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Friday newsletter time: Nathan Eovaldi posts more zeroes in Rangers’ win

(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

 

In the age of coddling pitchers and worrying about their pitch counts, manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Mike Maddux said to hell with it Thursday night.

Nathan Eovaldi returned to the Oakland Coliseum mound for the ninth inning at 99 pitches and was given a chance to complete his second shutout in three starts. He came close, too.

Eovaldi bowed out after 8 2/3 scoreless innings in the Rangers’ 4-0 victory over the A’s. He left with runners at first and second and at 113 pitches. And his arm didn’t fall off.

His streak of consecutive scoreless innings has reached an MLB-best 28 2/3.

The right-hander allowed three hits, struck out a career-high 12 and the only walk he allowed was to the last batter he faced.

The Rangers improved to 23-14, which is tied for the fourth-best record after 37 games in club history. Three teams started 24-13, and they all went to the playoffs (1996, 1998, 2013). One of the three other clubs to start 23-14 went to the postseason (2012).

(Question: The 2013 team tied for the wild-card spot and played a tie-breaking Game 163. Postseason team or not? Many with the Rangers say yes.)

So, the Rangers are good and are, in theory, going to get better when Corey Seager, Mitch Garver and Jacob deGrom some off the injured list. Seager, who is rehabbing with Double A Frisco, said he expects to return to the Rangers’ lineup soon.

Eovaldi should pitch again Tuesday. The Rangers hope he has some more zeroes to dole out.

Bullpen move

The Rangers made a roster move before taking on Oakland, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Veteran reliever Ian Kennedy was designated for assignment after a slow start to the season, and left-hander John King was recalled from Triple A Round Rock.

Kennedy was the eighth man in the eight-man bullpen, his velocity was down and he wasn’t pitching in high-leverage situations. With Jose Leclerc struggling, the Rangers need depth in their bullpen.

King has been really good for Round Rock after a shaky debut. He can give the Rangers length, something they’re lacking with Dane Dunning in the bullpen. King doesn’t light up radar guns, but the Rangers don’t need that from him.

One thing King does have is guts, and that endeared him to his minor-league coaches and also to former manager Chris Woodward.

Kennedy’s biggest contribution was passing on tips to young relievers or first-time relievers like Dunning and Cole Ragans. The veteran presence will be missed, but Will Smith has plenty of that.

Card of the Week

Back in March, during the best five days of my son’s life, we ran into Blaine Crim on the back fields at the Surprise Recreation Campus in Arizona.

Henry had a book of baseball cards he wanted to get signed, and Crim told him that he didn’t have a card just yet. He didn’t have a widely marketed card, but he did have a card from the 2021 set produced by High A Hickory that he signed.

Now, though, Crim can say he has a card.

His 2023 1st Bowman is the Card of the Week.

I am bidding on this one. It’s not mine just yet. We’ll see what happens.

Crim is playing regularly at Round Rock, where he entered Thursday hitting .280 in 100 at-bats with two home runs. He’s played first base and even some third, and the Rangers say he has been serviceable there.

Look for Crim’s production to pick up as the season continues. All he does is hit, and his numbers at the end of the season are going to look pretty shiny.

 

Doggy video!

Doggo has absolutely no worries. Enjoy.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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