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Tuesday newsletter time: Messy pitching dooms Rangers in opener at Houston

(AP photo/Kevin M. Cox)

 

Where to start with that one … .

Jon Gray was bad in the first inning, then was really good, and then was not so good again in the fifth.

In the seventh, Aroldis Chapman was no longer immortal.

In the ninth, Alex Speas found himself in another tight spot for a third straight appearance to open his career.

The Rangers lost 10-9 on Monday to the Astros, who trimmed the Rangers’ lead in the American League West to two games. Next up is a bullpen game featuring two rookies to carry the bulk of the innings in a building where the Rangers, despite a winning series in April, have problems.

Pitching was the problem again Monday, as seven walks led to the Rangers’ undoing. Yet, they should have won the game.

Even the final play went against the Rangers. Kyle Tucker scored on a Yainer Diaz single to right field, where Travis Jankowski didn’t throw though to home plate and Tucker slid in safely ahead of a short relay from Nate Lowe.

The replay was interesting, though not apparently not conclusive enough to show that Tucker’s from leg popped off the ground and never touched the plate. If Jankowski sails Lowe, Tucker might have been out.

Speas was tagged for the loss. He walked two, should have walked a third, and gave up the Diaz single on a hanging 0-2 cutter. He pitched in the high-leverage situation as manager Bruce Bochy saved closer Will Smith for a save situation on the road.

Chapman pitched the seventh against the Astros’ 2-3-4 hitters with a 9-6 lead. He allowed a walk and a single before Chas McCormick tied the game with a three-run homer.

It was a key spot in the game, a spot where the Rangers wanted one of their best relievers. Bochy might have also wanted Chapman to get an out in the eighth and possibly use Smith to get multiple outs for the save.

But things didn’t work out that way. Things didn’t work out in a lot of ways for the pitching staff to open a key three-game series.

Garcia latest

The Rangers are going to give right fielder Adolis Garcia as much time as possible for his right hand to heal after getting plunked Saturday, but they might not have to wait much longer.

The All-Star has missed the past two games because he hasn’t been able to comfortably grip a bat. However, he apparently told Bochy that he thinks he should be OK to play tonight.

The Rangers are already without Corey Seager, who is on the injured list after spraining his thumb Friday night. They have scored 17 runs the past two games, so the offense hasn’t had any issues, but, yeah, those two have been missed.

Tucker probably doesn’t even try to go home in the ninth if Garcia is in right field.

No one feels sorry for the Rangers. The other 29 teams are dealing with various ailments, some more than others. It’s all part of the 162.

Hall watch

Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff joined the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, with Rolen voted in by baseball writers and McGriff getting the nod from the Veteran’s Committee. I voted for Rolen and also voted for McGriff when he was still on the ballot.

I’ll be voting this winter for a player who is highly likely to be inducted next July: Adrian Beltre.

The former Rangers third baseman will be on the ballot for the first time, and he has the credentials to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The big one is his 3,166 hits, and the 477 homers, 636 doubles, five Gold Gloves and 93.5 WAR add polish to the resume.

If you haven’t been to Cooperstown, next summer would be a good time for your first trip.

 

Doggy video!

Holy crap! Enjoy.

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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