Monday newsletter time: No rest for road-weary Rangers, but some help is coming
(ProLook Photos/Eddie Kelly)
The Rangers’ reward for going 7-3 and winning every series on their West Coast road trip is three games against the team with the second-best record in the National League, the Braves.
The Rangers have the same record, 25-15. They are 14-7 against teams at .500 or better. They have the second-highest run differential in baseball at +97. It’s been a terrific start, and the Rangers are on the verge of getting better.
All-Star shortstop Corey Seager said on Thursday night that the Rangers’ plan was for him to be be activated from the 10-day injured list before the opener against the Braves.
The theory is they will get better with Seager, who injured his left hamstring April 11.
The thing is, the Rangers did quite well without Seager, going 18-10. Ezequiel Duran played his way into an everyday role after seizing shortstop in Seager’s absence. He might be there for a few games after Seager is activated and is working his way back as the designated hitter.
The Rangers have played so well that they have bought themselves some time to give Seager a few extra days if needed.
The Braves aren’t the A’s, who were fortunate to beat the Rangers once in the four-game series. The Rangers closed out the series with an 11-3 win, scoring eight times in the eighth after the A’s had pulled into a 3-3 tie on a Shea Langieiers two-run homer in the seventh.
The highlight was a grand slam by Adolis Garcia, who drove in five runs in the eighth. His 42 RBIs are the most in the majors. Left-hander Andrew Heaney allowed only one run is six innings, only to see Jonathan Hernandez give up a 3-1 lead.
Atlanta won’t be a pushover like the A’s were. But the Rangers aren’t the pushover they’ve been the past three seasons.
Name that starter
The daily Rangers game notes for Sunday had the following three pitchers listed as probable starters for the Braves series:
What a workhorse that TBA is. I’ll be here all week.
Speculation was running rampant that the Monday starter will be left-hander Cody Bradford after he was scratched from his Sunday start for Triple A Round Rock.
It turns out that was correct.
Bradford is listed as the Rangers’ probable starter tonight in what will be his MLB debut. He has been one of the best pitchers in all of the minors so far this season, posting a 0.91 ERA in the most hitter-friendly leagues in the minors.
Dane Dunning and Nathan Eovaldi are listed as the probables for Tuesday and Wednesday.
It appears that this will be a spot start for Bradford that could potentially morph into a spot in the bullpen. The Rangers have said that they would like to get starters rest whenever possible by using off days and the occasional spot start.
Why? The Rangers are in the middle of a stretch of 13 games in 13 days. They just flew back from Oakland, two time zones away. It might be a good time to give the five starters and extra day’s rest in addition to the off day Thursday.
Here’s one more reason for a spot start: Bradford, the 2019 sixth-round pick from Baylor via Aledo High School, needs to go on the 40-man roster at some point before the mid-November deadline to protect players from the 40-man roster. Might as well do it now.
The Rangers will have to make a corresponding move with a pitcher. John King and Yerry Rodriguez are candidates to be optioned.
The Sunday Read: Quarter report
Friday on the Farm: Attitude adjustment
Like taking pastry from a toddler. Enjoy.
You can pass, but food cannot…😏😅 pic.twitter.com/bYUriB5gHh
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) May 14, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com