BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Texas Rangers’ offense did a disappearing act to conclude the series with the Los Angeles Angels that started the week. Texas won the series opener on Monday, but dropped the final two games for their third straight series loss. If next season’s amateur draft order was based upon the current standings, the Rangers would have the seventh pick in the first round.
The Rangers ended their four game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Angels on Monday night. Texas opened the second inning with a pair of walks to Adrian Beltre and Jurickson Profar. Joey Gallo then doubled them home for the first two scores of the game. One out later, Ronald Guzman doubled the Ranger lead to 4-0 with a home run, his 15th.
Mike Minor was the Rangers’ starting pitcher, and he said after the game that his mechanics were a little off and that he never really got into a confident groove. In the end though, he made it through six innings on 88 pitches, allowing one run on six hits. The Angels scored the run in the fourth inning and still had runners at first and third with one out, but Minor got out of the jam without any more runs scoring.
Shoehei Ohtani singled home the Angels second run in the seventh inning, and Gallo singled home the Rangers’ fifth run in the eighth inning to make the final score 5-2. Minor is 12-7 with the win, and Jose Leclerc continued his incredible run with a four up, three down ninth inning to earn his 10th save.
On Tuesday, Adrian Sampson was the Rangers starting pitcher. Sampson was making his second Major League appearance and first start since the 2016 season, as he has dealt with shoulder surgery and the ensuing rehab. He lasted five innings allowing two hits. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a Jose Fernandez home run.
Three Ranger relievers finished the game keeping the Angels off the scoreboard. Unfortunately, the Rangers’ offense did not come up with support. It was a bullpen game for Los Angeles as they used eight pitchers in the game. It worked well, as Texas went to the eighth inning without a hit. Isiah Kiner-Falefa broke up the no hitter with a single. Two batters later, Kiner-Falefa went to third base on Rougned Odor’s single.
That was as close as the Rangers got to scoring. Profar grounded out to end the eighth, and three ground outs in the ninth inning ended the game at 1-0.
Sampson is 0-1 with the loss.
The Rangers’ scoreless streak extended to 16 innings on Wednesday before Gallo homered. It was his team leading 36th of the season. That was all the Rangers’ scoring on the night.
Yovani Gallardo was Wednesday’s starting pitcher, and he should have been the opener, not the primary pitcher. He retired the Angels without allowing a hit in the first inning, but was hit hard in the second and third innings. He gave up six runs on six hits, and was out of the game after three innings.
The Angels tacked on two more runs to make the final score 8-1. Gallardo falls to 8-5 with the loss, and his ERA moved up to 6.67. There has to be at least a question as to whether Gallardo will start again this season for the Rangers. Surely, Gallardo’s remaining starts could be better utilized by being allocated to younger pitchers.
The Rangers are off Thursday, and continue their road trip in San Diego this weekend. It will be the Rangers’ fifth straight road series in California. The announced starting pitchers for Texas are Yohander Mendez on Friday night, Ariel Jurado on Saturday night, and Mike Minor on Sunday afternoon. Manager Jeff Banister however hinted that he might use an opener in two of the games, presumably the Friday and Saturday games.
* Adrian Beltre had no hits in the series and remains in 16th place on the all-time hit list with 3,153, one hit behind George Brett for 15th place.