Know Your Foe #24: Baseball's Best Team Set to Square Off Against its Third-Worst

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 4: Manager Ron Washington #38 takes starting pitcher Colby Lewis #48 of the Texas Rangers out of the game during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 4, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Imagine a team that is well-above-average on the mound and at the plate. Now, go even deeper into your imagination and try to conjure up images of four out of five members of its starting rotation being no worse than 27% better than the average starter, plus an entire bullpen that is much better than the league-average pitcher. If your head hasn't exploded yet, take one more journey and try to envision a lineup in which only two regulars have a sub-100 OPS+.

If you're even still alive, you're probably thinking that these things don't exist. After all, if you're reading this, you're most likely a fan of the Colorado Rockies. However, I'm here to tell you that these things DO exist. These things are called, in no uncertain terms, The Texas Rangers.

At 43-27, the Rangers are the best team in Major League Baseball. Looking at their team statistics, it is very, VERY easy to see why. The single biggest reason for their success is that, although they play at a ballpark that is almost every bit the hitter's paradise of Coors Field, the Rangers are still able to negate the effect that it has on the opposing team by sending out a very good pitching staff that is headed by Colby Lewis, who owns a K/BB ratio of 7 and an ERA+ of 146. Behind him are Matt Harrison and rookie sensation Yu Darvish, who are a combined 18-7 and boast ERA+ figures of 128 and 127, respectively. And, while Darvish has struggled with walks (five per nine innings), he leads the club with 9.7 K/9, which helps offset the wildness a bit.

Derek Holland was the single weak link in their rotation this season (86 ERA+), and he is now on the DL. Unfortunately, so is Neftali Feliz, who transitioned well from closer to starter; in seven starts, he posted a 139 ERA+. Scott Feldman took Holland's place in the rotation, and he has struggled so far this season (73 ERA+). As for Feliz's replacement, you may have heard of him; he goes by the simple-yet-strong name of Roy Oswalt, and he will make his 2012 and Rangers debuts tonight against the Rockies.

One very underrated part of the Rangers' success has been the re-emergence of Joe Nathan, who took over closing duties as Feliz moved into the rotation. Nathan has been nothing short of brilliant; in addition to racking up 15 saves, he has struck out 34 batters and walked just 2 in 28.2 innings. That is video game shit right there. And, although the bullpen as a whole has dealt with some shuffling due to injuries, the back-end, which features Nathan, Mike Adams, and Mark Lowe, has remained stable.

The Rangers have an offense. This guy is somewhat of a key part to it:


Josh Hamilton

#32 / Center Field / Texas Rangers

6-4

240

L

L

May 21, 1981


AVG OBP SLG
2012 - Josh Hamilton .331 .388 .674


Take a look at those numbers for a second. Now, check out these ones: 22 HR, 64 RBI, 38 XBH, 172 OPS+. Finally, try to digest this one: 7 games missed due to injury/illness, 50 less plate appearances than the team leader. That means, of course, that even with all the damage Hamilton has done, it could be a lot uglier for opposing pitchers if he were able to stay in the lineup every day. The guy is simply unbelievable.

There are, of course, many very good players behind Hamilton, notably Mike Napoli (11 HR, 106 OPS+), Mitch Moreland (10 HR, 116 OPS+), and Adrian Beltre (12 HR, 122 OPS+). Oh, and Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz and David Murphy and Michael Young andholyshitthisteamisstacked.

Pitching (mis)matchups and more after the jump...

