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Monday newsletter time: Rangers extend West lead on road trip, but …

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)


The Rangers finished off a six-game road trip Sunday and headed home with a larger lead in the American League West than when they left Globe Life Field.

Their lead is 5 1/2 games over the Astros. It was 4 1/2 games over the Angels a week ago.

Yet, it should be larger, and the reason it isn’t is the bullpen’s late-game woes reappeared.

The bullpen has been better. There’s no denying that. There’s also no denying that the bullpen in its current form can’t get the Rangers where they want to go this season.

They lost 5-3 on Sunday to the Yankees, who scored three times in the eighth inning to erase a one-run deficit. John King and Yerry Rodriguez couldn’t get the game to closer Will Smith after Josh Sborz recorded the final out of the sixth and tossed a scoreless seventh.

The Rangers were without right-handers Grant Anderson and Joe Barlow, and weren’t going to use left-hander Cody Bradford in that situation. He hasn’t pitched since his start June 13.

Brock Burke was available, having pitched only once on the road trip, but the Rangers stayed away from him even though he was their best reliever last season. When asked about Burke on the last homestand, manager Bruce Bochy said that Burke wasn’t injured.

Burke has allowed more flyballs this season, and King’s sinker was a better fit at the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.

Jose Leclerc hurt his ankle Friday during batting practice and is on the injured list. Jonathan Hernandez, sent to Triple A Round Rock to get straightened out, has a 1.13 ERA but a 1.50 WHIP as he has walked seven and struck out six in eight innings.

The trade deadline is drawing closer, and the Rangers need to get two arms for the back of the bullpen. The Rangers have good arms in the bullpen, but they lack experience and the bullpen lacks depth.

They reshaped their bullpen at the 2015 deadline by acquiring Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson. A starter who consistently goes deep in games, as Cole Hamels also did in 2015, would help the bullpen, too.

The good news is the Rangers are coming home with a larger lead than when they left. But it should be bigger.

Draft coming

Only 13 days remain until the 2023 MLB Draft, and the Rangers will be stomping on the gas a little more as they prepare for the fourth overall pick.

General manager Chris Young said in the June 18 edition of the Sunday Read that the Rangers cast a wider net than most clubs likely do, and he also said that he would attend the draft combine that was held last week in Phoenix.

Among those who weren’t able to attend were the likely top three selections in the draft. Golden Spikes winner Dylan Crews, an outfielder, and right-hander Paul Skenes are teammates at LSU, and they are taking on Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford in the College World Series.

Young said that the Rangers will attempt to arrange meetings with those players before the draft.

(TCU third baseman Brayden Taylor, a projected first-rounder, was a little busy last week at the CWS, too.)

Most mock drafts have that trio gone by the time the Rangers pick, leaving them to choose between prep outfielders Max Clark and Walker Jenkins. Of course, the Rangers ruined every mock draft out there last year when they selected Kumar Rocker third overall.

The Rangers again forfeited their second- and third-round picks as draft-pick compensation for signing free-agent right-handers Jacob deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi, leaving them a smaller bonus pool. Could they try to sign a value pick, as Rocker was, to save money that could be used later in the draft?

They could lose a premium prospect or two at the trade deadline, and it would be nice to have a top-100 prospect to plug in. Then again, the Rangers could lose several prospects at the deadline, and it would be nice to have as much money as possible to sign as many draftees as possible to restock the system.

The Rangers haven’t selected a prep player in the first round since taking Cole Winn 15th overall in 2018.


It was a strange weekend for the Wilsons. No games, no tournaments, just a 90-minute basketball practice. Sweet freedom, for a weekend at least. The Rangers Today Baseball Podcast was also off. Well, we didn’t have our normal show. We did do a live show Friday night, just talking baseball, and it’s on the YouTube channel if you want to see what we had to say. Otherwise, here’s the new stuff from the weekend, in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: All-Star voting breakdown

Friday on the Farm: Creating opportunities here or elsewhere

Podcast: Josh Stephan audio and video links

Doggy video!

That Monday feeling. 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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