So far in Cactus League play with 19 days until opening day, the Rangers have lost twice as many games as they have won. The have had some wins with many runs such as the first spring training game in which they beat the Kansas City Royals 13-3. They also beat the Colorado Rockies 16-5, although the worst lose they have suffered was at the hands of the Diamondback with the final score being 3-9.
There are two main reasons for spring training, one is to get the players in shape and two is to give teams the ability to take gambles and see how they play. Such as letting pitchers who haven’t made it to the majors the opportunity to face major league hitters or vice-versa for hitters. During spring training if a pitcher runs a high Earned Run Average you can afford the opportunity to continue to let them pitch until they iron out their issues. During the span of a 162 game season, the difference between a division title and a cold dark October could be less than five wins.
So far this spring training the Ranger’s have had not had the luxury of all of their star players in the lineup at once. Josh Hamilton has missed time due to a sore shoulder, only to return to the lineup and be hit on the hand with a pitch. Preliminary reports are that the hand is just bruised and not broken. According to MLB.com today his face is now swollen and he will need to have dental work done, hopefully this doesn’t keep him out of the lineup any longer than the bruised left hand would have already.
Ian Kinsler who hit .253 last year with 143 hits and 31 home runs in 144 games has been held out of games due to an ankle sprain. He sprained the ankle on Friday and has not appeared in a game since. The Rangers still believe that he will be ready for opening day, although with less than 2 and 1/2 weeks left of games, the clocking is ticking.
As far as spring training records go, they should never be given much weight as to as how well the team will do the next season. It would be wonderful for the Rangers to have .750 winning percentage once spring training is complete, although that won’t happen this spring training. Now is the time to gamble on players for the season and if they fail, ok so what, but if they do well you now know what they are capable of doing and another rost spot is secured.