By: Anthony Miller
The Texas Rangers have been one of the surprise teams in MLB, but it’s the play of one player that has pushed the team to heights they haven’t seen in years.
It’s been an unusual season for the Texas Rangers in the best way possible as they currently lead the AL West with a two-and-a-half game lead in first in front of the Houston Astros. What has helped is that they have scored more runs than any other team in baseball with 346 runs through 55 games. They have been on quite a run, winning seven of their last ten games leading to a 35-20 record going into their three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
What has played a big role in their success is their bats. They have two players who have hit 12 or more home runs with Adolis Garcia and Josh Jung leading the way for Texas. The offense is averaging just under seven runs a game and scoring over ten runs in 14 games.
Another aspect that has helped is their starting pitching and how good they have been. Their starting pitchers combined for a 24-7 record in their starts. Three of the starters have an ERA under .300 for the season so far. One pitcher has stood out from the rest as a surprise player dominating the mound.
What Has Helped Nathan Eovaldi Perform Well?
Nathan Eovaldi might be the biggest surprise of all the Texas Rangers players as he has shined in his first season with the team. Prior to playing for Texas, he pitched for five different teams in 13 seasons in the majors. During that span prior to this season, Eovaldi’s career ERA was 4.14. His career has been up and down after dealing with two Tommy John surgeries during that time.
This season has been the turnaround he needed as he is putting up incredible numbers for a 33-year-old pitcher who has seen his fair share of injuries. In 11 starts, Eovaldi has recorded a 7-2 record with 70 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.42. He’s the only pitcher in the MLB this season to have two complete games to his season resume. His win total is tied for second in the MLB and his ERA is sixth in the league.
So, the burning question is what is working for Eovaldi that he is having a resurgence in his career? He appears to have good strike zone control and hasn’t lost any heat on his pitches. His fastball is still strong as he can hit as high as 96 miles per hour. What’s most impressive is how far he can go into the game pitching as he is fifth in the majors in innings pitched with 74.1.
Whether he can keep the pace going for the rest of the season remains to be seen, but he finds himself high on the list to be an All-Star and in the conversation for the AL Cy Young award. It’s one of the better stories this season in baseball for a guy that has posted six losing seasons and never had a season where he was under .300 in ERA. He’s one of the starting pitchers on the Rangers that has had success on the mound this season. Texas is hoping one of their older, but best aces can continue to sling the ball enough to get the team to the postseason.