3 Reasons Why, 3 Why Not (Rangers)

The Rangers have lost the last two World Series to two National League teams that both got hot at just the right time.  Is there any way this team could make it to a 3rd consecutive World Series?  Could they finally win the last game of the season?

3 Reasons Why:

  1. Home or Away – the Rangers have an impressively potent offense.  But, before you dismiss it by saying it’s aided by the ballpark they play in, consider this: they have the 4th best batting average in baseball (.262) on the road, to go along with the 3rd best OPS (.744) in away games.
  2. Always in Scoring Position – Texas is batting .280 as a team when they have runners on base . . . any base.  They lead all of baseball with 657 RBI when batting with a runner on base.
  3. Mistake-Free – the Rangers have the 4th best fielding percentage (.986) in the game, and also have committed the 4th fewest errors in all of baseball (80).  This, plus their 8th ranked UZR (ultimate zone rating), tells me they aren’t going to give anyone extra outs.

3 Why Not:

  1. History – it’s not on the Rangers’ side.  The last team to lose consecutive World Series’ and even make it back for a 3rd year in a row was the 1923 Yankees, who had lost in ’21 & ’22 to the New York Giants, then beat the same Giants team in the ’23 Series.  Meanwhile, since then, several teams have lost consecutive Series, only to fall short of even making it that far the next season (’91-’92 Braves, ’77-’78 Dodgers, ’63-’64 Yankees, ’52-’53 Dodgers, and ’36-’37 & ’23-’24 Giants).  This doesn’t bode well for Texas.
  2. Letting Them Score – losing C.J. Wilson may not have kept the Rangers from making the playoffs – but, it might prevent them from making the leap to a championship.  Of all the playoff teams, the Rangers’ starters have the 2nd worst ERA (4.26 – only Baltimore is worse).  And, this is due in large part to the fact that they have the worst LOB% (left-on-base pct.) of any playoff team.  In fact, the Rangers’ starters rank 22nd in all of baseball in LOB%.  If you can put runners on against Texas, you’ve got a better shot of scoring against them than anyone else this postseason.
  3. Running Into Trouble – while the Rangers aren’t exactly a slow team, they don’t seem to be especially adept at stealing bases.  They’re tied for the 4th highest number of times caught stealing (44).  The reason that gets my attention is that they’ve only stolen 91 bases.  They’re getting caught nearly 1/3 of the time.  Most of the teams that have been caught 44 times or more have stolen base totals like 110 (Indians), 134 (Rays), or 153 (Padres).  The Rangers’ stolen base efficiency is comparable to the Cubs . . . a 100-loss team.  You can’t afford to run yourself into outs in the playoffs.

The Rangers have their work cut out for them as they attempt to make it three consecutive years in the Fall Classic.  Can they do it?  What do you think?

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