Thursday newsletter time: Series win slips away as late-game bullpen woes continue
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
The 2023 Rangers are a very good team. They’re nine games above .500 and should have won a three-game series this week against one of the best teams in baseball.
But the Rangers aren’t going to reach their goal this season, playing in the postseason, without getting help for the bullpen.
The Rangers were unable to finish off the Braves on Wednesday, as Josh Sborz and Brock Burke allowed three runs in the final two innings en route to a 6-5 loss.
Nathan Eovaldi allowed three runs in seven innings, and Adolis Garcia clubbed two solo homers to put the Rangers in position to win two of the three games. Instead, they lost 2 of 3 because of another bullpen meltdown.
“We’re trying to get it right down there,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re mixing it up. We’ve got to get this thing figured out.”
Mixing it up meant using Sborz in one of the highest-leverage situations of his career. He entered in the eighth with a 5-3 lead to face the top of the Braves’ lineup. They needed only four batters to tie the game.
Burke did well to snuff out the rally but coughed up a solo homer to Orlando Arcia in the ninth. He also was on the mound Friday night when Oakland rallied from two down in the 10th inning.
Jonathan Hernandez and Jose Leclerc have pitched their way out of late-inning high-leverage opportunities. That forced the Rangers to go with the hot hand, and it happened to be Sborz.
Assuming the Rangers remain in contention, they will be adding relievers before the trade deadline. They might want to get a jump on the market. Until a trade is made, though, they will have to find the solutation internally.
“You’ve got eight relievers down there, and you need them all,” Bochy said. “You need them all to pitch well.”
The mystery surrounding when shortstop Corey Seager would return from the injured list was solved Wednesday.
He was back in the Rangers’ lineup for the first time since April 11 as the designated hitter, going 0 for 3 but with a sacrifice fly that made the score 5-3. Michael Harris II made a terrific catch to prevent it being an RBI double.
Seager was expected to return Monday from a strained left hamstring, but the Rangers didn’t make the move. General manager Chris Young said that the move was “imminent.”
Only when Seager wasn’t activated Tuesday was it revealed that he had been dealing with a stomach ailment.
The college courses that Rangers minor-leaguers started taking in the offseason, in conjunction with Abiliene Christian, are now available to everyone.
Enrollment is open through June 26 for two RangersU online classes, Baseball History and Culture, and Leadership Development. The courses will be taught by Rangers management, baseball experts and ACU faculty.
The baseball history course is, well, baseball history and how the sport helped mold the country as it integrated minorites and women. There’s also a dive into statistics. The leadership course looks at personality traits and what makes a good leader.
The cost for each seven-week course is $95. Anyone who is seeking college can learn how to get it here. The price jumps to $300.
The news this week has been a mixed bag of good and bad, even on the same day. Seager returning Wednesday rates a good news. The bullpen’s performance, though, doesn’t. Rangers Today has covered it all and will keep on covering the club in what appears to be a breakthrough season. Here’s our latest, in case you missed it.
What’s that? The Rangers are off today? Enjoy.
When you see bae coming down the street pic.twitter.com/3YBqBIqO3k
— Puppies 🐶 (@PuppiesIover) May 17, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org