Tuesday newsletter time: Rangers will take the win, even if things got really uncomfortable late
(AP photo/LM Otero)
ARLINGTON — As difficult as it might be, forget about that eighth inning Monday night.
A pitcher who isn’t going to work in meaningful situations made things incredibly uncomfortable by allowing five runs.
The other eight innings, even the ninth, were fine. The Rangers did what they were supposed to do against a bad team, beating them up offensively and shutting down there bats.
Yet, the Rangers had to sweat out a 10-8 victory over Oakland after the A’s scored six times in the eighth.
But a win is a win, and the Rangers were in the better team.
Along the way, Josh Smith collected his first career home run, and it was an inside-the-park homer. He and Leody Taveras drove in three runs apiece, and Spencer Howard allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings.
“It was a good game until that eighth,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s hard to win a big-league game, and we made it interesting in the end. But before that, a lot of good things.”
Smith circled the bases after his single was misplayed by A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano and trickled to the wall. Smith dived head-first at home, but there was no play.
Craig Gentry (2011) and Mark Sagmoen 91997) are the only two other players in club history to have their first career homer be inside the park.
“I thought he caught it at first,” Smith said. “I never expected that to happen. I think that’s my first one ever, inside the park. I’ll try to get one out of here soon.”
The Rangers were cruising, so much so that Woodward removed second baseman Marcus Semien, first baseman Nate Lowe and catcher Jonah Heim for some rest. Left-hander Kolby Allard entered and allowed five runs while recording only one out. Garrett Richards allowed another run before Dennis Santana ended the A’s rally.
Brett Martin nailed down his third save on the homestand, though the A’s brought the winning run to the plate with two outs.
But a win’s a win, and the Rangers will take it.
Corey Seager was selected Monday as the American League Player of the Week after batting .500 last week with four home runs.
He connected against the A’s for an encore.
Seager has homers in four straight games and 20 on the season, which leads all MLB shortstops. Seager’s average is .245, which isn’t anything to write home about, but that’s up 19 points this month. His OPS has climbed from .716 to .782.
“I’m just in a good spot,” Seager said. “I’m just trying to see pitches and put a good swing on them.”
Seager said over the weekend that he wasn’t happy with his first half, though he collected 17 home runs. He also said that the second half is an opportunity for him to keep getting better.
There’s a long way to go until Game 162, but Seager is rocketing in the right direction.
“His numbers speak for themselves,” Woodward said. “He said it best. ‘They can’t defend a ball that ends up in the seats.’ Every time he sets foot in the batter’s box, I think he’s going to hit one 110 [mph]. He does not take a pitch off in the batter’s box. It’s just a special special at-bat every night.”
The Braves and Royals swung a trade Monday morning that might be of interest to the Rangers if they want another pick toward the top of the MLB Draft.
Atlanta sent three prospects to Kansas City, and the Royals sent their competitive balance A pick (No. 35 overall) to the Braves.
The Rangers draft third overall and then don’t draft again until the fourth round after surrendering their second- and third-round picks as compensation for signing Seager and Marcus Semien.
There are seven picks in the competitive balance A round — and it would seem that five of the small-market teams would not be interested in trading such a high pick. But if the Rangers could flip a team three prospects, maybe one who is Rule 5-eligible and not a lock for the Rangers to be protected, that might be enticing.
The Padres and Braves are contenders and might be seeking upgrades for the big-league roster. The Rangers could offer help there, too.
The one issue is the Rangers’ draft bonus pool. They are in the shallow end at $9,640,700. The slot value for the No.3 overall pick is $7,587,600, and the slots for the competitive round A (No. 33 to No. 39) are in the low-$2 million range.
The Rangers could reach at No. 3 for a college bat with the intention of signing the player below slot, thus creating enough savings to sign a player in the competitive around A.
Just something to store away for the rest of the week.
Me, trying very unsuccessfully to escape this work week. Enjoy. See you Wednesday.
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Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org