Let’s start off with this: this Ranger team has more to offer with this lineup than it has shown. Over the first start of the season, we have seen some major fireworks. However, the past few series have shown the potential of this makeshift rotation and bullpen.
The starting pitching has not been terrible aside from a couple of outliers. Gibson is 2-0 after that terrible opening day game, and in his last 2 starts, he has pitched 13 innings, allowing only 1 earned run with 11 strikeouts. Even though Kohei Arihara took 3 games to get his first victory in the MLB, he has been everything as advertised since he came to Texas. He pitches for contact and let’s his defense help him. He’ll never be a guy who strikes out 200 batters in a season, but his ERA is low and his ability to get hitters out is a plus.
Over Arihara’s first 3 starts, he has only allowed 5 earned runs in 14.2 innings. One of those games was a 0-3 loss vs the Padres and Joe Musgrove in the Padres first ever No-Hitter. Kohei Arihara only gave up 2 earned runs, and after that, the pitching, including the bullpen, was very good, not allowing a run after the 3rd inning in that contest.
Guys like John King, Josh Sborz (before being optioned to the alternative site), Kolby Allard, Brett Martin, and Ian Kennedy have stepped up in big time situations to either get out of jams, or simply earn a hold in the game. King, Sborz, Allard, and Martin have only allowed a combined 7 earned runs in 17 total appearances. And with Kennedy in the closing role, this bullpen has surprised a lot of fans.
Kennedy has obviously locked down the closing role in this bullpen, converting all 3 of this save opportunities, having yet to even allow a walk this season. With a 72% strike rate, Kennedy has been the consistent veteran presence in the closing role that the Rangers have been missing over the past few seasons. No, he won’t be here long term, but it’s nice to have him in the role.
Pitching can only go so far though because without run support, you can’t get wins. This offense has shown to be streaky at best. There was a point between the Padres and Tampa Bay Rays series where the Rangers went 23 full innings without scoring a single run. That can’t happen with a pitching staff that is overacheiving. The bats woke up in the second game of the Rays series, and they averaged 6 runs per game, which isn’t bad considering what fans have been witnessing so far his season.
Now comes Baltimore, another team that isn’t great, much like our own Rangers. Mike Foltynewicz held the Orioles to 2 runs through 4 innings, while the Rangers didn’t record a single hit until the 5th inning when David Dahl and Nick Solak went back to back with solo home runs. Six batters were held hitless in the first game of the Orioles series, but it needs to change fast. Foltynewicz is now 0-3 on the season, but his record doesn’t tell the full story behind the Rangers struggles.
This pitching staff is overacheiving for now, and if the Rangers want any chance of competing, they’ll need to capitalize on strong outings to grind out wins. There’s no telling how long this staff will continue to pitch this well because, well, it’s the Rangers. This team is at best an average team, but with this streaky offense, they may not even see a .500 record.