Back in March, before the first pitch of the season was tossed, we knew little about the Texas Rangers.
Sure, we were looking at a lineup with many of the same players from last year’s 67-win group. But many of these players are still young, and the potentials are still not certain.
A month and a half into the season, there are signs of improvement in many areas, with a team that is trying to hang around the .500 mark.
There are good reasons to buy tickets to Texas Rangers games, because the next few weeks may tell the story.
Rangers Early Season
A 162-game season of baseball is all about winning series, and the Rangers came up big at times in April. They conquered their AL West rivals from Houston and Los Angeles in a couple of series.
But they have faltered at other times and have tripped into May taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays but getting pounded by the Astros in the most recent weekend series in Houston.
The result is the worst record in a hard-hitting division.
The important thing is that this young group should feed on their successes and not be flustered by setbacks.
There are good reasons to see success. One of the top run-producing teams in the league, the Rangers have four players right at or above .300 batting averages.
Granted much of the batting production comes from the over-age-30 set, with short stop Elvis Andrus leading the team at .327.
But 25-year-old Joey Gallo is swatting home runs regularly. Last week he became the first player in major league history to hit 100 home runs before reaching 100 singles.
His monstrous blast that landed in the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh made him the fastest player to 100 homers in American League history. Gallo leads the team with 12 homers and 28 RBI.
Danny Santana, age 28, is ripening quickly at center field and is batting .298, while veterans Hunter Pence (.316) and Shin-Soo Choo (.295) help make for a strong order.
Trouble is, the Rangers are also giving up more runs than they should, so their pitching leaves a ton of room for improvement.
Mike Minor (3-3) is the only starter with a sub-3 ERA, and his 2.68 mark is far and away better than the rest of the rotation. Lance Lynn has a winning record at 4-3, but his 5.48 ERA is nothing to brag about.
The team is looking for a closer between Shawn Kelley and Jose Leclerc.
Leclerc leads the bullpen in strikeouts with 22, but also in walks, and he has been getting clubbed lately.
Kelley has 1.29 ERA in 14 innings of work, but he’s on the injured reserve list, and Edinson Volquez has been on the DL and will be out another three weeks.
Rangers Upcoming Games
After being thumped by the Astros in four straight over the weekend, the Rangers stand at 17-21 as they finish up a nine-game road trip with three in Kansas City.
They return home on Friday, May 17 for a six-game home stand against tough competition. They host the St. Louis Cardinals in the first three of those games, then take on their AL West rivals from Seattle.
The rest of May includes road series against the Angels and the Mariners again. If they return to Globe Life Park on a positive note, the Memorial Day Weekend series against KC should be memorable indeed.
This is the last season that the Rangers will be playing at Globe Life, so tickets will be keepers.