The Texas Rangers started off the season with a bang, as they began the MLB year with a 9-6 record winning three of their first five series. Pitching was a main reason for their turnaround. Martin Perez, Dane Dunning, and Nathan Eovaldi led the way finishing the month of April with a combined 9-3 record.
Things seemed promising, as four-time all-star Jacob deGrom topped the rotation. In his first five appearances, he went 2-0, with 45 strikeouts in 30.1 innings. However, that would be the end of his 2023 campaign, as he went down with a torn UCL in his elbow.
The starting pitching would only continue to improve though. During the month of May Eovaldi would go undefeated, as he allowed just two home runs and 23 hits in 37.2 innings. In four of his five games he pitched seven innings or more and completed a complete game on May 23rd against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Fast forward to June, and it would be the month for Dunning. The Rangers' starter would go 3-0 posting anywhere from a 2.52 to a 2.78 ERA. He would allow 14 runs in five games while striking out 19 batters. His above-average play has been just what the team needs. If you remember, last season he went 4-8 and struggled to get his pitches above the bottom corner of the plate.
Struggles of July
Yet after a hot start, the month of July has not been so friendly. In their last nine games, the Rangers went 3-6 losing three straight series to the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, and Washington Nationals. Pitching proved to be their Achilles heel, as Texas allowed 5.2 runs or more in those nine games. The dominant trio of Eovaldi, Perez and Dunning all struggled. Against Boston, Eovaldi struggled to find consistency allowing four runs and four errors in just five innings. Perez also looked out of sorts against the Nationals, as he walked two batters, allowed three home runs, and registered zero strikeouts.
The bottom half of the rotation seems to be the Rangers' weakness. The team has cycled through a rotation of Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney, and Cody Bradford. Gray and Heaney have gone 0-2 in July, while Bradford has posted a 1-0 record this month. The issue has been finding starting pitching that can go beyond five innings. In the team's second to last game before the break, Heaney pitched three innings allowing eight runs, seven earned, and three home runs.
One alternative to solving the starting pitching woes includes trading for a veteran pitcher. This past week our own West Jones wrote about the possibility of Texas acquiring bringing back Lance Lynn. USA Toady first broke the story detailing the Rangers strong interest. While no trade has been discussed this could be something to keep an eye on.
Another name discussed is two-way player Shohei Ohtani. The Los Angeles star is set to hit free agency at the end of the season. It is no doubt his value would be extremely high. The interest in the Angels trading him still remains unknown.
Starting pitching will be crucial if the team hopes to go on a second half run. With upcoming series against the Cleveland Guardians, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros, Texas will rely on their starting rotation to hopefully get off to a hot start.
Could a trade help boost the bullpen? Will the Rangers' starting rotation get back on track?