Monday newsletter time: Cleanup on Aisle 2, 4, 5 and 6. Rangers betrayed by defense in Sunday loss
(AP photo/Gareth Patterson)
ARLINGTON — Cleveland clinched the American League Central before the final out Sunday at Globe Life Field.
Chicago, which was in second place, lost to Detroit to hand the title to Cleveland, but the Guardians went ahead beat the Rangers anyway, 10-4. Cleveland likely didn’t need much help, but the Rangers generously kept on giving.
The Rangers finished with three errors, with Nate Lowe the only infielder to not commit a gaffe, and interim manager Tony Beasley wasn’t thrilled with a few mental mistakes and effort letdowns along the way.
Only three of the 10 Cleveland runs were unearned, but the extra outs led to extra chances which led to extra pitches for a tired Rangers staff.
Beasley wasn’t particularly pleased.
“There were a lot of things we didn’t do well,” he said. “We didn’t play a good brand of baseball.”
Third baseman Josh Jung made a questionable decision to throw home for an out in the four-run third inning. The ball skipped past catcher Jonah Heim, and in the time it took for him to retrieve the ball and toss it (rather nonchalantly) to pitcher Cole Ragans, another run was sliding across the plate.
Both Cleveland runs in the sixth, after the Rangers had trimmed a 4-0 deficit in half, were unearned as shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien were tagged for errors on consecutive plays behind left-hander John King. The balls were hit hard — a 113.8 mph line drive that hopped out of Seager’s glove and a 109 mph grounder that Semien didn’t field cleanly — but outs there would have been nice.
“It’s not good enough right now,” Beasley said.
Ragans has one more start this season, maybe two, as he pitches on an innings limit. He hasn’t been bad in his first big-league stint, but he hasn’t pitched well enough to cement a place in the 2023 rotation.
His changeup is the real deal. His fastball can hit 94. His cutter served him well this season on his climb to the majors.
But he’s been a little too hittable. He had been walking too many until a few starts ago. He isn’t piling up strikeouts like he was in the minors, though he struck out All-Star Jose Ramirez three times.
Ragans allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings. He allowed three hits after being ahead in the count either 0-2 or 1-2.
Judging by what the Rangers say they have planned for 2023 — acquiring pitching help — Ragans could compete for a spot in spring training with Glenn Otto, Spencer Howard and a host of others. Dane Dunning, if he’s healthy after Monday hip surgery, would have the edge on the competition. He might already be in the rotation plans next season.
General manager Chris Young told reports on Saturday that the Rangers might add three starters this offseason, though not necessarily on big-league deals
Also, talks between the Rangers and the agent for Martin Perez have been tabled until after the season. The Rangers will have exclusive negotiating rights with him until free agency opens after the World Series.
Good stuff continues to flow at Rangers Today, where a subscription can be had for as little as $5.99 a month. Friday on the Farm, The Sunday Read and T.R.’s Memoirs all made appearances last week, along with the daily newsletter Monday through Friday. The content won’t stop when the season stops, not with a manager to hire and free agents to sign. Here’s our latest, in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Managerial update
Friday on the Farm: The importance of playoff baseball
Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast: Episode 53 with Thomas Saggese
Don’t let Monday stop you from getting what you want. Enjoy. See you Tuesday.
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Jeff Wilson, email@example.com