Posted on: September 14, 2023, 11:07h.
Last updated on: September 14, 2023, 11:13h.
The Rangers have not qualified for the playoffs since the 2016 season. They currently occupy one of the three Wild Card spots in the American League, but lost one of their most reliable pitchers during the final stretch of the season.
The Rangers won five games in a row, and they're also in the hunt for a division title with 17 games remaining in the regular season. Only 1.5 games separate the top three teams in the AL West. The defending World Series champion Houston Astros (83-64) hold a one-game lead over the Rangers (81-64) in second place. The Seattle Mariners (81-65) are in third place and trail the first-place Astros by 1.5-games. The Rangers hold a half-game lead over the Mariners.
If the season ended today, the Tampa Bay Rays would lock up the top AL Wild Card spot. The Rangers and Mariners would also advance to the postseason as a Wild Card-team. The Toronto Blue Jays (80-66) are on the postseason bubble, but they're only one game behind the Mariners and 1.5 games behind the Rangers.
Sharp Scherzer Went 4-2 Prior to Injury
Scherzer, a right-handed starter, turned 39-years old in July. He has a 13-6 record while pitching for two teams this season. He posted a 3.77 EA and 1.12 WHIP, and he also struck out 174 batters.
Scherzer joined the Rangers in a trade with the New York Mets prior to the trade deadline at the end of July. In eight starts with the Rangers, Scherzer went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 0.96 WHIP.
Scherzer got pulled from a start in against the Blue Jays the other night. In the sixth inning, he felt tightness near his shoulder and he exited the game. He underwent an MRI which revealed a mild strain to the teres major muscle, which connects the scapula to the humerus.
Scherzer will not require surgery, according to team doctor Keith Meister, but his injury can only improve with rest and treatments.
Unfortunately, the timing of the schedule isn't going to line up to where we can provide him rest, and he'll still pitch again, certainly before the regular season,” said general manager Chris Young.
Similar teres major muscle injuries take a minimum of four weeks to heal, so Scherzer is out for the remainder of the regular season. He's expected to miss the start of the postseason, that is if the Rangers can hold off the Blue Jays and retain their Wild Card spot.
“I don't want to rule it (playoffs) out at this point,” added Young. “We'll see where the next two weeks go and how he's feeling. That said, it's probably unlikely.”
Next Man Up: Andrew Heaney or Martin Perez
The Rangers were desperate to restock their rotation after ace Jacob deGrom sustained an elbow injury at the start of the season. DeGrom underwent Tommy John surgery, and the Rangers targeted Scherzer at the trade deadline.
Scherzer began the season with the Mets, and even served a 10-game suspension for using an illegal substance.
The Mets had huge expectations entering this season after they stocked their roster with high-end free agents. They stumbled out of the gate with a slow start and they never meshed together as a team.
The Mets had a fire sale at the trade deadline when they realized that their underperforming team was on pace to miss the postseason. They kept slugger Pete Alonso, but gutted the rest of the team. The Mets traded Justin Verlander to the Astros and then shipped his buddy and teammate, Scherzer, to the Rangers.
The Rangers were buyers at the trade deadline, and also added left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Rangers' current rotation includes Montgomery (9-11), Nathan Eovaldi (11-4), Dane Dunning (10-6), and Jon Gray (8-7). Manager Bruce Bochy will have to make a tough decision on who will replace Scherzer in the final 17 games and the postseason. Andrew Heaney (10-6, 4.10 ERA) and Martin Perez (9-4, 4.74) are both left-handed pitchers and vying for the final spot in the rotation.
Betting the Rangers Down the Final Stretch
The AL West division title could come down to the final series of the regular season. The Rangers and Mariners square off seven times in the last ten games of the season, including a four-game home stand in Texas in the final weekend.
Meanwhile, four teams battle for the final three AL Wild Card spots. The AL East and AL West each have three teams that are within striking distance of a postseason spot. However, only one of those two competitive divisions will send three teams to the postseason.
Th Astros are the betting favorite to win the AL West at -175 odds, followed by the Mariners (+300), and Rangers (+400).
The Rangers are -430 odds to make the playoffs, according to a prop bet by DraftKings. You can back them to miss the postseason at +360 odds. FanGraphs projects that the Rangers have a 65.7% chance to clinch as a Wild Card, and a 13.4% chance to win the division. They have a 79.1% overall chance to qualify for the postseason.
The Rangers are +700 odds to win the AL pennant, and +1500 odds to win the 2023 World Series as the eighth favorite on DraftKings' MLB futures board. FanGraphs estimates the Rangers have a 2.9% chance to win the World Series.
The Rangers are one of six MLB franchises that have never won a World Series. They began their existence as an expansion team as the Washington Senators in 1961, before they relocated to the Dallas suburbs in 1971 and rebranded as the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers advanced to the World Series in back-to-back seasons under manager Ron Washington in 2010 and 2011, but were the runner up both years.
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