Katie’s Court: The Pitching Woes of the Rangers

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After two straight American League West titles that included the American League’s best record last season, Rangers’ manager Jeff Banister has high expectations to live up to during the 2017 season, especially after opting not to re-sign pitchers Derek Holland and Colby Lewis.

The Rangers pitching rotation is currently comprised of merely four players. Ace Yu Darvish leads the rotation, but after Tommy John’s surgery that sidelined him for the entirety of the 2015 season and left lingering side effects, the Rangers cannot rely on Darvish as they did during the first three years of his contract.

Number two pitcher, Cole Hamels, whom the Rangers acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies following his first and only no-hitter, has not seen his normal levels of success yet this season. During his first start against Cleveland, Hamels pitched six innings with five hits and an earned run average of 4.50.

During the first four games of the season, the Rangers have only seen one win. This record can be attributed not only to struggles from the starting pitchers, but also to the difficulties of the relief pitchers.

Closer Sam Dyson has already lost two games for the team this season. Before this season in his five year Major League Baseball career, Dyson had only recorded nine losses. Additionally, Dyson’s ERA stands at an absurd 72.00. In comparison, relief pitcher Alex Claudio sports a 0.00 ERA with a 1-0 record.

While defensively the Rangers have struggled with their pitching, the offense has lit up the scoreboard night after night and has set fireworks off at Globe Life Park nightly.

In game against their division rival, the Oakland A’s, the Rangers offense exploded, led by 21-year-old outfielder Nomar Mazara and 23-year-old second baseman Rougned Odor. Mazara recorded a career-record 6 runs batted in that included a Grand Slam in the bottom of the second inning. For his part, Odor hit his AL best third home run of the season.

The Rangers’ record should improve once veteran and future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre returns from the Disabled List. Since the Rangers acquired Beltre in 2011, the 38-year-old has been an integral leader for the team. His return should allow for the explosion of the Rangers offense to continue in order to back up the failing pitching rotation.

From their performance in the beginning of the season, don’t bank on the Rangers winning their third straight AL West title come September. But the baseball season is 162 games long and as has happened in past years, the Rangers can come back from an early hole created in April and May.


Katie O’Meara – Photo & Graphics Editor