3 takeaways from Rangers series loss against the Angels

Apr 30, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) on the field during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 30, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) on the field during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Texas Rangers now fall to 11-14 after losing two of three against the Angels. The Rangers now begin a nine game road trip starting with a huge four-game set against the Houston Astros.

The Texas Rangers lose their second consecutive series after dropping two of three against the Angels. Their record now sits at 11-14, the third worst in the American League.

The Rangers are now in fourth place of the American League West. An upcoming four game series against the Houston Astros could either put the Rangers right back into the mix, or dig them an even deeper hole.

The team continues to struggle offensively. Their .220 batting average is now the third lowest in baseball.

The complete lack of any consistency prevents this team from being true competitors. In fact their 14 run outburst against the Twins was as many runs as they’ve scored in their last 5 games combined excluding the outburst.

Three Takeaways

1. Rougned Odor won’t develop any further until he improves his plate discipline

In the bottom of the eighth inning in yesterdays series finale, Rougned Odor came to the plate representing the go-ahead run with Nomar Mazara on second and Carlos Gomez on third.

After getting ahead in the count 3-1, Odor chased three consecutive pitches resulting in a strikeout. A 3-1 fastball in the dirt which he whiffed at, an outside fastball which he fouled off and an off speed pitch in the dirt he swung at for strike three.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s watched Odor throughout his career. After having the lowest walk rate in baseball last year, he currently has the 20th lowest in baseball to start this year.

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His 44.1 chase percentage is the eighth highest in baseball. There’s no reason for pitchers to throw Odor hittable fastballs, and they rarely do.

15 percent of pitches thrown to Odor are curveballs, the seventh highest rate in baseball. In fact, he only sees a fastball 50 percent of the time, the 32nd lowest rate.

His -3.0,-1.6 and -1.4 pitch values against change-ups, curveballs and sliders respectively make him one of the worst off-speed hitters in baseball.

Odor’s power and athleticism leaves him with the ability to some day become an All-Star caliber second baseman. However, Odor will have to greatly revamp his approach at the plate to reach All-Star level.

2. Nomar Mazara is struggling mightily

After a week or so into the season Nomar Mazara was either leading or in the top five of each triple crown category. What was once a bright star in a rather dim lineup has collapsed into a black hole, sucking in high fastballs and low curveballs with nothing coming out the other side.

Since April 17th Mazara is hitting .109, the fourth lowest average in baseball over that stretch. He’s only produced five hits in 46 at bats, four of them being singles. He hasn’t hit a home run since April 16th and has only driven in one run in his last ten games.

From Opening Day to April 17th Mazara hit four home runs and drove in 16 runs, the most in the American League at the time. With a slash of .352/.397/.630, he was showing off his superstar potential.

Since then he’s hitting .109/.180/.130 while striking out in 20 percent of his at-bats.

Are you getting a sense of deja vu? Good, you should. Last season Nomar Mazara set the league on fire during his first month of big league service. He hit .333/.392/.460, taking a commanding lead in the Rookie of the Year race.

However, once the league began to adjust Mazara’s numbers took a deep dip, hitting .256/.310/.413 the rest of the way.

It appears as though the league has once again adjusted to Mazara. It’s far too early to worry about the young outfielder though. He’s a smart and talented hitter. He will adjust, but with the Rangers struggles and a huge series against Houston looming, it better be sooner than later.

3. Martin Perez is consistently inconsistent

Martin Perez’s career has been a frustrating roller coaster ride thus far. Flashes of the potential that once made him a top prospect masked by the constant meltdowns and big innings. This season has been no different.

Perez received his fourth loss of the season yesterday, moving him into a four-way tie for the most losses in baseball. He allowed 12 baserunners over 5.2 innings giving up four earned runs. This coming after a decent start against the Twins in which he pitched four scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the fifth inning.

One of the reasons for Perez’s struggles has been his inability to get deep into games. Not only because of his high walk rate leading to a high number of pitches, but because of his struggles facing the order more than twice.

After going through the order twice, Perez’s career ERA is 4.08. Not great, but more than respectable for a number three starter pitching in a hitters friendly park. In 2017 that ERA is 3.33.

It begins to hit the fan once Perez goes through an order for the third time. He’s given up five runs and 15 baserunners in his 7.1 innings against the third time through a batting order.

Perhaps it may be best to pull Perez after two trips through the order regardless of how he’s performing.

Looking forward

The Rangers finish their ten game home stand 6-4 thanks in large part to a four game sweep of the Kansas City Royals, who are the worst team in baseball as of right now.

The team will now begin a nine game road trip starting with a four game series with the Houston Astros. The Astros have the second best record in baseball at 16-9 and a three game lead in the American League West.

Since the Astros joined the American League West in 2013 the Rangers have gone 68-27 against them, winning the Silver Boot in every season except 2014. In any case, Texas needs to be ready and they do whatever it takes to make sure the Silver Boot stays in Arlington.

Game one – Andrew Cashner (0-2, 2.93 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers (2-1. 4.34 ERA)

Game two – Cole Hamels (2-0, 3.03 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (0-1, 5.12 ERA)

Game three – TBD vs. Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.50 ERA)

Game four – TBD vs. TBD