The Rangers beat the Oakland A's on Sunday, but it came without any help from their starting rotation. Jon Gray was virtually useless, lasting just 2 2/3 innings before getting pulled in the middle of a disastrous third inning.
Fortunately for him, the bats picked him up against Oakland's atrocious pitching staff and rallied for a 9-4 win. However, Gray's poor performance continued an alarming trend for Texas that explains the team's collapse in the standings over the last four weeks.
With Gray's poor outing on Sunday, the Rangers have now gone 22 games since the last time one of their starting pitchers earned a win. That was all the way back on Aug. 15, when newcomer Jordan Montgomery earned the dub against the Angels.
Since then, Texas' season has gone south in a hurry. The Rangers are just 6-16 during that stretch, slipping from first to third place in the AL West. They now find themselves battling for a Wild Card spot after leading their division for most of the summer.
The streak of futility is hard to explain, especially since the rotation looks like a strength on paper. With Montgomery and Max Scherzer coming over at the trade deadline and Nate Eovaldi returning from the IL, Texas' rotation is the strongest it's been all season. Instead, it's completely fallen apart.
Chalk it up to pitchers wearing down over the course of a long season if you want, especially in the summer heat. You could also blame a tough schedule, as five of our last seven series have come against teams with a winning record (we've had four off days during that stretch, though, so we really can't complain). They also haven't been getting much run support as our bats have cooled off, forcing them to throw more pitches in high-leverage situations.
Either way, we need better results from the rotation if we want to make the playoffs, let alone go far in them. The bullpen is getting overtaxed by all their subpar outings, and soon that will become an issue too.
We've got a tough road trip ahead of us with four games in Toronto and three in Cleveland. The Blue Jays series could make or break the season, as they're our direct competition in the Wild Card race. Hopefully our starting pitchers are up to the challenge.
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