Mac Engel

May 14, 2014

The Curse of Nolan Ryan strikes again

Martin Perez and Matt Harrison go on the DL to add to the Rangers’ misery.

The Curse of Nolan Ryan was originally a joke, but it has become real life horror show that might require killing a live chicken to reverse. Either that or the Rangers need to rehire Nolan immediately and let him do whatever he wants.

The way this season is going, PA announcer Chuck Morgan will be on the disabled list by June.

Any hope that you had of the Texas Rangers returning to the postseason should immediately be suspended, and Ron Washington should be back in Arlington next season — with no questions asked.

The destruction of this roster looks like something out of a Saw movie. With left-handed starters Martin Perez and Matt Harrison added to the disabled list, the Rangers now lead the big leagues with 15 players on the DL. Gotta be good at something, right?

Best case is Perez rehabs a torn ligament in his pitching elbow, and returns in about three months. Worst case is Perez requires the alarmingly popular Tommy John surgery and is out for the season.

If you thought that was bad, the twice-operated on back of Matt Harrison is not improving. Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Harrison received a shot, and either lives with the painful condition spondylolisthesis, or he has spinal fusion surgery that could, potentially, be career-threatening.

Do not be surprised if both guys are gone for the year. That is the way baseball go.

The good news for Harrison, who has been an All-Star and solid arm with the Rangers, is that he already got his. He signed his five-year, $55 million extension before his back problems began.

The targeted off-season rotation of Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Harrison, Perez and Colby Lewis is down to Yu, Lewis and a bunch of guys who “will be given every chance to compete.”

“You know things can happen during the year. We are being tested now,” Daniels said on a conference call Wednesday. “You are talking about three mid- to late-20 left-handed starters that we signed to multiyear deals because we believe in them so much.”

JD said he has no intention of looking for outside help, which is the best decision possible.

Why bother? At some point, considering the circumstances, it’s better to be realistic than give up a bunch of prospects for David Price, or any other potential top-line free-agent starting pitcher.

No team that gets crushed the way this pitching staff has been crushed should be expected to compete for the big prize. This team is not close enough to think David Price is going to put it into the playoffs.

I asked Daniels if he adjusted his expectations, considering all of the injuries.

“I think we have to see how we weather the storm. I don’t think you change your expectations until you see how the team handles it,” he said. “Teams deal with injuries all the time. The number of innings that we have lost and all that sort of thing, we have to see how that plays out.

“I’m not going to sell our club short; [we] still have a lot of good players. It’s going to be more challenging, but it’s possible. We are going to ride it out.”

The plan was for the Rangers to be built around pitching will have to be readjusted to a team built around hitting. That would be great, if the Rangers didn’t rank 10th in the American League in runs.

The only way this adjusted plan can fly is if Prince Fielder — yes, he is still with the team — puts up the type of numbers he is capable of, now. If his numbers come around, and the team is 15 games out of first place, who cares?

He has to drive in runs when it matters, not when the team is down 9-1 in the top of the ninth inning.

Elvis Andrus would be a welcome addition to the lineup. Adrian Beltre can’t get hurt. Alex Rios needs to start playing like all players do in the final year of their contracts if he wants the Rangers to pick up the $13.5 million option on his contract.

If anyone whines that, should this team fall off its .500 clip, Washington should not be allowed to return and fulfill the token one-year extension, they should be deported. Right now, the manager may be the best thing going for a team that has almost as many quality pitchers on its disabled list as it does staff.

Wash’s hands are tied because, right now, this team really does look cursed.

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