The Texas Rangers have been plagued with injuries this season. It all started with Derek Holland‘s dog Wrigley early in the offseason. Even though the Rangers lost Holland and Joe Ortiz before the season even started many were still optimistic that the Rangers would make the playoffs.
Buster Olney with ESPN picked the Texas Rangers to make the World Series shortly before the season began. If fact even before the calendar turned to 2014 Olney said the Rangers had the best lineup in the majors. At that time it was hard to argue against it. With a lineup that had Shin-Shoo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios the Rangers were setup to have an offensive explosion.
But things haven’t worked out that way so far. Shin-Shoo Choo started off well and is currently ranked 7th in on-base percentage at .402, but he hasn’t had much help with Elvis Andrus batting behind him. Andrus started off the first 50 games of the season with one of the worst batting averages with runners in scoring position.
Prince Fielder who everyone expected to tear the ball off the cover stumbled out of the gate and just when he was finding the ball he had season ending surgery.
Alex Rios and Adrian Beltre have both done their job this season and are playing very well. Both have had rough patches but are continuing to be the heart of the order. The bad thing is, the pieces around them are not producing.
Currently the Rangers have used the disabled list 18 times this season. Right now the Rangers have gone 18 days without using the disabled list, which is currently their longest streak without using it this season.
Despite all of the injuries and setbacks the Rangers are still in the race to make the playoffs. Winning the division might be a stretch, but it is feasible they could make it in with a Wild Card spot. They are currently 3 games out with 98 games to this season.
If the team can manage to find a groove and tear off a 6 maybe 8 game winning streak and start winning series it is possible they’ll do enough to play meaningful baseball in September.
They’ll have to hope that Derek Holland can step up and be their number two pitcher. Also, it might take combining Colby Lewis and Joe Saunders to make a 5th starter. The Rangers could trade off on starting Saunders and Lewis and allowing the other to be the long reliever.
Both Saunders and Lewis have pitched well, but neither seem to be doing well enough to pitch deep in a game.
The young players such as Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas, Donnie Murphy and the other Rangers who have been called up due to injuries will need to start to click. So far they have seemed to do well this season. They have managed to keep the errors and most are batting well.
Since they are batting well, Ron Washington might need to change up the lineup from time-to-time to see what works best. They are hitting, but it hasn’t been timely.
With a little luck and no more serious injuries this Texas Rangers team does still have a chance. But if injuries continue to come then it might be too much for them to overcome. A depth chart only goes so far.