At 42-27 the Rangers are atop the AL West and have the second best record in baseball.
Despite the eye-popping status of this team they don’t quite measure up to the last two Texas teams each of whom made it to the World Series.
The biggest difference is the lack of a true No. 1 starter in the rotation.
The last two AL Champion teams saw the likes of Cliff Lee and CJ Wilson at the head of the rotation during the regular season.
This year Texas is relying on Colby Lewis to be the anchor for a rotation filled with a lot of young talent. While Lewis has been rock solid for Texas in the postseason, he is not the right man for the job over the long haul of a season.
When Lewis started struggling the rest of the rotation followed and that combined with a lack of offensive production that led to a month long stretch of .500 baseball.
The signing of Roy Oswalt may or may not be the answer to this problem, but Texas really could use a pitcher that can get the win when nothing else is going right with the team.
The Rangers are also suffering from a return to earth by Mike Napoli. The year of the Napoli, a term coined by Rangers fans, is actually turning out to be just one year long as opposed to a year in which Napoli catapulted himself into the conversations one of the top catchers in the game.
Last year Texas got a .295 batting average and 112 RBI from their catcher positions.
This season with Napoli’s decreased production the Rangers are getting just a .232 batting average and 39 RBI.
If Texas wants to be on par with last years’ team they need to find a way to get Napoli jump-started in the second half of the season like they did last year.
As a whole the Rangers tend to be a bit streakier at the plate. In the last two seasons very rarely did you see the entire lineup go cold at the same time.
During the Rangers 22-11 start the team was batting an astonishing .292. Since that time Texas has been batting just .263 as a team.
This is also the most injury-riddled the Rangers have been in the last two seasons. Since the beginning of the season three starters have gone down as well as Koji Uehara who was finally living up to the billing that came with him when Texas traded for him last season.
So far manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels have been able to use stop-gaps in the rotation and keep this team afloat.
If Texas can’t get back to the level of health they have enjoyed in the pitching staff over the last couple of seasons it will be hard for them to measure up to the AL Champion teams they have become accustomed to.
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