Thursday newsletter time: Astros send Rangers to worst series … in club history?
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Considering all that was on the line and who was lined up to pitch and with the opponent being other team in Texas, that might be the worst home series in Rangers history.
They went meekly again Wednesday to the Astros, losing 12-3. Max Scherzer, the prize of the trading period, allowed seven runs in three innings. That came after Nathan Eovaldi allowed four runs in 1 1/3 innings Tuesday in his return from the injured list.
Adolis Garcia, the Rangers’ cleanup hitter all season, was injured trying to rob one of the three homers Scherzer coughed up.
The Rangers were outscored in three games 39-10, and their pitchers allowed 50 hits and 16 home runs — both MLB records for a three-game series. They are in third place in the American League West, three games behind the Astros, and a half-game out of the final wild-card spot.
It feels like they have been eliminated.
“It’s part of the game, and you’ve got to let it go. It was not a good series,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “They put it to us. There’s no getting around that.”
A few other candidates for bad home series:
• The 2009 Rangers were outscored in a three-game September home series 19-1 by Oakland while vying for the wild-card spot, but that team had not led the division all season or made any big splashes at the trade deadline.
• The 2016 team posted the best record in the American League and then laid two eggs to open the division series against Toronto with Yu Davish and Cole Hamels on the mound.
• The 1996 team was swept at home by the Brewers in September, losing by a combined scored of 29-13 during a stretch in which the Rangers lost 9 of 10. They never surrendered their division lead and still managed to win the division.
The division title is still in reach this season, technically, and the wild-card berth is right there. The Rangers play four games next week at Toronto, and that series is now the next big one on the Rangers’ schedule.
The Astros series is over, thankfully. The Rangers won’t face them again this season.
They did enough damage in what amounted to one of the worst home series in Rangers history.
Concern for Garcia, Scherzer
Garcia left the game in the second inning after hurting his right knee while attempting to rob Michael Brantley of a home run. Considering how tough Garcia is, the early exit is concerning.
He will go for an MRI today.
Scherzer did not leave early because of an injury. He left because of ineffectiveness.
He said his forearm tightness is not an injury and does not require an MRI. He said that rest will do him some good, and he won’t pitch again until the Toronto series.
“Everybody’s dealing with crap this time of the year,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and complain.”
Garcia has been slumping, though he connected Sunday for a walk-off homer. His average has dipped to .243 while mired in a 12-for-80 skid his past 21 games. He has established career-highs in home runs (34) and RBIs (100).
If Garcia needs time on the injured list, it could open the door for top prospect Evan Carter.
Robbie Grossman replaced Garcia on Wednesday. The Rangers also have J.P. Martinez on the roster, though he has played sparingly since his debut weekend last month at San Francisco.
Carter bats left-handed. If the Rangers want a righty-hitting outfielder, they could select Sandro Fabian or Elier Hernandez from Triple A Round Rock.
Maybe that’s getting way too far ahead of things, but when Garcia leaves a game early, it’s cause for concern.
The Diamondbacks are promoting top prospect Jordan Lawler, who went to Dallas Jesuit, for his MLB debut as they attempt to make the playoffs.
Lawler was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 draft, four picks after the Rangers selected right-hander Jack Leiter. The Rangers considered Lawler and No. 4 pick Marcelo Mayer before selecting Leiter. Colton Cowser, the fifth overall pick, made his MLB debut earlier this season.
Leiter has spent this season at Double A Frisco, his second campaign there, and came off the developmental list two weeks ago. He has pitched well since his return, but the Rangers haven’t determined if he will pitch in the offseason to made up for the innings he lost.
Leiter could make two more starts before Frisco’s season ends Sept. 17. Fall instructs begins Monday, though the Rangers won’t be playing games. The Arizona Fall League is a possibility, too, if the Rangers decide Leiter needs to continue working on the delivery tweaks he underwent while on the developmental list.
The Diamondbacks are turning to someone they probably wish they didn’t have to call up this soon. That sounds like a dilemma the Rangers could be facing with Carter.
Rangers on the Grid
Not all was lost Wednesday with the Rangers, as they returned to the Immaculate Grid.
They were paired with the Astros, the Rockies and a 30-steal season.
My answers are pictured.
I went with Grossman for the Astros connection, old friend Jurickson Profar for the Rockies connection and Tom Goodwin for the 30-steal season. I could have done better.
I was surprised to learn that Profar had been released by the Rockies and was signed to a minor-league deal by the Padres. Profar connected for a home run Tuesday night against Round Rock.
My favorite answer on the entire grid was an All-Star who also had a 30-steal season. Not many remember the sleek and speedy Tony Gwynn from early on in his career. He swiped a career-high 56 bags in 1987.
He struck out only 35 times.
The Rangers have been short on wins on this homestand, but they haven’t been short on news as they attempt to figure out what in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin’ on here. There’s minor-league news, too, with first-rounder Wyatt Langford getting promoted to Double A Frisco and 17-year-old shortstop Sebastian Walcott going to High A Hickory. As for the big-league stuff, here’s our latest content in case you missed it (subscribe here):
The Sunday Read: September chance
Friday on the Farm: Frisco Dream Team
Who needs an alarm clock? Enjoy.
— out of context dogs (@contextdogs) September 6, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org