Texas Rangers’ David Murphy Continues To Struggle
This was supposed to be the year of David Murphy. After several seasons as serving as the Texas Rangers fourth outfielder, last season was finally Murphy’s first shot at a regular starting role. Many hoped that a second season as a starter coupled with 2013 being the final year of his contract, that Murphy would exceed last year’s success. If the thirty one year old could piece together another successful season, he may end up with a nice long term deal in the off-season, either with the Rangers or another suitor. How has he responded? Not well.
Heading into Tuesday’s game, Murphy is sitting just above the “Mendoza Line” with a measly .205 AVG with a .256 OBP and an OPS of .632 through 117 at bats. Last season Murphy benefited from extended playing time as he set career highs in just about every offensive category. Murphy’s numbers last year were as follows: .304 AVG /.380 OBP /.859 OPS which ranked second, first, and third in each category respectively. Although the Rangers have sluggers Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, and Nelson Cruz, Murphy has proven to be an integral part of the lineup as he can get on base and help set the table for others to drive him in.
Entering play on Wednesday, this season the Rangers have played in 17 games which were decided by two runs or fewer and posted a 12- 5 record in those games. If the Rangers plan to alleviate the bulk of stressful innings for their pitching staff they will need to try and build off of their 4.5 runs per game average. To do so, Murphy has to figure it out offensively.
If the left fielder continues to struggle, he may end up playing himself out of the starting lineup and out of a long term deal this off-season. With youngsters Leonys Martin and Craig Gentry platooning in centerfield and reserve Jeff Baker hitting the ball well, one has to wonder how long manager Ron Washington will continue starting the struggling left-hander.
This was supposed to be the year of David Murphy, so far, it has been anything but.