FOUR GAME ROAD SWEEP!

Richard W. Humphrey

The Texas Rangers routed the Baltimore Orioles Sunday afternoon 10-4 to complete a four game road sweep.  Baltimore with just 46 wins on the season is not a strong opponent, but irrespective of the quality of the opponent, four game road sweeps are rare.  The last in Ranger history was a four game sweep more than six years ago in August of 2013 against Houston.

The four wins brought the Ranger record to one game under .500 at 72-73 raising the possibility that Texas can finish at .500 or better.  There are 12 home games compared with just five road games remaining on the Rangers’ schedule, though all 17 games are against teams with winning records.

The series opened Thursday with a terrifically played game.  The Orioles’ John Means shut out Texas over the first six innings.  Ranger starter Kolby Allard was almost as good.  He gave up a lead-off double in the sixth inning to Trey Mancini, who moved to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly, to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead.

Elvis Andrus led off the Ranger seventh inning with a single, and two batters later, Nick Solak hit his second Major League home run to put the Rangers in front 2-1.  Solak walked in the ninth inning and later scored an insurance run to make the final score 3-1.

Allard’s record went to 4-0 with the win.  Jose Leclerc finished off the Birds in the ninth to earn his 10th save.  Means was charged with the loss to go to 10-10.

Friday night, the offenses started fast.  Each team knocked a pair of home runs over the first three innings.  Willie Calhoun and Mancini hit solo shots in the first inning.  Richie Martin hit a three run shot in the bottom of the second, but Calhoun matched it with a three run shot in the top of the third inning making the score 4-4.  It was Calhoun’s first career two home run game.

Anthony Santander hit a two run home run in the Birds’ fifth to break the tie and put Baltimore in front 6-4.  The Rangers went back ahead with three seventh inning runs.  A double and two walks loaded the bases to start the inning.  All three runners scored on the two singles that followed.

Brock Burke struggled through five innings as the Rangers’ starting pitcher.  He admitted after the game that he had lost eight or nine pounds from a stomach virus, but knew the team needed some innings Friday night with a bullpen game scheduled for Saturday.  He gave up all six runs, but the Rangers were in the game when he left.

Four relievers blanked the Orioles over the final four innings for the 7-6 win.  Brett Martin (2-3) was the winning pitcher, and Leclerc earned his 11th save.  Orioles’ reliever Paul Fry took the loss to go to 1-8.

The Rangers exploded for six first inning runs to start Saturday’s game.  The first six Ranger hitters of the game reached base and scored, with Rougned Odor driving in the final two with his 23rd home run.  Baltimore struck back with three first inning runs off Jonathan Hernandez, who pitched into the third inning.

Johander Mendez followed Hernandez to the mound and was the star of the game.  He made his Ranger 2019 debut after suffering with an elbow injury for most of the season.  He retired seven batters – six by strikeout and was awarded the win.  He’s 1-0.

Odor unquestionably had been struggling as he was hitting .193 after Thursday’s game.  On Saturday though, he broke out with two more hits to go with his first inning home run to finish 3-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs.  He was finally above the Mendoza line at .202.

Orioles starter Aaron Brooks took the loss in the 9-4 Ranger win.  Brooks is 4-8.

Sunday’s rout started early.  Texas scored one in the first inning, three more in the second, and added single runs in the third and fourth innings to lead 6-1.  Texas added four more runs in the sixth and seventh innings to support Mike Minor’s eight inning, two run effort.

Odor homered again and went 2-5 to bring his average up to .204.  That’s still an embarrassingly low number, but it’s up 11 points in three days, and Odor does lead the Rangers in home runs and RBIs.  Ronald Guzman went 3-5 and also homered.

Minor is 13-8 with the win and likely has four more starts left in the season.  Baltimore starter Asher Wojciechowski (2-8) took the loss.

Texas has an off day Monday.  The Tampa Bay Rays then come to Arlington for three games.  The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Lance Lynn (14-10) on Tuesday, Ariel Jurado (7-10) on Wednesday, and Kolby Allard (4-0) on Thursday.  The start time for all three games is 7:05 PM Central.

NOTABLE:

*     The sweep enabled the Rangers to finish the road trip with a 5-2 record.  The four-game sweep was also the first over Baltimore on the road since the 1972 season when the Rangers in their first year in Arlington won only 54 games total.

*     In Sunday’s game, the Rangers banged out 20 hits, and every starter had at least one base knock.

*     The final seventeen games break down as follows:  Houston for two and Oakland for three on the road, and three games each against Tampa Bay, Oakland, Boston and New York at home.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

YANKEES AT LAST

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The unbalanced schedule with each team playing 19 games against their four divisional opponents usually affords a preponderance of divisional games in September. What can be better than head-to-head competition to decide the division champion and perhaps a Wild Card berth?  Oddly this season, the schedule has most of the divisional play happening before September.  The Rangers have just nine September games against divisional foes, and 16 against American League East opponents.

The Rangers faced the Yankees for the first time this season to start the week.  New York took two out of three.  No surprise here.  The Yankees have lost just one series at home all season.  They are now 18-1-3 in home series.

The Rangers won game one behind a strong starting pitching effort from Mike Minor.  He shut out the Yankees over the first 7-1/3rd innings, and Shawn Kelley and Emmanuel Clase completed the shutout.  The final score was 7-0, with Minor winning his 12th game against eight losses.  The Yankees had gone 220 games without being shutout since June of 2018.

