Thursday newsletter time: Rangers’ formula for surviving in finale vs. Pirates
(AP photo/Barry Reeger)
The Rangers’ bullpen issues are going to be resolved at some point this season.
Until then, heart rates will increase and nails will be chewed each time the Rangers turn to a reliever in a tight game, and manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Mike Maddux will continue to seek out ways to win.
The formula Wednesday was pushing starter Martin Perez an extra inning and asking closer Will Smith to get more than three outs. It worked, as the Rangers escaped Pittsburgh with a 3-2 victory and a series win over the Pirates.
Perez allowed two runs, both in the second inning, over seven innings and 95 pitches. He was at 87 pitches after six, and might would have gone batter to batter in the seventh if the bullpen were working normally.
They were fortunate the seventh wasn’t more taxing.
The Rangers turned to Jose Leclerc in the eighth with the one-run lead, and it went well … for a batter. Three batters later, though, the bases were loaded with one out, and Bochy summoned Smith over fellow left-hander Brock Burke.
Smith got out of the jam, preserving the Rangers’ one-run lead, and worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Piece of cake.
The Rangers are off today before opening a three-game series at Baltimore. The Orioles are going to test the Rangers’ starters, even as good as they’ve been, and the bullpen is going to have to work.
Enjoy the off day.
Walcott crushes one
Play is almost under way in the Dominican Summer League, where teams are finishing up extended spring training before the season begins June 5.
As usual, the Rangers will have have two teams — Rangers Red and Rangers Blue.
Shortstop Sebastian Walcott, the man-child who was part of the January international signing class, plays for the Rangers Blue team, and is still turning heads as he did in spring training.
The 17-year-old swatted a home run Wednesday afternoon, and the Rangers player development staff caught it on video and tweeted it out for all to see.
— Rangers Player Development (@TEXPlayerDev) May 24, 2023
Even as tempting as it might be, the Rangers will not start Walcott in the Arizona Complex League. He’ll be there soon enough, assuming he overwhelms the DSL as 2022 signee Anthony Gutierrez did last season.
Walcott is from the Bahamas, has spent time living in Florida and is fluent in English, so he should have an easier transition to the States than Gutierrez did. It’s not like Gutierrez struggled in Arizona, but he definitely was cooled off.
Also on the minor-league side Wednesday, the Rangers announced that Kumar Rocker underwent Tommy John surgery Monday in Arlington. The surgery was performed by Dr. Keith Meister, and the Rangers expect Rocker will return next season in the second half.
Good news on the Rangers Today front: The Rangers Today Baseball Podcast is now part of the DUB Network, which hosts podcasts you’ve probably seen hosted by Nate Newton and Isaiah Stanback, Craig Ludwig, Derek Harper, Kevin Mench, and, of course, Emily Jones and Julia Dobbs on the Mom Game. How John Moore and I landed in that mix, I’ll never know. Writing will continue at Rangers Today, of course. Here’s some of our latest in case you missed it.
The Sunday Read: Leody gets going
Friday on the Farm: Bullpen candidates
Wednesday newsletter: Nathan Eovaldi, starter and closer
Monday newsletter: Finding peace amid bullpen turmoil
What a stud. Enjoy.
When you’re the handsomest of all.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/nOzMJqZCgi
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) May 24, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com