Friday newsletter time: Rangers holding off on naming Game 2 starter
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t hesitate Wednesday when asked who the Rangers planned to start in Game 1 (it’s Nathan Eovaldi), but Bochy sat on the Game 2 starter. He did the same thing Thursday.
The consensus is it would be left-hander Jordan Montgomery on normal rest after he pitched 2 1/3 relief innings Monday as the Rangers unseated the Astros for the American League pennant. Max Scherzer also pitched that game, going 2 2/3 innings before Montgomery replaced him.
The expectation here is Montgomery will make the start Saturday night, but it might not be a huge surprise if he doesn’t.
When Montgomery finished the fifth inning Monday, he went to the bench and told Bochy and pitching coach Mike Maddux that he was out of gas. He had pitched in Game 7 on two days’ rest. If he hasn’t recovered fully and won’t be at his best Saturday, the Rangers could push him to Game 3 in Arizona.
The last time Montgomery pitched at Chase Field, he turned in the best outing of his career. He tossed eight scoreless innings before exiting with a 1-0 lead. Aroldis Chapman gave up the game-tying homer in the ninth, and the Rangers lost in extra innings.
Maybe something about Montgomery and Chase Field are a fit the Rangers want to take advantage of as they try to run their postseason road record to 9-0. Scherzer could start on normal rest, though it might be wise to give him extra time to give the cut on his thumb more time to heal.
Or maybe, just maybe, a beat reporter is making something out of nothing. That’s never happened before.
The 2023 Rangers have been really tough to read the past two months.
They’ve gone from playing terribly, to good again, to not very good again, to darn near unbeatable.
Their bullpen was wildly unreliable but now is getting the job done.
It might feel as if they are living on borrowed time. Maybe that’s the scarring from the blown saves and long losing streaks.
The Rangers should win it, at least when looking at the matchup on paper. I think they will, but I would not be surprised if things went the other way.
As an unbiased reporter, even for a website called Rangers Today ($5.99 a month, $60 for 12 months), I’ll write whatever happens. As a small business owner, it would be really helpful if the Rangers won.
Banister is back
World Series media day went off Thursday without any major hitches.
Jonah Heim and Will Smith didn’t have name placards when the Rangers made their appearance in the interview space, but MLB quickly found them before the catcher and reliever bailed.
The usual suspects were the busiest: Adolis Garcia, Corey Seager, Scherzer and Marcus Semien. Every player and coach, though, was asked some questions. The same held true with the Diamondbacks, though bench coach and former Rangers manager Jeff Banister was probably a little busier than the typical assistant.
Banister guided the Rangers to AL West titles in his first two seasons before they faded in 2017 and 2018. He said his biggest regret is that he couldn’t get the Rangers to the World Series after early exits from the postseason in 2015 and 2016.
He was fired in September 2018 before the Rangers’ season-ending road trip, and Chris Woodward was hired after the World Series while I was on vacation in Washington D.C. as I told my lame-brain editors he would be. After saying they wouldn’t bother me on vacation, they did.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said that Banister is one of best additions in his time in Arizona. Banister could be in position to be a manager again, something he said he would like to do but isn’t focused on.
As always, there are openings.
Card of the Week
The Rangers announced on Thursday that President George W. Bush would throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1, and more people seemed to be upset with it than happy about it.
The tin-foil-hat crowd started squawking about 9/11 conspiracies from their moms’ basements, and others were quick to note that the Diamondbacks won the World Series the last time Bush had first-pitch duties in 2001.
No one, at least in my Twitter notifications, seemed to recognize that Bush once owned a piece of the team and was the club’s general partner before running to be Texas governor and then president. He has been a frequent guest to Rangers games since choosing Dallas as his home.
Rangers Today thinks is pretty neat, so the Card of the Week is the 2011 Topps Allen and Ginter that commemorates his strike from the 2001 World Series.
Ivan Rodriguez will be catching the first pitch, which led to one reporter thinking that Pudge might feel a little snubbed that he isn’t doing the first-pitch honors.
Well, it was under the Bush-Rusty Rose ownership group when Rodriguez made his MLB debut and became a star. I’m sure he won’t mind catching Bush.
Rodriguez was a catcher, after all.
My son ahead of the World Series opener. Enjoy.
Me after all the coffee kicks in..🐶💫😅 pic.twitter.com/ocWDCSlMBA
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) October 26, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com