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Thursday newsletter time: Rangers clear another roadblock

(AP photo/Lindsey Wasson)

 

T Mobile Park is cold. It’s cold there in April and May, and it’s cold there in July and August.

Elvis Andrus hated playing there and often wore the silly ballcap with ear flaps to keep him warm.

It’s a minimum three-layer-of-clothes press box. I’ve worn as many as five layers with gloves and a stocking cap.

The Rangers had been ice cold there since 2020, until this week.

A 4-3 victory Wednesday afternoon secured their first road series at Seattle since May 27-29, 2019, snapping a string of nine straight losing series there. This comes a month or so after the Rangers took a three-game series at Houston, where they hadn’t won since 2018.

The Rangers haven’t exorcised all of their demons, but they continue show that they are wildly better than last season and that they might be contenders after all. They’re going to get better, too, with Corey Seager, Mitch Garver and Jacob deGrom all coming back this month.

Seager is headed to Double A Frisco for a rehab assignment that begins tonight. He’s expected to go five innings at shortstop and then serve as the designated hitter Friday.

Does that get him ready for Monday against the Braves? Maybe not Monday, but a return against the Braves is possible.

In the meantime, the Rangers will be at Oakland looking for a fourth straight series win and a winning road trip. They don’t return to Seattle until the final series of the season.

It will be cold.

Bullpen mini-redemption

Bad bullpen performances are the ones everyone remembers. They’re memorable because they often result in losses. When they happen multiple times in a short span, they create massive angst.

The back of the Rangers’ bullpen was in a funk entering the Seattle series. It’s hard to blame fans who might have been feeling a little queasy Monday and Wednesday when the Rangers reached the eighth and ninth innings holding slim leads.

But give the relievers some credit. Brock Burke, Jonathan Hernandez and Will Smith, especially Smith, were up to the task both times in the Mariners series.

Smith faced six batters in two perfect innings and struck out five. He knows what it means to be a closer. Closers have to face the media when the stuff hits the fan and rarely get any quotes in the paper when they do their job.

Relievers aren’t perfect. No one in this game is. Some are better than others, and the Rangers can do better and need to do better if they want to contend.

The back-end pieces were good against Seattle. Go ahead and exhale.

ICYMI …

Having traveled on almost every West Coast road trip from 2008-2020, I never really had an appreciation for the how hard it was for Rangers fans to stay up late to watch those games. Mad respect. It’s tough, even now in the age of the pitch clock and 6:30 p.m. local start times. It’s easy to miss things, believe me. We’ve got you covered. Here’s some of our latest content in case you missed it.

Jack Leiter turnaround

Jon Gray turnaround

Areas for improvement

April’s minor-league stars

 

Doggy video!

How could anyone possibly say no to this pup? Enjoy.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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1 Comment

  1. Charles Neeley May 11, 2023

    Another late blown save was saved by an unbelievable Jonah Heim block of an extra wild wild pitch with a runner on third in the 8th. I watched the broadcast. Crickets around concerning that play. When making the case for Jonah Heim as an all star, start with that play. Not one catcher in 25 stops that ball. Else, the headline and the conclusions in this story could be very different.

    Reply

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