Yes, I’m sorry that brilliant little start to the season had to come to an end. The Rangers have lost 2 games out of 3 in back-to-back series — to Tampa Bay and Toronto, respectively. Their 17-8 mark still gives them the best winning percentage (.680) in all of baseball, tied with the Rays and Dodgers.
Despite cooling off a bit, particularly on the pitching side of things, the Rangers were still in the top 5 in ERA (2.92), quality starts (16), and WHIP (1.13) before Matt Harrison got shelled this afternoon. Through his first three starts, Harrison looked like the best pitching horse the Rangers possessed (of a strong collection), but he’s looked anything but that in his last two outings, allowing 15 runs on 22 hits in just 8.1 innings, ballooning his ERA from 1.66 to 5.40. Just like that.
And yet, the real threat to the Rangers — the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim — remain in the basement of the American League West, sitting at 7.0 games behind Texas. Now that a month of the season has passed, there are some legitimate concerns on the roster that are beginning to take shape, such as Josh Hamilton’s back, and Adrian Beltre’s hamstring. The early-season cushion Texas provided itself in starting 16-5 might prove to be significant down the road, because it’s not as dire to go all-in right now with a 7-game lead as it might be in, say, August with a two or three game lead. It’s pretty apparent watching Adrian Beltre run the bases that his leg is not at full strength. And Josh Hamilton, well, I think anyone who’s watched him play in any of his years in Texas has known the fragility he carries with his outer-worldly skill-set. So what I’m saying is, the Rangers might want to take advantage of this early-season hole they’ve put the Angels in, going the route of placing either (or both) of arguably their two best hitters on the disabled list. It’s a gamble that could cost the Rangers a few games in the standings, but anything that ensures the health of the team in the long-term is my primary focus, and with the lofty World Series expectations the franchise took with them into the season, I’m sure the front office has the same sentiment in mind. They are not going to jeopardize the health of their superstars this early into the season.
But maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe they’ll both be in the lineup on Friday, and maybe they’ll be at full strength.
In more positive news, Yu Darvish has looked excellent in his last two appearances, dominating the Yankees and controlling Toronto for Texas’s only win of the series.
If it’s May 2nd, and we’re talking about it being the first time all season the Rangers have lost back-to-back games, then something is going very terribly right in Arlington.
There’s an off-day tomorrow, and then Colby Lewis will head out looking to start a new streak for the club.