By Victoria Valdez
Major League Baseball season is in full swing, which means it’s time for the Texas Rangers to make their comeback. It’s been seven years since the Rangers made it to the World Series, but based on last year’s play, a World Series appearance is looking slim.
While some fans can remain hopeful, many have realistic predictions. According to SportsDay, a sports news website powered by The Dallas Morning News, only 17 percent of people from a 200-person poll believe the Rangers have a chance to make it to the playoffs. Last year, the Rangers not only failed to do that, but finished third in the American League West division. They also had a low win percentage of 48.1, according to baseballreference.com, a baseball statistics and history website.
To make matters worse, the Rangers’ rival team, the Houston Astros, won the World Series in 2017 for the first time.
The Rangers made back-to-back appearances in 2010 and 2011, losing to the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively.
The team had a tough 2017 season, with injuries that held them back from their full potential, according to Sporting News. Based on last year’s performance, finding a dynamic backup roster will be the team’s best move for the 2018 season.
According to SportsDay, catcher Cameron Rupp signed a minor league contract with the Rangers. Last Year, Rupp hit a .217 batting average with 14 homeruns and obtained a .716 on-base plus slogging with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos needs a good backup player like Rupp, especially since Chirinos has not completed 90 games in the MLB.
Rupp could replace the current backup catcher who, based on his stats, is not very good. This could uplift the team, especially since Chirinos is known for not completing the full season and taking a lot of outs.
Evan Grant, SportsDay staff writer, said Rangers pitcher Matt Moore is done with his overuse of cut fastballs. “I think he’s got the easiest route to making significant improvement off his 2017 season,” Grant wrote. “After all, he has the worst earned run average among starting qualifiers.”
A Rangers player to watch out for is pitcher Cole Hamels, Kevin Sherrington, SportsDay staff columnist, said. Sherrington believes Hamels will pitch more innings than any other starting pitcher this season. “He’ll get the ball every fifth day. … Hamels had seven consecutive seasons with 200-plus innings before last season,” Sharington said. The only reason Hamels’ streak ended is because of his injury, he said.
Grant said the Rangers’ only chance in the playoffs is to dominate the Los Angeles Angels and secure a wild-card spot. “[Beating the LA Angels] might give them a leg up in the race for the second wild card,” Grant wrote.
The Rangers had a rough start on Opening Day March 29 at home. They played against the Houston Astros, but only scored one run in the bottom of the ninth. The final score was 4-1. The following day, the Rangers challenged the Astros again, and won the game with a score of 5-1. Doug Fister, former Astros pitcher, tossed five effective innings, according to SportsDay.
The Rangers have a 4-9 standing as of April 11, according to ESPN. Although there are negative predictions surrounding the Rangers this season, hopefully, they will hit North Texas with a surprise.