Once Upon A Time…

When it became clear that the Rangers weren’t going to sign Zack Greinke, there began a not insignificant amount of nervous hand wringing from the local fanbase and media. Jon Daniels had let one of the more highly regarded pitchers in the game slip through his fingers and oh dear, how will we ever get on without him?!
Never mind that we’ve already got a highly regarded pitcher (Yu Darvish) with several capable hurlers slotted in behind him (Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, and eventually Colby Lewis).

Maybe it’s fair to lose a little bit of sleep over the as yet unnamed 5th starter, but I’m not too worried about it.

For the sake of easing everyone’s concerns, I thought we could take a ride in the ol’ wayback machine to a simpler time; a time when the Rangers tried to hit every ball to Grand Prairie and didn’t worry so much about silly things like 5th starters.

Let’s all go back to 1999!

The ’99 Texas Rangers had 6 pitchers that made a dozen or more starts, with 4 full-time starters (25 starts or more) and 2 guys that spent about half the season in the rotation (15 starts each).

Here are some abbreviated stats for those 6 pitchers…

– The “ace” of the staff was Aaron Sele, who struck out 186 batters in 205 innings. That actually wouldn’t be too bad if he hadn’t amassed a 4.79 ERA in the process.(Not a great start for the ’99 Rangers.)

– Their horse was Rick Helling, who started the most games (35) and tossed the most innings (219.1). He also struck out 131 (meh) and posted a 4.84 ERA (blech).

– John Burkett gave it the old college try, making 25 starts and averaging 5.62 runs…per……9 innings………uh, yeah.

– Mike Morgan also made 25 starts. His ERA was 6.24. (Move along. Nothing to see here.)

– The first of the 2 part-timers was a guy named Mark Clark, who made all of his appearances as a starter and put up a whopping 8.60 ERA. That’s not a typo. Eight point six zero.

– Esteban Loaiza rounds out the list as the other part-timer. His 4.56 ERA is better than the other 5, but the numbers may be skewed by his 15 relief appearances.(Either way, he wasn’t anything to write home about.)

Six starters, none of whom managed an ERA under four and a half, led that team to 95 wins and an AL West crown.

Think about that. Let it really sink in.

I can’t say with any certainty that the current team is capable of winning 95 games or the division. There’s just too much we don’t know right now.

However, when it comes to pitching staffs, we can all probably agree that you could do a lot worse than Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, Joe McRandomPitcher, and Colby Lewis.

Press on, Rangers fans.

Mike Luna is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. He can be reached at Mike.Luna@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @twbbg.

Mike Luna

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