Stepping Away From The Panic Button


After Monday night’s 12-1 debacle in Oakland, in which (temporary) starter Scott Feldman served up 8 runs and failed to make it out of the 2nd inning, the Rangers rebounded nicely, taking the second game of the series by a final of 6-3. Though Derek Holland couldn’t advance past the 6-inning threshold, the offense and bullpen did just enough to neutralize the inferior competition.

Derek Holland finished the night at 92 pitches in 5.1 innings, his lowest pitch total of the season sans the start against the Mariners where he, like Feldman on Monday, allowed 8 runs in less than 2.0 innings of work. Last night wasn’t Holland’s best performance, obviously, as he lacked both command and velocity with his fastball, many times not even reaching 90 mph, a far cry from what we’ve generally come to expect from him. I’ve not yet reached the point where I’m going to worry about Derek Holland, in the grand scheme, but it’s been a fair amount of time since we’ve seen him flash his brilliance, and with the uncertainty revolving around the 5th spot in the rotation that Scott Feldman currently occupies, it’s somewhat imperative Holland (along with the other three starters) holds up during this current interval before Roy Oswalt comes galloping in to the rescue.

Tuesday’s victory gives the Rangers 33 on the season, the most in the American League, and second to only the Dodgers (35) in all of baseball. Their +72 run differential blows virtually every team in the Majors out of the water, as St. Louis, with the 2nd-best total, sits at +47. The next-best differential belongs to the White Sox at +36, two times less than Texas.

By almost every statistical measure, Texas boasts the best offense in baseball, leading the league in runs (303), batting average (.286), on base percentage (.346), and slugging percentage (.469). The team OPS (.815) is, in a nutshell, equivalent to Elvis Andrus’s season hitherto (.814 OPS), and that seems somewhat fitting, since he has been the catalyst to the offense all season. So, I understand how easy it is to feel the frustration on some nights when it seems like nothing is clicking, but don’t let each loss affect the big picture: This is still the best team in baseball.