Tuesday newsletter time: First bullpen meltdown of season costs Rangers
(AP photo/Jeff Dean)
Dane Dunning wasn’t the problem Monday night against the Reds.
Granted, he left in the eighth inning needing a little help. The bases were loaded, but the Rangers had two outs and one of their two primary late-game relievers in the game to protect a two-run lead.
Jose Leclerc couldn’t put out the fire. He threw gasoline on it.
Leclerc walked two batters with the bases loaded to bring Cincinnati even, then walked the lead-off man in the ninth as the Rangers were walked-off by the Reds 7-6 to open a three-game series.
Bad things usually happen when one team gives the other extra outs and free bases (Dunning walked two in the eighth). That’s what happened to the Rangers.
The loss was the Rangers’ second sloppy loss to a subpar team in their past four games. In other words, this one was completely avoidable. A first-inning throwing error led to an unearned run against Nathan Eovaldi, and two balls to the outfield in the first and third innings could have been caught but instead fell for key hits.
The Rangers led the game 5-1 in the third against former TCU start Nick Lodolo, who surrendered all six Rangers runs. But Eovaldi walked and plunked the first two batters to jump-start the Reds’ three-run third, and the Reds’ bullpen shut down the Rangers’ offense for five innings.
The bullpen has been a strength of the team. Dunning and Cole Ragans have been key components during their conversion from starters to relievers, and Leclerc had been good enough until Monday.
These things happen every team multiple times per season and will happen to the Rangers again, probably sooner than later. But that doesn’t make a loss like Monday’s sting any less.
Honor for Garcia
Adolis Garcia was selected as the American League Player of the Week after collecting an MLB-leading 14 RBIs in only five games and, of course, swatting three homers Saturday.
Eight of the RBIs came Saturday as Garcia also collected two doubles. He finished the week batting .400 with a 1.558 slugging percentage and four home runs, and he entered Monday as the MLB leader in RBIs.
It was the second weekly award of his career.
Josh Jung started off the new week the right way. He hit two home runs in the loss to the Reds. Jung is batting .282 with five home runs and 14 RBIs.
Jung entered the season as a candidate for Rookie of the Year, and he is living up to the billing. He leads American League rookies with five homers and 14 runs scored, and his RBIs, .494 slugging percentage and .824 OPS rank second.
Rangers Today stuff
This week won’t look like the others so far this season. Here’s what we’ve got going on through Sunday:
• Vacation: Mrs. Wilson requested/insisted that I accompany her on a long weekend to Charleston, S.C., for a birthday party for her best friend and another good buddy. So, the content quotient will be down some Thursday through Sunday.
I have plans to crank out a Friday on the Farm and the Sunday Read, but I can’t make any promises. It depends on if we get Fort Sumpter or not, and also how much I drink. John Moore, though, will be at Globe Life Field, so check out the YouTube channel for some videos.
• Podcast: Don’t worry about no new episode of the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast. One came out Monday night, and John and I knocked out another episode that will come out over the weekend.
• Ads: You may have noticed Google ads appearing on the website, and, I’m with you, some of them are a pain in the ass. But they are also paying some bills, so I’m working on a solution that will keep everyone happy.
One idea that was floated was going ads-free for paid subscribers. I’ve put my best man on it. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, visit Rangers Today as much as possible.
Sponsors: You might have noticed that the Frisco RoughRiders have agreed to a partnership with Rangers Today. Good stuff is ahead. There is also still time and room for your company to become a partner. Contact me at email@example.com if you’re interested.
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Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org