Lately, the Rangers TV announcers have been making a big deal about the offense being second in the American League in walks. It’s the patient approach. They are showing incredible patience. What great strides they are making as hitters.
Texas had drawn the second-most walks to the Yankees in the A.L. going into last night’s game, 221 versus New York’s 236. The ability to draw walks is supposed to be a testament to an improved hitting strategy.
This team is so patient at the plate, in fact, that they went into last night’s game first in strikeouts in the A.L. by fifty over the White Sox, tenth out of fifteen in runs scored, second-to-last in batting average, twelfth out of fifteen in on-base percentage, and dead last in average with runners in scoring position.
Patience is a virtue. And maybe in the case of the Rangers, it’s a red herring of a stat. Not when they have so many strikeouts. What it suggests is a team that is clueless when it has a bat in its hands. They just happen to get walked a lot.
Or maybe it suggests something else. Opposing teams realize putting the Rangers on base is the best way to prevent them from scoring. Giving them a walk means they won’t hit one out. Maybe the smartest strategy is to pitch around them and see if they strike themselves out, which they do at a record pace, and if they happen to walk, there are no consequences. Because all those walks have led to so many wasted opportunities. In spite of all those free passes to first, the Rangers have scored three runs or fewer in 28 out of their 65 games so far, and seven of the last eleven.
Sure, one could argue that the patient approach paid off during the Oakland series. But that was just one series. And these are major league hitters who are capable of that sort of performance. Just not often enough. The Rangers offense reverted back to normal last night.
Good pitching beats good hitting every time. In this case, it’s the best pitching the game has to offer against the worst hitting.
Last night against Houston, the Rangers patiently walked three times and patiently struck out ten and patiently scored just two runs.
It’s like they are at the local swimming pool: Walk. Do not run.
Justin Verlander (7-2, 1.24) vs. Doug Fister (1-6, 4.13)
Game time: 7:05