Texas Rangers: An Update on Matt Bush
By Travis Koch
Matt Bush was demoted to Triple-A by the Texas Rangers on April 25th due to control issues. How is he progressing and what exactly does Texas need from him?
The Texas Rangers sent reliever Matt Bush to Triple-A Round Rock back on April 25th. Bush’s demotion was rather shocking given his acceptable 3.97 ERA, a stat that still holds as the fourth best among Rangers relievers, even with the team playing 13 games since he was sent down. However, manager Jeff Banister pinpointed a lack of control as the reason for the surprising roster move.
Matt Bush was struggling in the control department. He had walked nine hitters in 11 1/3 innings and posted a 1.500 WHIP and a 6.16 FIP. Unfortunately, the flame thrower seems to be regressing, at least from a statistical perspective.
He put together a remarkable 2016 campaign in his first year with the Texas Rangers. In 2016, Bush pitched to a 2.48 ERA in 58 appearances. He walked only 14 batters and averaged 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings. At the close of the 2016 season, Matt Bush looked every bit like the team’s next all-star closer.
Though, Bush saw an ERA increase to 3.78 in 2017, an increase in walks with 19 and his WHIP went from an impressive 0.941 to a not so impressive 1.452.
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He does seem to be on track in Triple-A. Bush got roughed up in one outing with the Round Rock Express, allowing two earned runs in 1 1/3 innings on May 1st. Since then, he has been lights out, giving up zero runs over his last three appearances—3 2/3 innings. He is still averaging about a walk/per inning; however, his ERA has improved from 7.71 to 3.00.
It’ll be interesting to see how much more minor league work the Texas Rangers feel Matt Bush needs. A very inconsistent big league relief staff is in desperate need of a straightened out Matt Bush. We’ve seen what Bush is capable of; he can be a true difference make to the team if he pitches to his capabilities.
The Matt Bush story is a miraculous one. From where he was just a handful of years ago to where he is now…even a demotion to the minors is nothing in the scope of things.
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But Bush’s story is part of his past. While the Rangers and hopefully everyone who knows him is proud for what he has overcome, Bush is now part of a lucrative business. Texas needs him to be the dominant pitcher that he was two years ago. The guy that helped solidify a number of team wins. The guy who was in line to be their next closer.