In a way, the Texas Rangers treated their bullpen as a bit of an afterthought this past winter. The Rangers went all-in on the their starting rotation this year, inking and trading for multiple starters and retaining Martin Perez in the process.
The pitching focus, followed by last season when they invested significant resources to bulk up their middle infield in free agency, makes for a team on the rise. It also meant the bullpen would have to essentially just fall into place.
The Texas Rangers bullpen has been lights out and a major reason why Texas has been so successful this season.
The bullpen is hardly a rag-tag team of afterthoughts. The advantage to loading up the rotation is it pushed other excellent players down into the bullpen.
In the Texas Rangers win over the Orioles, fans saw Jacob deGrom put up 11 strikeouts in a 5-2 win. The first hit didn’t even come until the fifth inning. What fans have learned early on in the 2023 season is when starters hand games over to the bullpen, the bullpen does not disappoint.
The Texas Rangers bullpen now has 21.1 scoreless innings on their resume and the tally is still going.
Will Smith, Jonathan Hernandez and closer Jose Leclerc pitched three scoreless innings between them. Leclerc, someone prone to walks and making things harder than they usually need to be, was extra efficient in his first save of the season. He just used 12 pitches to secure the victory, keeping the mileage off his arm and his availability on the table when the Texas Rangers travel to Chicago to take on the Cubs.
After starting their season at home, Texas goes on the road for their first road trip. They will play three in Chicago and then go back to the friendly confines of Arlington to host the Royals for three games.
Much of the Rangers success this season is tied to their pitching. Keeping the starters in the rotation and healthy is step 1 and keeping the bullpen fresh is step 2. With a generally young field, the Texas Rangers are expected to have some up and down scoring efforts. But the needle is pointed up and the talent is there.
The Texas Rangers were so active this winter they fundamentally remade their team, full of free agents and prospects, they promise an entertaining season
As long as Texas can keep from overworking their bullpen (like they did egregiously in 2022) they should be able to continue their dominance from the mound.