Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Will the Rangers continue to have great starting pitching?

The Rangers got another good effort from their starting rotation.  Tonight, it was Colby Lewis (fresh off of a successful 2 year stint for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp), who is now 2-0.  He went 5.1 innings, allowed 2 runs, 3 hits, 4 walks and 10 strikeouts. 

In most years, this type of start would be rare and wonderful, but it is common through the early part of 2010. Not only isn't it unusual this year, it actually hurt their starting rotation's (league leading) ERA by raising it from 1.85 to 2.02.

Their rotation...
  • C.J. Wilson: Hadn't started a game since 2005, but had over 250 relief appearances.
  • Colby Lewis: 1 ML victory since 2003, spent 2008-09 in Japan.
  • Rich Harden: 50-29, 3.38 793 SO, 763 IP
  • Scott Feldman: 25-21 in his career, but 17-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 2009.  Has only issued 1 walk over his first 14 innings in 2010.
  • Matt Harrison: 13-8 with a 5.75 ERA over 26 starts between 2008-09 for the Rangers
Texas Rangers: Starters' ERA
2010: 2.02 (1st in ML)
2009: 4.61 (18)
2008: 5.51 (29)
2007: 5.50 (29)
2006: 5.11 (26)
2005: 5.04 (26)
2004: 5.16 (25)
2003: 6.24 (30)
2002: 5.26 (29)
2001: 6.00 (30)
2000: 5.56 (28)

While I don't expect the Rangers to have the best team ERA for their starting rotation (or be in the top 5), they might have a serendipitous situation on their hands.  The question with Harden has never been his talent, but his health.  If he stays healthy, he could dominate. 

Feldman went 17-8 last year and seems to be getting better.  Colby Lewis pitched well in Japan for two years and has started out 2-0 in his return.  Wilson and Harrison are wild cards, but they are holding their own so far.

It is impossible to overlook the past and the dreadful pitching the Rangers have consistently had over the year.  Then again, few would have predicted 5 or 10 years ago that the Rockies would ever have respectable pitching. 

If Harden stays healthy and finally has his breakout season, the rest of the rotation could fall into place.  They have a lot to prove, but a starting rotation that can post a 2.02 ERA through the first 8 games has potential.

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