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Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers won Game 1 without clicking on all cylinders

(AP photo/John Raoux)



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Rangers did not play a perfect game Tuesday, and they know it.

The defense (Jordan Montgomery) and the pitching (Montgomery, Aroldis Chapman, Jose Leclerc) were excellent in the 4-0 victory. But the offense, as second baseman Marcus Semien said, “left a lot on the table.”

The Rangers left 13 runners on base. They scored only once, on a wild pitch, after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth. They left Corey Seager stranded at third with one out in a two-run sixth

But good things had to happen to get that many runners, and the Rangers took advantage of four Rays errors. It should have been five, as Jose Siri was flagged for only a throwing error on Seager’s sixth-inning single after deflecting the ball high in the air while attempted to field it on a short hop.

Evan Carter was at second base and had to hold to see if Siri would catch the ball, and third-base coach Tony Beasley was holding Carter at third until the deflection.

Speaking of Carter, my goodness. The rookie left fielder went 2 for 2 with two doubles and two walks. He also made a diving catch to end the first inning and stole a base.

At age 21, Carter became the second youngest player in club history to appear in a postseason game (Jurickson Profar was 19 in 2012) and became the first player in club history to collect two doubles and a stolen base in a postseason game.

“I just love the way he’s handling himself through all this,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

The Rangers need to win either today or Thursday to advance to the division series at top-seeded Baltimore. The first two games are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

Nathan Eovaldi will start for the Rangers against fellow right-hander Zach Eflin.

Game 1 “crowd”

Tropicana Field rarely plays host to a sold-out crowd for a Rays home game, but those who remember the 2010 and 2011 playoff series against the Rangers have seen it.

Rangers Today/Jeff Wilson

Those crowds were loud, with those dang cowbells. The Rangers won all five Rays home games those seasons.

The crowd for Game 1 of the American League wild-card series was not a sellout. It wasn’t even close.

Chunks of extra seats were visible as only 19,704 fans watched the Rangers’ victory. Once the Aroldis Chapman got the final out of the eighth, thousands of fans got up and left.

Apparently they hadn’t watched the Rangers bullpen perform this season. The Rays went quietly in the ninth against Jose Leclerc, so the traffic-beaters got the last laugh.

Some who watched the game on TV were laughing at the Rays.

My high-school buddies in Colorado wondered if a new ballpark would help or if the fan base just stinks.

The Rays have a new ballpark in the works, though ground hasn’t even broken on it. Maybe that will do the trick.

But the Rays are one of the best teams in baseball, and Tropicana Field at least offers air conditioning. It’s not a great venue, but it’s better Oakland Coliseum (low bar) and it’s not like every third fan who enters the building gets punched in the face.

The Trop is fine. The Rays are great. More people should be watching them, especially in the playoffs.

Admitted mistake

The Astros beat writer who tweeted that the Rangers’ post-clinch celebration Saturday at Seattle is what cost them the AL West title issued a new tweet Tuesday in which he clarified that he was not in the clubhouse and did not witness the degree to which the Rangers did celebrate.

MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart assumed that the Rangers had a rager, based on photos from the clubhouse, while the Astros had only a champagne toast after they clinched. Rangers general manager Chris Young called out the shoddy tweet Monday on his weekly radio show, and Bochy said it was a false narrative.

Those who were there said that the Rangers’ celebration lasted no longer than 30 minutes, perhaps as few as 15 minutes, and that Bochy and Semien were adamant that the players not carry on because the Sunday game had significance.

The team then loaded the buses together and went back to the the team hotel.

“I’m moving on,” Bochy said.

While McTaggart admitted that he wasn’t in Seattle, he did not apologize for the tweet and for the vitriol it created from the Astros fan base toward Rangers dugout reporter Emily Jones, who decided to delete her account because of the comments she received from Astros fans after responding to the initial tweet.

Doggy video!

This made me wonder if dogs can get brain freezes. 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. A Stephens October 4, 2023

    Typical classless corporate media of this era. Commenting, editorializing, without all the facts. But dare to challenge them and they circle the wagons with “misinformation”. Buffoons.

    As to the Rays, If I owned that team it would be in Nashville.

    1. Jeff Wilson October 5, 2023

      I could do Nashville! Reporting has gotten soooo lazy. There are always two sides to the story, which seems to have been forgotten. BTW, that tweet did not go over well at MLB.com.

  2. deGrom Texas Ranger October 5, 2023

    I love the humor here:
    “Apparently they hadn’t watched the Rangers bullpen perform this season.” Lol
    “it’s not like every third fan who enters the building gets punched in the face” Hilarious jab at liberal states (California and New York) Rotfl
    As for journalists, they never really seemed to have morals to begin with, but social media definitely encourages people to stoop to the level of random people on the internet. All Texas has to do is put away the Astros, and this will be enough to shut them down. They are going downhill, while Texas has Carter, Langford, and possibly Kershaw in place of Kershaw next year. The future is bright for sure. There is this feeling of impending doom, much like that felt by King Macbeth in the play Macbeth. The walls will come tumbling down in Houston; it’s only a matter of time.


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