Friday newsletter time: Good vibes accompany Rangers to Baltimore
(AP photo/John Raoux)
Rest for the weary, and possibly the hungover, arrived Thursday as the Rangers traveled to Baltimore and did not work out at Camden Yards.
They will do that this afternoon ahead of Game 1 of the American League Division Series at 12:03 p.m. Saturday. The Rangers have not named a starting pitcher, but right-hander Dane Dunning would be on five days’ rest and seems like the obvious choice.
The day off stood as the reward for sweeping the best-of-3 wild-card series from the Rays, doing so by a combined score of 11-1. The Rangers haven’t been home since Sept. 24, so some of them might have wandered over to the Lululemon not too far away for a wardrobe refresh.
The stars of the sweep were Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi on the mound and Evan Carter and Corey Seager at the plate, though, one hitter’s bat came out of a slumber.
Josh Jung laced two doubles and turned a blooper into an RBI triple Wednesday in the 7-1 Game 2 clincher. He hasn’t been as effective since coming off the injured list last month as he was before needing surgery on a broken left thumb.
Those who remember Rangers postseason history know that Josh Hamilton missed almost all of September in 2010, his MVP season, and was fighting his timing in the ALDS against Tampa Bay. He found it for the American League Championship Series against the Yankees and was named series MVP.
Jung was also batting eighth, instead of his usual fifth spot. Maybe that took some pressure off or allowed him to see more fastballs. Manager Bruce Bochy isn’t the type to mess with a lineup that’s working, and even though he has wiggle room in the No. 3 and No. 5 holes, expect Jung to stay put.
One potential change ahead would be replacing Robbie Grossman with Mitch Garver in the third spot, or moving Nathaniel Lowe back to third from the 5 hole while moving Grossman/Garver lower.
If Garver is going to be a true backup, that might alter the Rangers’ thinking on carrying three catchers.
The Rangers also seem to be flirting with the idea of adding Max Scherzer to the roster. He will reportedly throw live batting practice this afternoon, which could be his final hurdle before coming off the injured list (shoulder).
Rangers ticket info
Game 3 of the ALDS on Tuesday at Globe Life Field will be a night game, starting at 7:03 p.m., but anyone who wants to watch it in person needs to get cracking. Less than 500 reserved seats remain.
The Rangers said there are 2,000 seats remaining for a potential Game 4 on Wednesday, with the time TBD.
Get tickets at this link.
The Rangers haven’t played a home playoff game since 2016 and haven’t won a home playoff game since Game 5 of the 2011 World Series. They’re due.
Still here to help
This item from the Thursday newsletter piqued some readers’ interest. If you were interested in getting a Rangers-themed t-shirt from our friends at In the Clutch Apparel but didn’t pull the trigger, here’s a reminder.
Click on this link and enter RANGERSTODAY as a promo code when checking out. Check out In the Clutch owner Josh Sneed, who doubles as a comedian, on a Rangers Today Baseball Podcast episode from April.
The podcast is planning to do a live preview of the ALDS this afternoon. Check out the podcast’s Twitter account for more information.
Card of the Week
The Card of the Week won’t get much more random than this.
My Colorado buddies on Thursday brought up some of our epic battles in RBI II, the Nintendo game from the late 80s or early 90s. The best team was the A’s, who were loaded with Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson and Dave Stewart.
We were trying to figure out some of the other players who might occasionally hit a homer, and we decided between Terry Steinbach and Ken Phelps. Steinbach, a catcher, was a three-time All-Star and an All-Star Game MVP.
Phelps? Possibly an undercover cop.
Just look at the Card of the Week, the 1990 Bowman Ken Phelps.
Phelps was a good player over 11 seasons, finishing his career with an .854 OPS. By the time he got to the A’s late in his career, though, he was not a very good player. Of his 123 career homers, one came with the A’s over parts of the 1989 and 1990 campaigns.
Most of the homers came with the Mariners, but he hit only seven against the Rangers while batting .195 in 154 at-bats.
When you tease the wrong dog who loves Cheetos Puffs. Enjoy.
Wait for it…🤣 pic.twitter.com/k07pQEBJiI
— LovePower (@LovePower_page) September 20, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com