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Friday newsletter time: Rangers’ tailspin continues with no end in sight

(Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

 

The good news for the Rangers is that they won’t have to play the Phillies again this season.

They might play in the World Series, but only one of the two teams looks headed to the postseason at this point.

Psst! It’s not the Rangers.

The defending world champions have lost four straight and 10 of 12. The Phillies beat them 5-2 on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep at Citizens Bank Park, where more of the little things were missing in the key spot in the game.

“You have to play better, and we didn’t play our best baseball,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We gave them a lot of runs in this series with some little mistakes. And you have to score some runs.”

Two plays in the third inning weren’t made, one an error and another a bad read on a deep flyball, that led to a Phillies three-spot. The extra pitches did in Andrew Heaney, but the bullpen allowed only one run in the final 4 2/3 innings.

The big thing, a lack of runs, remains. Of course, Zack Wheeler is really good starting pitcher, and the Rangers got him for only two runs in seven innings.

For a team with little margin for error, the Rangers are doing enough wrong to prevent them from winning ballgames.

Up next is a three-game series at Minnesota against the up-and-down Twins. The Rangers will have Michael Lorenzen, Jose Urena and TBA in the rotation.

TBA is problem.

Gray to IL

The Rangers need a starter for Sunday because right-hander Jon Gray landed on the injured list with a groin strain.

The Rangers have three days off in the next two weeks, which will help mitigate Gray’s absence, assuming it’s the minimum stay, but they are in need of someone.

The candidate for Sunday might be on the roster. The Rangers have seven relievers who can log multiple innings — left-hander Jacob Latz and right-handers Yerry Rodriguez, Jonathan Hernandez, Jesus Tinoco, Grant Anderson, Shaun Anderson and Jose Leclerc.

Shaun Anderson, who pitched well as a starter at Triple A Round Rock, could be the favorite.

If the Rangers wanted to go with an actual starter besides Anderson, they could promote Owen White or Adrian Sampson from Round Rock or Dane Acker or Emiliano Teodo from Double A Frisco. Jack Leiter pitched Wednesday night, tossing five scoreless innings, and wouldn’t be a candidate until next week.

With Nathan Eovaldi still working his way back from a groin injury and neither Max Scherzer nor Cody Bradford ready, the Rangers don’t have much to choose from.

Mavs in Minneapolis, too

The Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday took Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference finals at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, about a block from Target Field. That’s where the Rangers headed Thursday night.

The Mavs-Timberwolves series resumes tonight while the Twins are playing host to the Rangers. To accommodate a nightmare traffic scenario, the Rangers and Twins agreed to move first pitch of the first game of their three-game series up an hour to 6:10 p.m..

Plan accordingly.

The Rangers could use a road win of their own. They have lost six straight away from Globe Life Field, this from the team that won 11 straight road games in the postseason en route to the World Series title.

Six of the Rangers’ next eight games are on the road.

 

Card of the Week

The 1987 Topps set was the second one I ever collected, and the wood borders turned me on to the 1962 Topps, the set I have tried twice to complete.

It turns out that the Card of the Week was in the 1987 set. It’s the 1987 Ruben Sierra rookie, in honor of the Boys of Arlington series by T.R. Sullivan.

If you haven’t read the latest from T.R., do so here. It went live Thursday just before the scheduled first pitch of the Rangers-Phillies game.

This is Chapter Six, if you will. The Pete Incaviglia chapter was a two-parter. More are coming, though T.R. is retired and can write as much or as little as he wants.

He’s doing it out of the goodness of his heart, and someday he will be repaid in IPAs.

Once you read it, I guarantee you will learn something — or at least be reminded of something. I’m not going to spoil any of it, but I always get a kick out of the contract squabbles of the ’80s and ’90s.

Inflation has taken off (and TV contracts) in baseball over the past 30 years.

Doggy video!

Have some fun this weekend. Enjoy.

Watch today’s video here.

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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