Monday newsletter time: Rangers may have created momentum in comeback win
(AP photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)
The past two Jon Gray starts have gone thusly:
June 7: One run, nine innings and 1-0 loss that some believe triggered the Rangers’ current funk.
Sunday: Six runs, 2 1/3 innings and an 11-7 victory that might trigger a Rangers surge.
The Rangers were down 6-0 in the third inning but scored eight straight runs and the final three of the game to send Toronto packing. The Rangers won the series and headed on the road for a three-game series at Chicago with two straight victories.
Corey Seager had four more hits, and Jonah Heim homered. Their contributions aren’t a surprise. The Rangers, though, received a huge lift from three players whose contributions would have been a surprise in April.
John King allowed one run and no hits in 3 1/3 innings in relief of Gray as the Rangers mounted their comeback; Ezequiel Duran bagged a career-high four hits; and Leody Taveras homered and drove in three runs as the offense posted its MLB-leading 17th game with a double-digit run total.
They bailed out Gray, who was making his first start in 11 days as the Rangers gave a blister on his middle finger time to heal. He walked three batters, hit another and allowed six hits. He’ll be fine.
The offense had been struggling with runners in scoring position, including an 0-for-24 skid that Josh Jung snapped in the third inning with a two-run single to get the comeback started.
It just takes one, as the baseball saying goes, and more will follow. The Rangers collected four more during their rally.
And maybe that’s the one win that keeps the Rangers rolling. By the way, they are 9-7 this month and hold a 4 1/2-game lead in the American League West over the second-place … Angels.
Taveras stays hot
A few fun facts about Taveras while he’s in the midst of a breakthrough season:
He finished Sunday as the leader in OPS among AL center fielders at .852. Next up? Some guy named Mike Trout at .843.
As hard as Seager is hitting the ball this month, Taveras leads the Rangers in June home runs with six.
Taveras was 13th in the first batch of voting results for the AL All-Star team, below teammates Adolis Garcia (sixth) and Duran (11th). He deserves better.
He’s probably not an All-Star — not yet — but he’s playing like one.
The White Sox hadn’t named a starter for tonight’s game as of press time, or whatever the online equivalent of that is. They are planning to start Dylan Cease, the AL Cy Young runner-up and a star pitcher who hasn’t received a contract extension, on Tuesday.
That contract purgatory has led to him circulating around the rumor mill as potentially being available at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. It would take a load of prospects and possibly a young major-leaguer to get the deal done.
Yes, the Rangers should acquire a starter who is under contractual control so that he can fill in for Jacob deGrom next season, too. Cease, though his 2023 numbers are off of his brilliant 2022, would be a nice addition.
Chicago also has former Rangers pitcher Lance Lynn, who just struck out 16 Mariners, and Lucas Giolito, who has previous experience working with Mike Maddux. While they might be upgrades, both are headed to free agency and wouldn’t be as costly in terms of prospects.
The Rangers didn’t have their best homestand of the season (3-4) and aren’t playing their best baseball of the season, but there’s always something of note happening with this ballclub. Rangers Today does its best to get to all of it, both on the website (get full access here) and the YouTube channel (free to subscribe). Here’s some of our latest content, in case you missed it.
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You can never be too careful. Enjoy.
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— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 17, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com