Little has been constant about the 2021 Texas Rangers, from the tandem starters initiated during spring training to the near-daily lineup shuffling and now changes to the starting rotation?
It’s all part of a season full of experimentation for a rebuilding Rangers squad looking to find that perfect winning combination. That’s been much easier said than done to this point.
Texas has tinkered plenty with various aspects of its roster and positional groups, and it looks as though the starting rotation will not be spared from such movement. This latest development has the Rangers planning to gradually build up reliever John King to a starter’s workload while retaining fellow lefty Kolby Allard in the rotation as well.
Change is on the horizon for the Texas Rangers’ starting rotation
The Texas Rangers possess the league’s 20th-best combined starters ERA at 4.66, which is quite middling, if not flat-out below average. You can make the case for change being necessary for this group just on that stat alone.
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That 4.66 mark is a stark contrast to where this rotation stood at the beginning of the season, when they were ironically among the league’s best.
In particular, 2021 hasn’t been too kind to veterans Mike Foltynewicz (5.48 ERA) and Jordan Lyles (5.68 ERA). Those crooked digits will undoubtedly contribute to the inflation of that staff ERA number.
Kohei Arihara’s struggles and later injury have also necessitated rotation reinforcements, as has a lack of MLB-ready depth in the minors.
Essentially, outside of ace Kyle Gibson (who will likely be gone by July 30) and righty Dane Dunning (a future building block), the Texas Rangers are severely lacking in the starting pitching department.
Therefore, enter lefty John King, who says he’s ready for the challenge:
"“Whatever they want me do, I’m good with. I like the adrenaline of the bullpen. But this [starting] is what I’ve always wanted to do.”"
Let the CNN jokes commence.
In actuality, though, King has one of the best individual ERA’s on the Texas Rangers staff at 2.41 over 37.1 innings pitched, so he’s earned this opportunity.
Ditto for Kolby Allard, who has thrived since being re-inserted into the starting rotation, having pitched quality starts in his last three outings.
There’s no guarantee that these changes will be fruitful, but in a season where uncertainty has ruled the day for the Rangers, it might just pay off to let the kids play.