Rangers in crisis mode after injuries to Harrison, Perez
MAY 15, 2014 3:43p ET
If an entire baseball season can blow up in one afternoon, you must be the Texas Rangers. Disaster struck this organization in the form of potentially season-ending injuries to starting pitchers Martin Perez and Matt Harrison.
There's a pretty good chance neither player will take the mound again this season, and in Harrison's case, perhaps ever. Maybe this isn't the Curse of Nolan Ryan, but it certainly seems like something sinister.
"The sheer number of injuries we've had is startling," general manager Jon Daniels said during a conference call with local reporters Wednesday. "But we've got to weather the storm. We're not the only club going through it. You don't change your expectations. The number of innings we've lost due to injuries is significant, and it makes things more challenging, but I'm not going to sell our club short."
Well, this team was already selling itself short before Wednesday's news hit. The Rangers are officially in crisis mode. Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine have stepped into what passes for the "situation room" at the Globe.
Of course, just the hint of some consistent offensive production could've tempered this news a bit. This lineup looked completely overwhelmed by someone named Dallas Keuchel on Tuesday. And the Rangers couldn't pad a 4-0 lead Wednesday once they knocked Scott Feldman out of the game. It had slipped my mind that Tony Sipp was such a clutch reliever.
As currently constructed, this is a toothless lineup that doesn't even scare the Houston Astros. The Rangers lost their first series to the Astros since 2008. That was a time when fans in the Houston area still had access games on television.
It feels like the Rangers are one Oakland hot streak away from getting buried in the division race. And the A's might be in the middle of one of those right now. There's really nothing at all wrong with a 20-21 record in mid-May. The strategy to begin the season was to stay around .500 until the calvary arrived. Well, it appears the calvary is exiting stage left. Colby Lewis and Harrison were supposed to be returning to form about now. Lewis has shown promising signs, but now he'll be asked to be this team's No. 2 starter. A few weeks ago, you could've envisioned the Rangers' rotation becoming one of the deepest in the American League. Now, it's difficult to figure out who's even starting Saturday. This organization has a robust farm system, but a lot of the talent is hanging out in Myrtle Beach.
Luke Jackson has looked tremendous in Frisco, but that's a big jump to immediately step into this rotation. The Rangers, though, may not have any choice. Nick Martinez has also appeared out of nowhere to become a valuable long man in the bullpen. It's pretty much certain that he'll land a spot in the rotation. Robbie Ross Jr. needs to be sent back to the bullpen, but that's not a luxury the Rangers can afford at this point.
There are two levels to Wednesday's devastating news. There's the part about the Rangers' season possibly being wrecked. But the bigger picture is that two members of this rotation will most certainly have their careers altered by these injuries. Perez will have the best chance of bouncing back because of his youth (23) and the success other pitchers have had after elbow surgeries.
Daniels acknowledged the possibility that Harrison might not pitch again if he undergoes a spinal fusion. That's the most gut-wrenching part of this news.
But then, watching the Rangers lose a series to the Astros qualifies as a pretty major punch to the gut, too.