For about half of the Rangers’ 15 victories on the young season, the narrative has looked something like this:
The offense wasn’t inspiring; nothing spectacular happened; the defense didn’t let us down; the pitching was great though; the weather conditions sucked.
Let’s face facts, through 22 games — almost one full month baseball — the Ranger pitching staff is blowing through the superior offensive league with a 2.85 ERA. In Major League baseball, only Atlanta (2.52) possesses a better earned-run average; the next-best mark in baseball is a tie between St. Louis and Pittsburg at 3.18.
Only Detroit (+4.7 fWAR) has accumulated more FIP-wins than Texas’s +4.5 mark.
Tonight, Nick Tepesch (2-1) lowered his ERA to 2.53 by allowing just one run in 6.2 IP, striking out just one but without rendering any bases on balls. Had Tepesch generated the same pitching line under less forgiving environmental conditions — like say Arlington, TX in the middle of August — then you are probably looking at a radically different outcome. His single-game xFIP (4.57) suggests the same thing, though in a one-start sample you’ll certainly take the luck and the win.
It was an overall frustrating night for both offenses, as they combined on 22 base runners (18 hits, 4 walks), netting just 3 runs in totality.
Tanner Scheppers was uncharacteristically shaky for the first time since, well, probably about a week ago. He allowed two hits and intentionally walked Joe Mauer, but ultimately induced the decisive 6-4-3 double play from Josh Willingham that essentially killed the last rally of Minnesota’s evening.
The Rangers are now tied with the Red Sox at 15-7 for the best record in the American League, and only Atlanta (15-6) owns a better start.