Coming into the 2012 season, the Texas Rangers were anointed the World Series favorites. After an incredible start to the season, the “best team in recent memory” talk started up. The Rangers were a juggernaut, sporting an incredibly balanced & powerful lineup, strong defense, and an underrated pitching staff. The Rangers finished April with a 17-6 record, jumping out to large division lead they held until the final day of the season (lol).
This year’s edition of the Rangers is different. Gone is Josh Hamilton, the preternaturally talented center fielder. Also gone is franchise heart and soul, the driving force behind the Rangers for years, Michael Young. Valuable swingman Scott Feldman bolted as a free agent, relief ace Koji Uehara and first baseman/DH Mike Napoli both signed with the Red Sox.
The Rangers came into 2013 with a much different look. They lost their martyr and their captain, opting for a defensively-minded center field platoon and a veteran DH in the oft-injured Lance Berkman. They signed 36-year old catcher A.J. Pierzynski fresh off a career year. They started Matt Harrison on Opening Day, though he’s only made one more start this season since the lid-lifter.
A rebuilding year for the Rangers? Hardly. If Yu Darvish and the Rangers can beat the White Sox tomorrow night, they’ll finish April 2013 with a 17-9 record. Much worse than last year. Wait, what?