Each Thursday, we will look back at the week that was for the Texas Rangers and then preview the weekend series.
Rocky Mountain Low
After taking two of three against the rival Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers went to Colorado to be outscored 20-3 during two games. Heading into Wednesday’s slate of games, Texas was second to last in scoring margin (-26) in the American League to Houston (-64).
Texas has lost seven of its last 10 games.
Shin-Soo Choo has been hot practically all season as he leads the league in batting average at .354. He also leads the league in OBP (.484) and OPS (1.015). Alex Rios is the only other regular hitter with a batting average over .300 (.301). On the plus side, Prince Fielder is slowly on the way up as he is hitting .226/.347/.331.
Two guys who don’t get enough credit in the bullpen: Jason Frasor (11 IP, 1.64 ERA) and Nick Martinez (18.2 IP, 2.41 ERA). These guys have been good all season, but another reliever made news on Tuesday night, Mitch Moreland. He pitched an inning of relief during the 12-1 loss to the Rockies. Moreland sat between 91-94 mph with his fastball and even threw a cut fastball.
Who’s Ice Cold?
After having a good April, Leonys Martin’s bat has quieted as he is hitting .284/.333/.358. Manager Ron Washington moved Elvis Andrus to the bottom of the order as he is hitting .225/.292/.302. The team’s OPS is .791, which is ninth in the league.
After a good start, Robbie Ross has been struggling, as he is 1-3 with a 4.74 ERA. Alexi Ogando also continues to struggle as he has made 18 appearances, is 1-2 and has an 8.44 ERA. The team’s ERA is 4.59, good for 28th in MLB.
Home is Where the Heart is
On Thursday, the Rangers will complete their home-and-home with Colorado, which is great news for Texas. The Rangers have struggled against their NL West counterpart.
The weekend brings a big series against the Boston Red Sox. The boys from Beantown have also struggled (17-17) as they sit behind Baltimore and New York in the AL East standings. While the team is great at getting on base (.338 OBP ranks sixth in MLB), they are 14th in MLB in runs with 137. Like the Rangers, they are on the negative side of the scoring margin (-5).
7:05 p.m., Thursday: LHP Matt Harrison (0-0, 4.35) vs. LHP Franklin Morales (3-1, 5.05)
Harrison struggled in his second start of the season as he only went 4.1 innings, gave up 10 hits and three runs in a 5-3 loss to the Angels on Saturday. Thursday’s start will make his first home start of the season. For his career, he is 23-15 with a 4.45 ERA at Globe Life Park.
The Rockies have won four consecutive Morales starts including his last start where he gave up five runs in five innings against the New York Mets. In his only other start this season against an American League team (White Sox), Morales gave up six runs in 6.1 innings. He throws a 92 mph four-seam fastball and cutter while mixing in a 93 mph two-seam, curve and splitter.
7:05 p.m., Friday: RHP Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.87) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (2-2, 5.63)
Darvish got back on track against the Angles on Sunday as he went 6.1 innings, gave up three runs and struck out nine in a 14-3 victory. In his previous five starts, the Rangers scored a total 10 runs. In three home starts this season, Darvish is 0-0 with a 2.95 ERA.
Buchholz has been splendid in his last two starts as he has wins over Oakland and Toronto where he went a combined 13.1 innings and gave up four runs. His ERA for the season has dropped from 7.71 to 5.63. Buchholz has made three career starts at Globe Life Park, where he is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA.
7:05 p.m., Saturday: LHP Martin Perez (4-2, 3.59) vs. LHP Jon Lester (3-4, 2.59)
In his first five starts, Perez gave up only six runs and many were considering him the team’s ace. Perez has struggled in his last two starts as he has given up 13 runs in 9.2 innings. On April 8, Perez made a start against Boston where he went 6.1 innings and gave up four runs in first victory of the season.
Lester was sensational against Oakland on Saturday, going eight shutout innings, giving up one hit and striking out 15. In four career starts at Globe Life Park, Lester is 1-0 with a 3.91 ERA.
2:05 p.m., Sunday: LHP Robbie Ross (1-3, 4.74) vs. RHP John Lackey (4-2, 3.72)
Ross has given up 16 runs in his last two starts (8.2 innings combined). He needs to find his early-season magic if he wants to continue to be in the starting rotation. On April 9, Ross went 5.1 innings and gave up zero runs as the Rangers lost 4-2 to the BoSox.
Lackey has only given up five runs in his last three starts against the Yankees, Rays and Athletics. On April 7, he defeated the Rangers by pitching seven innings, giving up five hits and zero earned runs. Lackey has always struggled at Globe Life Park, though, as he is 7-7 with a 6.61 ERA in 19 starts there.
The Rangers have the pitching advantage in two of the four games. The hope is that the Rangers can find their bats this weekend and help win the series over Boston. Texas is 9-8 at home on the season.
Eddie Middlebrook also writes for Paranoid Fan as a MLB and College Football contributor. He can be on Twitter @emiddlebrook.