Aug 27, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder David Murphy (7) and right fielder Alex Rios (51) high five after Rios scored a run off a RBI single hit by first baseman Mitch Moreland (not pictured) during the 2nd inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers Struggling Or Adjusting To The New Normal

Sep 1, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Jim Adduci (35) gets his first major league hit during the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers stellar August ended with a grinding halt. The offense has been unable to provide consistent run support to its starting pitchers.  In the latest offensive output, the Rangers were only able to squeeze out 2 runs versus the rival A’s.  This is an interesting development. Most fans seemed excited about the small ball offense implemented after the loss of Nelly Cruz. Unfortunately, we are all now seeing what’s it like to be a consistent small ball team.

Lifelong Ranger fans have longed for quality pitchers to match its beefed-up offense. Ownership and management have supplied the quality pitching but the the offense has taken a dip. They are close to balance, but not yet.

What are the chances of this ending with a deep playoff push?

The Rangers have the 2 aspects of the game that succeed in the playoffs. Pitching and Defense.  Like all playoffs, the game slows down. Everything is more deliberate. Don’t get me wrong, the Rangers aren’t going anywhere scoring 2 runs a game, but if they can get just a little more from the offense, they will have something to work with.  Another angle to look at is match ups. The Rangers playoff opponents are likely to be the Rays or the A’s. Do either one of their bats scare you? The Rays bat an average of 259 and the A’s bat a 247 average.  Nothing scary there.

The Rangers have the month of September to do some tweaking before the playoffs. Here are some suggestions. One lineup change that seems to be long overdue is the benching of David Murphy. How many more times does Murphy need to ground out to second base for Ron Washington to look elsewhere. Starting Soto at DH sounds a little crazy, but he has produced offensively every time he has been in the lineup, or would you prefer Lance Berman and his broken body.

First pitch swings seem to be up as well – especially with runners in scoring position. What’s wrong with taking a pitch to just to make the pitcher work that much more?

Ok, so what’s the big point?  The Rangers are coming back from the stratosphere of offensive output that has long been their identity. This does not mean they cannot be successful in the playoffs. On the contrary, this could be the most successful playoff run for the Rangers.   What they need to do is bump up that average runs scored. If they do that, and the pitching performs like it has all year, your Rangers will go deep.  Oh, just in case you need it, Nelly Cruz gets to tag back in just in time for the playoffs.

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports?  You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Justin on twitter @justinsopinion

Tags: David Murphy Geovany Soto Lance Berkman Nelson Cruz Playoffs Rangers Texas Rangers

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