Sure, the Texas Rangers aren’t competing for a championship this season. But we need a diversion for now, and they’re worth your time.
For the sake of full disclosure, the Texas Rangers haven’t exactly moved the needle for me lately. There have been other diversions, namely playoff hockey. But now that that local team has been dispatched, the “Big Four” sports landscape is largely bereft of action, save for the team playing their last season at venerable Globe Life Park.
Make no mistake, the Rangers aren’t going to contend this season. Anyone who considers themselves a fan of this team already knows this. The organization is firmly ensconced in a rebuild right now. There are more questions than answers when it comes to players the front office has been counting on for some time. But through it all, they’re hovering in the general vicinity of .500, which is probably a step or two above the expectation.
Keep in mind that they’re doing this with some pretty meager pitching. In fact, their 5.15 team ERA ranks 28th out of 30 major league teams. Above and beyond all the analytics that dominate baseball now, it doesn’t take an astrophysicist to understand that your squad can’t really pitch all that well.
But aside from the Golden Age of Rangers baseball that stretched from 2010-16, fans of this franchise should generally be used to this. We got spoiled during the days of regularly contending for the playoffs. But if you’re a longtime fan, you are clearly able to recall years–chunks of them–of laughably bad baseball. What we’re seeing right now isn’t that. This team fights hard. They’re just not very good.
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Now, that kind of brings me back around to the players they’ve been counting on for the past few years. The projected core of players that was supposed to usher in a new era hasn’t exactly delivered the goods. Namely, Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara, and to a lesser extent this season, Joey Gallo. Specifically, Odor’s career in a Rangers’ uniform has strangely spanned from folk hero to almost an afterthought; riches-to-rags, if you will. They guy’s in the midst of a historically bad season, even by his standards, but his contract makes him virtually unmovable from a trading perspective. Worse yet, his buyout year doesn’t come until 2023.
Even then, Odor has shown signs of snapping out of his latest funk in the last week. And he was in the middle of yesterday’s come-from-behind, extra innings thriller when he singled and eventually scored the tying run in the bottom of the tenth. If Odor is truly beginning to round into form, then it only helps the Rangers as they loiter in the wild card picture. I’m not saying they’re going to get there by any stretch–not with this pitching staff–but any sniff of contention this season far exceeds any preseason speculation.
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So in the meantime, pull up a chair and check this team out. Yesterday’s win pulled them to within two games of .500, and we’re just passed the quarter pole of the season. It might be a bridge year in the inexorable march to opening up the new stadium, but this is what we’ve got left until our attention wanders westward come July.
- Published on 05/20/2019 at 11:00 AM
- Last updated at 05/20/2019 at 06:51 AM