Despite this horrific pitching, the Rangers only finished four games under .500. Imagine what they could have done if their pitching was only league average? The standard line is that the Texas heat wilts the pitchers. Come on! They only work every fifth day! The other eight guys play every day and they led the league in runs scored!
So how bad was the Rangers' pitching last year? Some of you might want to hide your eyes if you are squeamish:
Let's focus on starting pitching. The team had fifteen different pitchers start games last year. Not one of them pitched 200 innings. Those fifteen pitchers threw 913 innings and gave up 681 runs (granted, some of them pitched relief too). In those 913 innings, those pitchers gave up 1179 hits and 1565 total base runners for a whopping 1.61 WHIP.
There is a statistic called ERA+. As baseball-reference.com explains it, ERA+ measures the ratio of the league's ERA (adjusted to the pitcher's ballpark) to that of the pitcher. > 100 is above average. Of those fifteen guys, only two of them finished with an ERA+ over 100. Would you believe that Sidney Ponson was one of them? The other was A. J. Murray who only gave up two runs in almost eight innings despite putting 15 men on base.
Here is a list of the guys who started at least one game for the Rangers, number of starts, their ERA and their ERA+:
- - Kevin Millwood: 29, 5.07, 87
- - Vincente Padilla: 29, 4.74, 93 Padilla also threw an amazing 12 wild pitches, hit 15 batters and had three balks.
- - Scott Feldman: 25, 5.29, 83
- - Matt Harrison: 15, 5.49, 80
- - Kason Gabbard: 12, 4.82, 91
- - Sidney Ponson: 9, 3.88, 113
- - Jason Jennins: 6, 8.56, 51
- - Eric Hurley: 5, 5.47, 80
- - Brandon McCarthy: 5, 4.09, 108 oops! Forgot him as one over 100 for ERA+
- - Dustin Nippert: 6, 6.40, 69
- - Luis Mendoza: 11, 8.67, 51
- - Doug Mathis: 4, 6.85, 64
- - Tommy Hunter: 3, 16.36, 27
- - A. J. Murray: 2, 3.52, 125
Ouch. One more statistic to leave you with. Of the Rangers' nine guys who only started and did not relieve in any games, they averaged 5.6 innings pitched per start. That means that the bullpen was overtaxed during all of those starts.
These stats are just brutal and have to disappoint the front office there in Arlington. It appears that the Rangers' starters have had a decent spring so far. The team can only hope that the trend continues, because if this team has any hope to contend at all, it will all depend on how well the rotation pitches.