Two more spring games, then the season starts for real Thursday, with four against the Houston Astros.
This Texas Rangers team will be tested early.
The rotation is a mess. Jon Daniels reconstructed the starting rotation not by dipping into the checkbook but by dipping into the Nostalgia Machine and plucking out a bunch of pitchers whose better days were years ago.
It seems Daniels is pining so hard to bring back the glory years of 2010 and 2011 that he ended up with some of the better pitchers of that time.
Too bad that was seven years ago. And in that time Matt Moore and Doug Fister and Tim Lincecum and Mike Minor and Bartolo Colon (yes, he was released but, trust me, he will pitch for the Rangers) have covered more bad road than a west Texas trucker.
Thank goodness for this motley crew that spring stats mean nothing. Matt Moore’s spring ERA was 7.36. Mike Minor’s was 6.17. Doug Fister, 6.10. Only Colon’s ERA was respectable, it was 3.00. He’s no longer a Ranger at this moment.
Matt Moore hasn’t had an ERA under 4.00 since 2014. Since 2015 it’s been 5.43, 4.08, and 5.52. That 5.52 last season was the highest of any starter. His horrible spring means nothing other than it’s just more horrible Moore.
Doug Fister hasn’t had an ERA under 4.00 since 2014. Since 2015 it’s been rising every season: 4.19, 4.64, 4.88. He had flashes of greatness in 2017, sandwiched around flashes of mediocrtity.
In five seasons as a starter, Mike Minor has had an ERA under 4.00 just once. Last season as a reliever it was a very good 2.55. He pitched just 77.2 innings. Can’t see him doubling that, which means he won’t be pushed and will probably be shut down early. But I can see him being the Rangers best starter while he does start.
Colon is coming off a year where he had a 6.48 ERA for two teams. With Atlanta he was miserable, logging an 8.14 ERA, and subsequently being released in June. The Twins picked him up in July, and for two months he had a respectable 4.09 ERA. In September, though, it slipped back to 7.56 as he lost four of his last six starts.
Cole Hamels is coming off a season where his ERA was 4.20, his Ks per 9 innings dropped from 9 to 6.4, and he had a career low in runners left on base. He is trending in the wrong direction.
Then there is Martin Perez. He is always Martin Perez.
Hamels, Perez, Minor, Fister, Moore, Colon. Those are names put fear into the hearts of opposing hitters.
Seven years ago.
The Rangers need turnaround seasons from six starters. More important, they need turn-back-the-clock seasons from all of them.