A simple glance at the numbers may make you wonder why the Texas Rangers felt the need to bring in a new offensive voice in Dave Magadan, who has accepted the hitting coach job in Texas.
The Rangers led the AL in runs with 808. They were second in the league in both total bases (2,493) and batting (.273). In fact, they were just a point behind the Los Angeles Angels in average. Texas hit the second-most home runs, and were near the top in on-base percentage and slugging.
But consistency was a problem for the club's bats all season. They didn't convert as many opportunities with a runner at third and less than two outs as they needed to do. They didn't hit consistently with runners in scoring position. And when the season was on the line in the final few weeks of the season, the offense nearly disappeared. The clutch hits didn't come. The little things to score runs even without hits just wasn't there. And that's despite good overall season numbers in many situational categories.
The offense belted the ball in April and parts of May. But in June and July, it swooned. The club scored the fewest runs in July and then bounced back by scoring the most in August. Yet in the final 13 games, the sticks weren't there. In the final 13 games, the Rangers went 4-9 to watch a five-game lead with nine to play (and a four-game lead with six to play) disappear. Texas hit .251 as a team in that stretch, scoring 3.8 runs per game. With runners in scoring position, Texas hit just .228 (23-for-101). They were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position in a 5-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in the AL wild-card game.
The problem wasn't getting the chances. The problem was cashing them in more often. One of Magadan's biggest jobs will be to work with the hitters in those situational moments to see if there's an approach that can help them score those runs and make the offense as versatile as it was in 2010 and 2011.
Magadan has an advantage in that by all reports the players liked him in Boston and he played for two seasons in Oakland when Rangers manager Ron Washington was a coach. So there's a connection. This is the fifth hitting coach in five seasons, so we'll see how he adjusts and how the players react. But it's a veteran bunch and a good hitting lineup. Magadan doesn't need to make wholesale changes and try to remake swings. He's just got to do some polishing, especially in those situational at-bats.