The Texas Rangers are desperately in need of adding some pitching help, especially considering how beat up their rotation is.
Texas is tied for the second-best record in the majors at 54-36 despite losing seven-of-its-last-10 games. The Rangers, who have given up the seventh most runs in the league, have been outscored 85-45 in their past nine games. Their pitching staff ranks 18th in ERA (4.42), 20th in WHIP (1.41), and 21st in batting average (.266).
Texas’ pitching problems really stem from two things, injuries and an ineffective bullpen. The Rangers have used 28 different pitchers so far, including 18 relievers. Starters Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis are currently on the disabled list. However, Mike Axisa of CBS Sports is reporting that Darvish is expected to be activated and start on the mound against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Darvish is 2-0 on the season with a 2.87 ERA in three starts though he has not pitched since June 8. The 29-year-old was sidelined with a sore shoulder. This is his second stint on the DL, as he was unavailable to start the season due to the fact he was still recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent.
Darvish made his second rehab stint for Double-A Frisco on July 10. Darvish struck out five while allowing six hits and three runs in five innings against Northwest Arkansas, an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
2016 All-Star Cole Hamels leads the staff with a 9-2 record and 109 strikeouts while also posting a solid 3.21 ERA. Lewis was also having a solid season, posting a 6-1 record with a 3.21 ERA and a team-leading 1.02 WHIP. Martin Perez, who started the season as the fifth starter, has had an up-and-down season. The 25-year-old lefty is 7-5 on the season with a 3.85 ERA.
Kyle Lohse, Cesar Ramos, Nick Martinez, and Chi Chi Gonzalez have been the main fill-in starters and have mainly struggled.
Overall, Texas’ starters are 33-20 and have posted a 4.07 ERA. The Rangers’ starting staff is tied for seventh with 49 quality starts but they have yet to complete a game.
With Holland (5-5, 5.20 ERA) and Lewis reportedly on the shelf until late August, the Rangers have expressed interest in adding another starter. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times recently wrote that the Rangers were in hot pursuit of Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore. The 27-year-old has turned things around since going 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA in five May starts. He has permitted two or fewer earned runs in five of his last six starts. Moore is 5-6 on the season with a 1.33 WHIP and 4.46 ERA.
Moore is not the only Rays’ pitcher that Texas has its eyes on, as Jim Bowden of ESPN tweeted that Texas is interested in RHP Jake Odorizzi. Odorizzi has struggled lately, going 0-2 and posting just one quality start in his past six outings while also adding a full run to his ERA. The 26-year-old is 3-5 on the season with 4.47 ERA along with a 1.27 WHIP.
Rays and Rangers have had trade talks regarding a deal that would send Jake Odorizzi to the Rangers in exchange... https://t.co/B92I2JWK1g— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) July 4, 2016
Ervin Santana has also been linked to the Rangers. The 33-year-old right-hander has heated up recently, going 2-0 with a 1.63 ERA in his past four starts – which includes a complete game, shutout performance in a 4-0 win over the Oakland Athletics on July 6 where he recorded eight strikeouts. Santana is 3-7 on the season with a 4.06 ERA.
More recently, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune said that the Rangers are interested in San Diego Padres left-hander Drew Pomeranz.
Pomeranz has been dominated this year. The 27-year-old southpaw has surrendered just 10 hits and one run in his past 21 innings over his last three starts. He is 8-7 overall with a 2.47 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and.184 batting average against. Pomeranz ranks ninth in the NL in strikeouts (115), fourth in ERA, and ninth in WHIP.
Lin added that Texas is not the only team interested in Pomeranz, and it is believed as many as 10 teams could go after him. The Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Miami Marlins are among the teams that have been connected to Pomeranz.
If the Rangers are able to secure a deal with the Padres, 23-year-old third baseman Jurickson Profar may be one of the players involved in the trade, as San Diego is enamored with the prospect. Profar is hitting.323 with four homers and 14 runs batted in this season. The switch-hitter has 41 hits and struck out 24 times in 127 at-bats.
The starting staff is not the only pitching area that the Rangers are looking to prove as Buster Olney of ESPN noted Texas is one of three teams searching for bullpen help.
Texas’ bullpen is a combined 21-16 and has converted 32-of-its-41 save opportunities but they rank last in the league in batting average against (.279) and ERA (5.10). 10 of the relievers that the Rangers have used own an ERA of 5.00 or worse. The only relievers that have been truly effective all season has been Matt Bush, Tony Barnette, Sam Dyson, and Jake Dierkman.
Texas, as well as several other teams, have been linked to New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller.
[Photo by Winslow Townsend/AP]