With the Texas Rangers fighting for the second wild card spot with Boston, Oakland, and Cleveland, they find themselves in an interesting situation. At 5 games above .500, the team has a one game lead over the Red Sox going into a series against the Reds. But it’s time to make a decision to either continue fighting for a playoff spot, or begin to trade away valuable pieces and start the development of young pitchers in the farm system waiting for their opportunity in the big leagues. So what should the Rangers do? It’s time to buy in on this team.
The Rangers are just finishing a series against the World Champion Boston Red Sox which saw the Rangers win back to back games on the road during the 4 game series in which they split. It hasn’t been easy for them, as the Rangers hold a 13-20 record on the road. Mike Minor and Lance Lynn have obviously been the workhorses of this rotation. However, a couple of things have stood out lately, as we’ve seen the rise of Adrian Sampson, who threw his first complete game four-hitter against the A’s for a victory. In his last 6 starts, he has 35 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched, but in his most recent start, he gave up 4 home runs against Boston. Before that, he recorded 5 straight wins in 5 straight starts with an ERA of 1.99. His ability to get swing and misses has improved from the start of the season.
Ariel Jurado has also come on strong, posting 4 straight quality starts, averaging 6 innings per start, accumulating 21 strikeouts in 24.1 innings pitched. Holding an ERA of 3.70 in that span, he’s not going to overpower any particular lineup, but he’s able to control the tempo of a game, and really his biggest attribute, to keep this team in games to win. He’s 3-0 in his last 4 starts, and he seems to have found his groove at the right time for a team fighting for control of the second Wild Card spot.
Sampson and Jurado have become quality starters at this point in the season, but the next question arises: Who can the Rangers add to help this team?
MLB trade rumors recently reported that the Texas Rangers are “looking at controllable starters,” meaning they are willing to make a move, but only if the moves make sense for the team, short term or long term. Names like Matthew Boyd and Shane Greene of the Tigers have been thrown out there as potential targets for the Rangers to chase at the trade deadline. Greene has 20 saves so far this season, which leads the MLB while holding a stellar ERA of 1.00… yes, Greene is letting up just one run per 9 innings. Boyd has a record of 5-5 with an ERA of 3.35 this season, but acquiring one or both pitchers would be helpful for this team pushing for the playoffs, but that would take a significant offer to acquire them.
The offense, however, has been somewhat solid in the absence of Joey Gallo. Hunter Pence has become the quiet force for this offense, hitting 3 home runs with 7 RBI and 4 doubles in the month of June. For the season, he’s slashing .293/.354/.597 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI. It seems like every time you look, Hunter Pence is making a difference for this team to win games, which doesn’t exclude inside the park home runs. He has been the biggest signing this past offseason other than Danny Santana or Logan Forsythe.
The “easiest” inside-the-park home run you’ll see today. #mlb #hunterpence #bostonredsox #redsox #bosox #texasrangers #rangers #homerun #dinger #homer #batter #batting #weirdone pic.twitter.com/73V7bpvtBc
— What About Baseball (@WhatAbtBaseball) June 13, 2019
Elvis Andrus is doing, well, Elvis Andrus type things at the plate. He’s hitting .380 during this roadtrip with 3 doubles and 5 RBI against the Red Sox alone with the Reds. He’s hitting .306 in the month of June, and has his team in a position to create separation in the Wild Card race from the Red Sox and Indians. Elvis is easily one of the MVPs of this team so far this year.
The Rangers have been great at home this season, posting a 24-12 record at home. But on the road, they need to find a way to win more. That may come with some additional help from trades or call ups, but either way, this Ranger team is not going away. Filled with veterans and talent, the next few weeks could determine the fate of this Ranger team.
Featured photo: Ghetty Images