The Texas Rangers may have to make some decisions in the coming weeks before the trade deadline. And those decisions involve pitching.
Are they good enough to make a push for postseason? Or are they going to toss in the towel and be a seller, when trade time comes?
Since hitting is no issue, pitching will provide the answer. And it’ll be worth tickets to games to see how it plays out.
Texas has a starting order with two solid performers, another with good potential who’s coming off the injured list, and still others who need improvement.
Mike Minor (5-3) has been the go-to guy. He’s had a good May, with a 2.25 ERA. He has 67 strikeouts in 64 innings, with 20 walks, and he had one stretch of 29 scoreless innings. The lefthander is in the groove enough to get the attention of contending teams. There’s already Yankees talk out there.
Lance Lynn (6-3) is up there, too. He’s gone 3-1 in May and has 60 Ks and 20 walks in 61 innings. An 11-strikeout performance vs. Seattle last week shows promise.
Adrian Sampson (2-3) has just five starts, because manager Chris Woodward has been bringing him on in the second inning lately, while starting games with a usual reliever. Sampson pitched six solid middle innings to help a 2-1 win in Seattle.
3 Who Need to Stay Healthy
Shelby Miller (1-3) and Drew Smyly (0-3) are guys who have had Tommy John surgery in the last year, and the verdict is still out.
Miller walks more batters than he strikes out, and gives up more hits (42 in 30.2 innings) than both. He’s been getting short work lately in attempt to better use him. He still gets in too much trouble.
Smyly is a four- to five- inning guy who hasn’t picked up a win in three decisions (27 innings). He was a reliever with the Cubs before he came to Texas, so starting may not be his forte. He also had injury problems a month ago.
Edinson Volquez was just cleared to start throwing again, and he may be another indicator to the Rangers future when he gets going.
The Rangers have two relievers who have come in during games with good outcomes.
Jose Leclerc has a 5.03 ERA, but hasn’t yielded a hit in five innings over his last four appearances, striking out 11 and walking none. He leads the team in saves (5), but he’s versatile enough to start, too.
Shawn Kelley was just activated from the injured list, and he hopes to get back to his 1.64 ERA form soon. He’s had a couple of saves since he came back, and his 0.81 WHIP is appealing.
The Question Marks
After those two, things get a bit shaky.
Chris Martin had a decent start this season, but has run in to problems of late. The Rangers hard hitting has gotten him out of jams like the three runs he gave up in one inning against the Mariners. Texas won that one, 10-9. He carries a 4.66 ERA that should improve.
Ariel Jurado has been getting good work, but the Rangers are learning not to work him too much. He had three games that he put in more than an inning and got shelled. He’s had clean boxes otherwise, and carries a nice 2.06 ERA. The Rangers are considering him for a starting role, maybe setting up Sampson.
Texas has been banging the ball around the park enough to get them to .500 and keep tickets selling. If pitching comes together in June, chances of postseason play will look better.
They’ll be back home starting on May 30 vs. the Kansas City Royals.