One month into the season and we know two things about the Rangers: their offense is picking up where it left off last season and their pitching has drastically improved from last season’s horrendous output. Though both facets of the team are virtually the same as last season’s mark, the team has managed to stay hovered around the .500 mark, good for second place in the AL West
. That’s not to say improvement from the pitching end isn’t there.
Rookie SP Derek Holland
Rookie RP Thomas Diamond
Instead of finishing last in the league in team ERA, the Rangers are currently 11th in the league and 8th in quality starts. Since the beginning of the season, Kason Gabbard has been traded back to the Red Sox and Kris Benson has seen two starts pushed back. In comes the number one ranked farm system. The Rangers had their first glimpse of highly touted farm player Derek Holland, a hard throwing left handed pitcher. He has pitched five innings, struck out five and has hit 98 MPH on several of his pitches. Thomas Diamond has also cracked the pen and he will be an eager one to watch as the season progresses. The future is definitely looking bright for the pitching staff given the recent struggles they’ve had with injuries. Now that the farm system has a plethora of players to fill in the gaps the pressure is staved off for the time being.
The Rangers offense is in full swing and the Andruw Jones
project is looking good. Batting .345 with two homeruns and five RBI, Jones looks to have gotten his groove back thanks to Rudy Jaramillo
, batting coach for the Rangers. Ian Kinsler
leads the way in homeruns, runs, RBI and average. His health will determine how far the Rangers go this season. All the while, Elvus Andrus is adjusting to the pro game. His ability to adjust isn’t crucial as of yet, but it could be as the season wears on.
Ron Washington’s job in Texas is safe for now. At this point last season, Washington was under immense pressure and the team kept winning. Now, the Rangers skippers is getting better command of the clubhouse and using his minor league staff efficiently. The Angels and A’s are sitting at an unusual third and fourth place while the Mariners reign on top.
The Rangers started the season on fire sweeping the Indians, who some say have a chance to take the Central. While the season is still early, the Rangers have set a moderate pace. As long as the pitching continues to improve and the defense improves (fourth in fielding percentage), the Rangers will have a great chance to command the AL West. The season is early and the competition has yet to heat up, but the future is looking bright.
First place in the West? Possibly, but health and pitching need to be their first priority.
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