The Texas Rangers returned home last Tuesday after a road trip that saw them score 29 runs collectively in back-to-back games against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday and Sunday. They entered the week with a record of 14-13 and sat in third place, just two and one-half games out of first place. Would the two-game winning streak continue?
Texas Rangers versus Pittsburgh Pirates
Their first home series was a pair of interleague games versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. Things looked promising on Tuesday as starter Adrian Sampson tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen with the Rangers up 3-0. Texas closer Jose Leclerc gave up three runs in the ninth inning and the game was suddenly tied. Jesse Chavez blew the game for the Rangers in the 11th as he gave up three more runs. Texas managed one run in the bottom of the inning and fell 6-4.
Wednesday’s game saw the Rangers offense constantly playing catch-up as they lost 7-5. Shelby Miller tossed 3 1/3 innings of four-hit baseball while also allowing four earned runs. Second baseman Rougned Odor continued to struggle at the plate as he went 0-4 while hitting second. Fans began calling for him to either be demoted (he has two options remaining) or have manager Chris Woodward move him down in the lineup.
Texas Rangers versus Toronto Blue Jays
After a day off on Thursday, the Rangers welcomed the Toronto Blue Jays to town for a three-game series.
Friday’s game turned into a pitcher’s duel that saw Texas’ surprise ace, Mike Minor, toss eight innings of shutout baseball. Minor was matched matched by Toronto’s Trent Thornton, who allowed zero runs through seven innings. The Rangers lost 1-0 after reliever Ariel Jurado gave up the lone run of the game to Toronto in the 12th inning.
Saturday saw the Rangers’ losing streak come to an end. Starter Lance Lynn didn’t have his best game as he allowed five earned runs through four innings. Texas, though, scored eight runs through four innings, and that was all that both offenses provided as the Rangers beat the Blue Jays 8-5. That game also saw Rangers manager Chris Woodward finally move the struggling Rougned Odor down to sixth in the lineup. Odor went 0-4 with two strikeouts while also leaving four runners on base.
Rangers starter Drew Smyly returned from the IL on Sunday with a limited pitch count and allowed one run though four innings. Texas’ offense exploded once again with Rougned Odor, still hitting in the six hole, having a breakout game. He went 3 for 4 with a homer as Texas beat Toronto 10-2.
The Rangers are off on Monday. They’ll begin a road trip in Pittsburgh where they will face the Pirates once again for the second time in two weeks.
First baseman Ronald Guzman should come off the IL on Thursday. That will leave the Rangers with questions regarding their bench. Danny Santana and Logan Forsythe have been great additions but have no minor league options left. Rougned Odor and centerfielder Delino DeShields are both struggling at the plate and have options remaining, but their defense is invaluable. Texas could also go with a seven-man bullpen and send down a reliever. Logic and history dictates, though, that Forsythe will be saved and Santana will be designated for assignment. Santana would surely be claimed on waivers based on his play so far this young season.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!
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