As the 2019 season nears and the White Sox get ready to take on the rest of the American League, we're taking a team-by-team look at all 14 of their opponents.
Behold the weirdest starting rotation in baseball!
Seven different pitchers started at least a dozen games for the Rangers during the 2018 season. Only one remains. Texas went through a starting-pitching overhaul this winter, letting walk the likes of Bartolo Colon, Yovani Gallardo, Martin Perez, Doug Fister and Matt Moore. They traded Cole Hamels to the Cubs last summer, and so the only one of that not-so-magnificent seven that remains is Mike Minor and his 4.18 ERA.
He's the "ace" of the bizarre hodgepodge of one-time promising pitchers that the Rangers will be calling a starting staff this summer. After Minor, there's Lance Lynn, whose agent somehow got him a three-year contract coming off an age-31 season that saw him finish with a 4.77 ERA. Then come — I kid you not — three guys who combined to make four starts in 2018: Drew Smyly, acquired from the Cubs after spending last season recovering from Tommy John surgery; Edinson Volquez, a one-time Rangers mega prospect who also spent 2018 recovering from Tommy John; and Shelby Miller, now on his fourth big league team after three nightmarish, injury-plagued seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But let's be honest, the Rangers have rarely been about pitching. They're about dingers! And they still have Joey Gallo, who hit 40 home runs last year! Case closed. (Dusts off hands.)
For a team that loves dingers so much, though, the Rangers only had four 20-homer guys in 2018: Gallo hit 40 and the trio of Shin-Soo Choo, Jurickson Profar and Nomar Mazara hit a combined 61. But none of those guys hit better than .265. In fact, only one guy on the team hit better than .265, and that's the now-retired Adrian Beltre.
Beltre's departure is probably still the headline in Dallas this season — that and which Ranger will now fly into fits of rage when Elvis Andrus touches their head? — which is a strong indication of how un-rosy the forecast is for the 2019 product. Replacing Beltre is Asdrubal Cabrera, who put up some not-so-great numbers after getting dealt from the New York Mets to the Philadelphia Phillies in the middle of last season.
So the bright spots are hard to come by. To get through this season, Metroplexers, go listen to the first three Old 97's albums on repeat until October.
2018 record: 67-95, fifth place in AL West
Offseason additions: Asdrubal Cabrera, Lance Lynn, Drew Smyly, Shelby Miller, Jeff Mathis, Jesse Chavez
Offseason departures: Adrian Beltre, Robinson Chirinos, Yovani Gallardo, Jurickson Profar, Bartolo Colon, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Martin Perez
X-factor: Uh, how about the bullpen? Jose Leclerc has been promoted to closer because the mass pitching exodus out of Arlington applied to the relief corps, too. But Leclerc was legit excellent in 2018, the owner of a 1.56 ERA in 59 appearances. His 13.3 K/9? Italian chef kissy fingers. And behind him is former Ranger/former Cub/current Ranger Jesse Chavez, who was a legit loss for the Cubs' 'pen after he allowed just five runs in 39 innings with the North Siders down the stretch last season. So for fans staring at a lineup full of the same old guys that offer little past Shin-Soo Choo's predictably excellent on-base percentage, look to the bullpen (at least the back of it) for some good vibes.
1. Shin-Soo Choo, DH
2. Rougned Odor, 2B
3. Elvis Andrus, SS
4. Nomar Mazara, RF
5. Joey Gallo, LF
6. Asdrubal Cabrera, 3B
7. Ronald Guzman, 1B
8. Jeff Mathis, C
9. Delino DeShields Jr., CF
1. Mike Minor
2. Lance Lynn
3. Drew Smyly
4. Edinson Volquez
5. Shelby Miller
Prediction: Fifth place in AL West, no playoffsClick here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the White Sox easily on your device.