Previewing the Texas Rangers | The Process Report

Previewing the Texas Rangers

The Rays had what media-types like to call a “turning point moment” last night after a gutsy come from behind win that took 15 innings and six hours before all was said and done. This allows them to start rolling with their turning point narrative looking at who has been hot over the last stretch or how this is going to light a fire under their butts. Momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher. Last night was an amazing win that could also double as a moral victory, but it was a war of attrition that leaves the team a bit under-gunned as they head to Arlington to take on the Rangers. The announced recall of Jose De Leon could be a nice reinforcement, and at the very least adds a reason to stay invested in what could be a tough Monday. Sidenote: Happy Memorial Day to all those that have fallen and to those that have had to try to move on.

(all data over last 30 days)

Tampa Bay pitching has now firmly entrenched their collective selves into the top five for team pitching. The Rangers are more middle of the pack at just shy of league average. They’re not slouches, but the Rays are quickly seeing their stable of thoroughbreds ball out.┬áThe strikeouts that were missing earlier have gradually been injected as the bullpen has cannibalized what wasn’t working and kept what has. It doesn’t hurt to have Chris Archer, either.

Both teams have seen better than league average expectations and actual results thus far, though the Rays are a notch better in both regards. Most of the pen looks to be ready for a blow up with how much Farquhar, Alvaradao, Whitley and Colome are over-performing expectations on balls in play. Cashner is probably their biggest regression candidate, though Griffin, Dyson and Jeffress are due for some positive vibes.

Bringing in the strikeouts is where you see some pretty solid differentiation between these teams. With the same number of walks, in more plate appearances, as well, the Rays have 64 more strikeouts. Darvish has been their best starter, duh, but Martin Perez has been better than average, and you see two of their most used relievers have been very good in Kela and Bush. There are some weaker links like the starter Nick Martinez or the reliever Jeremy Jeffress, but most of these guys will keep them in the game.

On the Rays side you see Archer starting to really run away from the pack. He has looked as good as ever, of late, featuring league average results on balls in play, but striking out nearly 35% of batters. Erasmo starts the first game, but shouldn’t be around all that long after sucking it up the night before. Notice that most of the worst performers have been recycled out for either a rest or for something more than that. The Rays have a fairly noticeable edge in pitching, but a lot of that is from Archer so it will be vital to get the win in his start.

The bats are a little closer with the Rays having the slight nudge. Of course, these figures don’t contain anything from Adrian Beltre who has been hurt all year, but who knows what kind of game shape he is in at this point. The Rays continue to see incredible results on balls in play get pulled back to Earth by astronomic strikeout rates. They walk enough to help offset, and these aren’t all or nothing sluggers as they seem capable of situational hitting often enough.

The Rays have outperformed expectations thus far, but even if/when they fall back to the lower figure they’re still in a really strong place. The Rangers have seen something more like league average results, though they have plenty of guys that hit the ball hard. They look like a team that has some issues with same-sided pitching so it will be vital to correctly line up the pen in the late innings.

Now the Rangers don’t have a feared masher on the level of our Logan Morrison, but they get in the ballpark in a more roundabout way. Choo, Napoli and Gomez each hits the ball hard with varying degrees of nasty strikeout issues. DeShields, and Gallo, to a lesser extent, have been the biggest drags on the offense, though it should be fairly easy to manage playing time for either in order to help shield them from their nastiest nemeses. Behind LoMo the Rays are getting some above average performance from Souza, Sucre, and Dickerson with plenty of guys floating in the middle. The Rays have their share of poor performers, but should be able to upgrade upon Bourjos and Weeks Jr. at some point with internal talent. Kiermaier presents a different sort of issue, but the glove is just so good you can’t sit him.

 

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