If you had to choose a phrase to describe the first half of the Texas Rangers’ 2018 season, a common thread that could potentially come to mind for the fanbase is disappointing, but not shocked by any means.
Coming off a 78-84 outing last season that featured a third place finish in the AL West standings and 23 games behind the divisional winners and World Series champion Houston Astros, the Rangers find themselves in a deep hole at 41-56. They’re dead last in the AL West and have lost 10 of their last 13 ballgames. In fact, the Rangers haven’t even won a series since taking 2-of-3 games from the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park from the span of June 29-July 1.
From a numbers standpoint, the Rangers are lagging in numerous team statistical categories.
Their team batting average of .236 ranks 25th in the entire MLB partly due to a collective string of inconsistent performances in the batter’s box. Correspondingly, the Rangers’ subpar team batting average hasn’t led to many hits whatsoever, as the Rangers rank 25th in total hits with 768 of them at the All-Star break. On a brighter note, the Rangers are in the middle of the pack in total RBIs, notching 400 of them which is good enough for 15th in the majors. Not to mention, the Rangers also rank 15th in total runs scored with their total currently sitting at 424.
Another offensive category in which the Rangers find themselves in the middle of the pack is in the home run category. The Rangers have hit 109 homers, again ranking 15th in all of baseball, just one behind the second place divisional rival Seattle Mariners. Extra base hits that have stayed inside in the park have only been so-so for the club. Rangers’ batters have earned a combined 157 doubles, good for 16th in baseball, and have earned 16 triples to come in at 14th best.
To give the Rangers’ credit though, 2018 has been a season of heartbreaking injuries to key players in their usual starting batting lineup. Notably, infielders Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor alongside outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. have all missed significant time due to injuries.
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was the Rangers’ only All-Star, an honor that’s tough not to acknowledge given that Choo has now made it on base in 51 consecutive games.
The Rangers’ pitching unit, which had a big question mark before the season began, hasn’t performed well at all.
Ranking 24th in sortable pitching thanks to a 4.61 total ERA, Rangers pitchers have surrendered 440 earned runs to their opponents this season. Only the Royals, Orioles, Marlins, White Sox, Reds, and Rockies pitching units have given up more earned runs than the Rangers. Pitchers’ inability to get strikeouts has played an integral reason to poor pitching numbers. The Rangers rank 29th, or second-to-last, in strikeouts with 695 thrown. To put it in perspective, that’s 347 less strikeouts than what the first place Astros have in this stat line.
Heading into the second half of the season with the Rangers’ playoff chances looking slim to none, the discussion now shifts to July 31’s trade deadline. All season long it’s been rumored that both future Hall of Fame inductee and infielder in Adrián Beltré along with No. 1 starting pitcher Cole Hamels (5-8, 4.36 ERA) might be dealt. This time around it’s up to Jon Daniels, team President of Baseball Operations and GM, to get together with the rest of the front office staff to make some decisions that might put the Rangers on a pathway to rebuilding.
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