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Tuesday newsletter time: Two blown saves send Rangers to fifth straight loss

(AP photo/Matt York)



The Rangers can’t score, for whatever reason.

Well, there are reasons. Josh Jung is out, Jonah Heim isn’t quite right yet and neither is Leody Taveras and Adolis Garcia.

The starting pitching remains mostly right, though, and Jordan Montgomery got it all right Monday night.

All good, right?

Well … .

Aroldis Chapman blew a save in the ninth inning, and Will Smith blew another in the 11th as the Rangers lost their fifth straight game, 4-3, and saw their lead in the American League West shrink to 1 1/2 games.

Smith allowed three two-out runs in the 11th after a Nate Lowe two-run single had staked the Rangers to a 3-1 lead in the top half. Included in the Diamonbacks’ rally was the decision to intentionally walk Ketel Marte, who homered off Chapman, even though it put the tying run on base.

The meltdown spoiled eight spectacular innings by left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who exited with a 1-0 lead thanks to a home run by Garcia. Marte took Chapman deep in the ninth, and Tommy Pham lined a two-run single in the 11th to walk it off.

To sum it up: Chapman finally got a save chance and blew it. Smith got a save chance and blew it. They are the two best relievers the Rangers have.

Chapman, in his defense, worked a scoreless 10th after the Rangers failed to score and was in line for the win. He was still pumping 102 mph in the 10th, which is encouraging, but he threw a 92-mph split-fingered fastball that Marte hit out to left field, which was questionable.

Going forward, though, he should be the closer.

The Rangers will likely be without Chapman and Smith on Tuesday in the series finale, when runs will likely be at a premium with All-Star Zac Gallen starting for Arizona.


Montgomery dominates

The starting pitcher did his job for the Rangers.

Montgomery turned in his best performance in four starts since being acquired from St. Louis, scattering four hits and a walk and using only 92 pitches in eight innings.

“I felt good,” he said. “Right now is probably the toughest part of the season, the dog days, so I’m just trying to go out there and get guys off their feet.”

The Diamondbacks hit a couple balls hard, two of which were tracked down by Leody Taveras in center field. Otherwise, Montgomery kept a lineup of right-handed hitters at bay with a sinker-changeup combination.

Through four starts since the trade, Montgomery is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA, 26 strikeouts and only three walks. Each start, including the loss to the A’s in which he received no run support, has been a quality start.

Up next is Jon Gray, who received no run support last week in the first loss of the current slide. He tossed seven scoreless innings against the Angels.

Rangers on the Grid

Monday was a good day because the Rangers were one of the teams featured on the Immaculate Grid. Every day the Rangers are on the Grid, they make the newsletter the following day.

I don’t make the rules. Wait. Yes, I do.

Speaking of rules, when it comes to the Rangers, think obscure. Grid players Monday needed to find Rangers players who also played for the Giants, Guardians and Cardinals.

How I fared is pictured.

Not my best, but I’ll take it because I was able to use the always quotable and very speedy Delino DeShields.

The Cardinals would have been a layup with the recently acquired Montgomery and Chris Stratton. How about Garcia?

I went with reliever Arthur Rhodes, who in 2011 pitched for the Rangers but not very well. He ended up with the Cardinals, and they beat the Rangers in the World Series.

I’ve always wondered, but never asked, how big of a postseason share he receive from the Rangers and did they give him an AL champions ring.

My hunch is a small share and yes to the ring.

One more player of note: Austin Jackson. The Denton native was part of a Rangers trade with the Giants, but he never played for his hometown team. The Rangers wanted minor-league right-hander Jason Bahr and were willing to take on Jackson’s contract, with about $4 million remaining.

Instead of getting some bang for their buck, they released him.


Doggy video!

Don’t trust anyone who didn’t give Tubs a pat. 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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