Tuesday newsletter time: Same as it ever was for Rangers, who still have no margin for error
(AP photo/Michael Wyke)
The only run Monday night at Minute Maid Park came in the second inning after Martin Perez issued a two-out walk to Trey Mancini and Chas McCormick beat out a grounder to third base.
Martin Maldonado followed with a single, which left fielder Bubba Thompson picked up quickly. His throw, though, was up the third-base line and Mancini was able to score.
That was it. The Astros won 1-0, extending the Rangers’ losing streak to nine games.
The Rangers managed only three hits in six innings against right-hander Hunter Brown, who was making his MLB debut. Three relievers finished off the Rangers, who were shutout for the first time since June 8 at Cleveland.
The Rangers’ offense is one of the best in the American League, and Perez has been on of the AL’s best starting pitchers. The Rangers continue to play with little margin for error, though, and the two plays that weren’t made in the second were too big to overcome
As long as the Rangers pitch well and play solid defense, interim manager Tony Beasley said, they will have a chance to win most nights. Those have been big ifs of late.
Perez recovered from his last outing against the Astros, who scored five times in five innings against him last week. They managed just the one run Monday over seven innings as he shaved his ERA to 2.82.
He is at 166 innings after throwing only 114 last season and 62 in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. It would take a miracle for him to reach 200 innings, but 190 is doable.
A 190-inning season with a sub-3.00 ERA would look really good on his free-agency resume. They would look really good in the Rangers’ rotation next season, too.
Progress was made Monday with a roster move that was overdue.
Catcher Sam Huff was recalled from Triple A Round Rock and the struggling Meibrys Viloria was optioned while stuck in an 0-for-32 skid.
Huff was not in the lineup, as Perez threw to Jonah Heim, but should be soon. Beasley might also considering using Huff at designated hitter against left-handed pitchers.
The Rangers remain high on Huff and have no designs on moving him to first base. No one in the system can match Huff’s raw power, and if he figures out big-league pitching, his power at a premium position would have huge value.
But with Heim playing every day most of this season and with Mitch Garver entering his final year of eligibility, Huff could be looking at another season mostly at Triple A. Then again, the Rangers could attempt to trade Garver or choose to not tender him a contract, though he has a 30-homer season in the majors.
He just hasn’t stayed healthy. He is expected to be ready to catch by Opening Day next season after having surgery in July to repair his flexor tendon.
The Rangers still have a spot open on the 40-man roster after Dallas Keuchel was designated for assignment Sunday.
100 for Adolis?
Games like Monday’s aren’t going to help his cause, but Adolis Garcia could reach 100 RBIs with a strong finish over the final 28 games.
The right fielder is at 84 RBIs, which ranked fourth in the American League entering Monday. Only two Rangers players over the past 10 seasons have had more RBIs than Garcia through 133 games — Adrian Beltre, who had 87 in 2013, and Nomar Mazara, who had 85 in 2017.
Garcia drove in 90 runs last season as a rookie in 149 games. He spent the first two weeks at the alternate training site and was recalled only when Ronald Guzman suffered a season-ending knee injury at Tampa Bay. Garcia became an All-Star but faded in the second half.
He’s showing no signs of that this season. In fact, he’s been better in the second half than he was before the All-Star break.
Me, when the waiter says he’ll bring more chips and salsa. Enjoy. See you Wednesday.
Happy Snack! pic.twitter.com/ulQ7pjma5Q
— Heckin Good Dogs (@HeckinGoodDogs) August 24, 2022
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com