Wednesday newsletter time: Heaney pitches Rangers to win, capping a good day
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — The Rangers didn’t find the solution Tuesday night for their offensive woes, but Andrew Heaney thinks he struck on something that might even out his up-and-down season.
The left-hander had command of all three of his pitches while allowing only two hits and striking out 11 in six innings, and Mitch Garver and Adolis Garcia cracked solo homers as the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the White Sox.
The win kept the Rangers in first place in the American League West by half a game over the Astros, who saw Framber Valdez throw a no-hitter a start after the Rangers rattled him last week at Minute Maid Park.
Though it was a quiet day as the trade deadline passed, it was still a good day for the Rangers. They introduced their three newcomers — Max Scherzer, Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton — and picked up catcher Austin Hedges from the Pirates.
The Hedges trade shouldn’t be interpreted as concern that Jonah Heim (wrist) won’t play again this season. General manager Chris Young said that the team expects Heim back, though there is no timeline for his return.
Shortstop Corey Seager (thumb) is swinging a bat again and doing other baseball activities, and the Rangers continue to believe that Nathan Eovaldi (forearm) will be back this month.
That all adds up to a pretty good Tuesday, and a fast one.
Heaney looked up around the sixth inning and saw that the game was only 1 hour, 15 minutes old. That tends to happen when team to that point have combined for one run and three hits.
Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman and Will Smith finished of the win … in 1 hour, 58 minutes. Wow.
It was the fastest game the Rangers have played since the 2007 season finale, which was finished in 1:57.
Jobs on the line
Eovaldi’s return and the additions of Scherzer and Montgomery will eventually lead to two starters going to the bullpen. Heaney pitched like he doesn’t want to be one of them.
Manager Bruce Bochy, though, said that the acquisitions might have given the starters a jolt of confidence and also created some competition.
Heaney said that the trades didn’t so much indicate to him that he needs be better, but he did receive some positive vibes from the front office.
“It sends a message to the guys in the clubhouse that they believe in us,” Heaney said. “We know as a starting group we haven’t been as good this past month as we were at the beginning of the season. That’s part of the game.”
Another bullpen candidate, Dane Dunning, is scheduled to pitch tonight. The third is Martin Perez, who will likely pitch this weekend. However it shakes out, the Rangers will be able to use the odd men out as spot starters to give the rotation some rest.
Fort Worth memories
The Rangers are the second professional team in Tarrant County that has had Scherzer on its roster. The first was the Fort Worth Cats in 2007.
Here’s how that happened:
Scherzer was drafted 11th overall by the Diamondbacks in the 2006 MLB Draft, but they didn’t sign him because they feared that he had been injured in his last season of college ball at Missouri.
Unlike these days, Arizona retained his rights, and he signed with the Cats to prove that he was fine.
“It’s been a minute,” he said. “That was an interesting time. The Diamondbacks thought I was hurt, and I had to go out there and pitch and show that I wasn’t hurt. That whole time, that whole process, that was wake-up to the business side of the ballgame. It’s not just about playing baseball. You’ve got to take care of business before you can play baseball.”
Scherzer made only three starts for the Cats in the independent American Association, and absolutely dominated with a 0.56 ERA. The Cats are defunct, and LaGrave Field north of downtown is in disrepair.
Scherzer is still going and back in Tarrant County.
Pretty good chin. Enjoy.
Poor dog 😭
— out of context dogs (@contextdogs) July 31, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org