Here are 7 reasons why Rangers fans shouldn’t panic after losing 10 of their last 16 games:
– Joe Nathan is the most reliable closer in the American League. Yes he’s just third amongst AL closers with 20 saves, but it’s his peripherals and consistency that have been dazzling. His WHIP (0.80) and BAA (.143) are best in the entire Major Leagues among closers. He’s allowed just 1 hit in the past MONTH…Through which time the Rangers have lost Ogando, Kinsler, Moreland, Beltre, and Kirkman for various periods of time. When Texas has needed their veteran closer the most, he’s delivered – 8 SVs thru 11.1 IP, 11 Ks, just 2 walks and 1 hit allowed over that span. Efficient – he’s needed on average just 12 pitches per outing during that span. And forget about his velocity being down – he touched 95 mph on the gun over the weekend vs. Toronto.
– Beltre’s back. Say what you want about Kinsler’s value on this team. Or the work Elvis does at short and at the plate. Adrian Beltre is the most important Ranger in this offense and on the diamond, and over the last month he’s been back to his MVP-caliber form. Since May 8th, he’s batting .368 with 8 HRs, 9 2Bs, and 21 RBI. His clutch numbers are equally impressive…His batting average is highest when he’s behind in the count (.324), with 2 outs (.348) and in ‘late and close’ situations (a whopping .448!!)
NOTE : Late & Close are Plate Appearances in the 7th or later with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck.
– The Rangers have two aces. We all know Yu Darvish is a bonafide ace, but Derek Holland has established himself as a guy who more than does his part to give you an opportunity to win nearly every time out. Hear me out : he’s produced a quality start in 9 of his 13 starts, and gone 7 innings in 7 of those 9 games. The Holland inning of doom?? He’s allowed more than 2 runs in an inning just four times in 84 IP. He’s also doing his best job ever of keeping the ball in the ballpark – he’s on pace to allow just 14 HRs on the year. In his best season, in which he started at least 12 games, his lowest total was 22. At almost a K/IP rate, Holland will likely surpass 200 IP and 200 Ks for the year…the first time in his career he will have accomplished either.
– The 2013 Rangers offense is eerily similar to the 2012 version. For all the talk of how much this offense lost this offseason, think about this – thru 65 games, the 2013 Rangers have nearly the same number of HRs (83 to 85), scored just 18 runs fewer (292 to 310), have a better batting average in both the months of March/April (.262) and May (.283) than they did in 4 out of 6 month last season, and have stolen the same number of bases (38)!! It might not look pretty, but for all the talk of the offense they lost in the winter, Jon Daniels and his approach to replacing production continues to bear fruit.
– Help is on the way. The Rangers have seen a slew of injuries take out significant pieces of their starting lineup and rotation. Kinsler, Moreland, Beltre, Harrison, Ogando, Kirkman and Joakim Soria have all missed time this season, but the tide may be breaking…Kinsler is expected to return this weekend, while Moreland could be just a week or two away. Harrison is still not expected to return before the All Star Break, but Ogando and Soria could return as early as July. If the Rangers can weather the storm, they could pull away from the pack late in the season.
– If and when the Biogenesis suspensions come down, the A’s may be in a worse spot than the Rangers. The Rangers will lose Nelson Cruz, and while that’s significant, both Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland will likely have returned to the lineup by the time any suspension is handed out. For the A’s, however, they’re losing a guy who’s arguably been their best pitcher this season, and the team leader in wins in Bartolo Colon. Colon also leads all Oakland starters in ERA and WHIP. Their best pitching prospect, Sonny Grey, could come up and have a chance to fill the void – he’s got a 2.43 ERA in 11 starts at AAA. But he’s the only pitcher that’s even close to major league ready that the A’s have in their farm system. The only pitcher they have to potentially come back from injury and help? Brett Andersen, and many believe he’s still 2 months away from recovering from his broken foot.
– Texas will get better before the trade deadline. Jon Daniels has a history of adding valuable pieces to the roster as the deadline winds down, and fans should expect this season to be no different. They’ve got plenty of ammunition to use as trade bait, and even if it doesn’t bring a Stanton or Price, you can expect that the bullpen and the depth of the club will be improved.
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