After a red-hot start to the season, the Texas Rangers struggled this week. Here’s what went wrong — and what might go right next week.
Well then. After winning five of their first seven games, the Texas Rangers have only won once in the last six games. The pitching has fallen apart, the offense has stalled, and the wins have stopped coming. What’s gone wrong?
A lot of things. The first road trip of the season didn’t go well. The bullpen decided to get shaky, and some of the most productive bats in the lineup went cold. It wouldn’t be crazy to think the Rangers just won’t be a good road team this season. But maybe a good home stand will get them right.
Here are some thoughts from the week:
The Injury Bug Has Infested Globe Life Park
First Edinson Volquez went down with a sprained elbow, then Ronald Guzman tweaked his hamstring. Now, Rougned Odor is out with a sore knee. The MLB season is a grind, but this is a little early to have your team this roughed up. That’s how baseball go, sometimes. The good news is only Volquez is on the 60-day IL, with Guzman and Odor slated to come back within a few weeks.
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Confidence is Somehow Lacking
I’m forever a Joey Gallo defender, but he hasn’t reached base in the last three games, which spans 13 plate appearances. I don’t care about Gallo’s batting average and neither should you. But he’s got to draw walks and hit home runs. If he has a league average OBP and if he’s hitting 40+ home runs every season, he’s a valuable player.
Jose Leclerc sputtered a little this week, too. After allowing only two base runners in his first four appearances, he gave up four runs in two games against the Diamondbacks, one of which ended in a blown save and his first loss of the year. Manager Chris Woodward won’t give up on the young closer, but the team needs Leclerc to succeed if they want to stay competitive in 2019. They don’t currently have a lot of options behind him.
Elvis Andrus: Slugger
Andrus debuted as a defense-first slap hitter back in 2009, and continued in that mode for the next seven years. Then in 2016, when Andrus started using a heavier bat, he started hitting the ball all over the park (and out of it).
The Rangers’ shortstop has slugged .425 over the past three seasons, and if you take out his injury plagued 2018, he slugged .455 over 2016 and 2017. So far in 13 games this year, he’s slugging .556. Since 2016, Andrus has hit 36 home runs. That doesn’t seem like a lot until you consider that we’re only two weeks into this season and Elvis hit a combined 27 home runs in his first seven seasons.
Woodward has Andrus batting third in the lineup, which would have been surprising to Texas Rangers fans just a few years ago. Now it seems like the perfect place.
Looking forward this week, the Rangers face the Angels and Astros in Arlington. Both teams are playing well right now, so Texas must hope that a return home will jump-start the bats and get the pitching back on track.