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Thursday newsletter time: Rangers’ best deliver series win over Rays

(AP photo/Chris O’Meara)

 

Nathan Eovaldi delivered seven scoreless innings Wednesday afternoon on only four hits and a walk, striking out eight and looking every bit the part of a staff ace.

The right-hander is the Rangers’ ace, especially now as they are without Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.

On Wednesday, Eovaldi threw 44 splitters, the second-highest single-game total of his career, and the Rays didn’t reach against it as the Rangers won 4-1. The Rangers have won two series to start the season.

Eovaldi wasn’t happy with his split-fingered fastball on Opening Day and was ready to work on it between starts. The split can be a devastating pitch, especially when he’s commanding his other four pitches.

His four-seam fastball and curveball were also very good against the Rays, who made things interesting in the eighth and ninth innings against David Robertson and Jose Leclerc.

Up next for the Rangers is an off day today after flying home from Florida on Wednesday night. They are back at Globe Life Field on Friday to begin a four-game series against the hated Houston Astros. Eovaldi is not one of the probable pitchers, as the Rangers prefer to give all pitchers the extra day’s rest.

If this were September, that might not be the case.

By September, Scherzer and deGrom should both be in the rotation. Scherzer (back) could be about only six weeks from returning, and deGrom (Tommy John surgery) is expected back in August.

If Eovaldi continues to pitch like he has the first two times this season and as he did in the postseason, he might still be the Rangers’ ace down the stretch.

Seager dinger

When Corey Seager strode to the plate in the sixth inning Wednesday, he had seven hits in 4 1/2 games this season. All of them were singles, including one in the first inning.

He now has eight hits and his first homer.

His solo shot to right field at Tropicana Field in the sixth was the game’s first run and stood until the Rangers scored three times in the ninth. He and Marcus Semien went 2 for 5 as the Rangers banged out 10 hits. Josh Smith singled in two of the three ninth-inning runs, with Semien plating the other.

Seager was the designated hitter as the Rangers continue to nurse him back to full strength. Manager Bruce Bochy said before the season that the hope was for Seager to be able to play two full games before needing a day off or a DH day. He’s had one of each through six games.

Eventually, he will have his stamina back after barely playing in spring training. He’s not far away, but the Rangers want to be careful with their best player. That might be even more of a priority with Josh Jung (broken right wrist) now expected to be out two to four weeks longer than expected.

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ICYMI …

Reminder: No Rangers baseball today. Triple A Round Rock is at home against El Paso, for those jonesing for a ballgame. Double A Frisco, which held its media day Wednesday, is busing today for its season opener Friday at Wichita. High A Hickory and Low A Down East also open Friday.

With no Rangers game to watch, slide over to Rangers Today and to the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast for our latest content, in case you missed it.

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Jeff Wilson on Twitter

Doggy video!

Dog sees a frog, turns into one of the Three Stooges. 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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