Over the past three seasons, the Texas Rangers have enjoyed incredible success that the franchise never experienced in its entire previous history. The back-to-back World Series trips and then a playoff birth in 2012 delighted fans and filled the Ballpark in Arlington as it never had been before. However, Rangers fans have already become spoiled by all the high-scoring games and exciting finishes while the players are becoming impatient with themselves to get over the hump. The departures of stars Cliff Lee, CJ Wilson, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli over this stretch have definitely played a factor, but Texas is out to make one critical change in 2013.
During these three seasons of success, the Rangers have been wildly inconsistent. They would go several games in a row with six, seven and eight runs scored and then a handful with only one or two. At the same time, the Rangers’ pitchers would take turns setting the woods on fire and then having their arms turn to ice, which was the primary reason why the team faltered down the stretch last season.
With no egos (Hamilton and Young) to feed this season and a new philosophy of consistency, the Rangers are looking to turn over a new leaf. Yu Darvish sent that message loud in clear in his spring debut by pitching a pair of perfect innings with a focus and swagger that the entire Rangers organization is trying to employ going forward.
Young stars like Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt are pushing extremely hard to show consistency in hopes to make the regular season roster while feeding that mindset to the veterans on the team at the same time. In only his second season, Darvish is already playing like a 10-year veteran, which is exactly what Texas needs to help the entire rotation and lineup to get into mission mode.
Over the past three seasons, the Rangers have been hopeful of contending while just enjoying the ride along the way. Now the team is on a mission to win its first title and is slowly coming into form as opening day is now less than a month away. The numerous positional battles throughout the depth chart will be key for Texas to put its best foot forward in every single game this year to not only delight fans with occasional firework-like performances, but bring a new tradition of winning on a regular basis to a success-starved franchise.