When the Texas Rangers signed Jacob deGrom, Corey Seager, and Marcus Semien across the last two offseasons, it was a signal that they wanted to become more competitive. The Rangers haven't been to the postseason since 2016 when they got swept in the ALDS. They've been below .500 in every season since then with the most wins they've accrued in a single season being just 78 out of 162. It was time to make some moves to restore a franchise that made it to back-to-back World Series just a decade ago.

Las Vegas didn't give them the stamp of a bonafide contender, however; their win total entering the 2023 season was 82.5 wins per DraftKings. But they were the ones who didn't get the memo. Even though deGrom has only started six games before his injury, the Rangers have steamrolled their competition. Their 72-53 record is the fifth-best in all of MLB behind only the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers' run differential of +184, however, is the second-best in the MLB behind only the Atlanta Braves.

However, that doesn't mean the Rangers are a perfect team. No team is. The Rangers have flaws that have been exploited in the last week as they've dropped their last five games. Those concerns could hold Texas back and prevent them from getting back to the World Series. How much they can gloss over these concerns will be key to their playoff hopes.

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Consistency From the Bullpen

The strength of the Rangers comes from their hitting. They're one of the most potent offenses in the MLB. They've scored 705 runs this season; only the Atlanta Braves have more with 719. Their starting pitching hasn't been much of an issue either. Dane Dunning, Jon Gray, and Nathan Eovaldi all have ERAs of 3.52 or below and a WHIP below 1.2. And they added to their rotation at the trade deadline when they acquired Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery, both of whom have ERAs below three and a WHIP of 1 or below since arriving in Arlington.

The biggest issue with the Rangers comes from their bullpen. Texas has just two relievers with an ERA below three: Jose Leclerc and Brock Burke. Not only have the majority of their relievers been unstable, but they haven't been able to deliver consistently when it counts. The Rangers have blown 22 saves this season. That is tied with the San Diego Padres for the 10th most in all of MLB. To add insult to injury, their 52% save percentage is tied for the fourth-most in baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals. Only MLB bottom-feeders like the Oakland Athletics (45%), Chicago White Sox (48%), and Kansas City Royals (49%) are worse in that statistic.

Recent Example

Texas' bullpen woes were magnified just last night in a road loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rangers' bats weren't working as well as they normally do as they scored just one run through nine innings. They held a 1-0 lead in the ninth, but that didn't last when Aroldis Chapman gave up a solo home run to Ketel Marte in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game to extras.

The Rangers eventually scored two runs in the 11th inning to give themselves a 3-1 lead. But once again, that didn't last. This time it was Will Smith who couldn't seal the deal. Geraldo Perdomo hit a double to bring one run in and get two runners in scoring position. This double by Tommy Pham iced the game for Diamondbacks.

Ranging Along

The Texas Rangers are one of the best teams in baseball and one of the two most potent offenses in the sport. Their starting pitching staff has been excellent all season long, even without Jacob deGrom. But their bullpen has been their Achilles heel. If that can hold up in the postseason, the Rangers have little to worry about. For that to happen, the bullpen has to play much better than it has in the regular season.