It’s no secret that the expectations were low for the Texas Rangers going into this season. Yu Darvish underwent Tommy John surgery during spring training. Derrick Holland lasted only one inning in his first start of the season. And the offense wasn’t expected to be much of a threat for opposing pitchers.
But over the last week or so, the Rangers have shown signs of life. As of Monday night’s win, Texas has won six of its last eight games, including a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros on the road. The offense has come alive as well, scoring 39 runs in that stretch. Monday night, the Rangers belted three home runs for the first time in a while.
And while the team is still only in fourth in the division and six games behind Houston, there are a number of signs that the Rangers can at least make a run at it this season.
First off, the offense has really come to life now for the Rangers. The 39 runs in the last week or so have come after the team struggled in April with only 3.5 runs per game. First baseman Prince Fielder has come alive as of late. Currently Fielder sits in seventh in the American League with a .336 batting average and tenth with a .393 on base percentage. He hit his third home run of the season Monday night as well.
Speaking of home runs, the Rangers are now up to 28 home runs hit so far, good enough for 17th in all of Major League Baseball. Obviously that’s not exactly great, especially for a team that has historically been at or near the top of that list, but Texas is working its way back to the top of the category with 10 long balls in that eight game stretch. Carlos Peguero and Adrian Beltre lead the team with four homers apiece.
In addition to the offense, the pitching has gotten better as well. Colby Lewis, who was a big part of the rotation in the Rangers’ World Series years, has bounced back to his former self lately. Lewis has only allowed two runs in his last three starts spanning 21 innings and has struck out at least five in each of those three starts. Nick Martinez has also been a big bright spot in the rotation with a 1.47 ERA so far this year, good enough for second in the American League. And if Yovani Gallardo can bounce back to be the pitcher he was brought here to be, the rotation will be good enough to give the Rangers a chance to be there late in the season.
Of course, it’s still early in the season and the Rangers, up until this point, have struggled to play consistently good baseball. That and aside from 2010 and 2011 Texas has had a long history of falling off as the season goes on.
But considering how bad many people were predicting the Rangers to be this season, this stretch of 6-2 play is a welcome sight to fans of the team. And hopefully this Rangers team sticks around a while.