As I begin this, the Rangers are down 5-1 in the bottom of the 6th in Oakland. It’s 11.03 pm.
Here are a few numbers from ESPN.com:
The Rangers have given up 29 unearned runs this year, in 50 games, a little over half a run per game. Not the worst in the league, in fact tied for 26th. That extrapolates out to about 94 runs over the whole season. The generally accepted statistical standard is that every 10 runs is worth one win, which of course works both ways: score 10 extra runs and you would expect to win one extra game, but concede 10 extra runs and you would expect to lose one extra game. 94 runs is therefore worth a little over 9 wins, or in this case losses, that the Rangers defense will give up this year. By comparison, in 2006 they gave up 53 UER, in 2005 64, 2004 was 70, 2003 was 66, 2002 was 58, 2001 was 55 and 2000 was 98 (highlighted by Mike Lamb’s 33 errors). You could arguably say that over the last several years the Rangers have set a standard of roughly 60 UER a year, give or take about 10. They are on a pace to be about 34 higher than that standard, and this on a team where Ron Washington was supposed to be coming in as someone who concentrated on infield defense over the last several years in Oakland, including being given a Gold Glove from Eric Chavez as thanks for helping him.
As I finish writing this paragraph Bubba Crosby makes an outstanding fielding play to end the top of the 7th. The irony is dripping off the bats.
Rangers pitchers have walked 210 batters so far this year, second most in the majors to Florida. In 438 innings, that’s close enough to one baserunner every other inning. I’m not going to go back and compare that to previous years, because we know it is abysmal. I will say that the best team, Cleveland, walked 124, and the median team, Toronto, walked 161. Just compare them to the median and they’re down 50 baserunners. Linear weights will tell you a walk is worth .33 of a run, so the walks have cost the Rangers about 17 runs more than the average team, or just under two wins.
They’re only 25th in strikeouts, as surprisingly both the Cards and Yankees rank below them. Still, for a team that once boasted Nolan Ryan (ha ha), to be this low in strikeouts is poor. Of course, Gagne hasn’t had much opportunity to do anything, and the rest of them are not really strikeout pitchers, which is a shame because the more they put the ball in play the more home runs they give up in the Ballpark.
One more number, tied for last with 18 Quality Starts. Curiously, they’ve won 18 games. I wonder if they’re the same 18, I doubt it.
What can you say to all this? We already know they’re not hitting, pitching or fielding. Just adding some numbers, I guess. Doesn’t it seem like they somehow skipped spring training, or at least the fundamentals part of it? I repeat what I’ve said several times before, at least the Buck Showalter military style got them ready for the season, the Ron Washington easy style didn’t seem to work this year. Yet.
Okay, it’s 11.34 and it’s the bottom of the 8th. Still down 5-1. No, I’m pleased to say that as I write Michael Young gets a hit to the opposite field that scores Vasquez (is he finally starting to get in the groove where he goes opposite field all the time?), so it’s 5-2, runner on first, nobody out. Going to watch the rest, with little hope, but slightly more than a minute ago.