The Vague Explanation For Texas' Troubles


Source: FanGraphs

In some of the more uninspiring, un-fun fashion imaginable, the chances of the Rangers’ winning on Saturday night ostensibly flatlined in the top of the 3rd, as they dug themselves a 7-0 hole against the gung-ho Baltimore Orioles.

Ross Wolf went 2.0 whole innings and allowed all 7 of the opposition’s runs on 9 hits. He finished the night with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks.

Between Joe Ortiz (3.2 IP), Cory Burns (1.1 IP), Robbie Ross (1.0 IP) and Tanner Scheppers (1.0 IP), the Rangers didn’t surrender any other runs the rest of the way.

The Ranger offense did manage to piece together 14 hits, however, 13 of them were singles, and, in spite of numerous opportunities to capitalize, the lineup lacked the “big hit,” or whatever ESPN calls it these days.

Here is a basic breakdown of how the Rangers’ offense has looked month-to-month:

March/April — .262/.328/.429 (101 wRC+)

May — .283/.336/.462 (111 wRC+)

June — .233/.297/.362 (75 wRC+)

July — .263/.328/.419 (98 wRC+)

Here is how well the Rangers have faired in those respective months:

March/April — 17-9

May — 17-11

June — 14-14

July — 6-9

If you care for my opinion, I find it somewhat remarkable that the Rangers are 54-43 at this stage of the season, and that they still only trail the Athletics by 2.0 games in the AL West. It’s all about pitching. The pitching has been the constant, well, until recently.

On the aggregate, the Rangers have generated +10.4 fWAR from its starting rotation (2nd in MLB) and +4.1 fWAR from its bullpen (3rd in MLB), which cumulatively comes out to +14.5 FIP-wins, 2nd in MLB to Detroit’s +17.2. In short, the pitching has been damn good in 2013.

As the data suggests, the Rangers were an average- to above-average offense in April and May, which, conflated with a superior pitching staff, appropriately reflected the 34-20 (.630) team that they were. In June, when the offense generated next to nothing, the starting rotation — which at that point had already become patchwork, to say the least — along with the bullpen, carried Texas to a .500 month.

Offensively, July (98 wRC+) isn’t a terrible comparison to April (101 wRC+). The difference has been the pitching, which was as fantastic in season’s 1st month (3.15 ERA, +4.2 fWAR) as it’s been dreadful in July (6.16 ERA, +0.4 fWAR), helping explain the vast disparity in the club’s record.

With help on the way [and by help, I mean Yu Darvish on Monday and Alexi Ogando on Tuesday], Martin Perez takes the ball on Sunday looking to salvage 1 game of this weekend home stand.

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