The Rangers are like teenagers on a joy ride. They’re having too much fun cruising the neighborhood to realize the check engine light is blinking. Those things eventually stop blinking. When the engine overheats.
After a 16-run game followed by a 12-run game, it looks like the Rangers are steamrolling through baseball. But there’s no denying they still have a bullpen problem.
John King gave up three runs in the ninth on Saturday. Good thing the Rangers were up by thirteen runs. It won’t be a good thing when they are up by one or two.
Yesterday, it was Jonathan Hernandez giving up three in the seventh in a game the Rangers had been leading by twelve.
King pitched a scoreless ninth yesterday. Hernandez had pitched four outings in a row without giving up a run. Before that he gave up three, three, and two.
Jose Leclerc has had three appearances in a row without giving up a run.
Josh Sborz has two scoreless outings in a row. But he was hammered in the two before that.
It’s just not a reliable bullpen. The Rangers are fortunate enough that they are making the bullpen irrelevant by scoring so many runs. But that won’t always happen. There are only so many chances you can give these guys to right the ship. And Grant Anderson cannot pitch every game.
It’s probably still too early for non-contenders to throw in the towel and start trading relievers for prospects. In the National League, every team is within five games of that last wildcard spot. Do you want to tell your fanbase you’re giving up on June 5?
So, the Rangers are going to have to continue going into the late innings up by ten or more runs until they can find the pieces they need to feel confident when they go into the last innings up by one or two runs.
The check engine light is blinking. Better check the oil.