Rangers Look To Get Going
In the next three weeks, the Rangers have a chance to step on the gas pedal and put some separation in between them and their division counterparts. Five of the next series feature division opponents, with two of those coming against the division leading Seattle Mariners. However, the task will not be easy. Shin-Soo Choo and Drew Stubbs both were placed on the 15-day disabled list, replacing them are 3B/OF/1B Joey Gallo and OF Jared Hoying.
Oh, and then there’s Rougned Odor‘s suspension looming in the balance. The Rangers are expected to call up Jurickson Profar, who would be making his first major league appearance since September of 2013.
Where they need improvement:
The Rangers simply have to be better on the base paths. They lead the league in total outs on the bases with 27 (that does not include pickoffs which they are tied for second with , or times caught stealing). Their extra base taken percentage ranks 14th in the majors, and just below the league average. Aggression on the bases is good, but too much aggression can result in wasted opportunities. If the Rangers can trim down their outs on the bases, they could have a lot more potential to produce bigger innings.
How they’re going to win:
The Rangers starting rotation has been nothing short of stellar, and they get a big addition on Saturday. Yu Darvish makes his season debut, making an already solid rotation into an elite one. If the Rangers are to have a winning record during this slate of games, it will be because of the starting pitching. If the starters can continue to keep the Rangers in games like they have thus far, everything else will take care of itself.
Even with the injuries to Stubbs and Choo, the Rangers organization is loaded with MLB ready talent. Gallo and Hoying were chosen, with multiple other prospects and players waiting in the wings in case they are needed. This is a true testament to the work done by Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels. Having the ability to use the “next man up” philosophy is a true luxury any manager would relish at the chance to have. With Delino DeShields in Round Rock trying to channel his 2015 self, Hoying will serve as a valuable fourth outfielder with his speed and pop for the time being. The length of Gallo’s current stint in the majors is unknown, but anytime his monstrous power is in the lineup is must-watch TV. Although Hoying struggled at the plate on Monday night, his presence was felt in the field. Gallo had a very hard hit ball to right, in his ninth inning pinch hit appearance for Ryan Rua, who originally pinch hit for Hoying. Despite being shut out Monday night, the performances from Derek Holland and Prince Fielder are certainly encouraging. If these two can get it going, the Rangers will be going in the right direction.
A solid performance in the next three weeks could go a long way in the Rangers achieving their goal of winning the division. If they struggle, it could put them in a difficult spot to get out of. As long as the starting pitching stays steady and the bats give them some run support, the Rangers could be on their road to October.