The Texas Rangers were blanked for the 3rd time this season last night against the Toronto Blue Jays. The offensive struggles reach back as far as last year and don’t appear to be getting any better. Currently the Rangers are below .500 with a record of 20-21 and are 6 games behind the first place Oakland Athletics and are currently setting in 4th place in the division.
Breaking down the wins: Of the 20 games the Texas Rangers have won, 9 have been shutouts, and 7 have been by 1 run. Another troubling stat about Rangers record is that they have only won 5 games when the other team has scored first. Also, the Rangers have only won 3 games out of 24 when the other team scored 4 or more runs.
Runs production: Over the last 6 games the Rangers have only managed to squeeze out 13 runs for an average of 2.17 per game. For the season they have an average of 3.98 runs per game. That does help explain why they are not winning in games when teams are scoring 4 or more runs against them. Opposing teams are averaging 4.81 runs per game.
So how does that compare to the Oakland Athletics? Basically, it is laughable, and not in a good way. The Rangers have 167 runs for and 202 runs against, compared to the A’s 216 runs for and 135 runs against. That means the A’s are averaging 5.14 runs for and 3.21. That helps illustrate how much better they are hitting and pitching. It shouldn’t be a surprise the A’s are 6 games a head in the division, what should be a surprise is that it is only 6 games. Imagine what it would be without Yu Darvish and 2 excellent outings by Martin Perez. You could probably add 4-5 more games back without them.
The hitting coach: The Texas Rangers hired Dave Magadan before the 2013 season. Before he joined the Rangers he coached for the San Diego Padres and the Boston Red Sox.
- Padres 2003-2006
- Red Sox 2007-2012
- Rangers 2012 – current
The Padres cut ties with Magadon in 2006 after the Padres finished last for batting average in the National League. After that season he was hired by the Boston Red Sox. There the Red Sox the bats did perform very well and managed to bat .333 in the World Series. That’s a very good note to have on his resume. But, things dropped off after that and totally fell off in 2012.
Below are some graphs to illsutrate how teams have performed with and without Dave Magadan.
Team Batting Average Graph: Shows batting averages for the San Diego Padres (2000-2009 and 2014), Boston Red Sox (2004-2014) and Texas Rangers (2004-2014). The graph includes periods before he joined and after he joined. Also, the team stats from the 2014 season.
The triangle markers indicate when Magadan started for the club on the chart. The chart shows that for the San Diego Padres they did see an improvement in batting average, but after peaking at .273 2004 it dropped back down in 2005 and barely rose again in 2006. During his last two years with the Padres, they finished 12th and 10th of 16 in batting average.
Looking at the Boston Red Sox, again the batting average improved. It was ranked 5th in the American League and eventually lead them to a World Series. In 2007, the Red Sox averaged 5.35 runs per game, which helped them win 96 games that season. But, by 2012, things turned for the worse. The team batting average dropped from a high point of .280 to .260. Also, in 2012 they average runs per game had dropped to 4.53. After the Red Sox finish dead last in their division they cut ties with their manager and Magadan.
The Rangers brought on Magadan in 2013 and was hoping to do better than their one game playoff appearance in 2012. But, things didn’t go according to plan in 2012, the Rangers had one of their worst September last year. It would have been one of worst Septembers in franchise history, but they managed to finish the season going on a 7-game winning streak to force game 163 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Since the Rangers batting average peaked in 2011 at .283 it has been on a steady decline. It continued that trend last year when Dave Magadan started with the club. In years past Dave Magadan has been able to help a team increase a teams batting average, but not with the Texas Rangers. In 2012 they batted .273 and it dropped to .262.
This year, the downward trend is continuing for the Rangers. Currently they are only averaging 3.98 runs per game and have a team batting average of .260.
9-hole hitters: If you look at the Texas Rangers offense right now, it appears to be full of 9-hole hitters. J.P. Arencibia probably has the worst catchers batting average in the majors and minors combined at .133. It has only been that high recently. For the most part of the season he has been battling to get above .100. Elvis Andrus has been horrible with RISP this season, he is 1 for 31 the season.
Donnie Murphy is another one that has struggled lately with a batting average of .211. He was recently placed on the disabled list. Also, Robinson Chirinos is only batting .215, who is the backup catcher for Arencibia. Really, Arencibia and Chirinos are playing about equal time, but Chirinos is favored a bit because he is batting and fielding better.
The Rangers have tried to inject some of the young prospects in their lineup. They brought up Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas. Odor is only batting a mere .208, while Sardinas has had a bit more luck at .286.
Another Rangers that could be added to that list would be Shin-Soo Choo. He’s not necessarily a 9-hole hitter, but he is struggling right now. He’s also Choo has 13 strikeouts over his last 25 at-bats.
What to do: If this team is going to be a contender in the division something will have to change. Right now this team in a funk in a bad way. They recently lost a series to the Houston Astros and dropped another game where Yu Darvish did everything he could to set them up for a win. Last year Darvish was bitten 4 times by 0-1 losses. It looks like they could do that again to him. No wonder Darvish goes out there to pitch no-hitters, he has to give them a chance to win. This team has the talent to win games on the offense and the defense. Right now the pitching is down, but the offense has more than enough power to over come, but not at its current pace.
Maybe Ron Washington should lock the door and have a heart-to-heart. If something doesn’t change, they’ll find themselves out of the division by the break. If they don’t turn it around, the Rangers might need to look to the Red Sox and what they did to turn their team around. In 2013 they started with a new manager and new hitting coach. It worked for them, maybe it could work for the Rangers.