The Rangers suffer yet another series loss to a division opponent. After losing two out of three the team now finds themselves with the second worst record in baseball.
The rough start to 2017 continues for the Texas Rangers. After being swept for already the second time this season in Seattle, the team dropped two of three against the Oakland Athletics.
The Rangers are now 5-10 on the year which lands them in last place in the American League West with the second worst record in all of baseball.
With the Houston Astros continuing to win at a torrid pace and the Seattle Mariners winning five of their last six games, the Rangers are digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole.
Of course, the season is still early. The 2015 Rangers were 6-9 after their first 15 games, and were even four games behind .500 at the All-Star break. That team went on to go 46-28 in the second half of the season, winning their third AL West title in six years.
The slow start leaves the team with a 16.3 percent chance to make the playoffs, which is a 12.1 percent decrease since the start of the season. The third biggest decrease in all of baseball behind the Toronto Blue Jays and the San Francisco Giants.
1. The lineup needs to make more contact
The Rangers continue to score runs and hit the long ball, ranking top three in the American League in both categories. However, the lineup is far too inconsistent to feel comfortable about. Over the past six games the team has scored two-or-fewer runs four times.
In fact, they have yet to win a game in which they score fewer than seven runs, the only team in baseball yet to do so. For a team so reliant on their offense, the lineup needs to be much more consistent.
The teams .210 batting average is the worst in the American League, seven points behind the rebuilding Chicago White Sox. There are only four batters with an average over .200, only two over .250.
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Five regular players are hitting below .200, the largest amount in baseball. Seven players are hitting below .250, also the largest amount in baseball.
Surprisingly enough, the team does hit well with runners in scoring position however. Their .265 average is the tenth highest in baseball. The issue has been getting those opportunities. They have only had 102 at-bats with runners in scoring position, the ninth lowest in baseball.
Perhaps the team has been a tad unlucky. Their .238 average on balls in play is the lowest in the league. Whatever the reason is, the lineup needs to be more consistent if the Rangers have any chance of reaching the postseason.
2. Doug Brocail’s comments make no sense
There was the Keone Kela situation before Opening Day which started the season on a sour note. Sam Dyson’s struggles have been a punch to the gut. Adrian Beltre’s injury grows more and more concerning by the day.
Now it appears the team has a new scandal to add to this saga. After yet another frustrating loss Wednesday night, Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail had some interesting comments on the teams ace, Yu Darvish’s performance.
Heading into the sixth inning Darvish had a 2-0 lead and had only allowed one hit throwing just 56 pitches. Five batters later the game was tied 2-2 and the Athletics had runners on first and second with only one out.
Despite only being at 86 pitches and having dominated most of the game, Jeff Bannister decided to pull his ace in favor of his bullpen which, by the way, is the one of the worst in all of baseball. Tony Barnette and Dario Alvarez would allow the two inherited runners to score leading to a 4-2 loss.
Perhaps the most complex part about this loss was the post game comments made by Doug Brocail. “The first 5 innings he got away with a lot of stuff. He didn’t pitch in at all. I was ready for him to come out” said Brocail.
He later added that Darvish “didn’t adhere to the game plan of pitching inside early to Oakland hitters.” So only allowing one hit through five innings is going against the game plan? I would have loved to see Darvish follow this ‘game plan’ that would have worked out so much better.
Maybe instead of throwing the teams best pitcher under the bus, Brocail should focus on actually, you know, coaching the pitching staff. Since taking over before the 2016 season the Rangers have given up the second most runs in the American League. Perhaps it’s for the best Darvish didn’t follow Brocail’s ‘game plan’.
3. Mike Hauschild will be back in Houston before too long
Mike Hauschild was selected in the rule five draft back in December. As a rule five draft pick he either has to stay on the disabled list or the active roster the entire season in order to stay with the club.
With pitching depth being a concern, the Rangers selected Hauschild with the hopes of him being an inning eater out of the bullpen who could make the occasional spot start. While he has eaten some innings early in the season, he has also been crushed.
He has given up six home runs so far in his eight innings pitched which is the second most in baseball. His 11 earned runs allowed is the second highest and his 14 hits allowed are the fourth highest.
With Kela back with the club it’s possible we see Hauschild return to Houston’s organization when Dyson is eligible to return from the DL.
After going 3-6 on their nine game road trip the Rangers begin a ten game home stand tonight against the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals are coming off of a split two game series against the San Francisco Giants. They are currently 7-7 and are half a game behind the first place Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.
The Royals have won five of their last six games.
Game four – Jason Hammel (0-1, 4.60 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (1-2, 3.28 ERA)