Texas Rangers in for the long haul in the 2023 MLB season
With a start to the 2023 MLB season that has a look more of marathon than sprint, the Texas Rangers’ fans are daring to dream again.
The most difficult part of any job is getting started. A major league baseball season is no different. With so many games on the calendar, individual losses are not terribly significant. What is more telling is trends.
There are those teams who come out like their hair is on fire, streaking away with everything. Tampa is currently in this sort of shape. And there are slow burners, who fizzle and smolder for months before tightening their belt and clawing their way into the playoffs. The Yankees look for all the world like they are currently stuck in this mode.
The problem with a fast start is that you run the risk that you will simply run out of steam. Sprint fast, fatigue early. Of course, a slow start is problematic as well. Leave it too long and you might find yourself with too much ground to make up and not enough season left in front of you.
But the Texas Rangers are giving off the vibe of a team that has found the sweet spot.
When Bruce Bochy and the newly revamped rotation in Arlington headed into the second week of the season at the top of the AL West, nobody got excited. Twitter was awash with the “wait until next month and we will see if they are still on top” jibes. And those were just the Rangers’ own fans.
The focus in the AL West was, and in fact remains, Shohei Ohtani’s superb play, as he pulls out in front of Babe Ruth’s strikeout record and stakes an early claim on the AL MVP award. Otherwise, the league and media were rapt with Jose Altuve’s return reinvigorating the Astros’ season. And those are worthy, headline generating subjects.
All the while, however, the little engine that could in Arlington keeps chugging along. The Rangers are now 3.0 games in front of the Angels and 3.5 in front of the Astros. Not insurmountable by any means, but steady and widening.
With 6.31 runs per game, the Rangers are the highest-scoring team in baseball at the moment, and while they have not been perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, they are showing a consistency that has been lacking in Dallas for some years now.
With Jacob deGrom, Corey Seager, and Josh Jung all suffering injury at some point last month, you can’t help but feel that we have yet to see the best out of the Rangers. And even in their weakened state, they are impressive.
With what is for my money the best battery in baseball in Nathan Eovaldi and Jonah Heim, the Rangers are perhaps not going to have eye-catching games like the Rays are having. But they will continue to grind out wins. And coming into the long summer, a marathon runner is what you need, not a sprinter.