Aug 11, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jerome Williams (57) delivers in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Rangers are 11-2 in the month of August so far, and they owe most of that to great starting pitching. Guys like Yu Darvish (2.40 ERA, 2.60 xFIP, 12.60 strikeouts per nine innings in August), Derek Holland (1.93 ERA, 2.79 xFIP, 10.29 strikeouts per nine innings in August) and even Martin Perez (1.76 ERA, 3.44 xFIP and 8.80 strikeouts per nine innings in August) have really been pitching well this month, the bull pen has not been bad either (Neal Cotts 1.80 ERA, Joe Nathan 0.00 ERA, Tanner Scheppers 0.00 ERA, Jason Frasor 1.80 ERA). The only guy on the pitching staff with a negative WAR is Alexi Ogando at -0.3. That is not the starting pitching I am talking about thoug.
What I am talking about as an issue is opposing startng pitching. In the last eleven games, opposing pitchers have had eight quality starts against this Rangers ballclub. And I am not talking about teams with stellar ERA’s in their starting rotation either. For example, the Angels starters are giving up an average of 4.81 runs per game, Houston is surrendering 5.28 runs per game, and Milwakee’s starters are averaging 4.34 runs per game. Against the Rangers however, the Brew crew starters had an ERA of 3.05, The Astros starters had a combined ERA of 4.56. The Angels ERA of 4.85 is almost the same as their average starters ERA. Guys who shouldn’t be getting quality starts against the Rangers are getting them right now.
So what do the Rangers need to do? I don’t really have an answer for that. The Rangers have taken back first place from the Athletics, they have won eleven of their last thirteen games, and they are not having trouble driving in runs right now either. Alex Rios seems to be fitting in well with the team. Overall, I am pretty happy with the overall performance of this team. I think Ron Washington has done a great job with all of the injuries the team has had this season, and I think Jon Daniels once again has given Rangers fans another quality product on the field.
The issue I have is not for now, but for the future. When the calender switches over to September and the Rangers face the likes of The Athletics (3.86 R/G), the Pirates (3.46 R/G), the Rays (4.05 R/G) and even the Royals ( 3.80 R/G), they need to hit better than those teams runs per game average to win the series. I think this Rangers team can, and I think they will. We all know they are not going to continue winning eleven out of every thirteen games, but as I have said in the past and I will continue to say, if you can win the series, you are going to be in good shape. Here’s to hoping the Rangers continue to win the series and eventually win the West.