The Rangers were shut down last night by Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (above), who was making just his 3rd start in the big leagues. And while they’ve mustered a bit of firepower this afternoon against former teammate Kenny Rogers thus far (RBI doubles by Ian Kinsler and Michael Young), the Dallas Morning News’ Richard Durrett surveys a miserable start to the season.

How badly has the first week of the 2006 season gone for the Rangers?

¢ They are 1-5, the worst record in the American League. It’s the worst start for Texas since 2002.
¢ They have scored a total of 15 runs against pitchers who don’t throw knuckleballs.
¢ Their ace, Kevin Millwood, is 0-2 and has a 7.36 ERA.
¢ Their leadoff hitter, Brad Wilkerson, has twice as many strikeouts (10) as hits (five).
¢ The leadoff batter hasn’t been on base in any inning in three of their six games, including the last two.

The good news: The first week of the season is over.

“I told Mark [DeRosa] in the dugout that sometimes teams start out like this and you learn a lot about the character of guys in the room,” DH Phil Nevin said. “A lot of times a good road trip is good for a team. You can mingle and go out with guys and we haven’t had a chance to do that.”

Indeed, Jon Daniels and Buck Showalter should petition the AL schedule makers next winter to have the Rangers start the 2007 season with a 3 week road trip. The lack of mingling is what’s really holding them back.