When you score just one run a game, you aren’t going to win too many. The Rangers won just two 1-0 games in 2017.
But that’s the inevitable outcome of one of the weaker offenses in baseball facing what is shaping up to be the best pitching staff in baseball history.
Offense will be hard to come by.
The Rangers offense is like the Grand Canyon. The views at the top are nice, but once you step off that ledge, goodbye.
Once you get past Adrian Beltre, gravity takes over from there.
Joey Gallo: .204 batting average, .287 on-base percentage. Gallo had been doing a lot of things right earlier in the season. Going to opposite way, especially. He even—gasp!—bunted earlier, which, not surprisingly, led to a nice little uptick in offense. But his refusal to do so against this Houston team is baffling. Because the outcome would, most likely, be him standing on second base. There is absolutely no Houston Astro on the entire left side of the field. No third baseman. No shortstop. No left fielder. And he can’t hit the ball there? I get the argument that Joey Gallo is not a bunter, he is a power hitter. My counter is this: In that exact same scenario, if Gallo hit a line drive over the radical shift and ended up on second, everyone would be happy. Yay, Gallo doubled. But, if he pushed a hard bunt to the totally vacated left side of the field, he would end up on second too, with his speed. So, you have two alternatives. One, maybe possibly but doubtfully he can swing away and have a less than ten percent chance of getting a hit and an even smaller chance of getting a double. Or he bunts it, has an almost 100 percent chance of getting on base and about a 75 percent chance of ending up at second. Where are the analytics junkies?
Jurickson Profar: .235/.321 (not a bad OBP, to be fair). While Profar isn’t tearing up the league, he is doing an admirable, if not spectacular, job of holding down the fort until Elvis Andrus comes back to play out the rest of his option year. He has shown a little power. But what his is showing is that he is the quintessential platoon player. He is hitting .357 against lefties, but just .195 against righties. But he does have 15 RBIs and he can draw a walk. Profar is a nice secondary piece. He doesn’t belong in the top of any lineup, but he will do things occasionally from the bottom of the lineup to keep him relevant.
Rougned Odor: .175/.261. A lot was made about Odor being on a nice little run before he got injured. That was micromanaging the data. He had a three-game stretch where he went 5-for-12. But he was just 1-for-6 right before being injured, and 2-22 in the games outside of that three-game mirage. And a lot was made about Odor’s more patient approach in spring and his willingness to draw walks. In 2017, he walked 32 times in 651 plate appearances, or once every 20.3 times. So far in 2018, he has 4 BBs in 47 PAs, or a walk every 15.8 times. Yes, he is walking a bit more. But he is striking out at virtually the same rate. Once every 3.9 plate appearances so far this year as opposed to every 4.0 last year. He had 30 HRs last year, none so far this year. And 75 RBIs last year, four this year. Which means, yes he is walking more, and his on-base percentage is ever so slightly higher, but he is actually much less productive. And that slim hope of productivity was the only reason he had any value whatsoever last season.
Robinson Chirinos: .175/.246. He is just having a down year. He is better than this, and has proven he is better than this. His wrist injury seems to be affecting him much more than anyone wants to admit. But his general manager has systematically purged the roster and system of any competent able-bodied backups. “Hey, Robinson, sorry your arm fell off, we need you out there, big guy, you’re all we have.” He does have six home runs, but Chirinos is striking out at an alarming rate. Warts and all, he literally is all we have. Chirinos has the ultimate job security.
Ronald Guzman: .205/.256. Guzman is better than this offensively. For his sake, he better be. Chalk this one up to learning on the job. He has upside, a lot of it. He has power and has shown the ability to hit at every other level he’s played. Just a matter of making adjustments. He does have an alarmingly high number of strikeouts so far, 31 in just 78 plate appearances. Or, a strikeout every two-and-a-half times he goes to the plate. When you strike out more than Odor, you need to have a serious re-evaluation of your life goals.
So there you have it. An offensively challenged chunk of a lineup that offers little in the way of resistance, of offering fear to the opposing pitcher, and of an ability to score runs.
Enjoy today’s game.
Matt Moore (1-4, 7.71) vs. Dallas Keuchel (2-5, 3.53)
Game time: 1:10