The Ranger batters touched Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka for two runs over the first six innings.  They added five more runs off of Nestor Cortes, Jr. and Tyler Lyons over the final three.  Tanaka is 10-8 with the loss.

That was the good news for Texas in this series.  The Rangers scored just twice more with ninth inning home runs from Scott Heineman and Rougned Odor in the second and third games of the series.  The final scores were 10-1 on Tuesday and 4-1 on Wednesday.  Starters Edinson Volquez (0-1) and Lance Lynn (14-10) were the losing pitchers.

James Paxton, the Yankees’ starting pitcher Tuesday, was almost untouchable.  He allowed just two base runners (a single and a walk) as he blanked the Rangers over seven innings on 95 pitches to improve to 12-6.  Four of the five Ranger pitchers that appeared in the game gave up a home run, as the Bronx Bombers lived up to their name by hitting five on the night.

The Yankees made Wednesday’s rubber match a bullpen game.  Six pitchers took the mound with Luis Cessa, the second pitcher in the game, getting the win.  He’s 2-1.  He labored through five innings on 108 pitches, allowing three runs.

The losses in the final two games put the Rangers five games under .500 at 68-73.  They now open a four game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.  The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Kolby Allard (3-0) on Thursday, Brock Burke (0-1) on Friday, TBA on Saturday, and Mike Minor (12-8) on Sunday.  These will be the last four games this year against an opponent with a losing record.  Game times (Central) are 6:05 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 12:05 PM on Sunday.

Last weekend, the Rangers split a four game series against the Seattle Mariners.  On Thursday, Lance Lynn started, and he pitched a fine game.  He gave up an earned run on four hits over six innings.  An egregious error on a dropped throw to first base charged him with two more unearned runs.  The Rangers rallied to tie the game at 3-3.  Jose Leclerc has been good sometimes and bad sometimes of late.  On this night, he wasn’t good, coughing up two runs in the ninth inning to take the loss in a 5-3 Seattle win.

On Friday, Kolby Allard started and gave up two runs over 5-1/3rd innings.  He got the win to go to 3-0 as the Rangers scored six runs on seven hits.  The score was 6-3.

On Saturday, the Rangers won again.  They scored two runs in the ninth to walk-off with a 3-2 win.  Elvis Andrus scored on an infield ground ball and Isiah Kiner-Felafa singled home the game winner.

The Rangers had the chance to win the series on Sunday, but it wasn’t to be.  Brett Martin as the opener, gave up four first inning runs. September call-up Luke Farrell followed Martin to the mound and gave up two more runs.  Seven Ranger pitchers ended up seeing action in a bullpen game that Texas lost 11-3.

NOTABLE:

*     The Rangers have allowed 198 home runs this season in 141 games.  That’s a pace to give up 227 round trippers for the season.  The club record is 220.

*     The Rangers dismissed their entire staff at AAA Nashville – manager Jason Wood, pitching coach Brian Shouse, and bullpen coach Eric Gagne.  Hitting coach Howard Johnson will not return, but may accept another position in the organization.  Also AA Frisco manager Joe Mikuluk was dismissed.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

RANGERS TAKE SEASON SERIES WITH ANGELS

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

This week, the Texas Rangers split a two game series with the Los Angeles Angels to win the season series 10-9.  The Rangers come home for a weekend series with Seattle having gone 2-4 on the two city road trip.

On Tuesday, Mike Minor shut out the Angels for the first six innings, and the Rangers gave him a lead with Shin-Soo Choo singling in a third inning run.

The game fell apart for Texas in the seventh though.  Minor gave up a single and two walks to load the bases to start the inning.  A one out double and a two out single scored four runs for the Angels.

Each team scored a run in the eighth inning to make the final score 5-2.  The Rangers’ run came on Danny Santana’s 23rd home run.

Minor drops to 11-8, and his ERA is up to 3.25.  Angels reliever Miguel Del Pozo got the final out in the Ranger seventh inning to earn the win, his first in the Major Leagues.  Del Pozo was signed by the Rangers last December as a minor league free agent.  After going 2-3 with a 5.12 ERA in 42-2/3rds innings, the Rangers traded him to the Angels for cash considerations on August 9.

On Wednesday, the Rangers chose to open the game with Emmanuel Clase and follow him in the second inning with announced starter Ariel Jurado.  Clase loaded the bases with one out, but escaped scoreboard damage with an inning ending double play.

Jurado followed Clase to the mound and turned in a sparkling performance.  He got a big assist from Delino DeShields, who made arguably the Rangers’ catch of the year.  The fly off Brian Goodwin’s bat in the third inning was clearly over the fence, but DeShields hauled it in.  Jurado finished the night with six shut out innings on two hits to earn the win.  He’s 7-10.

Rafael Montero and Jose Leclerc finished off the eighth and ninth innings to complete the shutout.  Leclerc was credited with his ninth save.

Angels’ starter Patrick Sandoval was almost as good as Jurado.  The Angels’ starting pitcher blanked the Rangers over the first five innings on one hit.  Tuesday’s winning pitcher Del Pozo took the mound to start the sixth and retired just one of the three batters he faced.  A walk and a single put runners at first and second base and ended Del Pozo’s night.  Keynan Middleton relieved and gave up a single to Nick Solak that scored Elvis Andrus running from second base.  That tagged Del Pozo with the loss to make his record 1-1.

The Rangers added two more runs in the eighth inning.  Solak and Logan Forsythe singled and Isiah Kiner-Falefa doubled them home to conclude the scoring on the night to make the final score 3-0.

