Baseball fans here in our beloved Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have been spoiled for the past few years. Back to back World Series appearances and being in playoff contention every year since will do that.
Which is why it’s hard to stomach that train wreck that is the Texas Rangers right now. Yes, it’s only May but this season is as a good as a lost cause for the Rangers.
It turns out that injuries to Jurickson Profar, Geovany Soto and Derek Holland before the season were simply signs of even more disaster to come. On Wednesday the Rangers lost a series to the dreadful Houston Astros, but that wasn’t even the worst thing that happened. Starting pitchers Martin Perez and Matt Harrison were both placed on the DL with injuries that could very well end both of their seasons. For Harrison, it’s another back issue and it will likely require him to undergo another back surgery. For Perez, it’s an elbow tear that may likely force him to to undergo Tommy John surgery, which has plagued young pitchers.
Without those two in the fold for potentially the rest of the season, the Rangers rotation consists of Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and some other guys. Guys like Robbie Ross, who is best served as someone in the bullpen. Guys like Nick Tepesch and Nick Martinez who are young starters with promise, but probably shouldn’t even be in the big leagues right now.
Holland coming back later this season will provide a boost, but there’s no way we count count on him to be the savior to an already decimated pitching staff. But that’s only half the problem. The other half is that the lineup flat stinks.
On paper the top five in the batting order of Shin Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder and Alex Rios looks great. But they have been anything but that. Choo has had a nice year so far with a .328 batting average and a .457 OBP. Andrus has been okay with a .255 average, but that’s down from his .271 average from last year.
The big issues are with Fielder and Beltre. At the time, trading Ian Kinsler to Detroit for Fielder looked like a brilliant move. But, unfortunately, it looks like Detroit won that deal. Fielder is batting a mediocre .243 and has three home runs through 41 games this season. Yes, you read that right, three home runs for a guy that everyone thought could hit 40 home runs in Arlington. Everyone may be bashing on Fielder, but they forget that Beltre is only hitting .243 and also has just three home runs. Perhaps Father Time is catching up to Beltre, who was nursing a hamstring injury, and Fielder. Maybe both will get hot and be unstoppable for a stretch, but it just doesn’t look good. Suddenly, not bringing back Nelson Cruz on a one year contract looks questionable.
The biggest issue is that there is no real way to fix this Texas Rangers disaster. A trade like last year’s Matt Garza deal seems unlikely since the Rangers don’t exactly have a lot to trade. Though, in the MLB things on the trade front can change in a heart beat. Holland will help the rotation when he returns, but it’s not like Profar and Soto will provide a ton of power to a lineup that desperately needs it when they come back.
The AL West is wide open right now, but the Oakland A’s are a win streak away from leaving the Rangers in the dust. It may still be early, but this season already seems like a lost cause.