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Friday newsletter time: Rangers-Astros rivalry begins anew for 2024

(Andrew Dieb/USA TODAY Sports)


The last two American League teams standing last year, the two teams who finished with the same record in the AL West and the two teams many expect to battle it out for the division title this season meet tonight for the first time in 2024.

The Rangers will play host to the Astros in a four-game weekend wraparound series that come September could make difference in the standings. It will be their first encounter since the American League Championship Series, which the Rangers won in seven games.

Neither team won a home game, which is peculiar, and the Rangers won three more road games in the World Series to capture the franchise’s first championship.

Tickets for the weekend games are getting harder to come by. Plenty of Astros fans will be in attendance, so play nice.

Adolis Garcia will be in the Rangers’ lineup. He was the ALCS MVP and is Public Enemy No. 1 among Astros faithful for the benches-clearing altercation he sparked in Game 5 after he was plunked by reliever Bryan Abreu. The Astros no longer have catcher Martin Maldonado, the third combatant in the disagreement who prided himself on getting under the Rangers’ skin.

Manager Dusty Baker is also no longer around. He retired in the offseason and was replaced by longtime coach Joe Espada.

Nearly all of the key Rangers from the postseason are back, minus Mitch Garver and Jordan Montgomery. Josh Jung and Max Scherzer are on the injured list.

The Astros also returned most of their key 2023 performers. Besides Maldonado, Houston is without Justin Verlander, who is injured, and Hector Neris, who pitched last weekend at Globe Life Field for the Cubs.

Fans need to wait only a week until the Rangers and Astros meet again in a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Lorenzen progress

Right-hander Michael Lorenzen, the starting pitcher signed the day before spring training ended, allowed one run in four innings Thursday night for Triple A Round Rock while on a rehab assignment. He allowed three hits and two walks while pushing his pitch count to 70.

He has made two starts since being sent out. With the Rangers setting out on a stretch of 17 games in 17 days, Lorenzen’s next outing could be in the big leagues.

Lorenzen could slide into the rotation next week. Whichever pitcher loses his rotation spot could still make at least one spot start during the long upcoming stretch of 17 games in 17 days.

Once he is activated, he will bump a pitcher to the minors. The two most likely candidates are Yerry Rodriguez and Jacob Latz.

More All-Access

A sixth episode of Rangers All-Access dropped Thursday night on YouTube, and this one is heavy on the rings.

The most behind-the-scenes scene involves the dinner the Rangers had last Friday in which they received a look at the World Series rings they received Saturday. Ring designer Jason Arasheben gives great detail about the rings, including 13 carats worth of diamonds.

Some of the wives seemed as excited about the rings as some of the players.

Wyatt Langford’s Opening Day and first career hit are also part of the 17-minute episode.

All six of these have been worth watching. Kudos to the Rangers for stepping out of the box on content. Expect more of it in the future.


Card of the Week

The Astros are back in town beginning tonight, if you haven’t heard, and they have won eight consecutive games at Globe Life Field.

Some Rangers fans might have forgotten that in the euphoria of the World Series championship because of the Rangers’ road success in the ALCS. The Rangers wouldn’t have won it without Adolis Garcia.

He was monster in that best-of-7 series and was named the MVP. His signature moment came in Game 6 β€” a grand slam that put the game away and forced a decisive Game 7.

Topps immortalized it in a card, and that 2023 Topps Now 2023 ALCS card is the Card of the Week.

You’ll recall that Garcia was getting booed mercilessly all game after the Game 5 kerfuffle.

It appeared to be retaliation for the way Garcia celebrated a go-ahead home run against Verlander earlier in the game. Verlander, for what it’s worth, said he had no problem with Garcia’s excitement level.

Garcia has struck out his first four times up, much to the delight of fans at Minute Maid Park, but he quieted them with a line shot into the Crawford Boxes off of Ryne Stanek.

Garcia hit two homers in Game 7 after he thought he’d hit one in his first at-bat. He ended up with 15 RBIs in the series and was an easy choice to be MVP.

This weekend, and next weekend back in Houston, ought to be lots of fun.



Doggy video!

Lots of spunk in this one. 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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1 Comment

  1. Monty W April 5, 2024

    Loved seeming deGrom playing catch in the latest episode of Rangers All-Access. I don’t remember them mentioning anything about him but I took it as a sign that things are progressing as planned.


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