How was your first week of the season? Did you make it to Globe Life Park? Try the MVT yet? Did you buckle in for the Rangers’ major league roller coaster?
The 2017 season is just a week old and to be frank, there aren’t a whole lot of solid conclusions one should draw after just six games.
The Rangers’ 2-4 record is a tad murky because, as has been pointed out by players, manager Jeff Banister, and the guy sitting next to you in the cheap seats, the Rangers had chances to win a few more than they did. What does that mean in the long run? Perhaps some issues will get sorted out, such as the bullpen, which was much better in Sunday’s 8-1 win over the Oakland A’s. It even included a scoreless ninth inning from closer Sam Dyson who will be lowering his ERA (hopefully, for the Rangers) the rest of the season. But, devil’s advocates would assert, it could also foretell an average team (see all those one-run wins in 2016) finally running out of “luck.”
It was a pretty rough homestand. But it’s how baseball is. You want to minimize the tough times but we know what we have to do. We’re a confident group. We’re confident in each other. Everyone has each other’s back in this clubhouse so it’s nothing we’re worried about. It’s just going out there and playing the right way and when we do that we’re going to be a good team.
Rangers 1B Mike Napoli
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After covering all six games, I tend to believe the former. Save for a few bullpen implosions the Rangers are sitting at 4-2, perhaps 5-1, not 2-4.
But that’s where they sit before heading out on their first road trip, a nine-game jaunt that takes them to Anaheim, Seattle and Oakland, beginning Tuesday night.
Let’s take a brief last look at the week that was and then move on:
1. The good — Nomar Mazara, Rougned Odor and Carlos Gomez each had phenomenal weeks. Although Gomez is only hitting .136 he showed off his speed and aggressiveness on the basepaths and in center field on multiple occasions, including a homer-robbing snag Friday night. Mazara leads the majors with nine RBIs and is among the leaders in batting average (.417), slugging (.750) and OPS (1.212). So much for the sophomore slump, at least so far. Odor leads the club with three homers and a .773 slugging percentage while batting .318. Besides Mazara, he was the most consistent offensive force the first week. Honorable mention goes to Joey Gallo, who drove in a career-high five RBIs in Sunday’s win and is second on the club with seven RBIs.
2. The bad — It’s easy to pick on the bullpen, so I will. Closer Sam Dyson had a nightmarish start, taking losses in his first two outings after allowing a combined eight earned runs. The second outing on Wednesday, wasn’t as bad as it looked in the box score, however, and he returned Sunday looking more like the Dyson we saw in the World Baseball Classic. After issuing a walk, he induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play, something that eluded him by a matter of inches Wednesday on a couple ground ball singles. Veteran hitters Jonathan Lucroy, Mike Napoli and Jurickson Profar didn’t have the best first weeks. They combined to strike out 18 times, including 11 from Napoli. In three games, Profar has been on base once with a walk. Lucroy is hitting .133 with no RBIs but does have a couple well-struck balls right at fielders. There are two different ways you can look at it. The positive view: Whoa, when those guys snap out of it, look out! The negative view: Oh, boy, the inevitable age decline is happening with Napoli. Reality? It’s only been six dang games.
3. The meh — Adrian Beltre’s status continues to be a question lurking in the clubhouse. Beltre did not make any morning clubhouse cameo appearances on Sunday. He’s no doubt tired of the status update questions, especially if he already knew he wasn’t coming off the disabled list for Sunday’s game. Banister maintained that the decision on Beltre is a day-to-day process and that he will play when “everyone,” including the medical staff, coaching staff and Beltre all agree his tight right calf is ready. Could that be Tuesday? Perhaps, but Banister gave no tells. The delay in Beltre’s ’17 season has pushed back some of the milestone moments he’s chasing, including 3,000 hits. He needs 58.
The starting rotation has been a partial mixed bag. Yu Darvish and Martin Perez showed better command and more attack-mode mentality in their second outings. No starter has gone past a 6 1/3 innings, which isn’t unheard of early in the season but also not ideal. Their combined 4.09 ERA is 19th in the league, so just south of average. On the flip side, all but A.J. Griffin have gone at least five-plus innings and Griffin had to leave in the fourth because of a injury.