“How low can you go?” once asked Harry Belafonte. The Texas Rangers are baseball’s answer to that eternal question.
Coming into the season with some hope that a tip-top starting rotation, including Lance Lynn, Mike Minor, and Corey Kluber, could make them competitive, instead the Rangers this season are abysmal at every facet of the game.
According to Fangraphs their overall offensive WAR rating is -2.1. That means they are fielding a team that would normally be considered below replacement player level. Think Jack Mayfield at every position. (Sorry Jack)
Their wRC+, a measure that compares hitting relative to other teams, is 65. With 100 being average, that means the Rangers are 35% below average. Needless to say, both statistics land the Rangers dead last in MLB hitting.
In pitching the Rangers aren’t the worst team in MLB, merely 24th out of 30 based on ERA, averaging 5.14 earned runs per nine innings.
The Rangers have an overall record of 12-21, 4th place in the AL West, and they have allowed 58 more runs than they have scored in their 33 games. They come to Houston having lost 12 of their last 14 games.
Among regular starters they don’t have a single player over 100 wRC+, although Joey Gallo, at 97, looks like their best best to do something with a bat. The Astros team average is 109.
The Rangers had hoped before the season to carry a stellar starting pitching staff into playoff contention, adding Corey Kluber to last year’s All-Star Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. They had also added former Astro Jordan Lyle, who had a middle of rotation kind of season last year to bolster the back end of this year’s Ranger rotation.
But little has gone right with these plans. Mike Minor has pitched poorly and was traded to the Padres. Kluber sustained an injury in the first game and is out for the season. Jordan Lyles has regressed, and then some, with a 9.25 ERA. Only Lance Lynn has performed well for the Rangers staff this year, (that statement might go for the whole team), with a 1.93 ERA and a 4-1 record. We will see him on Thursday
Tonight the depleted Rangers send Luis Garcia to the mound to face the surprising Framber Valdez. (2.35 ERA) The 33 year-old Garcia has only pitched five innings this season, allowing three runs. For his career Garcia has seen 311 innings with a career ERA of 4.10 in eight years in MLB. As Garcia has only started two games in his career, I suspect the right-hander is being deployed as an opener for tonight’s game.
Tomorrow Kolby Allard starts for the Rangers against Cristian Javier. Allard has an 0-3 record with a 6.50 ERA. Javier is one of the surprise rookies who has saved the Astros staff from a devastating slew of injuries, currently sporting a 3.77 ERA.
The Astros have not announced their starter for Thursday’s matchup with Lance Lynn.
Tonight’s game starts at 7:10 CDT
For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure
Listen: Rangers - 105.3 The Fan KFLC 1270...Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD - 2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD - 2, La Ranchera 101.7 FM/850 AM
Watch: Rangers - FSSW * Astros - ATT Sportsnet - SW * MLBN (out of market only)