Monday newsletter time: Rangers drop another to Astros as bullpen falters
(AP photo/Gareth Patterson)
Through three games of a key series in the American League West, the Astros and the Rangers seem fairly even.
The lineups make pitchers work. The pitching staffs are good, though in different ways. The Rangers have the edge in starting pitching, while the Astros have the better bullpen.
The Rangers are trying to catch up in that department, and had Aroldis Chapman available for the first time Sunday afternoon since acquiring him Friday afternoon. They used him, too, and he pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
But the Astros scored three times in the eighth to break a 1-1 tie against right-hander Josh Sborz, who was pitching for the second day in a row, and the Rangers couldn’t make it back in a 5-3 loss at Globe Life Field.
As manager Bruce Bochy said afterward, it’s hard to pin blame on Sborz because of how well he has pitched of late. The problem is that lack of bullpen depth, even with Chapman, and an apparent lack of faith in left-hander Andrew Heaney.
Bochy said that the Rangers had pegged around 85 pitches for Heaney, and that’s where he was after five scoreless innings. Heaney, who left with a 1-0 lead that Grant Anderson quickly lost, had struck out eight.
Heaney, though, pinpointed why he might have been limited. He knew that he had surrendered home runs in the last inning of his last two starts, the sixth as his pitch limit exceeded 90.
To those who were wondering why, that’s why.
The good news is the Rangers get to play again today and can salvage a split and return to the five-game lead they had Friday.
No one said this was going to be easy.
The Rangers will be in Washington, D.C., in the final series before the All-Star break, meaning that the players headed there will have to make a Washington to Washington cross-country trip.
It’s going to be a crowded flight to Seattle, too.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and right fielder Adolis Garcia were added to the American League roster Sunday, joining starters Jonah Heim, Marcus Semien, Josh Jung and Corey Seager. They’ll probably let the Nationals’ lone All-Star, right-hander Josiah Gray, join them if he’d like.
Eovaldi and Garcia are both deserving, and Eovaldi would be available to be the starting pitcher. Garcia could be an option to start the game as the injury replacement for Aaron Judge depending on where he ranks in the player voting.
And, depending on where Jon Gray ranks in the player voting, he could be added as a replacement for one of the pitchers who inevitably will be unable to participate.
Going to the All-Star Game isn’t easy on players. The media obligations are more trying than the actual Monday workout before the Home Run Derby and the Tuesday game.
Bochy said that the players will not be required to attend the workout the Rangers have scheduled for July 13 to knock the rust off before resuming the season July 14.
The second half gets off to a fast start with a three-game home series against Cleveland and then Tampa Bay. Rest fast, All-Stars.
It’s a good time to be a Rangers fan. Your team is winning games, making moves and getting attention across baseball. Things don’t go perfectly smooth throughout a season, as the past few weeks have shown, but the Rangers are going to be fine. They’re trying to get better. Rangers Today has all bases covered. For those wondering if you should get full acess, the answer is a resounding yes. Check out our latest content, in case you missed it, and then subscribe here.
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Just horsin’ around. Enjoy.
He brought home a new friend.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/u0h14OTSKm
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) July 2, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org