Rangers Should Be Just Fine
When the umpire yells “play ball” on Monday the Rangers season will begin with more uncertainty than at any time in Ron Washington’s tenure. Wash had five straight years of increasing the win total from 75 in 2007 to 96 in 2011. In the two years since the last trip to the World Series, the record has gotten worse each year. I think it will go down by a couple of wins this year too, that’s the bad news. What’s the good news? I am glad you asked, the good news is that the Rangers will still make the playoffs, as a wild card and Ron Washington will finally be named AL manager of the year.
The memories of that 2011 team are bitter sweet after all it was the best team in Rangers history, and, though it got close, it did not win the World Series. What that team did was stay healthy, especially the pitchers. Five pitchers made 157 of the 162 starts that year. That won’t happen this year. In fact, as we embark on 2014 it is clear that the old saying, “you can never have too much pitching,” is more true than ever. The Rangers have pitching depth thanks to Jon Daniels and his staff in scouting and development.
The rotation looks nothing like we thought it would in February, but Darvish will not be out for long. Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis will be back sooner rather than later and Derek Holland is, so far, ahead of schedule too. Beyond that, unlike the beginning of last year, the Rangers have patched the holes in the rotation with two of the best arms in the organization. Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross have been among the best pitchers at every level since their days in the minor leagues. Last year it was Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch who filled out the rotation at the beginning of the season.
The guy who is slated to be the fifth starter (at least for the first time through the rotation) is one of the Rangers best pitching prospects now. Nick Martinez played collegiately at Fordham. So he is a smart kid with seasoning beyond his years in pro ball. The Rangers would love to see him spend the better part of the year in Frisco, and if everyone heals well he probably will.
I know that health is a big “if,” but picture a healthy rotation of Matt Hrrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis and Martin Perez. If that is the rotation for the second half of the season with Ross and Scheppers back in the bull pen, then Rangers fans will like the results and Ron Washington will be dusting off his mantle.