Texas Rangers are 2nd in the AL West… April Fools?
By Travis Koch
Are the Texas Rangers fooling us with their nice start to the season? There’s a lot to like and there’s a lot to dislike… what does that mean exactly?
After taking two out of three games against the Chicago Cubs to open the year, the Texas Rangers find themselves in second place in the American League West. They stand behind the Mariners, and ahead of the Athletics, Astros and Angels. Assuming a playoff team after a 2-1 start is like assuming Delino DeShields will hit another 10 home runs this year. That said, you gotta love the nice start!
The question is, has the nice start made fools out of us Rangers fans on this national day of high jinks? Yes they beat a good team more times than not. But they didn’t exactly do so in encouraging fashion. 28 runs given up in three games?! 18 walks in three games?! Good teams don’t allow such inflated numbers. 2nd place teams don’t allow such inflated numbers.
I don’t have a single bad thing to say about the Texas offense after the first series. The impressive bunch, one-through-nine, bench players in all, carried the team to two wins. The guys we didn’t expect much from came up huge, and the guys we expect a ton from exceeded expectations to start the year.
Pitching, on the other hand, was worse than expected. That’s saying a lot because the expectations for the staff were by no means lofty to begin with.
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That’s the 2019 Texas Rangers for you. Get ready for a lot of high scoring games. You’ll be watching games and memories of those early 2000’s teams will enter into your mind. Those teams with Michael Young, Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira and Ian Kinsler front-loading the offense, but Vicente Padilla, Kevin Millwood, John Koronka and Scott Feldman filling the staff.
A combination of great offense and poor pitching typically doesn’t result in a playoff berth, as proven by the conclusions of those early 2000’s seasons. But that’s okay. The Rangers weren’t and aren’t expected to make the playoffs this year.
Pitching may not be good, or even average, but the organization planned for that. 2019 means very little in the scheme of things. What’s more important than anything is the young players taking a step forward, and we’re already seeing that from guys like Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor. Great seasons from those three and any below .500 record will be forgiven.
In addition, there will be bright spots in the rotation and in the bullpen. Mike Minor was a bright spot last season. So were Jose Leclerc and Jeffrey Springs. Good things are bound to come from at least a couple arms this year.
It’s all about positive vibes for the future. Positive vibes for 2019 are awesome, but I’m certainly not pushing all of my chips into the pot. You probably shouldn’t either. If you do, you’ll like find yourself a fool in the long run.
Be excited! Be optimistic! But don’t get carried away. If the Texas Rangers take two out of three from the Houston Astros and stand at 4-2 on Thursday, 3.5 games ahead of their rival, I’ll step back on my stance a little. I want nothing more than for the Rangers to prove me wrong. As of April 1st, however, they have plenty more to prove.