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Tuesday newsletter time: Phillies bringing back old friend Kyle Gibson to pitch opener vs. Rangers

(AP photo/Jack Dempsey)

 

The Phillies are headed to Globe Life Field tonight as one of the hottest teams in baseball.

The turnaround started when Joe Girardi was fired as manager, which either sounded an alarm for the players or created a sense of freedom. It’s probably both, depending on the player.

Knowing right-hander Kyle Gibson, he probably felt terrible for Girardi.

Gibson will be on the mound in Arlington for the first time since he was traded for a package that included Spencer Howard. The Phillies, who also received reliever Ian Kennedy and prospect Hans Crouse, are winning this one so far as Gibson is 4-2 with a 4.04 ERA.

He came to the Rangers for what turned out to be the COVID season, and he was gone after only four months in 2021. The media never got the chance to know Gibson well, though he could fill up a Zoom call and is very passionate about giving back to the community.

It will be nice to see him as he faces left-hander Martin Perez.

Howard, by the way, is pitching pretty well at Triple A Round Rock, where he was sent in April to get stretched out. He would have to earn his way back to the roster, but the thought was he would be back at some point.

He’s allowed runs in only two of his past 20 innings. The problem is that six runs scored in one of them. He still hasn’t pushed past the fifth inning, but he’s gone five in his past four starts.

At least he’s pitching. Crouse has been out since April with an injury. He also tested positive for COVID.

If the Rangers decide they need a starting pitcher this week for Glenn Otto’s spot in the rotation or for Taylor Hearn, Howard might be the best option.

1-2 punch

The Rangers will send their best two starters to the mound to try to cool off the Phillies, with Jon Gray following Perez in a Wednesday mid-afternoon game. Those two pitched in May at Philadelphia, where the Rangers won both games.

The Rangers won the two games at Detroit that were started by Perez and Gray.

Gray, though, was still dealing with the small sprain of his left knee May 3 against the Phillies. He wasn’t built up much, going only three innings, and was encumbered by a knee brace large enough to make offensive linemen jealous. He has pitched well since ditching it, and is coming off a strong start Friday at Detroit in which he struck out six in seven scoreless innings.

He has a 2.52 ERA in four June starts.

Perez has cooled off some since his terrific May. He allowed seven runs over five innings June 11 at Chicago, but has allowed only three runs in his other 13 innings this month.

His season ERA is 2.10, which is fourth in the American League. Not bad.

Slow Monday

Off days don’t come along very often for MLB teams, and the Rangers get two of them this week. They were probably overdue, considering the long stretches they’ve had already this season.

But Monday sure was quiet.

Not only were the Rangers off, but the minor-league teams are always off on Monday. The news the Rangers could have made Monday, when MLB directed all teams to cut their pitching staffs to 13, was made Sunday when they returned right-handed reliever Jesus Tinoco to Triple A Round Rock.

So, Monday became a good day to catch up on some lingering administrative work on Rangers Today (and get an oil change). It’s been a chore, but each T.R.’s Memoirs, Sunday Read and Friday on the Farm has been transferred from Substack. So have some select news stories.

Looking back on them, there was some pretty good stuff written from last June through early April.

If you are a paid subscriber, feel free to peruse at your leisure. If you’re not a paid subscriber, become one here.

Doggy video!

A do-it-yourself kind of dog. Sign me up. Enjoy. See you Wednesday.

 

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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