The Texas Rangers, fresh off a beat down by the Boston Red Sox, turn their attention to the Minnesota Twins at home in Arlington. The Rangers know that they are in a nice position right now, but the second-half of the year is a new season in a way. There are teams that rise up to the occasion in the second-half, and then others just flounder their season away as they got a little too comfortable over the break. I think the Houston Astros are going to be a team to buy in the second-half, they are just getting going. The Rangers, I have to say could be in the sell category.
Watch the Astros come all the way back to surpass the Rangers in the standings. Luckily Texas has already put themselves in a nice spot, with a record of 53-33, so they might be able to handle a bit of turbulence and still catch the postseason. Pitching becomes so important as the season gets deeper. Arms start to get tired and the teams with the better hurlers will rise up, and the Rangers are not a team with a bunch of quality arms in their stable.
The pitching is going to start to catch up to them, last night case in point. The Red Sox blew the Rangers up for 11 runs. They’ve allowed 47 runs over the last five games! That isn’t easy to do, you have to be throwing up some cupcakes to the plate to get rocked for 47 runs. It amounts to an average of 9.4 runs allowed per game. In three of five they allowed more than 10 runs. This isn’t a one pitcher type of problem for the Rangers. The pitching woes extent across their rotation and into the bullpen. This has been a problem that has actually gone on for the past few years in Arlington.
Injuries really got to them for a long while, and now have been dealing without Derek Holland and Yu Darvish on the shelf. Darvish is scheduled to come back after the All-Star Break, but do you really feel he is going to stay healthy? Get out of here, he’ll be on the DL again before the season is done. With the Rangers looking great in the standings, there are some definite holes for them to cover up and work to do in the second-half.
Minnesota Twins vs. Texas Rangers
Tyler Duffey (4-6, 5.62 ERA) vs. Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-1, 9.53 ERA)
Let’s just get one thing out of the way. If the Rangers didn’t have injuries to their pitching staff, Chi Chi Gonzalez wouldn’t be here right now. Or at the very least, he wouldn’t be starting. He’s shared time in the bullpen and as a starter this season. Like the Tigers who don’t want to be starting Anibal Sanchez, their hand is kind of forced as they have no other options to go to. He did show flashes of potential last season late in the year as a rookie, but things haven’t translated to 2016. Gonzalez started in the minors, posting a 5.04 ERA in AAA ball. He wasn’t ready to come up to the majors this season, but the Rangers had no other choice.
The result in his first game back was 5 runs allowed against the Yankees across 5 innings. He was allowing everyone on base, as he surrendered 10 hits during that time as well. Chi Chi followed it up by allowing 4 runs in only 0.2 innings of work, but to his slight credit, only 1 run was an earned run. The fact of the matter is he still got into trouble and couldn’t escape one inning. I see this as a high scoring fireworks show in Arlington tonight. The Rangers should find their runs against Tyler Duffey, who enters with a 5.62 ERA and a 5.82 ERA in his last three starts. Duffey has allowed at least 4 runs in eight of his last ten starts. It’s been hot and humid across the country, the balls should be able to fly off the bat from balls delivered by Duffey and Gonzalez. The Rangers should get the win here, but not before a plethora of runs. Note that Texas’ bullpen is 29th in the majors, with a 5.03 ERA. Conversely, the Twins are 25th out of the bullpen. I don’t usually like playing totals this high, however, I think this spot justifies the posted total of 10.5.
PICK: OVER 10.5 RUNS (-105)