Monday Newsletter time: Rangers avoid doubleheader sweep with late comeback in Game 2
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
No matter how good a team is, or how bad, the goal for each and every doubleheader is to split.
That doesn’t mean sweeps don’t happen, because they do, and the Texas Rangers were looking at one Sunday afternoon.
Gleyber Torres hit a walk-off home run into the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium as New York won the opener 2-1.
The Rangers trailed by two after five in the second game and trailed by one after six before a three-run seventh lifted them to a 4-2 victory.
Brad Miller capped the big seventh with a pinch-hit two-run homer. Joe Barlow worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth to close out the Rangers’ third win on their five-game road trip.
“It just shows our guys were ready to play after the first one,” manager Chris Woodward said. “However you win or lose that first one, you have to put it aside and go out and play the second one.”
Starting pitching carried the day for the Rangers. Dane Dunning took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of Game 1 and left allowing just one run in six innings. Glenn Otto overcame a two-run homer by Giancarlo Stanton in Game 2 to allow only those two runs in five innings against the team that drafted him and shipped him away in the Joey Gallo deal.
The outing was big for Dunning on two fronts. He has struggled on the road since joining the Rangers, and he had never thrown 100 pitches in a game. No longer on the pitch count he was in 2021 in his first full season after Tommy John surgery, he reached 100 pitches Sunday.
Part of him was expecting Woodward to come get him in the sixth, but the manager stayed put.
“I don’t really have restraints like I did last year,” Dunning said. “He’s allowing me to go longer. I think this is the first time I went over 100 pitches, and I loved every minute of it.”
The Rangers haven’t had a starter allow more than three runs in a game since April 21.
A good bench
The Rangers’ track record shows they haven’t been biggest believers in loading up on bench pieces, in part because they had everyday players at most positions. They would carry a backup catcher, a utility infielder who had to play shortstop, a fourth outfielder and usually a fifth outfielder.
Think David Murphy and Craig Gentry during the World Series years.
The Rangers have placed such little emphasis on the bench at times that they often have gone with only a three-man bench in favor of an extra reliever.
But the nature of this season’s roster, which has multiple platoon players, has forced the Rangers to keep a four-man bench. If not for that bench, the Rangers’ record wouldn’t be as good as it is (not that 11-15 is good).
Miller hit the club’s second pinch-hit homer of the season (Willie Calhoun has the other), and Woodward has used pinch-hitters liberally all season whenever a matchup dictates a move.
The Rangers lead baseball in pinch-hit at-bats (34), hits (10), homers (2) and RBIs (8).
Credit goes to Woodward for going to the bench, but more credit goes to the players for being ready to hit.
The weekend felt like summer, which means it’s time for the Globe Life Field roof to stay shut for the next four months. Because Yankee Stadium doesn’t have roof, there wasn’t any breaking news over the weekend to catch up on. But there were some features from Rangers Today, a new podcast and an opportunity to transfer more existing stories from Substack to the new site. Here’s a sampling of all of the above, in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Pro, cons of Joey Gallo reunion
Friday on the Farm: Hot, cold starts to the season
Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast: Mason Englert makes his first appearance
Get to know Jon Gray, who starts Monday at Yankee Stadium
Keep your on the ground on this Monday. Enjoy. See you Tuesday.
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Jeff Wilson, email@example.com