It’s no surprise, but the Texas Rangers have pitching problems.
Yes, it’s far too early to make a summary judgment on the 2022 season after the club’s first full week ended in a 8-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Globe Life Field on Sunday.
But the first nine games, however, gave us a glimpse of what will likely haunt Rangers this summer.
The Rangers (2-7) begin a six-game road trip Tuesday at 8:40 p.m. in Seattle.
Pitching, both in the starting rotation and in the bullpen, will wear away on manager Chris Woodward like the tread on one of a car’s four tires eventually putting the whole thing in a ditch.
“We didn’t play well enough at all to win the game,” said Woodward, whose club lost the last two games to the Angels 15-5 aggregate. “We’ve got to play better if we expect to play and win major league baseball games. We’re not doing well right now. There are many things that we need to improve. Today and yesterday were two of our worst games.”
Rangers have conceded 57 runs (53 earned), the second-most in the majors. Her 6.19 ERA is the worst in the majors. Her 18 allowed home runs are the most in the league.
If the starters have been decent, the bullpen has faltered and vice versa. The Rangers starters have an MLB high of 6.96 ERA. Rangers reliefs have an MLB high of 5.66 ERA.
That’s not a winning formula, no matter how improved the offense is with the additions of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Kole Calhoun. We’ve seen that before, of course, when Rangers scored big and lost big in the 2000s.
Semien, who is in his 10th major league season and making his debut with Rangers, warned against exaggerating the poor start.
“I’ve been part of good starts and bad starts, but there are ups and downs. Right now we started with a down. It’s not a lack of effort,” he said. “Nobody wants to go 2-7. I don’t think we should really go into that. Of course you want to play better at home. All you can do is have a nice day off and go to Seattle, have that killer instinct and win.
Offense is among the top three in the league and near the bottom in strikeouts. Her .244 batting average ranks 11th in the majors. They come on base (.325 team on base percentage) and finish eighth with 10 home runs.
But none of that was enough to offset the pitching problem. No Rangers starter has recorded a win. The rotation’s 32.1 innings so far this season are the fewest in MLB, including Martin Perez’s four innings on Sunday in which he lost 3-4.
Batters hit an MLB high of .296 against Rangers pitchers, including .350 against the starters.
The rescuers have pitched five or more innings in seven straight games, including eight innings in a scheduled Friday bullpen game.
Rangers have seven errors in nine games, including three on Sunday. Their defensive efficiency is second worst among the majors. Defensive efficiency, tracked by baseball-reference.com, is the percentage of balls in the game that convert to outs based on estimated team defensive and pitching statistics.
Perez, the veteran left-hander who is back with Rangers after three seasons, hit five and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks in four innings on Sunday.
“We just have to keep our heads up,” said Perez. “It will be fine. We must learn from this 10 [days] and stay focused and come back with good energy and get out and enjoy the game. I think the way we play right now is not how we play. We will be fine.”
This story was originally published Apr 17, 2022 5:11 p.m.