All in a Week’s Work
It was just one week, seven games making up 4.3 percent of the entire season; but it’s a start.
The Rangers wrapped up easily their best week of the 2015 season with a 5-2 record, all on the road and all against teams with winning records in Houston and Tampa Bay.
Timing couldn’t have been better, considering the club was entering the second month of the season with a woeful offense and a bullpen that couldn’t stop the bleeding when things began to unravel. GM Jon Daniels promised what he called “a critical look” at the organization at the beginning of the trip, admitting that the team would not wait much longer to make some changes in an attempt to get the team headed back in the right direction.
While those changes still may be needed, the team has responded and is playing its best baseball in about one year.
Now, the question is, can they continue to play well at home, as Texas hosts Kansas City for four, starting tonight, and then Cleveland over the weekend.
One of the players who has stepped up the most this past week was pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, who would have gone 2-0 on the week had the Rangers’ bats showed up on Sunday at the Trop. His team, however, did post a 2-0 record in his starts, greatly due to Rodriguez breaking Ken Hill’s franchise record with 34 consecutive batters retired over the two contests.
Now, about that offense.
Texas scored only two runs over the last three games at Tampa Bay, giving them 15 games of scoring two-runs-or-fewer this season. That ain’t gunna get er done.
But despite the past 72 hours, the Rangers’ week included some offense, including games with 11, 7 and 5 runs at Houston. The Astros entered the series last Monday on a 10-game winning streak, and Texas stepped up to the challenge.
Meanwhile, help might be on the way soon, as Josh Hamilton began his Minor League rehab assignment on Sunday with Triple-A Round Rock. He went 1-for-3 with a single, playing five innings in left field. He said Sunday that he was excited to get back to playing some baseball in front of fans and that he felt good mentally and physically.
The Rangers have Colby Lewis (2-2, 2.61 ERA) starting tonight vs. the Royals against Danny Duffy (2-1, 4.55 ERA). If Texas is going to continue the “about-face” to their season, it has to start at Globe Life Park where it has an MLB-worst 3-9 record at home.
The Rangers finally got some of their season-beginning slump behind them, but there is no question that they have a long way to go. There’s still games to play before starters Derek Holland and Martin Perez return from injury. Perhaps Hamilton will be able to add some punch to the lineup when he returns. But I’m of the opinion that this club needs some serious help, and I’m honestly not sure where it is going to come from.
If I’m in charge, I’m looking for that big deal that might be able to bring two-or-more top prospects to Texas, like they did with the Mark Teixeira deal with the Braves. Easier said than done, for sure. But it starts with the willingness to deal an Adrian Beltre or Prince Fielder. Elvis Andrus? Sure, he looks like a good trade bait from a Rangers’ perspective. But they’d have to eat a good chunk of his contract. I’d rather keep him and see where that goes.
Beltre? I love him, as many Rangers fans do. His attitude is spot-on, as he blames himself for the offensive woes of the club. It’s not entirely his fault, but it is good to see someone of his leadership taking accountability. There also won’t be a better summer to deal him to a contender and try and get as much back as possible. We’ll see, but dealing Beltre would be the ultimate sign that Daniels is blowing up this team.
We’ll know a lot more after this next set of seven days. It it’s anything like the last week, who knows where this thing is heading. If the team returns to its (bad) home form, who goes first? Daniels or a veteran like Beltre, Fielder or Andrus?