Rangers Dissect Twins, Improve To 15-7

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.

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  • http://twitter.com/GoatHammers Matthew Fears

    Simmer down man, the Beltre and Cruz balls are easily out of most stadiums and this score is easily 5 to 7 runs better

    • Eric Reining

      Dually noted –

      But I wasn’t really focused on the team’s offense (mainly because it hasn’t been especially note-worthy), just Nick Tepesch.

  • Mike G.

    I know he has strong numbers thus far, but Joe Nathan is a mild cause for concern to me. His stuff has been flat and the velocity is down from last season. We both know that closers have much less value than their starting counterparts, but quite frankly, the Rangers wouldn’t have a viable internal option to replace Joe Nathan if his season was to suddenly derail (Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria will still be question marks and Tanner Scheppers is just too inconsistent for my liking, although he has shown flashes of brilliance this season).

    • Eric Reining

      I’ve heard quite a few people saying this. I’ve noticed the fastball has been closer to 90-91, but I’m never sure how some relief pitchers pace themselves over the course of a season. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.