Tuesday newsletter time: Mistakes aplenty in Rangers’ worst loss of the season
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Well, there’s no need to sugar coat anything about the Rangers’ loss Monday.
They have 41 losses this season to choose from, and that was their worst.
Mistakes across the board, most notably on defense but also a no-show offensively in the 10th inning, doomed the Rangers in a 7-6 loss in 10 innings to the Orioles. The Orioles aren’t very good, and the Rangers handed them the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards.
“We made a lot of mistakes today,” manager Chris Woodward said on the Bally Sports Southwest postgame show. “We were lucky to be in that game with some of the things we did wrong.”
Things started to unravel in the sixth inning with the Rangers up 5-3. Dane Dunning issued a leadoff walk to star rookie Adley Rutschman and two batters later saw Rougned Odor double off the glove of a diving Steven Duggar in left field.
Runners were at second and third when Jonathan Arauz hit a slow chopper to first base, where Nate Lowe completely whiffed. Both runs scored on the error and the game was tied.
Marcus Semien gave the Rangers a 6-5 lead with a leadoff homer in the ninth, but Rutschman doubled with two outs off Joe Barlow. The ball hit off the right-field wall and zipped past Adolis Garcia, allowing Ryan McKenna to score the tying run from first.
OK. No problem. The Rangers were 3-0 in extra-inning road games this season.
Pinch runner Charlie Culberson was the runner at second to start the 10th inning, but he never advanced. Duggar struck out, Kole Calhoun walked, Jonah Heim struck out and Josh Smith flied to right.
Failing to score in extra innings might be the most aggravating thing in baseball these days.
The Orioles bunted their free runner to third in the bottom of the inning, as Odor reached on a bunt single. After an intentional walk, Matt Moore drilled Jorge Mateo in the leg.
Game over, and the Rangers were saddled with their worst loss of the season.
Spencer Howard will start tonight for the Rangers, and there shouldn’t have been any doubt.
There was some, courtesy of the Rangers slow playing a decision that they could have made Saturday.
So, what should the Rangers expect from the right-hander they plucked away from Philadelphia last season in the Kyle Gibson trade? Howard’s performance in the big leagues since the trade has set a really low bard.
But the Rangers might have straightened him out. He cleared his head in the offseason, and has been getting things cleaned up in the minors.
He leaves Triple A Round Rock with a 3.69 ERA in 10 starts/46 1/3 innings and 60 strikeouts and 19 walks. He also issued only three home runs after allowing six in 6 2/3 innings with the Rangers to start the season.
That’s hard to do.
Howard also has momentum, coming off seven one-hit innings with 11 strikeouts in his last start.
Don’t expect that performance, though the new left field at Camden Yards and a fairly watered down Orioles lineup should work in Howard’s favor.
But Howard should be better than he has been since the Rangers acquired him.
For those who were suspicious of the Rangers’ nothing-to-see-here decision on skipping Jack Leiter’s start last week — and with good reason — feel free to stop worrying.
Leiter is fine. He said so himself. He could have pitched through his arm fatigue, but, hey, it was a late-June game at Double A Frisco.
“That pretty much was the consensus from the organization,” said Leiter, who expects to start later this week.
He’s aware of what the outside perception of his season might be, with his 5.36 ERA, but doesn’t pay any attention to it. Leiter said he is finally comfortable in his first professional season, having adjusted to the travel, the weather and the new ballparks.
The hitters are better, and the umpires’ strike zones are tighter.
He’s been joined in Frisco by Owen White. Maybe a friendly competition will serve Leiter well, too.
This is pretty cool. Enjoy. See you Wednesday.
Dirty art.. 👌 pic.twitter.com/8z7Ba3Iatz
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 29, 2022
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org