The Rangers come home for the weekend – a four game series with Seattle.  Lance Lynn (14-9) is Thursday’s starting pitcher.  It will be an interesting traffic night at the ballpark.  Game time is 7:05 PM and literally paces away from Globe Life Field, the Dallas Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at ATT Stadium with a 7:00 PM kickoff.

Friday night’s Ranger starting pitcher is Kolby Allard (2-0) and Saturday night’s starting pitcher is TBD.  Brock Burke (0-1) is likely to pitch Saturday, but the Rangers may use an opener in the first inning.

Saturday’s game will also present traffic problems as Auburn plays Oregon at ATT Stadium with a 6:30 PM start time.  Prior to Saturday’s game, the Rangers will honor Michael Young by retiring his uniform number 10.

Sunday’s starting pitcher is also listed as TBD.  This game will be the first after the rosters expand and is likely to be a bullpen day to give the starting rotation an extra day of rest.  Game times (all Central) are 7:05 PM for Friday and Saturday’s games.  Sunday’s start time is 2:05 PM.

NOTABLE:

*     Mike Trout homered Tuesday night, his 43rd this season and his 11th against the Rangers this year.   The 11 home runs against one team in a season is an Angel record as well as a Ranger record for opponent home runs given up to one player.

*     Rougned Odor went 0-4 in the series to drop his batting average to .193.  He has no hits in his last 26 at bats.

*     Tuesday’s loss dropped the Rangers five games under .500, tying the season high set in May.

*     Retired Texas Ranger Adrian Beltre attended Tuesday’s game.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WHITE SOX TAKE SEASON SERIES

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Chicago White Sox took three out of four from the Texas Rangers this weekend, finishing Sunday afternoon with a one hit shutout of the Lawmen.  Chicago wins the season series four games to three.  Texas finished the week 4-4, with a 1.5 game lead over the Angels for third place in the American League West.  They are 21 games out of first place.  The division leading Astros have a magic number of 10 to mathematically eliminate the Rangers from winning the American League West.  Any combination of Astros’ wins and Rangers’ losses that add up to 10 will eliminate Texas.

The highlight of the weekend for Texas was Saturday evening’s game.  Kolby Allard started for Texas, his fourth start with Texas since coming over from Atlanta in a July 31 trade.  Allard pitched into the seventh inning, shutting out the Sox over 6-1/3rd innings on six hits.  He allowed no walks and struck out eight.

The final score was 4-0 as Rafael Montero and Jose Leclerc finished the whitewashing of Chicago.  White Sox starter Ivan Nova gave up two runs in 5-2/3rds innings to take the loss and go to 9-10 for the year.

Allard is 2-0 with the win.  He got run support from Willie Calhoun and Danny Santana, who each hit a two run home run.

Getting shutout Sunday was not a disaster.  Brock Burke, who had debuted last Tuesday with six shutout innings against the Angels, again completed six innings allowing a run on two hits.  He walked three and struck out five, but the Rangers managed just one hit in the game – a single from Shin-Soo Choo, such that Burke took the loss.  He’s 0-1.

Ariel Jurado started the series opener and got hit hard early.  The White Sox nicked him for a run in the second inning and four more in the third.  Manager Chris Woodward stuck with him though after coming into the series having played four games in three days, two of which went extra innings.  Jurado responded by completing the game allowing just one more run.

All the offense the Rangers could muster was a solo home run from Elvis Andrus making the final score 6-1.  The good news despite the loss was that the bullpen got a day off.  Jurado is 6-10 with the loss, while White Sox starter Ross (former Ranger) Detwiler pitched six innings of one run ball to get the win and improve to 2-3.

On Friday night, the Rangers pushed three runs across in the first inning on a home run by Calhoun.  Unfortunately, that was all the Rangers would score on the night.  The Rangers got just two more hits after the first inning.

Lance Lynn was the Ranger starting pitcher, and it wasn’t his best outing.  He did strike out 11, but gave up seven runs on seven hits over 5-2/3rds innings.  Lynn took the loss to go to 14-9.  The final score was 8-3, and Dylan Cease, the Sox’ starting pitcher, was the winner.  He’s 3-6.

The Rangers get a day off Monday and then open a two game series against the Angels.  The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Mike Minor (11-7) on Tuesday and Ariel Jurado (6-10) on Wednesday.  Game time for both games is 9:10 PM (Central).

NOTABLE:

*     The Rangers scored just eight runs on 17 hits in the four game series, and all eight were driven in by home runs.  Willie Calhoun drove in five of the eight runs.

*     Hunter Pence did not play in this series because of lower back stiffness.  The Rangers hope he’ll be ready by Tuesday when the Angels’ series opens.

*     Brock Burke is the first Ranger pitcher ever to pitch at least six innings and allow one or fewer runs in his first two starts with Texas.  His ERA is 0.75!

*     The Rangers’ team batting average on the road is down to .231, the lowest in the American League.

*     Rougned Odor’s batting average is down to .195 and his OPS is .679.  For August, he is hitting .145 with a .553 OPS.

*     The Astros are 23-2 at home against the other four teams from the A. L. West.  Texas is 0-7 in two series, and play two more games in the Bayou City on September 18 and 19.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE BATTLE FOR THIRD PLACE

RANGERS TAKE SERIES WITH THREE WALK OFF WINS

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels battled for third place in the American League West this week.  The Angels arrived with a one game lead over the fourth place Rangers, but Texas won three of four games to pull ahead of Los Angeles by one game – two in the loss column.  In each of the wins, the Rangers scored the winning run in their final at bat.  Two of the victories came in extra innings games.

