Thursday newsletter time: Semien, Seager and supporting cast deliver for Rangers
(AP photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)
Marcus Semien and Corey Seager are supposed to do what they did Wednesday night in the seventh inning.
Semien connected for a two-run homer off the left-field foul pole, and Seager followed with a solo shot on the next pitch to turn a tied game into a three-run Rangers lead.
They went on to beat the Angels 6-3. Shohei Ohtani connected for a two-run homer in the ninth off of Will Smith to make things a little less comfortable and to feel a little more grateful for what the guys who before the season weren’t supposed to do what they did.
Like No. 9 hitter Leody Taveras, who homered and drove in an insurance run in the eighth; Ezequiel Duran, who played well in his first career game at first base; and right-handers Grant Anderson and Josh Sborz, who provided 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Andrew Heaney.
Their contributions also helped the Rangers snap a three-game losing streak and gives them a chance to split the four-game series. To do so, they will have to solve Ohtani, who will pitch and hit for himself tonight in the series finale against Nathan Eovaldi.
Semien’s hitless skid reached 15 at-bats before he singled in the sixth.
“Sometimes they make pitches,” Semien said. “I’m just grinding through it.”
He also said that the Rangers are a veteran team that knows how to get out of difficult stretches.They had lost 5 of 6 games, four of them to teams above .500, and had been unable to come through with runners in scoring position. The starting rotation didn’t perform like it did in May and early this month.
It happens to every team in baseball and will probably happen a couple more times to the Rangers.
Having Semien and Seager will help snap the Rangers out of a funk sooner than other teams. So will having a strong supporting cast like they had Wednesday night.
“They’re such a big part of this offense,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Semien and Seager. “But I’ll say this, too: You look at what the back end of the order is doing, particularly Leo … we get production down there.”
What seemed to be an inevitable move a few weeks ago was finally made Wednesday, when the Rangers designated catcher Sandy Leon for assignment. Sam Huff was promoted from Triple A Round Rock as the Rangers kept three catchers on the roster.
That speaks to how well Huff was hitting at Round Rock and also to the lack of flexibility the Rangers have on the 40-man roster. They couldn’t recall Bubba Thompson because he is on the injured list with a minor ankle injury. Fellow outfielder Dustin Harris and infielders Jonathan Ornelas and Luisangel Acuna aren’t ready yet.
The Rangers have Brad Miller on rehab assignment at Round Rock, and he’s not far away from being an option off the bench after going 2 for 5 with a homer Wednesday. Even though Miller doesn’t seem to have much utility for the Rangers, it’s probably better to have him sitting on the bench gathering rust than Huff.
The Leon DFA created a spot on the 40-man roster, which the Rangers will need for Glenn Otto when he’s eligible to come off the 60-day injured list. Relievers Danny Duffy and Kevin Funkhouser, who are rehabbing at Frisco, would need 40-man spots once they are deemed ready.
Round Rock relievers Chase Lee and Mark Church would also need 40-man spots if the Rangers decide they could help the big-league club.
What’s next for Ragans
Short on starting options in the minors, the Rangers are planning to use Cole Ragans as a starter while he is on option to Round Rock.
He would join a group that includes Cody Bradford, who could start this weekend; Otto, eventually; and Owen White, who was optioned back to Double A Frisco. Cole Winn is on the 40-man roster, but is still a work-in-progress. He allowed six runs and walked six Wednesday in four innings.
That group will enter the offseason as potential fill-ins for Jacob deGrom, who underwent Tommy John surgery Monday and is expected to be out until late next season. The Rangers could also be faced with replacing left-handers Martin Perez and Heaney.
The depth pieces might also be needed this season.
There’s always something with a team when it suddenly finds itself short on pitching, as the Rangers have been short this week. Players are in the clubhouse who weren’t there the day before, and players who were there the day before are nowhere to be found. Rangers Today keeps track of it all through its various channels. The best channel is the website, and here’s some of our latest content in case you missed it.
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— Heckin Good Dogs (@HeckinGoodDogs) June 4, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com