Tonight at 6:05 PM MT (ROOT Sports)

Christian Friedrich (4-3, 5.60 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Tomorrow at 1:05 PM MT (ROOT Sports)

Josh Outman (0-3, 8.41) vs. Colby Lewis (6-5, 3.00)

Sunday at 5:05 PM MT (ROOT Sports)

Alex White (2-5, 6.06) vs. Matt Harrison (9-3, 3.41)


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Colby Lewis 14 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 .500 .500 .500
Alexi Ogando 28 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500 .500 .500
Craig Gentry 57 112 14 39 5 1 1 15 10 18 9 3 .348 .421 .438
Yu Darvish 14 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 .333
Josh Hamilton 63 242 45 80 15 1 22 64 25 58 6 2 .331 .388 .674
Adrian Beltre 66 256 38 80 16 0 12 45 13 33 1 0 .313 .342 .516
Elvis Andrus 67 266 43 79 15 5 1 28 31 34 13 3 .297 .373 .402
Brandon Snyder 28 45 7 13 1 0 3 8 3 18 0 0 .289 .333 .511
David Murphy 61 174 25 49 11 1 7 25 24 38 6 1 .282 .369 .477
Ian Kinsler 68 294 53 81 22 3 7 35 26 36 13 4 .276 .338 .442
Mitch Moreland 55 158 25 43 8 0 10 25 12 31 0 0 .272 .326 .513
Michael Young 67 273 32 74 11 1 3 28 13 36 2 1 .271 .301 .352
Alberto Gonzalez 20 50 6 13 2 1 0 4 0 8 0 0 .260 .260 .340
Nelson Cruz 68 257 38 65 16 0 9 42 19 76 4 4 .253 .309 .420
Scott Feldman 13 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 .250 .250 .250
Mike Napoli 60 192 32 45 3 2 11 29 29 67 0 0 .234 .346 .443
Yorvit Torrealba 32 108 12 24 5 0 2 9 11 24 1 0 .222 .301 .324
Leonys Martin 3 8 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 .125 .222 .250
Matt Harrison 15 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Neftali Feliz 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Robbie Ross 26 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Derek Holland 12 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Joe Nathan 29 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Mike Adams 28 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Michael Kirkman 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Koji Uehara 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Mark Lowe 24 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Tanner Scheppers 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Justin Grimm 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Yoshinori Tateyama 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
Michael Kirkman 0-0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2.0 0 0 0 0 3 2 0.00 1.50
Robbie Ross 6-0 26 0 0 0 0 0 38.0 28 10 5 2 6 25 1.18 .89
Joe Nathan 0-2 29 0 0 0 15 1 28.2 23 6 5 2 2 34 1.57 .87
Alexi Ogando 1-0 28 1 0 0 1 2 34.2 21 8 8 2 7 35 2.08 .81
Koji Uehara 0-0 20 0 0 0 0 0 21.1 13 5 5 3 2 22 2.11 .70
Mark Lowe 0-0 24 0 0 0 0 0 26.1 20 8 8 3 6 24 2.73 .99
Colby Lewis 6-5 14 14 2 0 0 0 96.0 84 39 32 15 12 84 3.00 1.00
Mike Adams 1-2 28 0 0 0 1 1 23.2 24 10 8 1 5 19 3.04 1.23
Neftali Feliz 3-1 8 7 1 0 0 0 42.2 28 15 15 5 23 37 3.16 1.20
Matt Harrison 9-3 15 14 1 1 0 0 92.1 93 36 35 7 22 55 3.41 1.25
Yu Darvish 9-4 14 14 0 0 0 0 88.2 78 38 34 7 49 96 3.45 1.43
Justin Grimm 1-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 6.0 6 3 3 1 0 7 4.50 1.00
Derek Holland 5-4 12 11 0 0 0 0 67.0 65 42 38 11 24 59 5.10 1.33
Scott Feldman 1-6 13 8 0 0 0 0 42.0 48 35 28 5 14 32 6.00 1.48
Tanner Scheppers 0-0 5 0 0 0 0 0 5.1 11 7 7 2 1 6 11.81 2.25
Yoshinori Tateyama 1-0 7 0 0 0 0 0 8.1 12 13 11 3 3 8 11.88 1.80
Craig Gentry 0-0 57 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 3 2 2 0 1 0 18.00 4.00


Texas Rangers Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Alexi Ogando groin 06/11/2012
Koji Uehara other-excused 06/10/2012
Derek Holland shoulder 06/06/2012
Mitch Moreland hamstring 06/20/2012

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Neftali Feliz elbow 05/19/2012

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