The Texas Rangers have started slow on offense this season, but Ian Kinsler has been a bright spot. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers: Pitching Starts Strong, Bats Still Warming Up

Apr 16, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland delivers a pitch against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

We have all heard and written about the Texas Rangers horrible offseason. We have all talked with our friends until we were blue in the face about how this Rangers team doesn’t match up on paper to the last few teams.

But as we start to warm into May, the Rangers are exactly where they need to be.

The Rangers, (9-5, 2nd in AL West), have gotten the start they needed to prove all haters wrong.

Understandably, they could be 14-0, but that doesn’t seem like a fair expectation even from the brightest of Red-Shoe Ranger fans.

The big question marks coming in were how well the starting pitching would hold up. Yu Darvish and company have answered that question with a thunderous reply.

With the exception of Matt Harrison, (0-2, 8.44 ERA, 10.2 IP), who has not started the season well, the starting rotation has kept the Rangers in every game this season, usually giving them a shot to win.

Darvish was nearly perfect in his 2013 debut, and leads the American League in strikeouts through his first three starts. Darvish, (2-1) is striking opponents out at almost 2 K’s per inning.

Alexi Ogando has surprised some with his ability to come back into the starting rotation. The question remains, however, can he last more than 20 starts without showing significant fatigue? So far, Oh Boy Ogando is posting a 1.08 ERA while holding opponents to a measly .194 BA. Ogando, (2-0) hasn’t pitched too deep into any of his three starts, and hovers around 100 pitches per game. Maybe that is Mike Maddux’s way of saving him.

Apr 12, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish (11) delivers to the plate against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Grimm didn’t look too bad in his first start this season, but walked three and threw 92 pitches in his 4 innings.

The surprise has been Nick Tepesch. If you readers remember correctly, I did pick him to be the fifth starter and have a pretty good shot at keeping that spot, you can read that prediction, here.

The 24-year-old rookie has pitched well in his first two starts. His first coming against a struggling Tampa Bay team. He only gave up one run over 7 and 1/3. His debut made Ranger fans excited about his future. His second start, however, made some Ranger fans skeptical. He gave up 4 runs on 9 hits to the Seattle Mariners while barely making it through 5 and 2/3.

Derek Holland has been plagued by inconsistency over his short career, but has shown glimpses in this early season as to why the Rangers are so high on him. The Dutch Oven is only 1-1, but has pitched well. He has yet to give up more than two runs in any start, and has held opponents to a .171 BA. He has pitched late into each game, going at least 7 in each start. Unfortunately he hasn’t gotten the run support.

That is where the Rangers have struggled. Surprisingly the offense is the slow starter this season.

The Rangers are only scoring 3.78 runs per game. Their 53 runs total rank them 20th in the league. As a team they are hitting just over .253 with ranks them 16th, and have a .322 On Base Percentage.

That kind of offense doesn’t win many ballgames.

Is this because the Rangers miss Josh Hamilton and Michael Young and Mike Napoli? No.

The Rangers miss the David Murphy of last season. The MVP candidate Adrian Beltre who carried the team down the stretch last season.

They miss Mitch Moreland being able to swing a bat well. And we are still waiting for AJ Pierzynski to turn his power stroke to 11.

Murphy has started the season hitting .160 and Moreland isn’t far behind at .174. Beltre is only hitting .245, but as of Wednesday in Chicago, he has reached base in 8-straight games. That is a good sign.

Lance Berkman still leads the team with a .389 AVG. while Ian Kinsler has started the season well hovering around .300 while hitting 4 HR and driving in a team leading 9 RBI.

The pitching will hold up, and at least keep the Rangers in the mix until the weather and the offense can heat up. Hopefully we aren’t waiting too long.

Tags: Ian Kinsler Texas Rangers

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