The Texas Rangers are eight games behind the Houston Astros, and Cole Hamels is going to miss about eight weeks with an oblique injury. My first thought: This increases the odds Yu Darvish ends up as a trade chip in July – very likely the biggest trade chip.
It’s obviously early, and Rangers fans will remind us of 2015, when the team got off to a poor start at 8-16 and were 9½ games back as late as May 20 before catching the Astros with a big second half to win the American League West. This Rangers team, however, has holes to worry about, and this Astros team is deeper and better.
In the Astros’ 10-1 victory Wednesday, Carlos Correa went 4-for-5, and Marwin Gonzalez slammed his fourth home run in three games. More than anything, it exposed the lack of depth in the Rangers’ rotation, as the Astros pounded Nick Martinez. The Rangers will get A.J. Griffin back Thursday, but it’s not like they’re adding Nolan Ryan to the rotation. Martin Perez has allowed 39 hits in 31⅔ innings and has nearly as many walks (19) as strikeouts (20). Andrew Cashner has more walks (16) than strikeouts (10). Even Hamels hadn’t looked good, with just 15 strikeouts in 32⅔ innings.