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Monday newsletter time: Big picture shows road trip was success for Rangers

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)



From 30,000 feet, the Rangers’ just completed road trip was a success.

They went 4-2, winning both three-game series, and kept their lead in the American League West at 2 1/2 games.

In the aftermath of Sunday’s 3-2 walk-off loss to the Giants, though, it might feel to some that the Rangers missed some opportunities.

Well … that’s not wrong, but don’t go getting all greedy.

Patrick Bailey connected for a two-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning, spoiling a late-game Rangers comeback and preventing them from gaining a game on the Astros in the standings.

But take a moment to look at the big picture. The Rangers are playing well. Really well. They’re getting healthier. They found another player who has the potential to make a contribution to special season.

J.P. Martinez, down to his last strike, doubled with two outs and scored the game-tying run from second base on an infield hit by Ezequiel Duran. The Rangers scored on balk in the 10th for a 2-1 lead, but Will Smith left a fastball over the middle and Bailey didn’t miss it.

Dane Dunning allowed one run in seven innings, a solo homer by Michael Conforto, and struck out a career-high 12. He was losing 1-0 when he left the game. He has pitched so well of late that it’s going to be difficult for the Rangers to move him to the bullpen when Nathan Eovaldi is healthy again.

Martinez started all three games against the Giants after being promoted Friday as Travis Jankowski hit the paternity list (contracts to the Jankowskis on the birth of their baby girl). He collected his first career hit and RBI on Saturday and showed his speed and some pop Sunday.

Jankowski has to come off the paternity list today. The Rangers have to choose between sending Martinez or infielder Jonathan Ornelas to Triple A Round Rock to open a roster spot for Jankowski.

Baseball’s a tough business. Making the playoffs is tough business.

The Rangers, despite the Sunday disappointment, are doing just fine.

Heim returns

The Rangers were very pensive last month about the future of Jonah Heim after he hurt his wrist on a swing at Houston. There was a chance that the injury would end his season if he couldn’t handle the pain.

Well, Heim insists there is no pain and on Sunday came off the injured list expecting to play the rest of the season. His Daniel LaRusso-like recovery spelled the end for Sam Huff, who was optioned to Triple A Round Rock.

While Heim was missed, Huff and Mitch Garver made the absence less painful to the club, which was 10-1 in August without Heim. If the Rangers don’t re-sign Garver, who is headed to free agency, Huff is looking more like the high-upside big-league option the Rangers believe he will become.

That’s one of the silver linings that came from Heim’s injury. Another is that Garver’s bat heated up with steady playing time, and he should be a regular option at designated hitter. A third positive is that Heim’s body is fresh again after some two weeks without having to catch a game.

Everything still has to play out. Heim will not be batting right-handed for the time being, so that’s an issue that might keep Bochy from using Heim and Garver in the same lineup as much as he could. Of course, Austin Hedges is still on the team and working on improving offensively, but he has a lot to show there.

All in all, though, the Rangers couldn’t have come out of the Heim injury much better.

No Sho (on the mound)

The Rangers were anticipating that right-hander Shohei Ohtani would be on the mound tonight for the Angels to open a three-game series, but the MVP front-runner complained of fatigue and was scratched.

Ohtani is 10-5 this season with a 3.17 ERA in 22 starts. He’s going to be in the lineup each game, and that’s going to be a problem. Ohtani hit his league-leading 41st homer Sunday.

Left-hander Patrick Sandoval will sub in for Ohtani, and right-hander Lucas Giolito will start Tuesday. The Angels haven’t named a starter for Wednesday, but it could be right-hander Griffin Canning in his first outing off the IL.

The Rangers will open with Max Scherzer in his third start since being acquired from the Mets. Jordan Montgomery is listed for Tuesday in what would be his third start since a trade with the Cardinals, and Jon Gray is set for Wednesday.

Shirt up

As the Rangers’ postseason chances continue to increase, don’t get left without some Rangers gear. Rangers Today can help.

In the Clutch Apparel, brought to you by comic and former podcast guest Josh Sneed, sells licensed MLBPA shirts and has a new Rangers collection. Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Josh Jung, Heim, Duran and others are featured.

Here’s how to get them: visit intheclutch.com/rangerstoday, go to the MLBPA pulldown menu, find “Texas MLBPA” and start shopping. When checking out, enter promo code RANGERSTODAY for 10 percent off.

Some kids sizes are available, so make your kids the cool ones as they head back to school.


The good news is that Mrs. Wilson has returned from her two trips last week. There is no bad news. I have a new appreciation for all the times she was left alone with the kids while I was on the road with the Rangers, and I thank her in advance for her efforts when I hop back on the road this year. Rangers Today was in survival mode, so there were fewer members-only stories than normal. Here is a link to each one, in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: A year ago this week …

Friday on the Farm: Good for Martinez, but …


Doggy video!

Back to school this week (Wilsons go Wednesday). 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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  1. Boo August 14, 2023

    I agree, that was a ‘good loss’ yesterday. It was a great pitching duel between Webb & Dunning, 2 guys with similar styles. Professionals or not, that 3rd game of a road series has to be tough to focus, especially after going 2-0. But we did find a short term spark in Martinez and I think he stays and Ornelas goes back.
    Glad you survived the full court press over the weekend!

  2. Charles Neeley August 14, 2023

    I am afraid that the Rangers have already blown way too many saves this year to finish ahead of Houston. Sure, you are going to have the occasional blown save, but MLB.com indicates the Rangers expected win total is 5 games less than a team with the run differential that the Rangers own would expect to have. Why? Easy answer. Bullpen. 3 games in Cincinnati immediately come to mind. Yesterday as well but the absolute worst was that 13-12 loss to Houston. Another item of note, the Rangers closer has a 6.75 ERA in his last 7 outings (per MLB.com). Season ERA well over 3. OK, Chapman is here now, but the Yankees got rid of him for a reason. I know everyone is doing their best. These numerous blown saves are not an effort issue, just a talent issue.


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