Thursday newsletter time: Glenn Otto needed to make a pitch. He did, and it helped Rangers snap skid
(AP photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Here’s the make-or-break situation Glenn Otto was facing Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.
Fourth inning. Rangers up three. Angels threatening with runners at the corners. Tying run at the plate. One out.
Otto needed to make a pitch.
But he is a big-league rookie who entered with 5.55 ERA. Other veteran pitchers on the Rangers’ pitching staff have not been able to make a pitch, even in recent games.
Otto, though, did it. He got Kurt Suzuki to hit a bouncer to third base, where Charlie Culberson started an inning-ending double play.
The momentum just generated from a Mitch Garver solo homer and a Kole Calhoun two-run shot stayed in the Rangers’ dugout. Otto returned for scoreless fifth, bowed out to the bullpen, and the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory.
“To be able to battle and get outs … it’s good,” Otto said afterward. “No matter who’s standing there, I want to be able to execute and pitch my game.”
The Rangers went 5-4 in their past nine games against the Angels (4-1) and the Astros, the top two teams in the American League West.
Otto allowed a first-inning run, aided by a leadoff walk to Shohei Ohtani, but otherwise was very impressive over five innings. He struck out seven, including Ohtani and Mike Trout twice each.
Trout struck out for times, only the eighth time that has happened in his Hall of Fame career.
Dennis Santana, Brock Burke and Joe Barlow finished off the win for Otto, who leveled his record at 2-2 as the Rangers won for only the second time on this 10-game road trip. Next up is a four-game series at possum-infested Oakland Coliseum, with left-hander Martin Perez scheduled to start Thursday in the opener.
Huff at first
Sam Huff made his first career start at first base Wednesday, though it wasn’t the first time he had ever played the position.
He couldn’t catch last season in the minors after having knee surgery in April, so he dabbled at first base for Double A Frisco and Triple A Round Rock. Playing first base is one way the Rangers are trying to keep Huff from having to go back to the minors.
He remains a developing player who needs at-bats. He’s not getting them as only a part-time catcher behind Jonah Heim, who is catching the lion’s share of games. The Rangers have used Huff at designated hitter, but that was before Garver came off the injured list.
Garver can’t catch because of a flexor muscle strain, so there are no DH at-bats for Huff.
The Rangers either needed to find at-bats for Huff in the majors or send him back to Round Rock. With the 40-man roster full, it would be difficult to add Jack Kruger, Yohel Pozo or Meibrys Viloria without eventually exposing one of them to waivers.
Huff bobbled his only chance at first on a ninth-inning grounder still the got. He caught everything thrown his way. He had an infield hit in four at-bats.
A platoon at first with Nate Lowe and two games a week at catcher might be enough at-bats to make the Rangers comfortable enough to keep Huff on the roster.
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The first Rangers Today road trip of longer than one game came to an end Wednesday. I didn’t travel just to get a suntan, and never really have. Lots of stories were written and edited, and here’s the latest in case you missed it.
Rangers farm report: Ezequiel Duran doubles up
The Sunday Read: Willie Calhoun addresses comments
What the … ? Enjoy. See you Friday.
“Mom, did you see that?” 😂 pic.twitter.com/NczXjeznFZ
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Jeff Wilson, email@example.com