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Friday newsletter time: Pitching showdown goes to Ohtani as Angels edge Rangers

(AP photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

 

 

 

ARLINGTON — The Rangers haven’t been laughed off the field during their current funk. They had a chance to win each game of their four-game series against the Angels, two of the losses to Tampa Bay and the series finale against St. Louis.

As good as things were going, with the Rangers seemingly able to pull a big hit out of their back pocket, they’ve been unable to do so for a week.

The result Thursday was a 5-3 loss that featured the ejections of second baseman Marcus Semien, pitching coach Mike Maddux and manager Bruce Bochy, quickly in that order, after the seventh inning following a strike call on appeal by first-base umpire Ramon DeJesus that went against the Rangers in a one-run game.

The 10 stranded runners and the 2-for-10 showing with runners in scoring position were more harmful

than the ejections, as was the hanging cutter that Shohei Ohtani hit for a two-run homer in the eighth off Brock Burke.

“He killed us,” Bochy said after Othani hit four home runs in the series.

Ohtani also allowed two runs in six innings on the mound to narrowly get the better of Nathan Eovaldi, who allowed three runs in seven innings. Eovaldi surrendered a solo homer to Mickey Moniak in the seventh to break a 2-2 tie.

The Rangers were down 3-2 in the seventh and had Travis Jankowski at first base with one out, but he was stranded there following the controversial strikeout of Semien, an intentional walk to Corey Seager and a groundout by Nate Lowe.

The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, but Ezekiel Duran popped out, Seager was out on a soft line drive, Lowe walked for a run, and Adolis Garcia struck out.

The Rangers couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Instead, they lost for the sixth time in eight games.

“That’s a tough game to not come away with a win when we’re set up the way we were,” Bochy said.

Hottest ticket in town

The Rangers are expecting big crowds this weekend for the three-game series against the Blue Jays, and only standing-room only tickets are available for Saturday and Sunday.

Fewer than 5,000 reserved seats remain for tonight’s series opener, which features Rangers left-hander Martin Perez against right-hander Kevin Gausman. Dane Dunning and Jon Gray are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday for the Rangers.

Gray was pushed back from his Monday start to give a blister on his middle finger a few more days to heal. Left-hander Cody Bradford, who started Tuesday, remains on the roster and would start Sunday if Gray’s blister needs another day or two.

Card of the Week

Seager has put himself in a tough spot. Every time he comes to bat, every expects him to get a hit.

It doesn’t work that way, though Seager has been hitting the ball hard since the minute he stepped off the injured list last month. He entered Thursday second in the majors in barrels per plate appearance and was third in average exit velocity.

He isn’t always easy to track down off the field, but the intrepid Henry Wilson wiggled his way into a very convenient spot during spring training for Seager to autograph the Card of the Week, his 2023 Topps No. 315.

Seager was second in the first batch of Phase 1 All-Star balloting, distantly so to Toronto’s Bo Bichette. The voting starts from scratch for Phase 2, so Seager could still end up starting. Regardless, he should be on the All-Star team even though he missed five weeks with a strained left hamstring.

Fans want to see the best players, and Seager is one of the best players.

 

Doggy video!

This is quite a prank by the second dog. 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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