The Rangers Are 16-7


Ian Fullington and I discuss more stuff

I recall being a “night person” conceivably since I was about 14 years old, so writing an article at 2:20 a.m. isn’t anything out of the ordinary. This is what I do. Yet still, on nights where I find myself sitting on my familiar chair underneath this familiar early morning darkness, I always see the world through my eyes as a confused 19 year-old who was just looking to uncover a little sense in the universe. I remember that time; I just wrote and wrote and wrote countless garbage that applied to me only in transience, and listened to a shit load of depressing alt-rock in futile hopes that it would somehow make me feel better.

When I was younger I didn’t sleep because I didn’t want to sleep, because sleep sucks. Now I don’t sleep because I can’t, or won’t, so I’m drawn back to the familiar places I’ve been before — writing about completely inessential things like baseball. It feels like I’m catching a breath of fresh air. Or sighing in relief. I don’t know which, or if it’s both at the same time, but I know it’s there, and I know it’s about the only catharsis I own at this exact moment in time.

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Last night the Rangers (16-7) won their 7th in their last 8 games, with the only loss over that sample coming in extra innings on the road against the Angels. Texas’s division lead currently stands at 3.5 games over Oakland, 6.5 on top the rival Halos.

What is the secret to the American League West so far? Pitching. Pitching pitching pitching. The Rangers lead Major League Baseball with a cumulative team ERA of 2.77. The rest of the AL West looks like this:

Oakland: 4.08 — 20th

Seattle: 4.51 — 28th

Anaheim: 4.87 — 29th

Houston: 5.41 — 30th

Ironically, the best pitching staff in the AL West is not from a run-suppressive ballpark like either of the California teams, or Safeco, but rather Arlington, of all places.

The data is as confounding as it is evident: outside the Rangers the AL West has the worst pitching in baseball.

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– Last night Justin Grimm continued on a strong start to the season, pitching 7.0 shutout innings on way to his 2nd victory in as many starts. His ERA lowered to 1.59.

Adrian Beltre homered for the 4th time on a no-doubt shot to center field. Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Lance Berkman and Nelson Cruz each provided two hits, and the Rangers as a unit reached base 14 times, inevitably scoring 4 runs. You can talk about situational hitting all you want, but I have to believe at this stage in April playing road games in Seattle, Chicago, Anaheim and Minnesota — that the environmental factors have to be playing some part in why the Rangers offense has yet to bust out.

– At 16-7, Texas is all square with the Red Sox for the best record in baseball. According to Baseball Prospectus’ adjusted standings, the Rangers have the best Hit List Factor winning percentage at .630, with Boston 2nd at .609 (which basically says the Rangers have played a slightly tougher schedule thus far).

– Batting Leaders:

  • Lance Berkman: .333/.450/.515 (.420 wOBA, 162 wRC+)
  • Nelson Cruz: .322/.372/.552 (.400 wOBA, 149 wRC+)
  • Ian Kinsler: .307/.396/.511 (.398 wOBA, 147 wRC+)
  • A.J. Pierzynski: .296/.320/.493 (.350 wOBA, 115 wRC+)
  • Adrian Beltre: .241/.305/.437 (.317 wOBA, 92 wRC+)

– Pitching Leaders:

  • Yu Darvish: 32.2 IP / 1.65 ERA / 1.94 xFIP  (13.50 K/9, 2.76 BB/9)
  • Derek Holland: 27.2 IP / 3.25 ERA / 3.64 xFIP (7.16 K/9, 2.60 BB/9)
  • Justin Grimm: 17.0 IP / 1.59 ERA / 3.31 xFIP (7.94 K/9, 2.12 BB/9)
  • Nick Tepesch: 21.1 IP / 2.53 ERA / 3.40 xFIP (5.91 K/9, 1.27 BB/9)
  • Alexi Ogando: 26.0 IP / 3.12 ERA / 3.63 xFIP (8.31 K/9, 3.46 BB/9)

As always, SMALL SAMPLE SIZE disclaimer.