It seems like this 2017 Rangers team has been on the road forever. Add to that the fact the team has just stunk up the game of baseball has made for a horrible first two weeks of the season.
Maybe it was the light spring that lasted forever, or the uncertainty of the staff, and starting lineup, but whatever the excuse the 5-10 start is shocking. Although in all fairness the complete breakdown of Sam Dyson cost the team 3 wins outright, and probably 4 win. If it were only his blown saves that would be reasonable to overcome, but it seems more of a top to bottom issue with no single person to blame.
Take a look at the numbers, they don’t lie. The are dead last at 30th in the entire league in batting average, 25th in total hits, 26th in on base percentage, 26th on OBP, 13th in strike outs, and 17th in walks. The bright spots are 4th in home runs, and 7th in runs scored. That means the team has been unable to string hits together and has relied on the long ball for almost all of their run production. The feast of famine mentality has ruled the team progression and that is no way to win consistently.
The pitching stats are even more interesting. The team ERA is ranked 19th, with runs allowed 5th most. They have allowed the 7th most home runs, and 6th most walks. They rank 16 in strike outs, and 18th in team’s batting average against them. Their WHIP is 19th. Starting pitching has been significantly better than the bullpen with an ERA of 3.43 which is 8th, compared with a bullpen ERA of 5.13 which surprisingly ranks 24th, as frankly it deserves last place. However, the bullpen is 2nd in most runs allowed with 36 in 16 games, and when compared to the Yankees who have surrendered only 8 that is huge!
Sam Dyson has been sent to the minors to figure things out. Keone Kela with his new attitude is back, and it appears that Matt Bush may be the closer going forward. The arms in that bullpen falling apart is the most unanticipated issue considering the power of the arms.
The biggest shock overall is the lack of consistency in getting on base. So far we have witnessed a complete lack of plate discipline with zero patience or pitch selection. Instead this is a free swinging group and over the long 162 game season has to stop. Someone needs to give some lessons on the 8-pitch-at-bat rule. We did see solid at bats in the 13th inning tonight with both Joey Gallo and Delino Deshields and the results were runs scored.
Tonight was a great start at home against the Royals. Thirteen shutout innings with six of those coming from the starter and seven from the pen. The defense was better too, which so far this season ranks 21st.
A ten game home stand was needed desperately and might be a chance to right the ship. The rule of thumb in baseball is to win 75% at home and 50% on the road. Do that the rest of the season, and concentrate on winning every series and they can turn this around. I have said before you don’t win a division title in April, but you can lose one. If they are 5-10 over the next 15 games it may be time to hit the panic button.
However, if they can win six or seven of this home stand it will put the team back on track. As of tonight they are 6-10 and 5 games back of the Astros. Things can change quickly in baseball and all it takes is winning. This team must return to the fundamentals of baseball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball, you run the bases, and pitch the ball for strikes.
There really is no place like home to rediscover the fundamentals of baseball!