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Thursday newsletter time: Taveras helps Rangers pull off unexpected win over Astros, Verlander

(AP photo/David J. Phillip)

 

The unexpected is going to happen over the course of a 162-game MLB season.

Things like a triple play, a cycle, a huge comeback, a big collapse … or a struggling team beating the league’s best team and its best starting pitcher.

The Rangers pulled off the latter Wednesday night, beating Houston 8-4 in 10 innings at Minute Maid Park. They scored three runs against Cy Young contender Justin Verlander, who had allowed two runs in his previous four starts. He was trailing when he exited after six innings.

The offensive star was Leody Taveras, who drove in a career-high five runs. He tripled home the Rangers’ first run and put the game away in the five-run 10th with a three-run double. He also added a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Marcus Semien delivered a sacrifice fly in the 10th to break a 3-3 tie, and Corey Seager followed with an RBI single. It was his third hit of the game.

The play that set up the big inning came when leadoff hitter Josh Smith beat a sacrifice bunt for a hit to give the Rangers runners at first and third with no outs. Jonah Heim followed with a walk to load the bases ahead of Semien.

Glenn Otto survived five innings, overcoming some control lapses to allow only two runs as friends and family who live in the Houston area watched from the stands. He walked four and hit a batter, though he might have been pitching around a hitter or two.

The Rangers, at 49-61, are 11 wins shy of matching the paltry 2021 win total and 14 away from avoiding a second straight 100-loss season. They have 52 games remaining.

Another rotation opening

Dallas Keuchel could be in the Rangers’ rotation by Saturday.

The Rangers have an opening after right-hander Spencer Howard hit the injured list Wednesday with a shoulder impingement. Keuchel, the former Cy Young winner, pitched Sunday for Triple A Round Rock and would be on five days’ rest for a potential start against Seattle at Globe Life Field.

The only Triple A starter on the 40-man roster is another left-hander, Kolby Allard, and he would also be fresh Saturday.

Another option? Right-hander Cole Winn, though he hasn’t pitched well enough to be rewarded with his MLB debut. However, he is eligible for the Rule 5 draft and needs to be protected by being added to the 40-man roster.

Would the Rangers be better served with Winn on the 40-man or Keuchel? Winn.

Would Allard, Keuchel or Winn give the Rangers a better chance to win? Very debatable.

They have all struggled at times this season — or all sesaon. Keuchel, though, has been OK in his two Round Rock starts.

That could be the deciding factor.

The other option would be a bullpen game, which might be just as effective. Lefty John King took Howard’s roster spot, so the Rangers are operating with a nine-man bullpen.

ICYMI …

Maybe it’s because the Rangers didn’t play Monday, but this week is flying by. A lot of administrative work is taking place on the Rangers Today side of things, fun stuff like updating logos, sending out invoices for renewals and reminding folks to subscribe to the website and the YouTube channel (hint, hint). We’ve got a good weekend coming up, too. As always on Thursday, I post links to the best of our latest stuff in case you missed it.

Josh Jung’s possible timeline to the majors

The Sunday Read: Chris Woodward’s job performance

Friday on the Farm: Dane Acker zeroes in

Rangers in Baseball America‘s latest top 100

Dane Acker joins the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast

Doggy video!

Dogs posing for photos and dogs who can’t catch crack me up every time. Enjoy. See you Friday.

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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