Thursday newsletter time: All that offense for Rangers, but no ground gained in AL West
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — The biggest hit Wednesday belonged to Jonah Heim, who launched a three-run homer to jump-start a six-run second inning that sent the Rangers on their way to a 15-5 victory.
The Rangers were down 4-0 when Heim connected, and Mitch Garver followed with a game-tying home run as the Rangers went back-to-back for the seventh time this season. Josh Jung and Evan Carter also homered as the Rangers reached double-digits for a single-season club-record 26th time.
All that offense made it feel like May and June at Globe Life Field, where the Rangers have won two straight games. However, their cakewalk over the Red Sox didn’t change where they stand in the American League West standings, as the first-place Astros won to keep a half-game lead over the Rangers and the Mariners.
All three teams are off today, and the Rangers will open a key three-game series against the Mariners on Friday to cap the final homestand of the season.
With 21 runs in the final two games against Boston, it appears as if the Rangers’ offense has woken up again.
“Good at-bats up and down the lineup, guys hitting mistakes for homers and guys taking the walks,” Heim said. “It’s encouraging to see.”
All nine starters had a hit, and Jung and Carter had a game-high three. Marcus Semien drove in a game-high three runs as he reached four times.
Carter, the No. 9 hitter, and No. 8 hitter Leody Taveras combined to go 5 for 7 with four runs and four RBIs.
As recently as three weeks ago Jon Gray was seen as a lock for a potential postseason rotation. He was reliably pitching five, six and seven innings and giving the Rangers a chance to win.
That has changed over the past month but particularly his past three starts.
Gray surrendered a three-run homer in the first inning Wednesday and a solo homer to start the second inning. After he recorded the first out of the third, Bochy summoned Martin Perez from the bullpen.
It’s hard to argue with the results, as the Red Sox didn’t score again until the ninth against Will Smith. Perez was the main reason why.
“He stopped it,” Bochy said.
Gray quickly retired the first two batters of the game and narrowly missed getting Justin Turner (walk) and Alex Verdugo (infield hit) before Adam Duval crushed a 1-1 pitch. Perez started to warm after Bobby Dalbec’s homer the next inning.
Command has been the issue for Gray. The pitch Duval hit was a belt-high 96-mph fastball over the middle of the plate.
Bochy said afterward that Perez might have pitched his way back into the rotation. Whether that’s to fill Max Scherzer’s spot in the rotation or to displace Gray is to be determined.
The hunch here is that Gray stays in the rotation. He was a little wobbly to start the season before figuring it out. He has power stuff that when harnessed is tough to hit and would play well in the postseason.
DIFD seeks help
The small but mighty Do It For Durrett Foundation once again is part of North Texas Giving Day and is asking for your help.
You can make a donation here. Giving Day opened this morning and runs throughout the day.
This is a great way for those of you who missed the annual fundraiser, the Do It For Durrett Doubleheader, last month but still want to contribute. We have raised more than $2 million since 2014 and helped more than 125 families.
Thanks for your support.
An off day and In Case You Missed It on the same day? They were meant to be. Catch up on the latest from Rangers Today, sign up for Rangers Today and visit Rangers Today for even more than the content listed below, in case you missed it.
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Was not expecting that. Enjoy.
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Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org