Posted on April 10, 2014 at 5:00 AM
Thursday, Apr 10 at 12:05 AM
The injuries have piled up and they are well documented. Adrian Beltre's leg problems have returned and those are also well documented. Yu Darvish is back and dazzled over the weekend in Tampa. Shin Soo Choo is an on base machine and getting deep into counts. The Rangers have been able to balance between the bright spots and the devastating news that has been on going since Spring Training. Even with a near .500 record, it just feels like they need a shot in the arm.
While the return of Darvish was a big lift and Choo has been a machine at the plate, that hasn't been enough to keep the wins coming. Less than ten games into the season is way too early to panic, and the other teams in the AL West aren't setting the world on fire. But a few things could spark the team and keep them close until the troops arrive.
They need a hot Prince Fielder.
Numerous times Prince has been at the plate with Choo or Elvis Andrus or both on base. Bringing those runs in consistently would not only take pressure off of this patchwork starting staff, it also makes opposing managers have to think about strategy. Right now, Prince is a pitch-able hitter. A few doubles, home runs or line drives can change that.
Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison need to return healthy and effective.
The return of either pitcher not only helps the rotation gain stability, it allows for Ross and/or Scheppers to return to their familiar bullpen roles. Moving Ross and Scheppers strengthens the bullpen, which has struggled mightily thus far. Their return allows Wash and pitching coach, Mike Maddux more tools to use. Lewis and Harrison provide veteran poise on the mound, which seems to be lacking just a bit. Both returning healthy and pitching effectively is a "two bird/one stone" situation.
These are two things that could work in the Rangers favor if they happen. While April is too early to knee jerk, it's not too early to assess the situation. The Rangers are not in trouble. Nobody is running away with the division in the first two weeks. While the injury to Adrian Beltre is concerning, to say the least, it may be nothing major. If it is a major injury, then Texas will have to compensate one way or another.
Prince, Lewis and Harrison may not be the saviors mentioned, but they sure would make Rangers fans feel better.