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Tuesday newsletter time: Rangers fall in wild finale of key series with Astros

(AP photo/Emil T. Lippe)

 

 

ARLINGTON — Ultimately, the four-game series between the Astros and the Rangers featured really good baseball.

Close games. Good pitching, at times. Timely hits throughout. Good defense.

Phenomenal crowds, too, even with all the Astros fans at Globe Life Field. They helped the Rangers accomplish a franchise first: selling out all four games of a four-game series.

Most of the 158,070 fans came away disappointed as the Astros won three of the four games and trimmed the Rangers’ lead in the American League West to three games.

The Rangers lost Monday, 12-11, but that doesn’t tell the full story. Houston led 10-2 in the fourth inning but saw the Rangers come all the way back to take an 11-10 lead into the ninth inning.

The Astros, though, scored two in the ninth off closer Will Smith, who waited for the media afterward as a true professional and good teammate does.

“It didn’t go my way,” Smith said. “You watch your team battle back the whole way, down 10, so you feel like s— coughing that one up.”

Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t want all the positives to get lost in the loss.

Travis Jankowski, for instance, hit his first homer in more than two years and drove in a career-high five runs. Cody Bradford was very good in relief, keeping Houston in check and giving the Rangers a chance to come back. The Rangers showed plenty of resolve coming back from eight down to take the lead.

“We’re going to be fine,” Bochy said.

But it was a loss and a series loss to the team that rates as the biggest threat to the Rangers in the West.

Perez’s bad start

Martin Perez has made 177 starts in his career for the Rangers, and it’s safe to say that I’ve seen most of them. His outing  Monday was by far the worst I’ve seen, and he agreed.

He didn’t have as much velocity. He couldn’t command his pitches. It was almost as if the Astros were banging on trash cans again.

Perez recorded four outs and gave up six runs, all in the second inning. Four came on a Kyle Tucker grand slam that ended Perez’s day.

Like Smith, Perez was waiting for the media.

“I was a bad game,” he said. “I was not using the top of the zone. I wasn’t throwing anything up, and that’s why they hit me.”

It was Perez’s first stinker at home. He has struggled on the road, where’s made most of his starts this season and where he is scheduled to make his next one Saturday.

The Rangers could have Bradford available by then if they wanted to skip Perez and give him an extended break for the second half. Perez logged 196 1/3 innings last season and then started his offseason throwing program sooner and with more intent as he pitched for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.

It probably wouldn’t hurt. Perez has a 4.73 ERA after 17 starts and 91 2/3 innings. He has allowed 16 homers, including three Monday.

Garcia wants in

Adolis Garcia was selected to the All-Star team Sunday, and he launched his 21st homer of the season Monday.

He wants in the Home Run Derby.

There’s one problem: No one from MLB had asked him as of Monday morning.

The latest to enter the field is Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman, who has 11 homers. Perennial favorite Pete Alonso is back, along with Mookie Betts, Randy Arozarena, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Julio Rodriguez.

That leaves two open spots.

A Garcia-Arozarena matchup would be good for baseball, as the two friends from Cuba would go head-to-head in a fun competition.

The Rangers have had a participant each of the past two years. Joey Gallo competed in 2021, and Corey Seager was in the Derby last year.

Rangers Today business

A couple things this holiday week:

• There may or may not be a Wednesday newsletter. The family is headed up to Double A Frisco tonight for fireworks and baseball, and the wife has been talking about going on a boat later this morning. Time is short, and beers might be consumed.

• In doing some routine maintenance on the back end of the website, I noticed that the email providers for a growing number of subscribers are bouncing Rangers Today emails.

If you have a Yahoo email, you’re likely not getting them. We’re working on finding a solution on the back end. A few people are also finding Rangers Today emails in their spam box, which sucks. We’re investigating that, too.

Either way, let me know.

• Rangers Today continues to be a leading source for Rangers news and minor-league news, so go ahead and get full access here. July is a huge month, with the draft and the trade deadline approaching. Don’t miss anything.

• It’s looking like there will not be a new Rangers Today Baseball Podcast episode this week, though our man Joel Perez is working on the Dane Dunning episode we shot Friday. The audio is available here. The video should be up on the YouTube channel today or Wednesday.

Doggy video!

Me, today at the Fourth of July cookout. Enjoy.

 

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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2 Comments

  1. Boo July 4, 2023

    I was there yesterday and as posted in the DMN, it was a gut punch! But in spite of the loss, it was one of the most entertaining baseball games I’ve ever witnessed.
    I said early in the season to a buddy of mine, “Will Smith will not be our closer soon after the trade deadline”. Not because he wasn’t performing back then, he was, he just didn’t pass the eye test with me. We’ll see.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Wilson July 5, 2023

      The whole series was good, and the atmosphere was great. I agree with you on Will Smith. He got it done for the Braves in 2021, but Chapman or someone else wouldn’t surprise me at all.

      Reply

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