It’s a pretty boring, wet, yucky kind of day, with a boring, yucky kind of loss in Detroit to end the series. So I’m going to talk about something else, a quick little analysis I ran tonight.
This is a chart of the Rangers run scoring since 1990. Blue is runs scored, red is runs allowed. 1994 and 1995 are extrapolated to 162 games, since they were strike years, and 2007 is extrapolated to 162 since, well, it’s June.
What are the dominant trends? First, the new ballpark opened in 1994, and runs jumped when that happened. The years prior to 1994 are by far the lowest for runs. Second, the argument is made that the Rangers are all about hitting and never have pitching. The red line certainly seems to be higher more often than not, but I would count seven years where the pitchers gave up significantly (not mathematically, just visually) more runs than the hitters scored, and six years where the hitters were better. That’s pretty even. Of course, since 2000 we’ve had five pitcher worse years and two hitter better years, so recently it’s been more of a truism that the Rangers never have pitching.
Take a look at the division title years, 96, 98 and 99. Each year the Rangers scored between 925 and 950 runs, in no other year did they reach 900. Now look at 2000 on, apart from 2001 they have been sitting right around 850 runs scored, give or take a little. The suggestion would be that they’ve been 75-100 runs short on the batting side for the last several years.
On the pitching side, the title years varied, one year at 800 and the others at 850 runs allowed. The early 90s had some bad years of over 950, but the last few years have been right in line with the 800-850 range. This year they’re right back in the tank, looking at close to 950 again.
The thing to note is that from 04-06 the Rangers pitched about as well as they did the years they won the division. This is a pretty surprising thing for me, because I’ve gotten used to the no pitching mantra. In reality the Rangers have gotten by with their pitching, and relied on mashing the ball to win. Arguably, the last three years the Rangers could have been contenders, but their offense let them down. If you’re looking for a culprit for not contending, this might be it. Where did those runs go, and how do they get them back? Without running some more numbers, I’d be pretty comfortable guessing that Pudge and Juan Gone, and perhaps Rusty, were responsible for most of the difference in that production (you’ll think of Raffy, I’d say Tex matches up well with him so that position is a wash). I would certainly hazard a guess that the outfield in those days was much more productive than it is now.
But that’s for another day. Maybe a position by position look at where the production went will tell us where we need to get those runs back.
In the meantime, the Rangers are a little banged up, with Laird and especially Kinsler nursing injuries. Good to see that Jerry Hairston is going to play some second with Kinsler out a few days. After all, if you’re talking about production, Hairston is the first name that pops into your head. Isn’t he? And Millwood said he’d pitched well, which is arguably true since it was a Quality Start, even more so since he held them scoreless until the fourth, instead of giving up a couple in the first.
I wish Detroit had the full Gameday workup. Since Kenny Lofton complained that the ump was favoring Kenny Rogers (wish he was still here?), it would be nice to be able to look at the pitches and see. It leads back to something I said a while ago, sometimes it seems like the ump really is favoring one team, and Gameday might be able to show us something about that once it is in every ballpark. We’re off to Boston for four games, and they don’t have it either, so who knows what might go on there.
They said on the radio, but I don’t remember which player, Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, has signed a 60 million dollar shoe contract. Come on, first and second overall draft picks in the NBA getting that kind of money to wear some shoes? Are you serious? Anyone who criticizes baseball spending had better criticize that too, it’s ridiculous.
And finally, McCarthy will pitch in Boston Monday instead of Frisco Friday. As we drove by the Frisco ballpark tonight, about 7.30 or so, we saw home run fireworks, which made Josh happy and also made him want more. We won’t be there tomorrow since there’s no McCarthy, but maybe one day soon we’ll make it back out there.