The Rangers have their first off day of the season to reflect on their first ten games. And what have we learned.
After the Cubs series, which the Rangers won two games to one, we learned that the Rangers are capable of rallies, capable of hitting with men in scoring position, capable of comebacks, and capable of being patient offensively. Wining two of three meant it was the first time since September 11, 2017, the Rangers poked their heads above .500.
We have also since learned that the Cubs are not a very good team. A few months ago, Baseball Prospectus put out its annual PECOTA predictions. They had the Cubs finishing last in the Central. Everyone was in an uproar about it. Maybe they knew something the rest of us didn’t.
Going into the season, nobody expected the Rangers to win two of three. Maybe one. At most.
After the Astros series, which the Rangers also won, we learned the Rangers can beat Verlander and Cole. Not just beat them, but befuddle them. The Rangers new patient approach to offense threw Verlander off his game. “Hey, you fools used to swing at this stuff in the past, what’s wrong with you?” He had his worst start as an Astro. We learned the Ranger can go toe-to-toe with the best pitching, even if they themselves don’t have the best pitching.
Again, going into the season, when looking at the schedule, being swept was the easy and logical prediction. Instead, the Rangers came out two game above .500. That’s territory they hadn’t occupied since 2016.
Things were looking good. Until they ran into a force greater than Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole and the Cubs combined.
The Rangers took their first road trip of the season to Los Angeles. The Angels scored four runs in Game One, three runs in Game Two, five runs in Game Three, and seven runs in Game Four. All totaled, in four games, the Angels scored nineteen runs. Mike Trout drove in nine. One player was 47 percent of their offense. The Rangers lost three out of four.
What did we learn? Mike Trout can single-handedly wreck a team.
So, after ten games, the Texas Rangers, a team with a duct tape rotation, an offense in training, and a Hail Mary bullpen, is at .500. You have to admit, .500 for this team is pretty amazing.
In spite of their sputtering in LA, the Rangers hit the off day sixth in the American League in batting average, third in on-base percentage, and third in runs scored.
They’re twelfth in in team ERA, and fourteenth in starter ERA.
And they are tied with thirteen other American League teams in NHMT: not having Mike Trout.