If you want to look at the bright side of the recent Rangers struggles, you can think about the way Josh Hamilton's MVP chances are rising right now.
It may seem counterintuitive to think that way, but the 7-9 record since Hamilton went down on his ill-advised dash to the plate speaks to his value to the lineup. It's a bit of a stretch, but thinking about the rest of this team right now is liable to leave you in tears.
The pitching has taken a turn for the worse (or for the expected if you hadn't forgotten pre-April jitters) and the hitting hasn't kept up its end of the bargain over the last couple of weeks. As bad as both those things have been, though, they've been less aggravating than watching the Rangers defense completely fall apart.
They've made seven errors in the last four games, including five in the two losses to the A's over the weekend and two in the ninth inning of Thursday's loss to the Blue Jays. On top of those miscues there have been several other plays left unmade that have turned into runs, extended innings and harder work for a pitching staff that's already taxed to the limit.
How much of a worry should this run of defensive ineptitude be bothering everyone?
The errors, maddening as they are, shouldn't be a huge bother. Bad spells hit you over the course of a long season and that's what this feels like. Errors by good defenders like Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre are only indicative of the fact that errors happen to all players at some time. They aren't the problem with the defense.
The problem with the defense is the team's insistence on playing players who can't carry their weight on the field. We discussed Michael Young last week, so we'll keep it short and say that designated hitter remains his best defensive position. Young's issues are exacerbated by the team's decision to keep putting Mitch Moreland in right and David Murphy in center.
Nelson Cruz is the team's best right fielder, he should play there on a regular basis. With Hamilton out, Murphy should be in left and Julio Borbon should be in center (assuming, of course, you don't want to find a better option) even if it means putting a weaker offensive lineup on the field. Without Hamilton's bat and Neftali Feliz slamming the door, defense is even more important to a team trying to stay afloat until they're back at full strength.