The Texas Rangers find themselves 50 games into their 2023 season. They are in first place in the AL West and possess the third best record in MLB at 32-18. That is exactly where all of the experts expected this club to be; well maybe not.
Fresh off of a 2022 campaign that saw the Rangers go 68-94 along with having their manager and longtime GM fired within a few days of each other, there is no way that anyone could have predicted this start. Yes, new GM Chris Young got owner Ray Davis to open up his wallet for the second year in a row and was able to completely revamp the starting rotation. He was even able to talk Bruce Bochy to come out of retirement to lead the team and Mike Maddux to guide the pitching staff. Despite all of those positives, this season was supposed to be another step, albeit a big one, in the rebuilding process.
Texas Rangers are exceeding everyone's expectations, but their own
However, along the way, someone forgot to tell Bochy that he was supposed to be managing a group of guys that would hopefully contend in a year or two. And more importantly, someone forgot to mention to the Rangers' players that they weren't ready to take a leap into the top echelon of MLB teams.
Is there still that elephant in the stadium that is the Texas Rangers bullpen? Absolutely there is. But Chris Young isn't going to sit tight and not add an outside arm or two before the trade deadline, while simultaneously working with the guys currently on the roster and in the minors. In fact, just last week, Young signed Tyler Zombro to a minor league deal and sent him straight to Triple-A. In his first two games with Round Rock, he has pitched three innings, allowed no hits, struckout two, has a 0.00 ERA, and a 0.670 WHIP. Is he the sole answer, no, but Young isn't going to sit on his hands and not be active in shoring up the back end of games.
The 32-18 start that the Rangers have, ties the organizations best ever 50 game stretch to start a season. That year was 2013 and unfortunately, despite winning 91 games that season, with the smaller playoff bracket back then, the Rangers missed the postseason. While it is no guarantee, if the Rangers end up with 91 wins this season, the chances of them making the playoffs will be high. They are actually on pace to win 104 games, so even a slight drop in winning percentage over the next four months could still land the Rangers in the playoffs.
Currently the Rangers have a winning percentage of .640, which is .220 points higher than where they finished 2022. So far this season, the Oakland Athletics have a winning percentage of .189. Both of these numbers are astonishing and will make you shake your head.
MLB has an extremely long season, which for us fans is a delightful thing. There will be ups and downs throughout the year, but with the start that the Rangers are having, it will help level out any rough patches along the way. If you are reading this, you are probably already excited about this club and how they are playing. Tell your family, friends, and neighbors that they need to go ahead and jump on the Ranger train. There is no telling where it will end up, but this team is fun to watch, and it will make for an entertaining summer. And if things break right, a great start to the fall.