profar gets back.
First Base– Prince Fielder hasn’t been good, and he is the one guy (along with Beltre) that had to pick this team up and carry them on his back until the team was healthy and at full strength. The big contract, high expectations, and the pressure to carry this team could be factoring into Prince’s slump, but it also could just be regression. It’s way too early to know that, but with what he is getting paid, it’s never too early to start worrying about it.
Starting Pitchers– We all know what happened with Derek Holland and his dog. This staff was still going to be okay with Darvish, Perez, and Harrison holding this thing together until Holland came back. The problem is Harrison made his season debut just a week or so ago because of injury issues in spring training, and the back end of the rotation has been holding for dear life since the season started. The Robbie Ross experiment as a starter has shown flashes of greatness, but lately it looks like it could be headed down the same path that Ogando’s experiment ended up. Tanner Scheppers has been throwing recently and could be on the mend and rejoin the rotation soon, but he may be better suited in the back end of the bullpen. Colby Lewis looks like he should provide some depth for the rotation and is able to eat up some innings, but with the types of injuries he has had, you just never know how long he will hold up. Teams can’t win without good to great starting pitching and right now the Ranger starters are in a funk. Counting Wednesday’s game against the Rockies, the Rangers starting pitchers have averaged less than five innings in the past EIGHT games.
Combine the holes in this lineup and team listed above with the fact that Beltre has been hampered by injuries early in the season, Elvis in the midst of a funk at the plate that caused him to drop to 9th in the batting order, and the sparkplug early in the season Kevin Kouzmanoff is on the DL after having back surgery, I feel pretty comfortable in saying this team is about where it should be in the standings. We started the season saying that if the Rangers can just hover around .500 until everyone is healthy they will be fine by September, so what has changed?
Nothing more than our emotions on a daily basis of watching bad Ranger baseball is all.
What did you expect?