It’s 8:40 Pacific Time where I live in Southern California. Just to give you context, it’s 77 degrees and mostly clear; the sun went down about an hour ago. Much to my (and I’m sure most other fans) dismay, tonight’s game and the current 7-game winning streak the Rangers are on will be put on hold for another day. Because, unlike where I’m currently sitting, it’s 42 degrees and still raining in Detroit. The two teams will resume tomorrow in a day-night doubleheader.
Without any actual game action, this seems like as good a time as any to take a step back and mildly examine the first two weeks as a benchmark, because I’d be hard-pressed to find another 13-game stretch in my 15+ years following the Rangers that’s been as impressive as the one the team is currently going through.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t have anything concrete or rationally justifiable to complain about when it comes to this Rangers team, so even though it isn’t my style, this blog is mainly dedicated to all the good we’ve seen this season.
Let’s start on the pitching side of things:
– The team has allowed 33 total runs in 13 games; that’s an average of the opponent scoring 2.54 runs per contest. The next best pitching staffs as far as runs allowed is concerned are the White Sox and Athletics, who have each allowed 46 (13 more than Texas).
– After tomorrow (assuming the two games are played), the Rangers will have made it through their rotation in full for a third time. Only Yu Darvish’s 1st and 2nd starts and Neftali Feliz’s 2nd start have not been of the quality variety (6IP/3ER). That’s 13 games, 10 quality starts. This type of pitching efficiency will not keep up for an entire 162 game season, but it’s become very clear very quickly that this is what the Rangers look like when they are pitching (mostly) at their best.
– The Rangers rotation is currently 9-0; the only member of the bullpen with a win is Robbie Ross — he has 2; the only member of the Rangers pitching staff with a loss is Joe Nathan, and he has 2.
And now the hitting:
– Texas has scored 79 runs in 13 games; that’s an average of 6.07 runs/game. Again, that’s the most runs in the American League. The +46 run differential through 13 games is absolutely ridiculous, and though I could continue with the big-picture-context statistics ad nauseam, I really find them to detract from the point: The Rangers are just a really good baseball team.
– Josh Hamilton is every bit of his 2010 MVP-self and then some, opening the year hitting a ridiculous .426/.448/.759 slash line. He leads the league in hits (23), batting average (.426), OPS (1.208), and total bases (41). To say he’s showing his best during a contract year would be an understatement. Not only has he been impressive with the bat, but he’s been making not-so-routine catches look, well … impressive. And his home runs have hardly been cheap, as you’ve probably seen for yourself.
– Signing Ian Kinsler to an extension lasting through 2018 was a wise and obvious decision for the franchise to make. His consistent play on the field never ceases to mystify; he’s a gold glove-caliber 2nd baseman and the perfect table-setter in the most potent lineup in baseball. He’s also opened hot. So far he’s sitting at .321/.419/.679, with 4 home runs and has a league-leading 15 runs scored.
So that’s that. I’ve barely scratched the finer details in favor of giving the general anatomy of the Rangers’ success. The truth of it all is, I could have highlighted any one of a number of Rangers, because so many guys are playing well. It’s a team built on pitching that has thus far exceeded expectations, fueled by an offense that is for the most part exactly what everyone envisioned. It’s hard to beat a team that doesn’t have any weaknesses, so if you can find some, let me know.