Before the season started, the Texas Rangers lost Yu Darvish for the season to Tommy John surgery. They were predicted to win 75-78 games and finish last in the American League West. Everybody was counting them out.
Since losing Yu Darvish, the Rangers have been on a tear and are two and a half games out of first place in the American League West. I know they are just coming off of a 95 loss season, but this team is playing better than expected.
No one saw this coming. When Mitch Moreland went out early in the season, it looked as if the Rangers were going to have a repeat of the 2014 season. The Rangers were doing well and then the injury bug started to get to the team again.
The Rangers are without Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, and Martin Perez. Those are four key starters that are out of the starting rotation. They’ve had to replace them with players such as Yovani Gallardo, Nick Martinez, calling up Chi Chi Gonzales from Double A Frisco, Wandy Rodriguez, and Shawn Tolleson.
The Rangers opened the month of April by going 7-14. Since April, they’ve gone 23-12 and are in second place in the American League West with a 35-30 record despite the injuries. Yovani Gallardo and Wandy Rodriguez are two pitchers who have played well and have done well in the starting rotation. Chi Chi Gonzalez has been phenomenal. Since being called up from the minors, he has a 0.90 earned run average, a 2-1 record, with 10 strikeouts and a 1.00 walks plus hits per innings pitched. Shawn Tolleson, the other young pitcher, has proven himself. He was recently named the closer after going 9 for 9 in save opportunities.
Offensively the Rangers as a whole are doing well. Prince Fielder is playing well with a .356 batting average, .412 on base percentage and .545 on base-plus slugging. Mitch Moreland, since returning from injury, is also playing well, especially at the plate. Delino DeShields, who was a Rule 5 draft pick, is playing really well. He was only supposed to be a fill-in who would play when Leonys Martin was given a day off. Instead, he’s become an every-day player in left field for the Rangers. Shin Soo Choo, just like Fielder, has enjoyed a great bounce back year and has managed to stay healthy. Both players are having the year that Rangers fans envisioned when they were both acquired.
Overall, the offense for the Rangers has been on fire. They are outscoring opponents. The addition of prospect Joey Gallo has only helped as he is showing why he is ranked number 6 in the top 100 prospects in baseball. In 40 at bats in his time with the Rangers, he has scored 8 runs, 12 hits, hit 4 home runs and scored 7 runs batted in along with 2 stolen bases. He has a .300 batting average, a .391 on base percentage and 1.016 on base-plus slugging percentage. He has been a monster.
One great fact is that the Rangers are 13th in the American League in fewest runs allowed and second in runs scored.
The question everyone is now asking is: Can the Rangers keep this up? The answer so far has been yes with the Rangers taking series from the first place Astros, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Royals, the Twins, and you can now add the Dodgers to the list.