Monday newsletter time: The final bill from Rangers losing final game of season
(AP photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Six hours on a plane, just what a team needs after a disappointing loss that cost them a division title and sent them across the country to face baseball’s best home team.
At least the Rangers didn’t have to go to baggage claim.
Their offensive no-show Sunday in Game 162 was like waiting at baggage claim only to find out that your luggage was sent to Toledo. The Rangers lost 1-0 to the Mariners while the Astros enjoyed a walk in the park at Arizona, the combination Houston needed to again win the American League West.
The Rangers’ loss cost them the No. 2 seed in the AL playoffs and a five-day respite. It left them as the No. 5 seed and put them on a plane for the longest possible flight in the AL.
Tampa Bay went 53-28 at home this season, including 2-1 against the Rangers. The Rangers swept the Rays in three July games at Globe Life Field.
All three games will be at Tropicana Field.
“We’ve just got to pack up and get our heads right and go to Tampa,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Dane Dunning allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings, and it came on a base-loaded infield grounder. First baseman Nate Lowe stepped on first, which eliminated the force play at home, and Eugenio Suarez slid in ahead of Jonah Heim’s tag.
Lowe could have have thrown home for the force, but it wouldn’t have made much difference.
“Still, you’ve got to score a run,” Bochy said.
Maybe they will score against the Rays.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery will start the opener, and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will follow in Game 2. The bullpen should be rested. The offense got its rest Sunday.
“We wanted to win this game, but we didn’t,” Bochy said. “It’s going to be up to us now to go through Tampa.”
Diamondbacks lay down
Arizona is headed to the National League playoffs at the No. 6 seed, a spot that was clinched over the weekend without winning a game. The Reds lost Saturday to seal the deal for the Diamondbacks, who partied like they’d never won anything in their lives.
They then played with a lineup for the season finale that would be an embarrassment in spring training.
Among the unwritten rules in baseball is respecting a pennant chase by fielding a competitive lineup. The Diamondbacks didn’t to that, and the Astros were never challenged.
Yes, the Rangers should have taken care of their business and shouldn’t have had to rely on an Astros loss to back into the AL West title. But the Diamondbacks, whose bench coach is former Rangers manager and defender of old-school baseball Jeff Banister, should have fielded a competitive lineup.
Seager falls short
An 0-for-4 game cost Rangers shortstop Corey Seager the AL batting title, as he was edged by Tampa Bay first baseman Yandy Diaz.
Diaz did not play in the Rays’ season finale and barely played over the weekend at Toronto, so he sat in the clubhouse and watched as Seager tried to get the Rangers to the postseason.
Seager batted a respectable .277 in September with eight home runs but definitely cooled from the pace he was keeping. He rarely sees fastballs because he usually crushes them. Of late, though, he’s been missing them.
Tyler Glasnow, who is expected to start Game 1 for Tampa Bay, can reach 100 mph, but he also throws a hard-biting slider.
Chances are you guys didn’t miss anything that happened on the field over the weekend. Bad, good, bad. It’s hard to take the 30,000-foot perspective, but the Rangers are in the playoffs after losing 102 and 94 games the past two seasons. Rangers Today is headed to Tampa to see what happens next. Here’s our latest, in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Just win
Friday on the Farm: Leiter, Winn plans
Smart dog. Lots of energy. Enjoy.
— out of context dogs (@contextdogs) October 1, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com