The Rangers As A Punchline

We're still only 21 games into the season, but at 7-14 and after being swept at home by the Seattle Mariners, the Rangers have lost 6 of their last 7 games, and 8 of their last 10. The worst part of Texas's slow start, is that all but two of its games in 2015 have come against intra-division competition. 

In February I wrote, perhaps naïvely, that I "wouldn't be surprised if Texas's record against divisional foes will dictate their placement in the final standings." That was before Yu Darvish and Derek Holland were put on the shelf. So far, the Rangers are 6-13 against the West, and have been outscored 87 to 63 (-24). Without a true #1 or #2 starter, it isn't a mistake that this is a last place team. 

Given some regression to the mean from guys like Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo, you would think this won't be the worst offense in the American League forever. But if we're playing that game, then you would also think Nick Martinez will come down to earth eventually as well. Here's a fun stat: In Martinez's 26 innings in 2015, he's allowed a total of one earned run (0.35 ERA). In the Rangers other 163.2 IP, they've allowed 87 earned runs, generating a 4.80 ERA. Ouch.

Still not even a month into the regular season, and it's looking more and more like this will be a long year. Over the last few years there have been some running jokes about the Rangers and its injuries, about the team's fall from prominence, et. al, but at this point I'm in old grandpa mode and I don't find much of anything funny. There's this scene in Stranger Than Fiction where Will Ferrell and Dustin Hoffman's characters are trying to decide whether Ferrell's life is a comedy or a tragedy, but with the Rangers I feel I've moved on from those stages in the sports-grieving-process. This organization has run into some bad luck the last couple of years, and that's neither a comedy or a tragedy; it simply is. And that's pretty sad. 

Heading into the year I wasn't terribly optimistic about the Rangers' chances, and April was little more than an extension of 2014. The challenge for Texas in the coming months will be establishing the roster for 2016, which means looking forward to a summer's worth of Chi-Chi Gonzalez starts, late-season callups from Joey Gallo and Jake Thompson and maybe even Nomar Mazara, as well as likely departures from the recently acquired Yovani Gallardo and a few others. No major league organization is ever prepared for the type of carnage the Rangers have experienced the last couple years, but few have the minor league ammunition capable of a quick turnaround like Texas.