Rangers trying to improve road play
The Rangers head off on an 11-day, three-city road trip. But they only play eight games in that span with three off days in the span of a week. It's a chance to refresh, but the club, first in the AL West by two games, would certainly trade one of these off days now for another one in August or September.
That isn't how it works, of course. So they'll focus on playing better away from home. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has become a huge homefield advantage for the Rangers. They are 18-9 at home, including 5-2 on this last home stand (they lost two straight to the Cubs over the weekend). But on the road, Texas sports a 7-11 record. They were 1-6 through a six-game stretch at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park in April. They lost two of three in Oakland and were swept in Toronto.
It doesn't come as a shock that the Rangers' numbers are down on the road as opposed to home. A quick glance (note that the Rangers have played 18 games on the road and 27 at home):
* Texas has 68 runs on the road. Only Oakland has fewer among AL teams.
* The Rangers are hitting just .236 as a team away from Arlington with nine homers (fewest in the AL). Texas is batting .292 with 33 homers at home.
* Only four regulars are hitting better than .250 on the road. They include Elvis Andrus (.357), Ian Kinsler (.290, but in just 31 away at-bats since his return), Michael Young (.278) and Vladimir Guerrero (.258).
* Texas has a team ERA of 4.41 on the road, which is actually fifth in the AL. But it's 3.84 at home.
* Colby Lewis is 1-2 with a 3.77 ERA in five road starts, the most for any Ranger. Scott Feldman is 0-3 with an 8.64 ERA in three road starts. Rich Harden is 1-1 with a 6.05 ERA and that includes his solid start in Oakland earlier in the month. BTW, C.J. Wilson has pitched very well on the road this season: 1-1, 1.83 ERA in three starts.
So the Rangers will try to alter the trends of these numbers. They'll face the Royals, who are nine games under .500, for two games. Then, after yet another off day, they head to Minnesota for three in the new Target Field. The Twins are 26-18 and on top of the AL Central. After not playing on Memorial Day, the Rangers take on the White Sox for three games. Chicago is 18-25.
This should be an opportunity, at least in two of the three series, for the Rangers to get going. How do you think they'll do on this 8-game road trip?
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.