The Texas Rangers had a chance to take the series from the 1st Place Atlanta Braves this past week but missed opportunities left them behind.
The bullpen is bad, but all bullpens are bad at the moment.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News put out some interesting stats on bullpens in general so far in 2023:
“The bullpen thing is a league-wide issue. Tampa Bay has more blown saves (10) and a virtually identical save percentage as the Rangers.
It’s league-wide. Only makes it more important to solve it right and quickly.”
Major League Baseball is getting what they wanted: more scoring and shorter games. So far, games are averaging just under 2 hrs 40 minutes compared to 3 hr 4 minutes in 2022.
Less time between pitches is affecting the closers more than anyone. Save conversions have dropped to 61.4% from 67.8% at a similar point last season.
Closers are a sensitive bunch. I agree that they do need time to think about the next pitch.
Not having that extra time is affecting them. The pitch needs to be carefully placed, which is difficult to rush.
It is not just the Rangers. There are many teams. The ones that get it solved the quickest will be the ones to advance to the postseason.
One way to deal with bullpen issues is to win a series by an average of 10.33 runs per game. That will make a bullpen a non-factor.
The Rangers demolished the Rockies over their three-game weekend series. The Pirates have lost 5 of their last 8 games, so there is also opportunity there.
The Rangers have had missed opportunities early this season but still are in first place in the American League West. If they can hold it until the end of May, I could believe this team is special.
Pitchers are odd people, to begin with, and bullpen guys think differently than starters. Their job is to go out and dominate for 3 batters.
Pitch clocks take away some of their intimidation.
When the Rangers address it later this season, I will be interested to see how many of these missed opportunities they will convert. Hopefully, we can be on the winning side of one-run games.