Ups and Downs

Beltre
We are just past the midway point of the season and various opinions have been laid out regarding the 2013 Texas Rangers and their quest to reclaim the A.L. West title. Some people think this team (once all the pitchers are healthy) can make a long run in the postseason while others believe that the team that lost six in a row is what they really are and that the players are simply performing above their levels.
Then there are those fans who were upset that Texas let so many players leave last year calling the team “cheap”. So I decided to look at the players who left and a few of those who returned and how they are currently faring.

Those Who Left:

Josh Hamilton (DOWN): Do I really need to point out his stats and just how poorly he is doing? The pressure of being in Los Angeles is apparently getting to him.  That and he has no vices (i.e. tobacco) to keep his mind off of whatever it is that eats him up. He’s currently hitting .226 with an OPS that is down almost 300 points from last season. Yeah, I don’t miss him.

Mike Napoli (UP): He’s hitting for higher average and already has twelve more doubles this season then he did all of last season but the green monster can be taken into account for that. I would have liked to have seen him return but his hip condition is keeping him from catching and Mitch Moreland has done well at first for Texas.

Michael Young  (UP): His numbers are up all across the board and he actually has fewer errors at third this season than Adrian Beltre (6 versus 8). His time was up here though and it’s good to see him having mild success elsewhere.

Mike Adams (DOWN): This actually could have been a push since he was pretty much pitching the way he did last season, however, he has gone on the DL with three tears in his shoulder and is expected to miss the rest of the season.

Koji Uehara (DOWN): His ERA and WHIP are both up from last season and his K/BB ratio has dropped by 8 from 14.33 in 2012 to 6.38 this season. He was recently named the Red Sox closer and I wish him the best.

The Returning Cast:

Ian Kinsler (UP):  There’s no doubt that his current slash line of .281/.354/.437 is a huge improvement over last season and while he is in a bit of a slump his loss to the disabled list impacted this team as they struggled without his presence.

Elvis Andrus (DOWN): We’ve all seen him struggle. We all know that he doesn’t need to be hitting second anymore, and Wash finally relented. Don’t blame it on his new contract though as the idea of a player doing better before and worse after a huge contract is a myth that I don’t buy into.

Tanner Scheppers (Up): Not just up but way up. More movement on his pitches has made him an excellent set up man while the Rangers await the return of Joakim Soria (his debut in Texas). He’s been one of the more pleasant surprises this season.

Joe Nathan (UP): Just like 2012 his start to this season was a little bumpy but he settled in more quickly this season than last and his fastball velocity has increased. Last season he seemed to implode when he pitched three games in a row. He pitched four in a row a couple of weeks ago and was effective.

David Murphy (DOWN): He will always be nothing more than a fourth outfielder yet he’s seeing more playing time than necessary this season. If Texas can acquire an outfielder by the traded deadline then Murphy will go back to a platoon role where he belongs.

Yu Darvish (UP): Do I really need to explain this?

Leonys Martin (UP): Or this?

Adrian Beltre (DOWN): Yes, down from last season though he still has a very respectable .304/.343/.506 slash line, including two bombs last night. What Beltre needs is a power bat by him in the lineup so that he’ll see better pitches. He’s still a slick fielder.

If I had to separate the pitching and offense then I would say the starting pitching is down, the bullpen is a push and the offense is down. With all that this team is still in first place and the pitching will get better piece by piece as the injured pitchers return.

Hopefully it will be all “ups” by the end of the season.

James Holland is a Senior Columnist for Shutdown Inning. He can be reached at James.Holland@shutdowninning.com or @SDIJamesHolland on Twitter.
James Holland

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