Texas Rangers starters have pitched more innings than all but five other teams’ starters this season. This is impressive for two reasons: 1) Texas is hotter than ever, and I don’t mean the cheerleaders; and 2) Five pitchers have started all but four of the Rangers games this season.
While much has been made of the Nolan Ryan like resolve among C.J. Wilson, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis to go deep into games, prior to the trade deadline, Texas starters were doing this more out of necessity than a mind set. Their bullpen was terrible.
Cue relief. Normally, uselessly acquiring relievers at the trade deadline in exchange for prospects is the stuff of Ned Colletti and Bill Smith. However, for the Rangers, it made sense to land Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres and Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles, not only as a means of shoring up a struggling bullpen, but also to begin the process of giving the team’s starters some much needed rest by going to relievers earlier than they had at the beginning of the season.
This strategy was reinforced today with GM Jon Daniels’ acquisition of another bullpen staple, lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez, who was pried from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for that prize to end all prizes, a player to be named later.
With the Rangers bullpen depth, it’s useless to even think about what Gonzalez does against anything other than left handed hitters because, fortunately for Texas and Gonzalez, that’s likely the only action he’ll be brought in to see. This season, in line with his career numbers, the southpaw has struck out more than a quarter of the left handed batters he’s faced, and only walked 4.2%. Along with Darren Oliver, already in the Rangers pen, Gonzalez’s addition means the Red Sox and Yankees’ lineups in a potential playoff series doesn’t seem quite so dangerous.
In a lesser move, Texas also brought back catcher Matt Treanor from the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later or cash. Treanor will act as a third catcher along with Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba to keep their legs fresh during the month of September ahead of the playoffs.