Friday newsletter time: Rangers hit hard in Boston without being hit hard
(AP photo/Steven Senne)
The seventh inning Thursday night was an unmitigated disaster.
The Red Sox scored six runs, which was bad, and four of the run-scoring hits had the following exit velocities: 52.7 mph, 70 mph, 78.3 mph and 60.1 mph.
Compounding matters was that the Rangers had runners at second and third in the top half of the inning — with their No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 hitters coming — and failed to score.
It added up to a 10-6 loss and another series loss. The Rangers are running on fumes to the All-Star break.
“It’s hard to have worse luck than we had,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I think there was one ball hit hard, but they found holes.”
Things started to fall apart when a foul ball smacked plate umpire Jim Wolf in the mask. He needed a few minutes to steady himself, and that delay cause Josh Sborz to lose his rhythm. Sborz didn’t get out of the inning, walking two. Grant Anderson didn’t get any outs, John King was victimized by soft contact, and Jose Leclerc finally stopped the bleeding.
Three of the four relievers in the seventh didn’t pitch all that poorly. A different set of relievers, like the ones the Rangers need to add before the trade deadline, might have fared better.
Change, though, is not coming to the lineup. It’s still a good lineup, as the six runs would indicate, but the Rangers left eight runners and twice left the bases loaded. One run in those instances changes the game.
“Yeah, we scored six,” Bochy said. “But we like to be greedy and think we could have scored more than that.”
Instead, they came up empty in the seventh and the Red Sox did not.
Some good news?
The Rangers were headed to Washington late Thursday for their final series before the All-Star break, and the Nationals aren’t very good.
They are 34-53, have lost four straight and have a -88 run differential. The Rangers won’t face a starting pitcher with an ERA better than 4.34.
The Rangers have a chance to get healthy in the standings, but they can’t start their All-Star breaks early.
“We’ve just got to go out there and pitch,” said Nathan Eovaldi, who allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings Thursday.
Cody Bradford will start tonight in the opener, and Andrew Heaney and Dane Dunning will start the weekend games. Heaney will be starting for the first time since his wife gave birth to twin girls earlier this week.
He will have to be reinstated from the paternity list.
Bradford’s spot start means that Martin Perez is getting a needed and extended rest for the second half.
Card of the Week
The All-Star Game is Tuesday in Seattle, and expect to see a lot of Ken Griffey Jr.
You’ll also be seeing a lot of the Rangers, who have six All-Stars.
Griffey is a Hall of Famer and was a certain generation’s most exciting player for a number of seasons.
He also has one of the most iconic rookie cards of all time, and his 1989 Upper Deck rookie is the Card of the Week.
I have two, though the one above is a screenshot from eBay. One of them is off-center like this one and probably no better than an 8 grade.
There are a couple of other noteworthy rookie cards in the ’89 Upper Deck set: Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio and Gary Sheffield. That’s three more Hall of Famers and someone I will again vote for in his final year on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Enjoy your weekend!
It’s Friday! 😂 pic.twitter.com/B07A7iwFxC
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 23, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com