Lets face it, the Rangers have been struggling to get hits of late, and that is especially the case when they have runners in scoring position. It was almost nauseating to watch the last two games in Minnesota. The offense looked dead, like it had no reason to even try and score runs. I really believe that after a day off at home yesterday and the next six games being at home, the offense is going to start to come back and play well. I really believe that this is one of the best teams in the AL, and right now they are showing that at least on the pitching side of things and also on the record side of things. The Ranges have the second best record in all of baseball and are only 1.5 games behind Boston, a team they play this weekend, for the best record in all of baseball. And the series with the White Sox, A.J. Pierzynski’s most recent team before the Rangers, starts with Yu Darvish on the mound.
Darvish (4-1, 1.65 ERA) has not allowed a run in his last 18 innings, and he has a WAR of 1.4 and a RAR of 14. In other words, the Rangers have an incredible chance of winning every time this guy takes the mound (See this Michael Goldermann article for more on Yu Darvish). Yu will be back at home and have a rested team behind him, but it won’t be easy. The Rangers will be facing Jose Quintana (2-0, 2.78 ERA), and he has a WAR of 0.8 and a RAR of 8. Quintana has been really good against teams the first time through the rotation, allowing no hits to the Indians his last time through three innings. The fact that the Rangers hitters are at home should give them the advantage against Quintana, but he is still a pretty good lefty.
Tuesday night the Rangers face off against Chris Sale (2-2, 4.09 ERA), a right hander that the Rangers should be able to hit a little if they are on. The White Sox will be facing Nick Tepesch, whom all Rangers fans right now are very impressed with the way his season has started. Nick is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA, and has looked good in all of his starts so far. The Rangers were forced to rely on young arms such as Nick and Justin Grimm (who pitches on Wednesday night), and those guys have come through so far for the Texas Rangers. The Rangers combined starters ERA in 2013 is 2.51. I look for the Rangers behind Tepesch to hit the ball well and give him some run support. Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland are all .500 off of Sale, and I hope that continues.
Wednesday will be Justin Grimm (2-0, 1.59 ERA against Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.38 ERA). If Justin can once again keep the Rangers in the game there is no reason that they cannot walk away a winner in this game. I now feel, and I never thought I would be saying this, that Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm are the second and third best pitchers in the rotation right now. In fact, I would rank the Rangers pitching staff as follows:
1. Yu Darvish
2. Justin Grimm
3. Nick Tepesch
4. Derek Holland
5. Alexi Ogando
So there you have it folks. I believe that the Rangers will sweep the White Sox because they are back home, they have their best three pitchers going, and they just had a day of rest. I really hope that I am right, too.