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Friday newsletter time: Rangers’ pitching staff in tatters as road winds to Colorado

(William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports)

 

The Rangers didn’t even play Thursday and yet officially lost another pitcher to the injured list.

Right-handed reliever Josh Sborz hit the IL for the second time this season with a strained rotator cuff after exiting Game 2 of the Wednesday doubleheader after two batters. It would have been a surprise had he not gone on the IL.

All the concerns about the Rangers’ offense woes have taken a back seat to the issues suddenly putting a dent in the pitching staff.

Sborz is the third Rangers pitcher to land on the IL on this road trip, with Nathan Eovaldi (groin) leading the way Friday and Dane Dunning (rotator cuff) joining him Wednesday. Neither absence is expected to be much longer than the 15-day minimum, though Sborz might be a cautionary tale in Dunning’s case.

With Max Scherzer stuck in neutral, the Rangers will need two starters for the next two turns through the rotation. Jon Gray and Andrew Heaney will start tonight and Saturday in the first two games of the three-game series at Colorado. The Sunday starter could be Jose Ureña, who made a spot start Tuesday and would be on normal rest, or Owen White.

The groans are audible from here, but White is on the roster. The reality is that the Rangers don’t have a bunch of options.

They could take a flier on Shaun Anderson, who allowed a run Sunday over seven innings for Triple A Round Rock with 10 strikeouts and no walks. He has some big-league experience, including 2019 as a rookie with Bruce Bochy’s Giants.

Hmm.

As for Monday, Michael Lorenzen would be on normal rest to start against the Guardians in the opener of a six-game homestand. Jack Leiter could be ready to go again Tuesday.

The Rangers also need to replace Sborz in the bullpen, which they can do by recalling Grant Anderson.

Homecomings

Gray will make his first start at Coors Field since leaving the Rockies after the 2021 season, and he will enter on a roll. He’s 1-1 with a 2.50 ERA and has allowed no more than two runs in his past six starts. He also hasn’t issued a walk in his past two.

He was the Rockies’ first-round pick (third overall) in 2013 and went 53-49 with a 4.59 ERA before signing with the Rangers. He is 17-16 with a 3.86 ERA and one World Series ring in two-plus seasons with the Rangers.

Gray is an Oklahoma native. Fellow right-hander Cole Winn is a Colorado native and will be pitching at Coors Field for the first time as a major-leaguer. He pitched there twice in high school at all-star games and in 2021 at the Futures Game.

Winn was planning to spend the Thursday off day taking his grandmother out to dinner, which is really sweet. He was thinking about Pasta Jay’s in Boulder. She will be at the game along with other friends and family members, but his parents were scheduled to be out of town for a wedding.

Mom and Dad did make it to his April 14 debut at Houston.

Rangers Today update

A few things are brewing at Rangers Today:

If you’re thinking about subscribing to Rangers Today, do so this Mother’s Day weekend for $48. That’s 20 percent off the normal price. To get the deal, email me at jeff@rangerstoday.com.

Coming soon to the website will be the ability to pay to read individual stories for the low, low price of a buck. Look for that option in the next week.

Coming Friday to the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast is Double A Frisco third baseman Cody Freeman. It will be his second appearance on the show, the first coming the day in October 2022 when the Rangers hired Bochy. Look for the new episode this weekend on our YouTube channel.

Card of the Week

We ran this play last week, and it was pretty successful. So, we’re running it again.

In conjunction with this week’s T.R’s Memoirs, the latest in the Boys of Arlington series, the Card of the Week is the 1972 Topps Charlie Hough rookie card.

As was often the case in the ’70s, rookies were featured in three-panel cards with two other players. In Hough’s case, he shares the card with fellow pitchers Bob O’Brien and Mike Strahler.

Hough had the best career of the trio, by far, going 216-216 with a 3.75 ERA over 25 seasons. He is the Ranges’ career leader in wins (139) and is in their Hall of Fame.

O’Brien, on the other hand, played only part of the 1971 season. He went 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and never pitched in the majors again.

SABR did a story on him and gives a pretty good blow by blow of his career, including his role in a Tommy Lasorda story and being included in a major trade.

Strahler lasted parts of four big-league seasons with the Dodgers and the Tigers, going 6-8 with a 3.57 ERA. If SABR did a story on him, I couldn’t find it.

Doggy video!

Happy Friday, everyone. 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 May 12, 2024

    Somehow, all 3 of those rookies look like they’re in their 40’s.

    Reply

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