Let’s start with this: This ranger team has more to offer with this lineup than it has shown. We saw some big fireworks at the beginning of the season. However, recent series have shown the potential of this makeshift rotation and bullpen.
Aside from a few outliers, the start pitching wasn’t terrible. Gibson is 2-0 after that terrible opening game, and in his last 2 starts he’s thrown 13 innings, allowing for only 1 deserved run with 11 strikeouts. Although it took Kohei Arihara three games to claim his first MLB win, all that was announced since arriving in Texas. He looks for contacts and lets his defense help him. He’s never going to be the type to beat 200 batters in a season, but his ERA is low and his ability to get hitters out is a plus.
Kohei Arihara – Photo by USA Today
During Arihara’s first 3 starts, he only allowed 5 earned runs in 14.2 innings. One of those games was a 3-0 loss to the Padres and Joe Musgrove in the Padres’ first no-hitter. Kohei Arihara only gave up 2 deserved runs and after that the pitching, including the bullpen, was very good and did not allow a run after the 3rd inning in this competition.
People like John King, Josh Sborz (before they were elected to the alternate side), Kolby Allard, Brett Martin, and Ian Kennedy have stepped up in big situations either to get out of traffic jams or simply to earn a foothold in the game. King, Sborz, Allard and Martin allowed a total of only 7 deserved runs in 17 appearances. And with Kennedy in the final role, this bullpen surprised many fans.
Kennedy has apparently banned the final role in this bullpen and implemented all three of those savings options as he hasn’t even allowed a walk this season. With a 72% hit rate, Kennedy has been the enduring veteran presence that the Rangers have missed for the past few seasons. No, he won’t be here in the long run, but it’s nice to have him in the role.
However, pitching can only go so far, because without running support you cannot make any profits. This offense has turned out to be streaky at best. There was a point between the Padres and Tampa Bay Rays series where the Rangers scored 23 full innings without scoring a single run. That can’t happen with a pitching team that is overwhelmed. The bats woke up in the second game in the Rays series and averaged 6 runs per game, which isn’t bad considering what fans have seen so far in its season.
April 6, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Nate Lowe (30), known as a batsman by the Texas Rangers, hits a home run with two runs in the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Now comes Baltimore, another team that isn’t great, much like our own Rangers. Mike Foltynewicz held the Orioles for 2 runs through 4 innings, while the Rangers didn’t score a single hit until the 5th inning when David Dahl and Nick Solak went solo home runs in a row. Six batters were held without hits in the first game of the Orioles series, but it has to change quickly. Foltynewicz is now 3-0 in the season, but his record doesn’t tell the full story behind the Rangers’ fighting.
This pitching team is overwhelmed for the time being, and if the Rangers want a chance at a competition, they need to take advantage of strong outings in order to generate profits. There is no telling how long this staff will be so good because it is the Rangers. This team is an average team at best, but with that streaky offense they may not even see a 500 record.