Monday night’s game looked like it was decided shortly after the game began.  The Angels put five runs on the board in the top of the first inning, a rally capped by a three run Albert Pujols home run.  After two innings, the Angels led 7-1.

Kolby Allard was the Ranger starting pitcher that gave up the seven runs.  With a doubleheader staring the Rangers in the face on Tuesday, manager Chris Woodward elected to stick with Allard to save his bullpen, and he rewarded Woodward’s faith.  He held the Angels scoreless over the next three innings, facing just nine batters.  He retired eight of them, and the one that walked was erased by a double play.

Meanwhile, the Rangers’ offense began to chip away at the Angels’ lead.  Catcher Jose Trevino hit his first Major League home run in the fourth inning.  The Rangers loaded the bases in the fifth inning, and proceeded to unload them with a double and a ground out.  That brought the score to 7-5, and it was game on!

In the eighth inning, the Rangers tied the game on a pair of run scoring singles from Hunter Pence and Rougned Odor.  Four Ranger relievers held the Angels off the scoreboard in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.

That sent the game to extra innings, and Rafael Montero continued the fine bullpen work on this night with two scoreless innings.  In the Rangers’ half of the 11th inning, Trevino walked with two outs.  He advanced to third on Shin-Soo Choo’s single, and scored on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s infield hit for the walk-off win.

Montero goes to 2-0 with the 8-7 win, while LA reliever Noe Ramirez took the loss.  He’s 4-2.

The Rangers split Tuesday’s doubleheader, but there was reason for optimism.  Nick Solak was summoned from AAA to replace Nomar Mazara on the active roster.  Mazara was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained quad.  Solak had been tearing up AAA pitching since the Rangers acquired him in a July trade with Tampa Bay.  He had at least one hit in all 18 games he had played at Nashville after the trade.  Ten of his hits were home runs.

In the day game of the doubleheader, Solak got his first hit, and then he hit his first Major League home run in the nightcap.  Solak’s home run was a solo shot in the fifth inning.  Two batters later, Trevino doubled and ultimately scored on Danny Santana’s single, making the score 2-0.

The two runs were good enough to lead the game because another rookie making his Major League debut – Brock Burke – pitched a masterful game as the starting pitcher.  He shut out the Angels over six innings, facing the top of the Angels’ batting order – which is about as good as any in baseball – three times.  He gave up four hits, walked two batters and struck out four.  Burke is now scheduled to start again on Sunday.

In the eighth inning, Shawn Kelley gave up a run, cutting the Rangers’ lead to 2-1.  In the ninth inning, Jose Leclerc was charged with a blown save when he gave up a home run to Brian Goodwin that tied the game.

It was extra innings again.  Emmanuel Clase still another rookies zipped through the Angels in the 10th and 11th innings.

In the Rangers’ 11th, Delino DeShields singled and stole second with two outs.  That brought Solak to the plate again.  In this day and age, most analytics indicate strikeouts don’t matter, and batters are definitely striking out in record numbers.  Solak however proved the analytics wrong.  He put the ball in play – a ground ball to first base.  It wasn’t a difficult chance for Pujols, but it somehow eluded the future Hall of Famers’ glove.  The speedy DeShields had no trouble scoring from second.  Ballgame!

Clase earned his first Major League win to go to 1-2.  Angels’ reliever Ty Buttrey took the hard luck loss to go to 6-6.

The afternoon game had gone to the Angels.  Joe Palumbo, still another rookie, was the Ranger starting pitcher, and a blister ended his outing in the second inning.  He was charged with three runs and the loss to go to 0-2.

Phillips Valdez followed Palumbo and gave up two more runs.  Willie Calhoun homered in the sixth for the only Ranger score of the day, making the final score 5-1.

Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney was spectacular.  He completed eight innings, allowing just four hits and striking out a career high 14 Rangers.  At one point, he retired 16 batters in a row.  He’s 3-3 with the win.

Mike Minor was Wednesday’s starting pitcher, and he was very good for three innings.  Calhoun homered again in the third inning to put the Rangers on the scoreboard.  Solak followed with a double, and he later scored on DeShields’ single as the Rangers took a 2-0 lead.

The Angels tied the game in the fourth inning, but the Rangers immediately answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth.  Calhoun and Solak again scored the runs.  Calhoun led off with a double.  Solak drove him in with a single and later scored on a DeShields’ single.

The Angels though tied the game with two runs in the fifth inning and scored three in the sixth to take a 7-4 lead.  Pence singled home two runs in the seventh as the Rangers pulled to within a run at 7-6.  Choo singled home a run in the eighth inning to tie the game.

That set the stage for the ninth inning walk off win.  Elvis Andrus singled leading off the inning.  Two wild pitches moved him to third base, and Pence singled him home for the 8-7 win.

The Rangers are in the midst of playing four straight four game series.  They continue this weekend in Chicago beginning Thursday night.  The announced starting pitchers for the series are Ariel Jurado (6-9) on Thursday, Lance Lynn (14-8) on Friday, Kolby Allard (1-0) on Saturday, and Brock Burke (0-0) on Sunday.  Game times (Central) are 7:10 PM Thursday and Friday, 6:10 PM on Saturday, and 1:10 PM on Sunday.

NOTABLE:

*     Willie Calhoun hit .433 (13-39) on the home stand with three home runs.

