I do not live in the DFW area or Texas for that matter, so I cannot hear what fans are saying in person, but what I am reading from Twitter and Facebook is that fans are already tired of this year’s Texas Rangers team and they are ready to throw in the towel. But before you jump ship on the Rangers season here are some things you need to know about the team.
The Rangers are currently 7-7, sitting 3 games out of first place in the A.L. West. Out of the Rangers first 13 games last season they opened up with an 9-5 record, which is only 2 games better than this year’s first 14 games. And if you take a look at who the Rangers played it is not that impressive. They played the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angles, Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros, who finished dead last in the league, the Mariners and Angles both had sub .500 records, and the Rays, who beat out Texas in game 163 to make the play-in game for the playoffs.
Of the Rangers 40-man roster this year there are only 11 players returning that played all of last season in a Rangers uniform, 13 are returning when you include late season acquisitions, Alex Rios and Joakim Soria. The Rangers are currently starting anywhere from five to six position players that were not on last years’ team due to trades, free agency, or injuries.
There is a lot of room to grow as a team and figure out how each player plays the game. That is probably why the Rangers are doing so poorly on defense. Currently, the Rangers rank third for most committed errors; the team has committed 14 errors in 14 games. The Rangers are tied with the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers for the second most errors in baseball. The Rangers also have a measly .974 fielding percentage, which is 27th in the league. A positive about the Rangers defense though is that they have turned a league-leading 21 double plays.
The Rangers starting pitching has done just enough to get by, which is more than expected from a pitching staff with 3 new starters. The Rangers recently got Yu Darvish back from the disabled list and he has returned to dominating form after missing the first few games of the season with a back injury. In his two outings, Darvish has lasted at least 7 innings, giving up a combined eight hits, stiking out 15, walking two, while posting a 0.00 ERA. Martin Perez has not hit his sophomore slump yet and is the first Rangers pitcher to two wins. Perez possesses a 2.70 ERA over his three starts and has given up 20 hits, struck out 12, and walked six. Robbie Ross, who is a reliever turned starter had been a great fill in for the Rangers while they deal with injuries. Ross has a record of 1-0 in his three starts and carrying an ERA of just 1.00. After those three pitchers, the Rangers do not have another starting pitcher who has won a game. The Rangers have used 3 different pitchers in the fifth spot of the rotation, but none of those pitchers have been able to get a win.
The Rangers offense looked like the sure thing for the Rangers, but it has been anything but dependable. The Rangers are standing 8th in the Majors, 4th in the A.L. with an average of .258. Not to mention, the team is hitting poorly with runners in scoring position. The offense has done so poorly they have scored more than three runs five times, but have lost four of those games. The team is 30-114 with RISP, leading to a decent .263 average. The Rangers have needed the ninth inning three times in order to get a win. The offense is off to a sluggish start to say the least.
Ian Kinsler, the Rangers former second baseman, was traded to Detroit for Prince Fielder and 30 million cash. Prince Fielder has a 7-year deal worth 168 million, but the Tigers will pay the last 30 million of his contract. Fielder was brought in as the power bat and someone who could generate runs, something that the team was missing from last year. Unfortunately, Fielder has been the biggest let down so far this season and nothing short of disappointing with a slash of .185/.279/.296. However, Fielder hit his first home run as a member of the Rangers last night en route to a 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners. Defensively, Fielder is just making due; in just the first twelve games, he has committed two errors leading to a .986 fielding percentage. Mitch Moreland the former first baseman, committed 5 errors all season boasting a .996 fielding percentage. If the Rangers needed a poor-hitting first baseman, they could have saved money and just kept Moreland. Look for Fielder to get going after putting together two solid nights offensively. In the last two games Fielder has hit 3-7 with an RBI and three runs.
If the Rangers can stay within striking distance until June, they will get back three key starters. Derek Holland, Geovany Soto, and Jurickson Profar are all set to return at some point in June. Not to mention, Matt Harrison and Adrian Beltre will return from the disabled list by late April. Injuries have plagued the Rangers, but they are making due. So do not lose faith Rangers fans, it is a 162-game season and we are just 14 games into it.