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Thursday newsletter time: Rangers’ Jon Gray picks bad time for second complete game of career

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jon Gray (22) delivers a pitch to the St. Louis Cardinals during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)

(AP photo/Jim Cowsert)

 

For 99 of the 100 pitches he threw over nine innings Thursday night, Rangers right-hander Jon Gray was tremendous.

OK, maybe 99 is a bit of an exaggeration, but the adjective isn’t.

One pitch, though, spoiled Gray’s complete-game effort and led to the game’s only run in 1-0 loss to St. Louis that prevented another three-game sweep and a 6-0 homestand.

The pitch was an eighth-inning slider to Alec Burleson, who hit it just far enough to clear the wall in right field.

“He’s a really good hitter down and in with spin,” Gray said. “It was, obviously, supposed to be away. It was probably a ball too close to him. I do have regrets about that pitch. It sucks to fix on one pitch, but that’s the one that mattered.”

Gray allowed the one run on four hits and struck out 12 in his second career complete game and his first since 2016. Clearly, the loss wasn’t his fault as he gave the Rangers every chance to win the game.

But the league’s best offense couldn’t solve the Jack Flaherty, who walked the bases loaded in the first inning but escaped. He walked five but struck out eight and allowed only three hits in six innings.

How effectively wild was he? Marcus Semien’s hitting streak ended at 25 games. The Rangers didn’t fare any better against three hard-throwing right-handed relievers.

Despite all the runs the Rangers have scored this season and their MLB-leading +154 run differential, the Rangers have been shut out five times.

Huh.

Unfortunately for Gray, the offense’s timing couldn’t have been worse.

AL showdown

The two best teams in baseball will meet this weekend for the first time this season.

No one is surprised that one of the two is Tampa Bay, which has made going to the postseason a regular occurance. The other team is the Rangers, who are getting more and more respect nationally.

They were scheduled to depart Wednesday for St. Petersburgh, where they will enjoy an off day today before opening a three-games series Friday at Tropicana Field.

The Trop is not the worst ballpark in baseball. The Rangers have already been to the worst, Oakland Coliseum. From a reporting standpoint, Tropicana Field is great. The press box is close to the field, and the visiting clubhouse is easily accessible and it’s big.

Also, there are never any rain delays. Rangers fans have learned how convenient that is since Globe Life Field opened for business.

The Rays continue to have the best record in baseball and one of the best offenses. They have star power, with Wander Franco and Randy Arrozarena, but they are getting significant contributions from players who aren’t as well known.

One of them is Josh Lowe, younger brother of Rangers first baseman Nate Lowe. The Lowes are expecting at least 90 people to be at the Trop, Nate said.

It will be fun to see how they interact if Nate has hold Josh on at first base.

ICYMI …

Anything happening these days at Globe Life Field? Well, nothing will be happening there until Monday, but plenty of good things went down on the six-game homestead that wrapped up Wednesday. There was also one fairly bad thing, too. Rangers Today had it all and some other stuff as well. If you’re considering a paid subscription, check out our latest in case you missed it.

Jacob deGrom set for Tommy John surgery

News and notes

What a month x 12

How the West is won

Audio, video links to Grant Anderson podcast appearance

Doggy video!

Reenactment of the Jonah Heim haircut. 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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