*     Sam Huff was named the Rangers’ minor league Player of the Year.  He’s hitting .288 with 28 home runs and 79 RBIs at Low-A Hickory and Advanced-A Down East.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BROOMS IN ARLINGTON

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – Brooms were needed in Arlington Sunday, but it was the Minnesota Twins that did the sweeping.  They won all four games of this weekend’s series with the Texas Rangers in the battle of the two teams that used to be known at the Washington Senators.  It was the first time the Twins (the first Washington Senators) had swept the Rangers (the second Washington Senators) in a four game series.

Game one of the series was almost over before it began.  Ranger starting pitcher Pedro Payano was rocked hard – so hard that he was optioned to AAA Nashville after the game.  The Twins didn’t score in the first inning, but proceeded to score in each of the next five innings, starting with five runs in the second.  After the Twins hit in the fifth inning, they had built the lead to 11-0.

The Rangers did battle back to score three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth inning to cut the lead to 12-5.  It could easily have been more.  Aggressive base running cost them three outs on the bases.  Manager Chris Woodward wants his team to be aggressive running the bases.  Aggressive is one thing; stupid is another.  There’s no reason to make an out on the bases, much less three when they were so far behind.

The final score was 13-6 handing the loss to Payano (1-2) with the loss.  He pitched into the fourth inning, giving up five earned runs on five hits and three walks.  Four relievers followed, and Shawn Kelley is the only one that did not allow a run.

Twins’ starter Michael Pineda went to 8-5 with the win.  He completed five innings and Devin Smeltzer pitched the final four innings to qualify for a save (his first) despite the lopsided score.  Pineda and Smeltzer each gave up three runs.

Mike Minor has been the Rangers’ hottest pitcher of late.  He came into the second game of the series having thrown 16 consecutive scoreless innings and three straight wins.  Both of those streaks ended Friday night.  He gave up a two run home run to Max Kepler in the fourth inning to end the scoreless innings streak.  After the Rangers took a 3-2 lead, Minor gave up another two run dinger to Jonathan Schoop in the seventh inning.  That made the score 4-3, which was the final.

Nomar Mazara doubled home two runs, and the third Ranger run scored on a wild pitch.

Minor is 11-7 with the loss, though his ERA is still less than 3.00 at 2.94.  Reliever Tyler Duffey was the winning pitcher.  Sergio Romo earned the save, his 20th.

On Saturday, the Twins struck for six first inning runs and added two more in the second inning.  The Rangers though scored two in the first and four more in the second to put the Twins in range at 8-6.  Danny Santana was the Rangers’ big stick as he hit two run home runs in the first and second innings.

Ariel Jurado was the Rangers’ starting pitcher.  He lasted two innings giving up eight runs, but six of the runs were unearned.  He took the loss to go to 6-9, and his hold on a rotation spot is tenuous.  Four relievers finished the game.  Three of them allowed more runs.  The final score was 12-7 with Duffey getting his second win of the series to go to 4-1.

Sunday’s game was very winnable for Texas, but it didn’t happen because of poor defense.  Texas committed two errors and a very catchable ball in left field did not get caught driving in two runs with two outs in the first inning.

Lance Lynn was the starting pitcher, and the miscues caused him to throw an extra 25 pitches.  He didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled through five innings allowing three runs on four hits and five walks.  His 112 pitch count forced him out of the game.

After getting behind 3-0, Jeff Mathis drove in two runs in the fourth inning, making this his first game this year to drive in more than one run.  Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh inning to tie the game at three.  However in the eighth inning, Jorge Polanco tripled with the bases loaded to put the Twins ahead 6-3, which was the final score.

Ranger reliever Emmanuel Clase was charged with the three eighth inning runs to take the loss.  He’s 0-2.  Former Ranger closer Sam Dyson was the Twins’ winning pitcher.  He’s 5-1.  Taylor Rogers closed it out for his 19th save.

Texas has now lost 10 of their last 12 games to fall four games under .500.  They have dropped behind the Angels into fourth place in the division, trailing the first place Astros by 18.5 games.

The Angels come to town for four games over the next three days.  The game that was not played in July when Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room will be made up as part of a day/night doubleheader on Tuesday.  The Rangers’ announced starting pitchers are Kolby Allard (1-0) on Monday and rookies Brock Burke making his Major League debut in game one and Joe Palumbo (0-1) in game two on Tuesday.   Mike Minor (11-7) is Wednesday’s scheduled starter.  The day game of Tuesday’s double header is scheduled to start at 1:05 PM.  The Monday and Tuesday night games are slated to begin at 7:05 PM, and Wednesday’s game is scheduled to begin at 6:05 PM.  (All game times are Central Daylight Time.)

NOTABLE:

*    Joey Gallo has begun taking swings at balls off a tee.  He wants to return before the end of the season, but admits he is still at least 3-4 weeks away from being able to play in a game.

*     The Rangers offense fizzled this weekend largely because they couldn’t get key hits.  For the series, the Rangers went 7-35 with runners in scoring position.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TUMBLE IN TORONTO

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Rangers finished their three city road trip, their second in a row, on a high note with a 7-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon.  It was the best offensive showing in the otherwise miserable road trip.  The Rangers were 3-6, as they won one game in each series.

The series opening game on Monday night couldn’t have gone much worse.  The high point for the Rangers came when starting pitcher Ariel Jurado retired the Jays without a score in the first inning, and Nomar Mazara hit his 16th home run in the top of the second to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.

From there, the game was downhill for the Rangers.  The Blue Jays rallied for two second inning runs, added three more in the third inning with a double and a pair of home runs, and then broke it open with eight fourth inning runs.

