The Texas Rangers are tied for the second-best record in baseball and the best in the American League. The only team better is the St. Louis Cardinals and the three that are tied in the American League are the Rangers, the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles.
But, there has been a major point of trouble with the Rangers in this one-month-old season: the first inning.
The Rangers have been outscored in the first inning 22-8. That’s awful. The third is the only other inning that the Rangers have been outscored this year, but that’s just 8-7. The biggest representative of this issue is Yu Darvish. Overall hitters are only hitting .169 off of Darvish, but in the first inning, that skyrockets to .355 — ridiculous.
If it were a little less of a difference, you could just account it to Darvish and the other Ranger starters getting into a groove and getting comfortable in the game. But with this big of a difference between the first and every other inning, I have to think there is a mindset issue.
Maybe Mike Maddux is somehow teaching his starters to be more focused on later in the game instead of being 100 percent from the first pitch. Don’t get me wrong, I respect Maddux and all he has done for the Rangers. This is purely speculation.
This seems pretty unsustainable to me and I have to think the Rangers will even out this first inning trouble eventually, but if Yu Darvish keeps a .355 batting average against in the first, he will never come close to perfection again.