The Texas Rangers lose their fourth series in a row, falling even deeper into last place. An upcoming series with Padres could help them get back on track.
Another series, another series loss for the Texas Rangers. After dropping two of three to the Seattle Mariners the team now finds themselves 13-19. Good for last place in the American League West and the third worst record in the American League. Furthermore, this is not where the teams wants to be.
With the team eight games back of the Houston Astros for first place and a game and a half back behind the fourth place Athletics, the direction of the team is becoming clearer and clearer. Regrettably, it’s not the right direction.
With a slew of free agents scheduled to hit the market this upcoming offseason, a trade deadline fire sale seems to be all but a certainty at this point.
1. What exactly was Jeff Bannister doing with the bullpen?
Jeff Bannister is a good manager, he’s proven that in his short two years with the team. He won American League Manager of the Year in 2015 and came in second a season ago.
While he’s excelled at getting the most out of his team (save for the start of this season), his bullpen management is beginning to become his glaring weakness.
Yesterday the bullpen received their eighth loss, the third most in baseball. Bannister pulled Andrew Cashner in the seventh inning after giving up a leadoff walk despite only throwing 94 pitches and cruising through six shutout innings.
Jose Leclerc came in and walked the bases loaded before giving up a bases loaded walk to Jean Segura to bring the Mariners within two runs. After leaving Leclerc in for an agonizing 28 pitches, Alex Claudio was summoned. Thanks to an emergency spot start, Claudio threw 76 pitches over the previous five days, an absurd amount for a reliever.
Claudio would give up a two run, game tying single. In the bottom of the eighth Bannister would call on Sam Dyson. An interesting decision given Dyson’s proneness to imploding on himself so far the season.
And because baseball is a romantic sport, Dyson would give up a home run to Ranger killer Kyle Seager. This would go onto be the game winning home run resulting in Dyson’s 4th loss of the season, the most among relievers.
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2. The offense continues to be atrocious
With the season about 20 percent behind us the Rangers have the third lowest average in baseball and the fifth highest strikeout rate.
Over the course of the series the Rangers scored eight runs. The Mariners matched that in one game, scoring seven in one inning. The teams offensive woes continue to be a major factor behind the teams recent struggles.
Over the past week the Rangers have six players hitting below .200. Elvis Andrus is the only player hitting over .300 during that stretch and only one of three players hitting over .250.
As stated earlier, we are only 20 percent into the season. There is plenty of time for the team to turn it around. However, if the Rangers wish to right the ship, the offense needs to figure it out, quickly. Furthermore, the point of the season where it’s too late is drawing closer and closer.
3. Andrew Cashner’s success may be no fluke
I’ve made comments recently stating my concerns about Andrew Cashner’s success. While his ERA has been low to this point, his FIP was one of the highest in baseball. I figured the high walk rate was bound to turn ugly for him at some point.
Well, here we are five starts into the season and Cashner has continued to show success. He went 6.1 strong innings in yesterdays finale only giving up one run. Unfortunately, the bullpen once again crumbled, failing to secure Cashner’s first win of the season. In any case, Cashner needs to avoid letting his focus go a stray.
After giving up three earned runs in his first start, Cashner has yet to give up any more than two runs in his four starts since. His FIP has fallen to 5.16, which is still high but will continue to drop as long as he avoids walking a high amount of batters.
The Rangers hoped Cashner could return to form to help solidify their rotation for a playoff push. However with the teams struggles, Cashner’s success could help in another way. Bringing back a nice return at the trade deadline.
The Rangers finish of their three city road trip with a home-and-home against the Padres. The matchup features two bottom ten teams in baseball. Something I didn’t hope to write at this point in the season.
The Padres come in with the second worst record in the National League, hoping to snap a four game losing streak. In any case, the Texas Rangers must start winning.
A series loss against the Padres could possibly cement what’s in the back of all of our minds. This team might not be good.
Game four – TBD vs. TBD