Monday newsletter time: A series win at Houston? Rangers finally check that box
(AP photo/David J. Phillip)
Marcus Semien didn’t hit his first home run last season until May 28, in his 44th game. It just so happened to be a grand slam.
Semien hit his first home run this season April 1, in his second game. It was not a grand slam, but his second homer of the season Sunday night was.
The second baseman connected on a two-strike, two-out pitch to cap a six-run seventh inning as the Rangers turned a tight game into a 9-1 laugher at Houston.
The victory gave the Rangers the series win and ended a 10-series losing streak at Minute Maid Park that dated to July 2018.
“It’s a good time to be a Texas Ranger,” first baseman Nate Lowe said. “We’re looking up, and it’s an exciting time.”
They haven’t solved the Astros by any stretch. An error and a terrible pitch to Semien fueled the six-run seventh that broke a scoreless tie. But good teams take advantage mistakes, and the Rangers appear to be a good team.
The offense is doing enough without Corey Seager. Lowe has an 11-game hitting streak. Grand slams always help. The bottom of the lineup has been helping the cause.
The Rangers can pitch. Andrew Heaney wasn’t a strikeout artist as he was last Monday, but he tossed five scoreless innings. The rotation is built to win, but also to minimize losing streaks.
That early-March signing of left-hander Will Smith looks like a winner for the bullpen.
Up next is a three-game road series at Kansas City, and Jacob deGrom is scheduled to start the opener.
As Lowe said, it’s a great time to be a Ranger.
Kumar Rocker pitched Sunday for High A Hickory for the second time in the six-game series at Wilmington as the Rangers try to get him on a regular schedule following a series of rainouts that jumbled up the entire rotation.
He wasn’t quite as good as he was Tuesday in his minor-league debut, but he was still good over three scoreless innings. He allowed only two hits and one walk while striking out four.
So, in his first eight innings Rocker has allowed no runs on four hits and a walk with 12 strikeouts.
That will do.
More of that will have Rocker at Double A Frisco by late May or early June. At some point, though, he will have a hiccup or at least give up a few runs in a start. Who knows? It might happen later this week.
The Rangers have a chance to have their 2021 and 2022 first-round picks in the same rotation if Rocker is promoted to Frisco before Jack Leiter is promoted to Triple A Round Rock. It would be fun to see the former Vanderbilt teammates pitching on back-to-back games again.
The better the Rangers do, the more unlikely it will become that the newsletter will need this feature on Mondays and Thursdays. More eyes will be on them, and in theory, there will be more subscribers to Rangers Today. You can help the cause by subscribing here. Until then, here’s our latest content in case you missed it.
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If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that was our Lily dog. Enjoy.
That seems personal.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/iYWWgv2vt2
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) April 16, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com