Monday newsletter time: A split on the road, but a disappointing flight home for Rangers
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
All teams want at least a split in a road series, and the Rangers achieved that over the weekend at Tiger Stadium in Detroit.
Two up, two down, a flight home and a day off today.
But the wins came in the first two games against a team that was the worst in the league at scoring runs. The Tigers then scored 21 runs over the final two games to salvage the split.
Rangers manager Chris Woodward admitted after the 7-3 loss Sunday that the series was a disappointment.
Yes, the Tigers are major-leaguers, too, but a contending team finds a way to beat them Saturday or Sunday, not lose by a combined 11 runs.
When the Rangers talk about being in the playoff hunt, it’s games like the past two put a dent in their credibility.
The Rangers are 31-35, but only 7-11 since they climbed to .500 after a 2-9 start to the season.
The schedule is mostly friendly the next the rest of the first half, though the upcoming two against the Phillies will be tough. The Rangers have to get the Nationals, Royals, Orioles, Mariners and A’s, and not get swept by the Phillies, Mets and Twins.
A .500 record at the All-Star break isn’t out of the question. The fact that someone is actually talking about the Rangers hitting .500 at the break is remarkable.
A sweep of the Tigers would have put them there. Instead, they headed home disappointed.
Right-hander Jose Leclerc likely wasn’t remotely pleased with his return to the major leagues, allowing three runs Saturday.
But he is back after nearly two years down, the past 15 because of Tommy John surgery.
Leclerc will be better, of course. Maybe he was nervous or too amped up, but those feelings will go away the more he pitches.
He should also start pitching in meaningful situations, which will have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the bullpen.
Remember: The Rangers were required to shed one pitcher by Monday to get down to 13, per MLB mandate. They took care of that Sunday by returning reliever Jesus Tinoco to the minors. The Rangers will have to maneuver again once Glenn Otto is ready to come off the COVID injured list and Jonathan Hernandez, also rehabbing from Tommy John, is ready to go.
Mitch Garver (COVID) started a rehab assignment Sunday at Double A Frisco. Josh Smith is on a rehab assignment at Triple A Round Rock.
The roster is going to have a different look this week.
The crazy thing about this job is that Sundays have become the busiest day, in part because of the work I do for Frogs Today. If you’re a TCU fan and haven’t subscribed, you need to get over there and do it. You are Rangers fans, based on you reading this, and if you’re not a paid subscriber to Rangers Today, you can become one here. Check out the paid subscriber-only links below from the past week, in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Decisions, decisions
Friday on the Farm: Trevor Hauver trying to make it 4-for-4
Rangers farm report: Feeling Winn, Leiter’s pain
T.R.’s Memoirs: 50 seasons, worst to best
Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast: Guest David Murphy audio, video links
Don’t screw with this pup on a Monday. Enjoy. See you Tuesday.
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Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org