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Monday newsletter time: All-Star break, it appears, did Rangers some good

(AP photo/Gareth Patterson)

 

ARLINGTON — All that ailed the Rangers in the final two weeks before the All-Star break, for a weekend at least, vanished.

The Rangers swept three games from the Guardians, twice rallying late for wins as the offense collected timely hits and the bullpen pitched well.

That was the case Sunday in a 6-5 win after the Rangers scored four times in the eighth, a rally capped by a Josh Jung two-run single. Martin Perez allowed three runs in five innings, and Cody Bradford allowed two runs in three innings before Will Smith closed things out.

Perez hadn’t pitched since July 3, and he got better after allowing three runs in the first two innings. Maybe he just had a little rust to shake off. We’ll see.

Overall, the team looked refreshed, even the All-Stars who didn’t have as much time off as most of the rest of the team.

The Rangers’ bats broke out late Friday in a 12-4 win, and the pitching shined Sunday afternoon in a 2-0 win.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, the Angels managed to not get swept by the Astros. Houston could have swept all three and also could have lost Sunday after blowing a run-lead Saturday, but the one loss gave the Rangers a three-game lead in the American League West.

So, maybe the weekend could have gone a little better with a little more help from the Angels, but the Rangers won’t complain.

Close(r) call

Aroldis Chapman in his current form is better than Will Smith. Chapman is throwing over 100 mph, throwing strikes and overpowering hitters, and the Rangers have a better chance holding on in the ninth inning when he’s pitching.

Smith has been very good, though, as the closer with a fastball that might hit 93 and a very good slider. And he competes.

He wants to win. This guy hates losing at ping pong on the table in the clubhouse.

So if Chapman can help the Rangers win, Smith isn’t going to be grump about sharing closer duties, especially after he got the chance Sunday.

The Rangers are likely going to to add to the bullpen before the Aug. 1 trade deadline. Ideally they would add another back-end piece capable of closing games, like Josh Hader from San Diego.

Don’t be surprised if Jonathan Hernandez is back from Triple A Round Rock sooner than later. The Rangers want to make sure he’s consistently getting ahead of hitters first. Danny Duffy is working his way into becoming an option, too, and the Rangers like the potential impact he could have in short stints.

Rangers on Monday Grid

For those who have been playing Immaculate Grid and waiting for the Rangers to appear (or reappear, depending on how long you’ve been playing), today’s your day.

I got all three, but not the answers you might think. I’ll share them Tuesday. I also got the other six on the grid, and a 9-for-9 day is pretty rare for me.

Here’s the link to the game.

ICYMI …

There’s no place Rangers Today would rather be than at the ballpark, any ballpark. Some big things should be happening this week at Globe Life Field, both on the field and off it. Now that the All-Star break is over, things will be hopping at the website. Here’s our latest content in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: One trade target from all the losers

Friday on the Farm: The Recliner Nerd’s updated top 20

Listen to Rangers Today Baseball Podcast with Kip Fagg

Doggy video!

This one might be a repeat. Either way, it’s very fitting for this Monday. 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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