Texas Rangers’ first quarter review


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It’s pretty hard to hold a positive light to what has occurred in the first quarter of the Texas Rangers’ 2014 season.

In fact, it’s flat out impossible.

No matter how positive you feel about it or how negative you feel about it, as Bill Parcells always put it, “You are what your record says you are.”

The Texas Rangers are 20-20 so far this year and, honestly, they are lucky to be that.

I was thinking about this when the Rangers were 19-19 entering the first of a three-game series on Monday against the lowly Houston Astros.

I thought about how things could easily be worse, considering how the baseball gods decided to throw fireballs down on the Rangers in the form of injury mayhem – and that was before today’s heartbreaking news, but I’ll get into that later.

I also thought about how it could be better if key players such as Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus had been playing up to their actual talent level through those first 38 games.

Fielder is hitting .243 with three home runs and 14 RBIs, a far cry from the production that was expected when the Rangers sent “you know who” to Detroit to acquire him.

Beltre is hitting .242, also with three homers, and 12 RBIs. Very similar numbers to Fielder, but you have to remember Beltre spent time on the 15-day disabled list, a stint that derailed an otherwise solid start to the season for the 35-year-old third baseman.

Andrus is sporting a slash line of .255/.318/.340, which certainly isn’t terrible, but you expect more out of a guy you just signed to an eight-year contract extension worth $118 million just a year ago.

Andrus is starting to play much, much better, however. He entered play tonight on a 10-game hitting streak, but more consistency out of him will be needed going forward if this team is to survive.

The Rangers were pleasantly surprised by Jim Adduci and Kevin Kouzmanoff, but each ended up on the disabled list very early in the season.

Martin Perez had a fantastic first month of the season followed by a terrible first half of May, and it was capped off with the news today that he will likely be forced to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow.

That news was accompanied with the status of Matt Harrison, whose return was starting to take shape. Harrison will now be fighting for his career, as he has been placed on the disabled list with a nerve condition in his spine that may require spinal fusion surgery.

Alas, it has been a mediocre and frustrating first quarter of the year and, going forward, the Rangers appear to be what their record says they are: mediocre.

They simply can’t stay healthy and, just when they do get a player or two back, they have to send two or three more to the disabled list.

At this rate, upper management is going to start asking fans to donate shelves, because they are running out of room to place their afflicted bunch that seems to keep growing by the day.

As of this moment, on the DL sits Pedro Figueroa, Derek Holland, Joseph Ortiz, Perez, Joe Saunders, Tanner Scheppers, Geovany Soto, Kouzmanoff, Donnie Murphy, Jurickson Profar, Adduci and Engel Beltre.

Yes, there was a lot of positivity flowing through this space twice a week from yours truly even when – in hindsight – the ravaging of the roster was just beginning.

I certainly tried to keep spinning the positivity, but – as the old saying goes – you can only get punched in the kidney so many times before you begin to … never mind.

It feels as if the worst possible thing the Texas Rangers can do, at this point, is go back out there the next day and play another game. All it seems to do is add to the probability of another catastrophic injury.

But the season must go on. It is certainly too early to throw in the towel, although I don’t blame you if you want to toss a rag at this point in time.

You’ll get to see some of Nick Tepesch, who was carving up AAA hitting before being called up to start in tonight’s rubber match against the Astros.

You’ll get to see more of Nick Martinez, who has certainly shined at such a tender age so far. But that’s the thing, he should be logging innings as a starter at Frisco, not Arlington.

You’ll probably see the return of Saunders and a recall soon of Scott Baker, but, at this point, don’t get your hopes up about the reinforcements that may come off the DL as the season progresses. We’ve seen how that has worked out so far.

Don’t get too down, but don’t expect too much. Stay level, if you can.

I will certainly try, but I am fearing the worst and preparing for Texas Ranger Armageddon come this time next week.