Thursday newsletter time: Rangers slip to third place after bullpen buckles (again)
(AP photo/Adam Hunger)
The Rangers’ struggling offense at least managed to not chase pitches out of the strike zone, and there were a lot of them Wednesday night.
The Mets bullpen’s generosity fueled the Rangers’ rally from a three-run hole with a bases-loaded walk and a bases-loaded hit batsman.
Jose Leclerc and Aroldis Chapman, though, repaid the debt.
A disastrous 10th inning handed the Mets a 6-5 victory and sent the Rangers home with a 3-6 record on the road trip and in third place in the American League West. They failed to score in their half of the 10th despite loading the bases with no outs, and the Mets went intentional walk, walk, hit batsman against Chapman to win it.
The 10th inning was necessary because Leclerc surrendered a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth.
The loss, coupled with wins by the Mariners and the Astros, pushed the Rangers a game out of the West lead they have held most of the season. They are off today before opening a nine-game homestand against the Twins, Astros and A’s.
That Astros series is looking like the most important of the Rangers’ series to date, with two series/seven games against the Mariners looming at the end of the season.
But back to the road trip.
The good news is that the Rangers should have won four of the six games they lost. The bad news is the bullpen remains the weakest link.
Relievers took four of the losses. Chapman, the apparent solution at closer, had a hand in three of them. Leclerc had been the relative hot hand, hotter than the usual choice for the eighth inning, Josh Sborz. Will Smith did well in the eighth and ninth to get the game to the 10th.
Hey, Martin Perez tossed five scoreless innings in the Mets series. Might as well give him a chance.
It couldn’t be any worse than what unfolded on a lousy nine-game road trip.
If there is a potential silver lining to the loss it’s that the Rangers have a worse record than the Astros and Mariners and will have higher priority when choosing from the waiver wire, which is expected be stocked today with potential relief help.
The question is if any of the available arms make it past the other contenders in need of help. There are 23 teams total ahead of the Rangers.
The Angels are dumping left-hander Matt Moore and right-handers Renaldo Lopez and Dominic Leone, who was in Rangers big-league camp and opened the season at Triple A Round Rock, and left-hander Matt Moore. The Mets are reportedly parting with Carlos Carrasco.
Lucas Giolito has also been put on waivers by the Angels. Though he’s a starter, the Rangers can’t dismiss the idea of using him in relief.
The catch is that the Rangers would have to create a spot on the 40-man roster for any waiver claim. They have some flexibility, though.
Also, active rosters will be allowed to grow Friday by two players, one pitcher and one position player. The Rangers can roll with the eight relievers they have now and add a waiver claim as the extra pitcher. If they miss on a waiver claim, they can add an arm from Round Rock.
Hunter Renfroe isn’t a pitcher. He’s an outfielder and a right-handed hitter. The Rangers could use one of those, too.
Seager still surging
Corey Seager should become a qualifying player Friday night, at which point he will assume the league lead in batting average and be second to Shohei Ohtani in OPS.
He is also a candidate to be the AL Player of the Month. He has the Rangers’ monthly award wrapped up.
The shortstop connected for his 10th August homer Wednesday, the highest single-month total of his career. He has 25 homers, making him the first Rangers player since Adrian Beltre to collect at least 25 homers in each of his first two seasons with the team.
Seager’s two hits lifted his average to .346. His .411 on-base percentage would lead the league.
He’s pretty good.
Jumping into the off day. Enjoy.
Doggo uses Propeller Power to make Majestic Catch pic.twitter.com/d8pS1HWRhf
— Madeyousmile (@Thund3rB0lt) August 30, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org