BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Texas Rangers were swept in a series for the first time this season, losing three straight games in the city by the city by the bay. The Oakland Athletics won all three games and left the Rangers’ starting rotation in shreds.
Mike Minor and Lance Lynn have been the Rangers two best starting pitchers. Both came into the series off three solid starts including a complete game shutout by Minor last week. The pair opened the series with Minor going Monday in game one and Lynn a day later. Neither pitched well as the A’s clinched the series with wins both days.
Minor said after Monday’s game, “I couldn’t locate the fastball. (The) slider wasn’t there, and the changeup was kind of flat.” Minor cranked out six innings, allowing four runs.
Lynn made no excuses after Tuesday’s game. He said his performance was “Terrible. It wasn’t there tonight.” Lynn lasted just 3-1/3rd innings giving up eight earned runs on nine hits.
Minor and Lynn are both 2-2 after getting tagged with the losses.
The offense wasn’t good either. On Monday, Patrick Wisdom doubled home the only Ranger run of the game in the seventh inning. 6-1 was the final score.
On Tuesday, Texas scratched out five runs, but three of them came in the final four innings after Oakland had taken a commanding 10-2 lead. Danny Santana got three hits and drove in two runs with his second home run. Texas had lots of scoring opportunities, but went 3-13 with runners in scoring position, as the A’s won 11-5.
Drew Smyly was the scheduled starter for Wednesday afternoon’s series finale, but he was placed on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday with mid-arm tightness in his left (throwing) arm. Reliever Wei-Chieh Huang was called up from AAA Nashville and gave up two runs on three hits Tuesday night in his Major League debut.
Ranger manager Chris Woodward decided to go with Kyle Dowdy for Wednesday’s start, in what effectively became a bullpen game. Dowdy gave up three runs in three innings, all scoring on Marcus Semien’s fourth home run.
Jesse Chavez followed Dowdy and gave up two runs in two innings, one of which came on Matt Chapman’s eighth home run. Adrian Sampson, the announced starting pitcher for Thursday’s game in Seattle, relieved Chavez and completed three scoreless innings. He was the only Ranger pitcher to appear in this game that wasn’t scored upon.
The Rangers’ offense kept the team in the game. Nomar Mazara hit a pair of home runs, both solo shots, and Logan Forsythe hit his second (another solo shot) as the Rangers stayed close. They tied the game at five in the seventh inning with catcher Jeff Mathis scoring on a wild pitch.
In the Rangers’ ninth inning, two walks put runners on first and second with one out. Delino DeShields then grounded to short for what was called an inning ending double play. Replays showed that second baseman Jurickson Profar was clearly off second base when he tried to make the first out. However, Woodward didn’t properly notify the umpires of his intention to request a replay review of the play. The umpires did not allow the review, and the double play call stood.
Oakland then walked off with the win in their half of the ninth. A single and a stolen base put Stephen Piscotty in scoring position. He scored on a two out single by Chad Pinder, as the A’s won 6-5. Chris Martin (0-2) was the losing pitcher.
The Rangers and Athletics are now virtually tied for third place in the American League West. Both teams trail first place Houston by 2.5 games, but Texas leads Oakland by percentage points.
The Rangers now move on to Seattle for four games. They confirmed that Taylor Hearn, their top AAA pitching prospect, will join the team and start Thursday’s game. Huang was optioned to Nashville to make room for Hearn on the active roster. Shelby Miller (1-1), Minor (2-2) and Lynn (2-2) are the announced starting pitchers for Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s games. Game times are 9:10 PM (Central) on Thursday and Friday, 8:10 PM (Central) on Saturday and 3:10 PM (Central) on Sunday afternoon.
* Joey Gallo was named the American League “Player of the Week” for the week ending April 21. He hit .478 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. It was the first time in his career to win the award.
* Taylor Hearn is a Dallas area native that played in high school at Royse City. He was 1-3 with a 4.05 ERA in four starts at Nashville and is ranked as the number 11 prospect in the Rangers’ farm system by MLB.com.