Thursday Newsletter time: Leody Taveras showing some promise after first two weeks with Rangers
(AP photo/Colin E. Braley)
That .500 record will have to wait … again.
The Rangers couldn’t finish off a sweep of the Royals on Wednesday, dropping the finale 2-1 before hopping on a plane and zooming off to New York for an off day in the Big Apple.
But a series win is a series win, and the Rangers will take it after dropping a three-game series over the weekend to Nationals. The Rangers are still playing well, and center fielder Leody Taveras is starting to show something.
Taveras provided the Rangers’ only run with a homer off Zack Greinke, and also prevented a run by throwing out Hunter Dozier at home to end the first inning.
Adolis Garcia isn’t the only Rangers outfielder with a great arm.
Taveras had a key hit Monday to get the Rangers on the board. He has hits in six of his past eight games, batting .385 (10 for 26) with all three of his RBIs. He’s batting .289 in 15 games since he was recalled.
For those who gave up on him after last season, it’s time to get back on the bandwagon. Taveras is still only 23. He’s been better offensively since his lousy start to the 2021 campaign, and has tapped into some power from both sides of the plate.
He’s fast, as he exhibited Monday with a bunt hit. His defense has always been very good, and he kept the Royals from a potential big inning Wednesday with a 94-mph throw home. A nice tag by Meibrys Viloria, by the way.
“I felt like that was going to be a big play as we moved through that game,” manager Chris Woodward said.
The Rangers, though, had trouble with Greinke. The veteran knows how to pitch, with his arsenal and ability to change speeds. His slow curveball had Josh Smith and Taveras out of whack, but he hung one to Taveras in the fifth.
“Typical Zack Greinke,” Woodward said. “We just couldn’t really square anything up.”
Right-hander Dane Dunning did his job Wednesday, allowing two runs in six innings.
It wasn’t anything particularly flashy, though he has had some flash in him this season. He’s also had a few duds mixed in, but after 16 starts he has a 4.09 ERA.
That’s not bad.
His 1-6 record is an eyesore, but he’s been better than that. He still has the occasional first-inning issues and can struggle on the road, but he did well after allowing a first-inning run to the Royals.
“For the most part I felt good just reading their swings and their at-bats and trying to mix as much as possible,” Dunning said.
As the Rangers look forward, they know they will have Jon Gray next season. They should sign Martin Perez to an extension this offseason, which would give them two veterans in the rotation. Dunning looks like he will have a spot, too.
The Rangers want to see prospects Cole Winn, Cole Ragans and Jack Leiter make a push for the 2023 rotation. Glenn Otto will be in the mix, too. Even if Perez is extended, the Rangers could still look to free agency.
Don’t be surprised if the Rangers attempt to add a controllable starting pitcher at the trade deadline, even if they aren’t contending for the postseason this year.
The Rangers, though, should feel pretty good about Dunning so far.
A crazy week has resulted in an unceasing game of catch-up at Rangers Today. The good news is hopefully I’ve gotten the two rental agencies off my back after damaging their cars during spring training. I went 17 years without a single incident with a rental car and then had two on back-to-back rentals. I guess I was due.
A couple house-cleaning issues: The first wave of renewals for annual subscribers came due this week. They have been sent invoices. If you didn’t get one, yours is coming. If you are a free member, you can become a paid subscriber here.
Also, the podcast has undergone a minor face-lift: It’s now the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast. The YouTube channel is still the same, and you still need to subscribe for free.
If you’ve been tied up with other stuff, here’s the latest from Rangers Today in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Draft prep in home stretch
Friday on the Farm: Cole Ragans one year later
Rangers farm report: Josh Jung is swinging
My kids’ sneak attacks always seemed to be targeted somewhere a little more delicate. Enjoy. We see you Friday.
Kids these days! pic.twitter.com/E3FK1tB82G
— Heckin Good Dogs (@HeckinGoodDogs) June 20, 2022
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org