The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Rangers get pitching but no hitting

Expectations reversed as team plays waiting game for sluggers

Now that basketball is over, at least for those of us outside of California and the Northeast, it is time to focus in on the boys of summer … the same boys who provide a few of us with magic in the fall.

Some will argue that baseball is also over for those of us in the Metroplex, but nevertheless it is time to focus in on that sport around here despite what the Texas Rangers (19-24) won’t and can’t do this season. Unless of course readers would like to hear about that vaunted Dallas Desperados team or the dazzling play of the Dallas Burn.

Didn’t think so.

The Rangers, who were supposed to outslug teams whenever they won, have come nowhere near the expected production at the beginning of the season. Instead, this club has pitched its way to a near-.500 record.

Yes, I said pitched. And it’s true. Despite the loss of “ace” Chan-Ho Park in the first game of the season, the Rangers have held it together with starter Kenny Rogers leading the way with an ERA of 2.91.

This team actually has a starter’s ERA of 4.25. That, my friends, is extremely respectable and should win this team some games.

But the hitting, where the team ranks eighth in the American League at a meager .257 team batting average, has come nowhere. Even the homerun team total of 39 is a disappointment 43 games into the campaign.

It should be noted though that the Rangers have faced multiple injury problems on the hitting front. The vaunted lineup, which was to feature Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Carl Everett and up-and-comer Hank Blalock, has had only one regular – A-Rod – for every game this season.

The remainder of that six has been on the disabled list for a majority of the season except Blalock, whose rookie year was going so bad he was sent down to the Rangers’ triple-AAA affiliate Oklahoma City.

So although the hitting has not been where it was supposed to be with Gonzalez, a perennial RBI per game man, putting up zero RBIs to this point, it’s not as though Texas has had its full arsenal.

What this team needs is to see whether that hitting will ever come around and that lineup will ever get healthy. If it does soon, the Rangers can win a decent amount of games with the pitching they have received thus far – enough games even for a wild card berth.

But if it doesn’t do it soon, the team must undergo changes for the sake of the future. Pudge is at the top of this list. Though fans want him to be a Ranger for life, it is clear that I-Rod’s body is suffering from years behind the plate.

That of course is not to say that Pudge’s best years are behind him. It does say that he has lost value on the MLB trading market, which could hurt the Rangers’ chances of receiving high value for a player of his caliber.

Durability and age are questions every team must ask of the Rangers when inquiring about arguably the best catcher the game has ever seen. Those types of questions would never have been raised two years ago when the Yankees offered Andy Pettite, Jorge Posada and a couple of minor-league blue-chips to the Rangers for the Gold Glove and All-Star catcher.

So if the Rangers don’t get in position soon to make a run at the playoffs and even if they do considering it would probably be a first-round exit anyway, change will and should come from up top. New general manager John Hart has shown two things since arriving. One, character will not lead over value. And two, complacency is not a word he knows.

Hart will seek pitching, and homegrown pitching at that. That means that Rangers’ fans can expect any trade involving Pudge to yield a slew of no-name minor leaguers with a whole lot of potential. Not exactly what you would expect for a future Hall of Famer, but probably a smarter move than for a veteran.

These Rangers are playing better than most expected, especially from the pitching side, and that has helped them keep a decent record. But that alone will not help them win a division, much less a wild-card berth.

More to Discover