By Martin Iheke
Thank goodness this season is mercifully over. To say your Texas Rangers had a very disappointing year with a 67-95 record is nothing short of an understatement. Significant injuries were the biggest reason off the bat which led to constant roster changes. Manager Ron Washington resigning late in the year was icing on the cake to a tumultuous season. I will briefly summarize month by month what happened if you have the stomach for it.
The Rangers get off to a decent start on the season at 15-13, despite a few key players out with injuries. Starting pitchers Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis returned to the rotation later in the month after the both of them missed almost all of last season because of injuries.
This is the month were things started to head in the wrong direction for the Rangers. Martin Perez, Matt Harrison and Prince Fielder find out that they have to miss the rest of the season. Perez needed Tommy-John surgery after it was discovered that there was a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Harrison needed spinal surgery to correct a severe nerve irritation in his lower back. Prince Fielder too needed season-ending surgery for his neck. The Rangers finished the month with a 13-15 record.
To say this month was bad is an understatement. Injuries to several key Rangers players including first baseman Mitch Moreland finally start to take its toll on the team. They go 9-17 in the month including an eight-game losing streak.
If you thought June was bad, this month was even worse as the team went 6-20. They had another eight-game losing streak that contributed to this.
The Rangers performed slightly better with a 10-18 record. Starting pitcher Yu Darvish ended up being shut down for the rest of the season because of an elbow injury. Since the season was lost already, there was no reason for him to continue to pitch. Shin-Soo Choo would also end up missing the rest of the season because of torn cartilage in his left ankle.
There was some good and bad news for the Rangers the month. The bad news was that Ron Washington resigned as manager on September 5 to due needing to take care of some personal issues. Tim Bogar was named interim manager. Alex Rios would end up missing the rest of the season because of an infection in his right thumb. The good news was that the Rangers finished the month with a winning record at 14-12 including winning seven in a row.
Thoughts on the Season
If there was one good thing to come out of this season, it was the fact the Rangers were able to call up a lot of young players from the minors to see what they can do and most of them performed well. Ryan Rua was real impressive after he was called up at the end of August. Nick Martinez, who was supposed to spend the season in the minors, performed well on the mound after being called up because of injuries to Martin Perez and Matt Harrison. Rougned Odor really stepped up as the 2nd baseman for Jurickson Profar, who had been held down because of injuries. Derek Holland was strong in the last month of the season after coming off the disabled list.
The future looks good, especially going into next season. The questions in the offseason will be who is the next manager? Tim Bogar did a solid job as interim manager with 14-8 record. Right now, it appears he is the leading candidate to become the next manager. Also with Darvish, Holland and Colby Lewis in the rotation for next season, who will fill the other two spots? Nick Tepesch did a splendid job down the stretch and looks like he could fill one of those spots or the Rangers can simply hit the market to sign another starting pitcher or two. Will they add another power bat to the lineup? I still believe they need one especially at DH, assuming Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Chin are back healthy and if the team decides to bring back Alex Rios. Regardless, General Manager Jon Daniels and his staff will have a lot of decisions to make on what type of team we will see before spring training. The only thing we can do right now is to wait and see. I cannot imagine the Rangers going through another season with the amount of key injuries they suffered through so that alone should be why this team will be a lot better in 2015.