Tuesday newsletter time: A season-first sends Rangers to needed victory
(AP photo/Adam Hunger)
The Rangers entered Monday having lost all 47 games this season when they trailed entering the eighth inning, and that’s really hard to do.
Considering the strength of the Rangers’ offense and that they are in contention for a postseason spot, that statistic was a head-scratcher.
Sure enough, they entered the ninth inning Monday night at Citi Field trailing the Mets by a run. A 10th loss in 11 games was imminent.
But there’s a first time for everything, and the Rangers’ winning rally couldn’t have come at a better time.
Nate Lowe singled in two runs with two outs in the ninth, and Jose Leclerc nailed down his first save since April as the Rangers rallied past the Mets 4-3.
The victory came the day after the Rangers failed to convert two save chances in a 7-6 loss at Minnesota and fell out of first place for the first time since April 8. They remained in second place, tied with the Astros for the last two wild-card spots and one-game behind the Mariners in the American League West.
The Rangers, though, were staring at third place after Leody Taveras and Marcus Semien struck out with runners at second and third. The Mets walked Corey Seager before Lowe’s single into right field scored pinch-runner Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran.
“I wouldn’t pitch to Corey, either, in that situation,” Lowe said. “This is a huge team W for us. We got some big outs late, we got some runs across when we needed it, we really fought out and finished the team and we did a great job tonight.”
The victory might help the Rangers turn the corner after losing nine of their previous 10 games. Andrew Heaney is scheduled to start tonight, so it’s a good thing that almost every reliever in the bullpen should be available tonight.
The one exception could be Martin Perez after he tossed two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth to pick up the win. Leclerc was the choice for the ninth ahead of Will Smith and Glenn Otto, promoted from Triple A Round Rock before the game.
Leclerc allowed a two-out walk and then hard contact to Omar Narvaez, but Adolis Garcia made a somewhat awkward catch in deep right field for the final out in a rare and needed victory.
Top prospect Evan Carter turns 21 today, and he will do so at Round Rock.
The outfielder has been promoted from Double A Frisco after batting .284 with an .862 OPS. Round Rock is contending for a spot in the postseason, and playing in that environment will serve Carter well.
So will facing Triple A pitching, which features more off-speed stuff and pitchers who have big-league experience, as he nears his MLB debut.
Some industry publications have Carter rated as the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect behind 2023 first-round pick Wyatt Langford, also an outfielder.
Among the Frisco players Carter leaves behind is right-hander Jack Leiter, who came off the developmental list Sunday and allowed one run in three innings. Leiter allowed three hits and didn’t issue a walk while striking out four batters in his first outing since July 7.
Frisco’s season ends Sept. 17, so Leiiter should make three more starts. He could be a candidate for the Arizona Fall League to make up for lost innings and to continuing working on changes made while he was on the developmental list to work on his craft.
Ex-manager passes away
Pat Corrales, a longtime baseball man who managed the Rangers for parts of three seasons, died Sunday at the age of 82.
He was hired by the Rangers in 1976 as an assistant coach and promoted to manager on the final day of the 1978 season, replacing Billy Hunter. The Rangers went 83-79 in 1979 to finish third in the American League West, buoyed by strong seasons by third baseman Buddy Bell and reliever Jim Kern.
But they slipped to fifth place in 1980 at 76-85, and Corrales was replaced by Don Zimmer.
Corrales later managed the Phillies in 1982 and the first half of 1983 and the Indians from the second half of 1983 to 1987.
He was serving as a special assistant to the general manager with the Dodgers this season.
The Wilson have one of each, though the leaping is replaced by barking. Enjoy.
So excited.. 😂 pic.twitter.com/JQcDREGqso
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) August 28, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com