Tuesday newsletter time: Again? Really? Rangers’ bullpen can’t get job done
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — The challenge here is finding a new way to write the same story.
The Rangers were in a close game Sunday, leading much of the way, until the bullpen completely melted down.
Yes, it does, and the Rangers continue to lose because they can’t get anything good from their bullpen.
On Sunday it was Josh Sborz who completely melted down, allowing six runs in the seventh inning after Mitch Garver had homered to forge a tie. The Astros’ bullpen didn’t collapse in a 13-6 win that moved them into a first-place tie in the American League West with the Mariners.
Corey Seager homered twice, and Garver stayed hot with his third homer in two games and an RBI single.
The Rangers remained a game off the lead. The problem is that the Blue Jays are only a half-game behind the Rangers for the last wild-card spot.
While Sborz is the goat, Andrew Heaney didn’t help much when he was unable to get out of the fifth inning after opening the frame with a 3-0 lead. The Astros scored three to tie it, the Rangers quickly went back ahead on Seager’s second homer, but Glenn Otto allowed back-to-back homers to Mauricio Dubon and Jose Altuve.
They also went back-to-back in the ninth against Martin Perez.
The Rangers were without their best relievers, such that they are, as most of them had worked back-to-back games, but the others need to get outs, too.
“You’re hoping those guys come through for you, and they struggled,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy dismissed the impact on Seager’s error in the six-run seventh. It didn’t help, but neither did Sborz issuing a leadoff walk to Yordan Alvarez after being up 0-2 in the count. Walks also cost Heaney, who usually falls apart around 80 pitches. The Rangers needed him to get one more out, and he couldn’t do it.
Yet, the Rangers were in the game and had a chance to win in the seventh inning.
Once again, the bullpen couldn’t get the job done.
Eovaldi a go
The Rangers will reinstate right-hander Nathan Eovaldi from the injured list and have him start against the Astros. It will be his first start since July, and he will likely be limited to three or four innings.
That could mean that Dane Dunning will come out of the bullpen and work multiple innings. It could also mean that some relievers are swapped out for fresher arms.
Eovaldi was an All-Star and a Cy Young candidate before running into some forearm soreness that has kept him on the injured list nearly two months. Considered the Rangers’ place in the playoff race, they don’t have the luxury of sending Eovaldi on a rehab assignment.
He will probably need two starts to be built up. With the off day Thursday, Dunning could replace Heaney in the rotation the next time through while Heaney piggy backs behind Eovaldi.
Scherzer a go
Right-hander Max Scherzer is officially scheduled to start Wednesday, and he could face fellow future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander. They were teammates with the Tigers and the Mets.
Scherzer cast some doubt on his availability following his start Friday, when he told reporters that he is dealing with forearm tightness that kept him from pitching a seventh inning. He tossed six scoreless and left with a 1-0 lead in a game the Rangers lost 5-1.
He also knew that he would be pitching without the benefit of an off day, and he wanted to be at his best for start against the Astros.
Of course, Mets fans jumped on the news to trash Scherzer and say that one of the game’s most durable pitchers the past 15 years is a liability. Forearm tightness is a pretty scary diagnosis, but Scherzer’s track record suggests that he knows what he’s doing.
Great human. Smart, lucky dog. Enjoy.
Thank you..🙏❤️ pic.twitter.com/XS2MYVrnck
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) September 2, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com