What the Rangers have already accomplished is pretty amazing. They’ve made it Memorial Day without their best pitcher and, essentially, without their best hitter.
With ace Yu Darvish not expected to make his first start until early June, we all just wanted Texas to hang around .500 in his absence. We had no idea that Prince Fielder would also be a no-show for two months.
Nonetheless, as they head into Darvish’s 2016 debut on Saturday the Rangers are a healthy 27-20. A year ago they won the AL West after being 23-24 at this time.
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While Fielder has struggled mightily at the plate – with more strikeouts (36) than hits (33) – the Rangers have plugged more than enough holes to keep afloat without two of their biggest stars. Ian Desmond has hit almost .300 and made the transition to left field look simple. Nomar Mazara’s ascendance (leading the team with eight homers) has negated an injury to Shin-Soo Choo and the departure of Josh Hamilton.
As an added bonus, the Rangers already exacted revenge on Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays. And, despite the obstacles, only the Red Sox and Mariners have a better record in the AL.
In 2015 the Rangers took off in late May, finishing with a 65-50 kick to win the division. If Darvish and Fielder can find their old form, safe to say they’re position for a similar run in 2016.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.