The Texas Rangers 2016 Postseason is upon us and if the Rangers hope to go far, here is what they must to do if they hope to make a deep playoff run.
The Texas Rangers finished this 2016 MLB season with the best record in the American League at 95-67. Texas tied the Washington Nationals with the second best record in the all of baseball. The last time the Rangers finished with 95 wins or more, they made the World Series.
That was five years ago and the time is now. While the team had their share of success this season, they also had their flaws as well.
If the Texas Rangers hope to go this postseason, there are three things the team must do if they hope to go far:
Starting Pitching Woes –
The Texas Rangers’ most dominant pitcher this season was Ace Cole Hamels. Hamels finished the 2016 season with a 15-5. His 15 wins placed him in the top ten wins by American League pitchers. Not too far behind was comeback pitcher Yu Darvish. Darvish finished the season with an 7-5 record after having only played half the season.
After Hamels and Darvish though, the Rangers are left with some questions. It is expected that veterans Colby Lewis and Martin Perez will fill the third and fourth man rotation for the playoffs. Combined both players finished with an 16-16 record.
If the Rangers hope to go far this Postseason, they must rely on their veteran pitchers. The starting pitchers finished with a 4.38 ERA this season; that ranked No.16 in all of baseball. As a team they finished with a 4.37 ERA. Overall the team ranked No.22 in team ERA.
Along with having a high ERA this season, the Rangers starters do not have a good track record in the postseason. In the postseason only Hamels (7-5) and Lewis (4-1) both having winning records, while Darvish and Perez are both 0-2 in their only appearances.
Texas’ starting rotation must first fix their high ERA and limit errors, while also win games if they hope to have any chance of competing for a World Series.
Dominant Veteran Presence –
When the Rangers made the World Series five years ago, only veterans Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland were a part of the roster. This excludes pitchers who were part of the team back then.
Those three Rangers however, are not the only ones who have made a World Series Appearance. Designated Hitter/Outfielder Carlos Beltran too made an appearance on the big stage in 2013. These four veterans must be the cornerstones for Texas if the Rangers are too have any chance this upcoming playoffs.
Five years ago when the Rangers made the World Series, Beltre had one of his best postseason runs as he batted .300 and finished the series with two home-runs. It seems as though not much has changed as Beltre continues to bat at a high level at age 37.
Beltre’s counterpart Elvis Andrus must be the veteran presence Texas can rely on. In last year’s playoffs against the Blue Jays Andrus had a .182 batting average. That was not the shortstops’ main problems as he struggled fielding the ball as well.
Not much more is needed to be said. If Texas is to play at a high level, it must begin with their key veterans who understand the ups and downs of postseason play.
The Oh so famous Outfield ghosts –
Five Years ago, the Texas Rangers had an outfield that consisted of players Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy. While the 2011 outfield had their share of success, it was a simple drop that turned the tables around. In game six of the World Series, the Texas Rangers were just one strike away from winning it all. Had it not been David Freese infamous triple, the Texas Rangers would have been 2011 champs.
Freese did not do it alone as Rangers’ former outfielder Nelson Cruz dropped the ball, after hitting the wall. What would have been a fly-out turned into a game tying triple for the Cardinals.
This is something that stuck in the mind of Rangers’ players and fans for the longest now. Winning a title is the only way the team can move past those outfield demons.
Current outfielders Carlos Gomez, Ian Desmond and Shin-Soo Choo must now step up when needed and be the players Texas can rely on if they are called upon. If it is anyones’ guess, these veteran outfielders have what it takes to bring Texas one step closer to achieving their ultimate goal.