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Monday newsletter time: Rangers back home, back to treading water

(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

 

The Rangers didn’t need a wakeup call or to be brought back to reality. Their reality this season has been hovering around .500 and around the American League West lead, unable to pull away from the other four teams or themselves.

They were dragged back into their lurch over the weekend, losing all three games to a Rockies team that entered the weekend with nine wins.

An inability to hit left-handers and a lack of bullpen depth reared up again. When a tight game is on the line and the best the Rangers can muster is Yerry Rodriguez or Jonathan Hernandez, what happens is what happened Friday and Sunday.

The Rangers’ 3-1 loss Sunday, though, was more the by-product of a misfiring offense but also some terrific Rockies defense that changed the game. Hernandez again didn’t have much control, which gave the Rockies an eighth-inning insurance run.

For those calling for him being sent to Triple A Round Rock, he’s out of options and would have to be designated for assignment and clear waivers for him to get back to the minors. For those wishing for a DFA, the Rangers are already short enough on pitching and probably shouldn’t give away someone who can throw a 98-mph sinker.

Maybe Hernandez isn’t over his oblique injury from last season. Some time on the injured list, as crowded as it is, might be best for the player and the club.

The pitching woes are one thing. An offense that entered the series scoring early and often managed six runs in 27 innings at the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the majors against a pitching staff that is one of the most hitter-friendly in the majors.

The Rangers have taken their lumps a few times at Coors Field, but the sweep was a shock considering the way the teams had been playing.

The sweep also comes with 13 players on the injured list and the Rangers almost out of pitching. Their Tuesday starter is good ‘ol TBD.

Not all bad

The one facet that clicked for the Rangers was the starting rotation. The trio of Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney and Jose Ureña allowed two runs apiece with two walks and 18 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings.

That ordinarily wins games for a team with a normally functioning offense.

The Rangers should feel good about Ureña amid their injury woes. He has allowed four runs in two spot starts for Nathan Eovaldi (groin), who could be back from the injured list by this weekend. With Dane Dunning (rotator cuff) and Cody Bradford (rib) nursing injuries, Ureña should stay in the rotation after Eovaldi returns.

The Tuesday starter will be filling in for Dunning. If Eovaldi returns this weekend, he could simply bump everyone back a day, and Ureña would fall in line somewhere.

Jack Leiter could be the Tuesday starter. He started Wednesday at Oakland and was returned to Round Rock, but he was the 27th player in the doubleheader and can return to the majors without serving the required 10 days on option.

He could also stick around as a reliever. Considering the state of the bullpen, the Rangers might as well give him a try.

Back at it?

Rookie outfielder Evan Carter didn’t play the final two games of the Rockies series because of back stiffness. He has a history of back issues, though what was thought to be a strain in 2021 was actually a fracture.

A bad back is nothing to mess with. He was available Sunday as a pinch hitter but wasn’t able to play defense. The Globe Life Field turf might not be of any help for him, but the warmer weather could loosen things up.

He doesn’t look like a candidate for the IL, but who knows? He would be the 14th player on the Rangers’ IL, which is a massive number. It’s beginning to look like Max Scherzer isn’t going to come off anytime soon, though not because of his back.

The thumb issue has been re-diagnosed as a nerve issue, and while a cortisone shot has done some good, there’s some pain in the triceps. That sounds worse than a thumb or nerve issue.

 

ICYMI …

The Rangers are home for their next six games, first with three against the Guardians and then three weekend games against Ron Washington and the Angels. They are not playing well, in last place in the AL West by a half-game behind the Astros. Mike Trout is hurt, but the Angels didn’t give Washington a full deck to work with in his first season. He helped get the Rangers turned around, though, and hopefully he gets the chance to do so in Anaheim.

As for Rangers Today, if you missed the Mother’s Day sale but still want in for $48 a year, email me at jeff@rangerstoday.com. If you were otherwise occupied during the rainy weekend, here’s our latest content in case you missed it.

The Sunday Read: Road trip review

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Doggy video!

Tough food critic. Enjoy.

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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