With news that superstar pitcher Max Scherzer would likely miss the remainder of the season, the Texas Rangers pitching curse appears to have struck again. Despite the team’s best efforts to improve their pitching staff, it sadly seems like the Rangers pitching just never quite lives up to potential.
Texas Rangers Pitching Curse
The Two Time Cy Young Winner
Over the last few seasons, the Texas Rangers have made improving their starting pitching one of the focal points for building their roster. With the opening of their new stadium in 2020, the Texas Rangers started to increase their spending and quickly targeted Cleveland ace Corey Kluber to lead the rotation.
At the time, Kluber was coming of a disappointing 2019 that was mainly lost to injury. Unfortunately for Kluber, a line drive fractured his arm and abdominal tightness in a rehab start eventually ended his season.
Undeterred, Texas sent future All-Star close Emmanuel Clase to Cleveland to add Kluber to the Rangers pitching staff. In his first, and only, start with Texas, Kluber lasted one inning before leaving with an injury.
The next time Kluber pitched in Texas, he threw a no-hitter as a member of the New York Yankees.
The Generational Talent
The 2023 season was the year the Rangers finally looked set to make a Postseason run. Big free agent spending in the prior couple of seasons upgraded the lineup and the Rangers pitching was finding success lead by Nathan Eovaldi.
However, still looking to bring in that quintessential ace, the Rangers made a big splash in free agency, luring another two time Cy Young to the Lone Star State; Jacob deGrom. Despite some injury concerns, deGrom joined the Rangers pitching staff on a 5-year deal worth $185 million.
Early into his Rangers tenure, deGrom looked fantastic. In his 6 starts, deGrom went 2-0 (Texas did win all 6 games) with a 2.67 ERA. However, deGrom’s history of strong performance wasn’t the only thing he carried with him from his days with the Mets.
Sadly for Texas, deGrom needed Tommy John Surgery, and would miss the rest of the season and into the 2024 season. With 4 full seasons still left on deGrom’s contract, Texas will certainly be hoping for deGrom to start staying healthy as he approaches his late-30s. Unfortunately for Texas, pitchers with deGrom’s injury history rarely get better as they approach 40.
The First Ballot Hall of Famer
As a result of losing deGrom, Texas found themselves left with a hole at the top of the rotation. However, the team was powered by a strong offense and found themselves approaching the trade deadline squarely in playoff contention.
This time, three time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer was the target. After the Mets included an additional $35.5 million, Texas took Scherzer and sent top prospect Luisangel Acuna to Queens. Like deGrom, Mad Max had some early success as a member of the Rangers pitching staff.
In 8 starts, Scherzer went 4-2 with a 3.20 era, vastly improving his 2023 numbers. A teres major muscle injury, the same injury that ended Kluber’s career in the Rangers pitching staff, is likely to end the season for Scherzer. While Scherzer should be back next season, it will be worth monitoring just how effective he is returning from a season ending injury.
While Texas still finds themselves in the mix for a playoff spot, the struggle to find a top of the rotation starter might be the eventual downfall for the Texas Rangers.
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