Rangers are currently plagued by 2 issues that were their strengths last season

Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

The 2024 season has begun quite differently than 2023 for the defending champions. En route to the Texas Rangers first championship, the 2023 team began in red-hot fashion and were 40-20 through the first 60 games.

This year, the Rangers hit their 20th loss in just game No. 42 and the energy surrounding them has not been good.

For one, they are very injured. But the other part of why things feel so bad right now has to do with the Rangers not doing a few things particularly well. One of them is something that they did well no matter what last year, even during a slump — play good defense. The Rangers were praised and known for preventing runs and avoiding mistakes.

That has not been the case so far this year. The defense has looked lackluster at times and costly errors have ended up swinging recent close losses. The Rangers are already almost halfway to their error total from last year — they had 57 errors all of the 2023 season and have already made 25 through 48 games this year. They are on pace to make 84 errors this year.

The defensive issues unfortunately start with the Rangers best players. After a Gold Glove in 2023, it's already safe to say Adolis Garcia will not be repeating this year. He had six errors the entire season in 2023 and has already racked up four so far this season. He has a -5 run value and -7 outs above average in 2024. He's been one of the worst right fielders in the entire league, something we haven't seen from El Bombi in his time as a Ranger.

Other Rangers have had defensive struggles as well — albeit to a lesser degree. One of them is Corey Seager. Though he's starting to turn it around at the plate, Seager hasn't really had a good year in any aspect of the game. He's halfway to his 2023 error total already — he has four, opposed to eight all of last season. Jonah Heim has three errors already this season after just two in 2023, and Nathaniel Lowe has also already matched his 2023 error total at three.

The Rangers also seem to have an impossible time producing any offense when they are behind. This issue existed somewhat last year, they just rarely played from behind. But they have had to play from behind much more frequently this year due to some of the offensive struggles and pitching injuries. It is still not a position the Rangers often succeed from.

This past series was a good example. In Friday's loss to the Angels, the Rangers went three up, three down the next three innings after the Angels took the lead. They didn't get another baserunner until four innings later. The Rangers actually got five base runners on after the Angels took the lead Sunday. Still, no runs. We saw this in the Rockies series as well. The Rockies took a slim lead late in two of the three games and the Rangers never scored again.

The poor defensive results and lack of a clutch presence so far this season seem to reflect a general lack of focus and energy at times. The errors have often been routine plays, too — pop flies or balls thrown away under minimal-to-no duress. The at-bats when behind are often ending quickly, in three pitches or less. They just don't look nearly as sharp as last year, and with all the injuries, they cannot afford to continue to beat themselves like they have been doing lately.