I thought Ian Kinsler would have a big year, and he’s certainly off to a big start. I also thought that our offense would struggle, but never in my most cynical, 27-year Rangers fan mind did I think that Kinsler would be the only Texas Ranger hitting over .300 after 20 games!
Except Kinsler, every Ranger, especially the major offensive cogs we’ve come to rely on, are batting well under their career averages (as Jamey Newberg reported last week, and things have only gotten marginally better since then).
What in the world is going on?
I have two theories. One I think many will like, and another I think most will hate.
The first is that it’s all Sammy’s fault. I like Sosa. Like that Daniels brought him here this year. But, while he’s doing alright, he’s not doing well enough to make pitchers fear him. Which means he’s not protecting the batters in front of him. Which means Tex (who, as we saw pre-Carlos Lee 2006 and post-Lee 2006, needs someone behind him) is getting challenged and losing. Which means the guys in front of him have more pressure on their shoulders and are getting challenged and losing. This lineup needs an anchor. Tex has never been it. Without one, pitchers aren’t afraid and our offense is gone adrift, lost at sea. And we need Washington to be our Captain Jack Sparrow to retool the whole thing and get the ship, that is usually an offensive juggernaught, back on course.
Now for the likely unpopular idea. It’s also Ron Washington’s fault. I like Wash. Like that Daniels brought him here this year. But, while he’s doing alright, he came in talking about playing more small ball and manufacturing runs. The Ballpark and the Texas Rangers offense were not built for that style of game. Our hitters, under the genius that is Rudy Jaramillo, were not taught and have never been trained to think that way. Such talk from the new manager, could be messing with the psyche of the batters when they step up to the plate, leading to uncharacteristically lame performance.