Jurado was knocked out in the fourth inning having been tagged for eight runs on 11 hits.  Adrian Sampson finished the inning, and he was charged with five runs on three hits.  Brett Martin and Jesse Chavez followed Sampson.  Each pitched an inning, and each gave up two runs.  Rafael Montero pitched the seventh inning, and he was the only Ranger pitcher on the night that wasn’t scored upon.  Catcher Jeff Mathis pitched the eighth inning and gave up Toronto’s final two runs.

Willie Calhoun and Rougned Odor homered in the seventh inning, and Jose Trevino singled home a run in the ninth to make the final score 19-4.  Jurado is 6-8 with the loss, and Brock Stewart, who took the mound in the second inning after Neil Ramirez opened with a scoreless first inning, was the winning pitcher.  He’s 2-0.

The Rangers’ offense continued to snooze in game two.  They managed just five hits – two doubles and three singles, and were shutout 3-0.  Lance Lynn was the starting pitcher, and he ended his streak of completing at least six innings.  He gave up a run on four hits over the first five innings, but he needed 101 pitches to labor through five.  Shawn Kelley relieved and surrendered the other two Blue Jay runs.

Lynn is 14-8 with the loss.while Thomas Pannone is 3-5 with the win.  Pannone entered the game in the third inning, after former Ranger Wilmer Font opened the game for Toronto with a two inning stint.  Ken Giles pitched the ninth to earn his 16th save.

Wednesday’s getaway game was an afternoon affair, and the Ranger bats responded to the daylight.  Delino DeShields singled home a run in the second inning, and the Rangers never trailed in the game.  Danny Santana doubled home two runs in the fourth inning, and Elvis Andrus then drove Santana home with a single to extend the lead to 4-0.  Andrus doubled home Santana again in the sixth.  Mazara and Santana homered in the seventh and eighth innings to boost the Ranger run total to seven.

Kolby Allard, the prospect the Rangers received from Atlanta for reliever Chris Martin, made his second Ranger start and was quite good.  He pitched into the sixth inning to earn the win, his first with the Rangers and second in the Majors.  He was charged with three runs, but two of those scored after Allard left the game.  Three Ranger relievers were unscored upon to finish the game, making the final score 7-3.

Allard is 1-0 with the win, and Toronto’s Sean Reid-Foley is 2-1 with the loss.

This weekend is the “player’s weekend”.  Teams will wear special jerseys with  players’ names of their choice on the back.

The Rangers are home this weekend to start an eight game home stand played in seven days.  Minnesota is the first opponent in town starting Thursday night.  The announced pitchers for Texas are Pedro Payano (1-1) on Thursday, Mike Minor (11-7) on Friday, Ariel Jurado (6-8) is Saturday’s starting pitcher, and Lance Lynn (14-8) is scheduled to start Sunday.  Game times (all Central) are 7:05 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2:05 PM on Sunday afternoon.

Prior to Saturday’s game, Josh Hamilton will be inducted into the Texas Rangers’ Hall of Fame.  Hamilton is perhaps the most talented player ever to wear a Ranger uniform, and he was the heart and soul of the only two Ranger teams in history that reached the World Series.  Former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene will also be inducted.

NOTABLE:

*     Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled a runner from second to third base in Monday’s ninth inning.  Jose Trevino followed with a run scoring single.  They were the first two hits with runners in scoring position on the road trip, as the Rangers were 0-26 going into the Monday’s ninth inning.  Texas went 6-40 with runners in scoring position during the nine game road trip.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ONE RUN GAMES!

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Texas Rangers avoided a sweep by the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday with an outstanding pitching performance to win 1-0.  All three games in the series were decided by one run, and the Rangers have now played 37 one run games in 2019 to lead the Majors.  Texas finished the week 2-4, with both wins being by the score of 1-0.

Mike Minor started Sunday and threw his second consecutive great game.  Minor certainly struggled in July with one win and a 6.58 ERA, but once the trade deadline passed and the calendar flipped to August, he has reverted back to being the staff ace Ranger fans saw over the first three months of the season.  He zapped the Brewers Sunday over eight innings allowing just four hits and one walk.  He struck out 11.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee starter Jordan Lyles was matching scoreless innings with Minor until the seventh, when Rougned Odor doubled following a lead-off walk to Willie Calhoun to put runners at second and third with no outs.  Isiah Kiner-Falefa plated the run by shortening his swing to assure contact.  His fly ball to right field was deep enough to easily score Calhoun with the only run of the game.

Jose Leclerc secured the win with a three up three down ninth inning.  He earned his eighth save, and Minor is 11-6 with the win.  Lyles fell to 7-8 with the loss.

Colby Allard, the pitcher the Rangers received from the Braves in the Chris Martin trade, was Friday night’s starting pitcher.  Ryan Braun doubled home Lorenzo Cain in the first inning to put the Brewers ahead 1-0.

Allard then settled in to toss three scoreless innings while Hunter Pence homered in the fourth inning to tie the game.  However, Allard again ran into trouble in the fifth inning.  Two walks and an infield single loaded the bases and ended Allard’s night on the mound.  Adrian Sampson relieved and promptly walked in a run before striking out two batters to end the inning.

In the Rangers’ sixth inning, three walks loaded the bases and a wild pitch scored the runner at third to tie the game at two.  Shawn Kelley came in to pitch the seventh inning.  He got two quick outs, but then ran into trouble.  A double, an intentional walk and an unintentional walk loaded the bases.  A single and a double followed to unload the bases and put the Brewers ahead 5-2.

