Why are the Texas Rangers winning?

Posted on May 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The Rangers are not known for winning.  They have had one winning season since they last made the playoffs in 1999.  That’s not quite the Pirates, but it’s pretty bad.  Right now, they are 26-17, second best in baseball.  Are they scoring runs? Sure, but they always score runs.  Last year, they scored more runs than any other team in baseball and still lost more games than they won.  That happened because they allowed more runs than any other team.  In fact, they “won” that race by 80 runs over the runner-up, Pittsburgh.  Their team E.R.A. was 5.37.  They had a few bright spots in their rotation, such as Frank Francisco (3.13 in 58 games).  They also dealt with the performance of Luis Mendoza (8.67 in 25 games and 11 starts).  The 2008 Rangers are as easy to diagnose as any team you will ever find.  Offense was not the problem.  It was pitching, terrible pitching.

The real question is how did they become a middle of the pack pitching staff.   A few obvious suggestions are that its early and pitchers will wear down over time in Texas.  Both are certainly factors, but there is more at play.  The biggest turnaround for the starting rotation is Kevin Millwood, who has certainly had a fine career.  He is only 4-4, but with a 3.12 ERA.  The rest of the starting rotation looks OK, and similar to last year’s performance.   Another obvious bright spot in Frank Francisco, who has an ERA of, get ready, 0.00!  That is over 15 innings, too.  It goes without saying that this will not continue forever.  He will give up a run, everyone does at some point.  If he reverts back to his excellent form from last year, that obliterates part of the reason for their improvement in their team ERA.

Any hope their pitching can at least keep them in it and have a team ERA under 5.00?  Yes.  Brandon McCarthy pitched a complete game shutout on Sunday, first of his career.  He has been hyped for a few years, and maybe that was his break out.  If not, when Francisco and Millwood slump, the team pitching will suffer greatly.  The Rangers are easy to diagnose, much moreso than other teams.  I will continue to do that for the remainder of the season.

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