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Tuesday newsletter time: Pitching rules the day in Rangers’ 1-0 victory

(Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports)

 

Michael Lorenzen said he wasn’t at his best Monday night in his Rangers debut.

The right-hander might have been thinking about the five walks in five innings at Comerica Park.

But he didn’t issue any runs, getting the Tigers to bounce into three double plays, and neither did the three relievers as the Rangers opened a four-game series with a 1-0 victory.

“Not my best, obviously,” Lorenzen said. “But we got the W, and that’s all that matters.”

The offense squeaked out a run in the fifth inning on a Marcus Semien fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. Jared Walsh was thrown at home to end the inning after tagging and trying to score on a Travis Jankowski flyball to left.

The Tigers quickly loaded the bases with one out in their half of the fifth, but Lorenzen induced a double play from Mark Canha to end the threat against the team he represented last season at the All-Star Game.

“Wherever I pitch I have a job to do, and that’s keep my team in it,” Lorenzen said. “I’m happy with how I handled those situations. The defense did an incredible job.”

Lorenzen was starting for left-hander Cody Bradford, who hit the injured list Sunday with a back strain. Bradford had a 1.40 after three starts. Lorenzen was an adequate fill-in and will likely pitch next this weekend at Atlanta.

“Michael set the tone,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Great stuff in his first start. He probably could have gone a little further, but first time out I wanted to take care of him.”

Veterans close it out

Jose Leclerc pitched the sixth inning for his second straight appearance, this time in a leverage situation.

He gave the Rangers two scoreless innings to get the game to the Rangers’ two most trusted bullpen arms, at least currently.

David Robertson worked a scoreless eighth, and Kirby Yates tossed a perfect ninth for his first save of the season and only the Rangers’ second.

Yates appears to be the choice at closer for now. That’s not to say Robertson, who has 175 career saves, won’t get an opportunity, but Bochy isn’t the kind to fix what isn’t broken.

Yates led the majors in 2019 with 41 saves for the Padres before elbow woes derailed his career. He picked up five saves last season with the Braves and signed a one-year deal with the Rangers to be a veteran back-end piece.

The Rangers have two of those, and they’re both pitching well. Bochy still believes in Leclerc and the injured Josh Sborz, who is playing catch and hoping his strained rotator cuff starts to feel better the more he throws.

“Sborzie’s down, but four guys we’d be comfortable with,” Bochy said.

Fans might not be as comfortable as the manager.

Injury updates

First baseman Nathaniel Lowe is three games into his rehab assignment and has one hit in his first nine at-bats.

The one was an opposite-field two-run homer Sunday for Double A Frisco.

On Sunday, Bochy said that Lowe might need two weeks on assignment before being ready for make his 2024 debut. He was injured March 7 and had only 18 spring at-bats. Bochy said Lowe might need 30 or 40 at-bats on his rehab assignment.

Minor-league teams are off on Mondays.

Max Scherzer wasn’t off. The right-hander threw live batting practice at Comerica Park and will throw another round Friday at Atlanta. He told reporters in Detroit that he’s looking at an early-May return, which is far ahead of the initial timeline after his December back surgery.

 

 

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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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