However, the Rangers came back to tie it with Logan Forsythe’s two run home run in the eighth inning and Elvis Andrus’s solo shot in the ninth.  The Rangers had just four hits in the game, but three were home runs enabling them to score five runs.

Emmanuel Clase entered to pitch the ninth inning.  He got a strike out and a ground out, but the third batter he faced, Eric Thames, homered for the walk-off 6-5 Brewer win.

Clase is 0-1 with the loss.  Josh Hader pitched the ninth for Milwaukee and got the win, going to 2-5.

On Saturday, Pedro Payano started and struggled.  He simply could not put the ball where he wanted to.  He threw 70 pitches to get through three innings, surprisingly giving up just two runs, including a home run to Brewers’ second baseman Keston Hiura.

Bret Martin relieved and gave up another run in the fourth inning to put Milwaukee ahead 3-0.  Taylor Guerrieri and Sampson blanked Milwaukee over the last four innings.

Their relief effort was for naught though, as the Rangers’ offense mustered just two runs on the night.  Danny Santana and Shin-Soo Choo homered in the sixth and eighth innings for the Ranger runs, making the final score 3-2.

Payano is 1-1 with the loss.  Brewers’ starting pitcher Adrian Houser is 5-5 with the win.  Matt Albers earned his third save by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

Texas holds onto third place in the American League West at 59-58.  They trail second place Oakland by 7.5 games (seven in the loss column), and lead fourth place Los Angeles by two games (three in the loss column).  Texas is now nine games out of the second Wild Card playoff berth.

The Rangers finish this three city road trip in Toronto.  The Blue Jays are one of the A. L.’s rebuilding teams currently 23 games under .500.  They have caused excitement with three rookies that have joined the team since the season commenced.  All three are sons of former Major League players – Vlad Guerrero, Jr., Cavan Biggio (son of Craig), and Bo Bichette (son of Dante).

The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Ariel Jurado (6-7) on Monday, Lance Lynn (14-7) on Tuesday, and Kolby Allard (0-1) on Wednesday.  Monday’s and Tuesday’s games are scheduled to start at 6:07 PM (Central), while Wednesday’s matinee is scheduled at 12:07 PM (Central.)

NOTABLE:

*     The Rangers scored a total of 10 runs in this week’s six games and had six or fewer hits in each game.

*     Mike Minor was the winning pitcher in both games that Texas won last week.  He threw 15 shutout innings to earn the wins.

*     The Rangers finished inter-league play this year with a 9-11 record.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DOUBLE DISAPPOINTMENT IN CLEVELAND

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Texas Rangers disappointingly dropped an old fashioned double header Wednesday at Progressive Field in Cleveland to lsoe this week’s series to the Tribe two games to one.  Texas managed to score just two runs in the three games, but stellar starting pitching performances kept the Rangers in every game.

The series began with a marvelously played game that moved the Rangers’ winning streak to five games with a 1-0 win.  Mike Minor pitched his best game since throwing a complete game shutout June 26, as he blanked the Indians for seven innings.  Jesse Chavez and Jose Leclerc took care of the eighth and ninth innings to complete the shutout.  Minor is 10-6 with the win, and Leclerc earned his seventh save.

Quite frankly the Rangers’ offense didn’t do much.  Hats off to Indians’ starter Aaron Civali, who pitched perhaps even better than Minor.  Elvis Andrus, always a difficult out when the Tribe is the opponent, got his second hit of the game in the sixth inning – a triple.  He scored on a sacrifice fly on a ball hit to shallow right field.  It was a close play at home, but Andrus was safe.  Civali gave up the run in his six innings of work to take the loss and go to 1-1.

The good fortune ended there.  The Wednesday game was rained out forcing a doubleheader on Thursday.  On the surface, the rainout appeared to benefit the Rangers.  They had a scheduled off day Thursday, while the Tribe opened an important four-game series on the road against the team they are chasing for the American League Central title – the Minnesota Twins.

The Rangers had Ariel Jurdado and Lance Lynn slated to be the starting pitchers in the doubleheader.  The Indians decided to go with Zach Plesac in game one, but pushed Steve Clevenger a day to face the Twins, making game two of the doubleheader a bullpen game.  A. J. Cole was the only Indian hurler to throw more than two innings.

Both Ranger starters did well.  In game one, Jurado didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning and completed seven innings.  The only scoreboard damage was a home run off the bat of Jose Ramirez.  Jurado gave up just three hits total, and Emmanuel Clase pitched a three up, three down eighth inning.

The Rangers’ offense was dormant though, and was shut out despite outhitting Cleveland 6-3.  1-0 was the final score.  Jurado is 6-7 with the loss, while Nick Goody (3-0) in relief of Plesac was the winner for Cleveland.  Brad Hand pitched the scoreless ninth inning to earn his 28th save.

In game two, Lynn did what he what he usually does.  He finished seven innings and threw more than 100 pitches, giving up two runs.  5-1 was the final score after the Indians put the game away with three eighth inning runs off reliever Jesse Chavez.  Lynn is 14-7 with the loss, while Cole (3-1) is the winning pitcher for the Tribe.

It was definitely disappointing to see the five game winning streak come to an end and to not win the series with at least a split on Wednesday.  The Rangers still hold onto third place in the American League West, leading fourth place Los Angeles by 2.5 games (two in the loss column) and trailing second place Oakland by 6.5 games (six in the loss column).  The waning hopes of earning a Wild Card berth weren’t helped by the two Wednesday losses.  They now trail Tampa Bay by seven games (six in the loss column) for the second Wild Card slot with Oakland and Boston also ahead of Texas.

