Texas players and coaches are hoping for a better April this season, which could mean moving further in the post-season.
The Rangers finished 88-74 a year ago, winning the America League West. The team finished just two games ahead of Houston and three ahead of the Angels.
At the beginning of the season, a slow start made it appear as if the Rangers would finish closer to the bottom of the AL West, but players and coaches are hoping April of 2016 is a better month.
The saying goes you can’t win a pennant in the first month of the season, but you can lose a pennant in the first month of the season.
The Rangers tested the saying last year, with an 8-16 start leaving them 9.5 games out of first place.
Injuries certainly played a part. Pitcher Yu Darvish was lost to Tommy John surgery before the season started, and pitcher Derek Holland was sidelined for four and a half months after just one inning on Opening Day.
“It doesn’t really matter how you start anyway,” Holland says. “You know you guys get caught up with that stuff, and we don’t. We worry about what we can control. We’re not going to get caught up in the stuff from last year. It’s 2016. We’ve turned the page.”
“We left something on the table last year,” says Rangers Pitching Coach Doug Brocail. “These guys were ready to come to spring training and start working immediately, and it wasn’t one or two guys. It was the entire team.”
So does that mean their won’t be a slow start, a slump or, as Manager Jeff Banister likes to call it, a growth period?
“There’s going to be growth periods this year,” Banister says. “To think there’s not… it’s not the same 25 guys. It’s not going to be the same 25 guys. But I look at April as a great growth period for a group of guys that could celebrate winning the American League West.”
Of course, this year they’d like to move beyond the American League Division Series.
Our own Tobin McDuff is at Rangers Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona through March 11. Follow him on Twitter via #SpringRangers.