Friday newsletter time: Bruce Bochy makes return to Oracle Park as Rangers face Giants
(AP photo/Jeff Chiu)
Despite some well-intended prodding last weekend, manager Bruce Bochy didn’t think that the Rangers’ road trip this week was too big of a deal for him personally.
He’s been back to the Bay Area since he left his post with the Giants.
True, but he hadn’t been back to Oracle Park in uniform, on the field and in the opposing dugout, as he will be this weekend as the Rangers visit the Giants to end their weeklong odyssey in San Francisco.
It’s going to be a big deal.
Bochy led the Giants to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and left the club in 2019 after 1,052 wins in 13 seasons. Interestingly, he lost 1,054 games.
Next to no one will remember that this weekend. Bochy is going to be showered with hugs and handshakes from those behind the scenes who make ballgames possible, and the savvy Giants fans will no doubt show their love for the manager who guided the franchise to its first world title since relocating from New York.
The 1954 New York Giants had been the last to win one, with Willie Mays making his famous over-the-shoulder catch. San Francisco teams in 1989, the series interrupted by an earthquake, and 2002 went to the World Series.
The 2023 Giants have been up and down, but they sit in second place in the National League West at 62-53. The Rangers will take a 2 1/2-game lead in the American League West into the three-game series thanks to the Orioles beating the Astros on Thursday afternoon.
How they are faring
The Rangers’ trade for Aroldis Chapman was so early in the trade cycle, June 30, that the player dealt away might not be top of mind.
Well, that player is left-hander Cole Ragans, and he’s on a roll with the Royals.
Ragans has made three starts after some time at Triple A Omaha and is 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. He’s walked four and struck out 22. Half of those came Monday against Boston over 6 2/3 innings.
Ragans was the Rangers Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2022 and came to spring training this year with extra zip on his fastball. He parlayed it into a spot on the Opening Day roster in the bullpen, but he was dispatched to Triple A Round Rock to become a starter again.
He was in Arlington for an apparent call-up June 30 before getting dealt.
Two more to catch up on:
Luisangel Acuna, shipped to the Mets in the Max Scherzer deal, is off to a slow start at Double A Binghamton, batting only .171 (6 for 35) with no homers for the Rumble Ponies.
Thomas Saggese, sent to the Cardinals in the Jordan Montgomery-Chris Stratton trade, is batting .292 (7 for 24) with two homers for Double A Springfield. He stayed in the Texas League after being dealt from Double A Frisco, where as Acuna went to the Eastern League.
It wasn’t fun to see Ragans, Acuna and Saggese (plus TK Roby and John King) traded, but Chapman, Scherzer, Mongtomery and Stratton have made the Rangers a better team.
Rangers on the Grid
The Rangers have been all over the Immaculate Grid of late, which makes me wonder if a prolonged drought might be ahead of us. We better enjoy these days when we can.
Remember, when it comes to the Rangers, the scarcer the better. My picks are to the left.
Not bad, especially Mark Lowe and the Mariners. A correct answer for the 40-homer season would have been Frank Howard, and he probably was guessed by fewer players than my choice of Rafael Palmeiro.
One tip that was tweeted my way for when stuck in a particular grid: consider if any Rangers, past or present. are playing with either of two teams in the grid.
Twitter follower and newsletter subscriber Chad Johnson said that he completed the grid using only former Rangers. That thinking led to met getting Tommy Hunter. Had I applied that to the Orioles’ 40-homer hitter, I would have come up with Nelson Cruz.
He still might have been guessed more than Frank Robinson, though.
Here’s one more tidbit: Rangers prospect Cam Cauley, who you can see on the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast from last week, said he plays the Grid daily.
Rangers Today schedule
The next Rangers Today Baseball Podcast is tentatively scheduled for Monday, not our usual Friday slot, as John Moore and I do some serious juggling the next two weeks.
Some stuff came up for me today, and he has a big one next Friday as he takes his oldest son to college. I also have something that day that requires delaying the podcast.
My son’s birthday is also Saturday, and it is Rangers Today company policy to never miss a child’s birthday. Also, the wife is out of town on business. If Friday on the Farm doesn’t show up until Saturday and the Sunday Read doesn’t show up until Sunday night, now you why.
Two of my favorite things: Dogs and baseball. Enjoy.
Best selfie with a best fren ever 🥰 pic.twitter.com/anp4WiP90K
— Madeyousmile (@Thund3rB0lt) August 10, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com