The three city road trip continues this weekend in Milwaukee.  This will complete inter-league play on the Rangers’ schedule.  After an off day Thursday, Kolby Allard will make his Ranger debut as Friday night’s starting pitcher.  Allard is the left-handed starting pitcher Texas received from Atlanta in the Chris Martin trade.  Pedro Payano (1-0) is the announced starter for Saturday and Mike Minor (10-6) is Sunday’s announced starting pitcher.  Game times (Central) are 7:10 PM on Friday, 6:10 PM on Saturday, and 1:10 PM on Sunday.

NOTABLE:

*     Lance Lynn has thrown 100 or more pitches in a game 22 times this year, the most in baseball.  That includes as streak of 15 straight games with at least 100 pitches thrown.  He has also completed at least six innings in 19 straight games.  That ties him with Clayton Kershaw for the longest such streak in baseball, and it’s the most consecutive six inning starts for a Ranger pitcher since Kenny Rogers had 24 straight in 1995.

*     The last series the Rangers won against a team with a winning record was against the Cardinals at home May 17, 18 and 19.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A SERIES WIN!

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – This weekend, the Texas Rangers won their first series since June 25-27 when they swept the Detroit Tigers in three games.  The previous series win was also a three game sweep of the Tigers, such that the Rangers completed the season with a 6-0 record against the Bengals.  The woeful Tigers are just 3-19 at this point against American League West teams and have the worst record in the A. L. at 32-75, a winning percentage of .299.

Friday night, Texas opened with a 5-4 win.  Texas built a 5-1 lead after seven innings as they scored single runs in the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings.  The Rangers had 12 hits in the game including home runs from Rougned Odor and Hunter Pence.

Meanwhile, Lance Lynn, the work horse of the pitching staff, threw seven innings of one run ball.  He gave up just four hits and struck out 10.

Jesse Chavez threw the eighth inning.  He gave up a one out double and single to bring the score to 5-2.

With Chris Martin traded and Shawn Kelley on the injured list, manager Chris Woodward turned to Jose Leclerc for the ninth inning and the save.  Leclerc walked the leadoff batter, always a bad sign.  He retired the next two batters, but the third out didn’t come easy.  The next two batters singled to make the score 5-3 with runners at first and second.  Another walk loaded the bases, and a wild pitch scored the Tigers’ fourth run.  However, Leclerc coaxed a ground ball out to secure the 5-4 win.

Lynn is 14-6 with the win.  Leclerc has his sixth save.  Tigers’ starter Tyler Alexander took the loss to go to 0-2.

The Rangers put a new look to Saturday’s starting lineup against the Tigers’ best starting pitcher – left-hander Matt Boyd.  Isiah Kiner-Falefa was on third base, and Jose Trevino made his 2019 Major League debut behind the plate.  Scott Heineman was in right field, and Willie Calhoun was in left field selected over left-handed hitting outfielders Nomar Mazara and Shin-Soo Choo.

Adrian Sampson was hit hard early, but managed to give up just two runs over the first four innings on a two-run shot by Miguel Cabrera.  Trevino singled home a run in the third inning, and Calhoun homered in the fourth to tie the game.

However Sampson ran into trouble in the fifth inning giving up a single, a double and another single with two outs to put the Tigers back in front 4-2.

Trevino reached second base on a fielding error to open the Rangers’ seventh inning.  He later scored on Delino DeShields’ double.  DeShields advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a short fly ball to right field.  It was a close play at home and safe to say that DeShields is the only Ranger fast enough to score on that fly ball.

The game stayed tied into extra innings when Odor ended it with a 10th inning home run, his 20th on the season.  Leclerc had pitched a perfect top half of the 10th to earn the win.  He’s 2-3.  Detroit reliever Nick Ramirez gave up Odor’s round tripper to take the loss.  He’s 5-4.

Texas completed the sweep on Sunday with four pitchers that were not on the opening day roster, or even given much consideration to be part of it.  Pedro Payano started and gave up three runs over 4-1/3rd innings.

Emmanuel Clase made his Major League debut relieving Payano.  He finished the fifth and pitched the sixth inning giving up no hits or runs.

Brett Martin started the seventh inning, and the Tigers nicked him for an unearned run to tie the game at four.  Rafael Montero finished the seventh as well as the eighth and ninth innings.  He got the win to go to 1-0 when the Rangers scored four runs in their half of the seventh inning.  Willie Calhoun’s bases loaded triple, Calhoun’s first in the Majors, broke the game open.

Texas added an insurance run in the eighth inning to make the final score 9-4.

Texas has moved past Los Angeles into third place in the West.  They are two games ahead of the Angels, but trail second place Oakland by 6.5 games.  The Rangers are seven games behind Tampa Bay for the second Wild Card berth, with Oakland and Boston also ahead of them.

The Rangers take their four-game winning streak to Cleveland for a three game series beginning Monday night.  The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Mike Minor (9-6) on Monday, Ariel Jurado (6-6) on Tuesday, and Lance Lynn (14-6) on Wednesday.  The first two games start at 6:10 CDT, while Wednesday’s getaway game begins at 12:10 CDT.

NOTABLE:

*     Emmanuel Clase hit 101 on the radar gun with his fastball Sunday, becoming the first pitcher to crack triple digits this year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment