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Tuesday newsletter time: Uncertainty in rotation leads to Rangers taking chance with Dallas Keuchel

(AP photo/Ted S. Warren)


Glenn Otto continued the trend Monday night.

He is one of three pitchers vying to stick in the starting rotation after right-hander Dane Dunning is activated later today from the injured list, and each of three started on this road trip.

OK, Taylor Hearn came in Saturday in the second inning but essentially was a starter. He followed Spencer Howard, who started Friday.

Each of them pitched better than expectations, which isn’t a high bar to clear from a fan’s perspective. Neither did so poorly that he is an obvious choice to be sent to the minors to make room for Dunning.

But neither was so good that he took himself out of roster purgatory.

So, before Otto allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings Monday in a 4-3 loss at Seattle, the Rangers signed former American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel to a minor-league contract. He will report to Triple A Round Rock later this week and is a candidate to take a spot in the rotation.

The Rangers would be his third team of the season, after opening with the White Sox before getting designated for assignment. He was picked up by the Diamondbacks, who released him a few days ago.

The left-hander won the Cy Young in 2015 and has won five Gold Gloves. He’s not the same pitcher anymore, but he’s a low-cost arm who could take a rotation spot.

It would be a surprise if it doesn’t.

Otto seems to be on the most solid ground to stay in the rotation as the Rangers look to clear a spot on the active roster for Dunning. Howard and Hearn might not want to book any plans for the next series at Anaheim just yet.

Here comes Garcia

The Rangers have played five games on their current 11-game, four-city trip, and Adolis Garcia has been their best hitter.

He went 1 for 3 with a home run Monday and is 9 for 20 with three homers and eight RBIs since the All-Star break.

The Mariners had no interest in challenging his arm from right field.

Garcia, though, was thrown out trying to steal second base to end the eighth inning with Nate Lowe batting. Garcia needs to give Lowe, who had doubled earlier in the game, a chance to drive a ball somewhere.

Lowe did that to start the ninth, connecting for his 14th homer of the season. Lowe might not have connected in the eighth, but the Rangers needed Garcia to give Lowe a chance.

Keep talking

The Rangers are now 5-22 in one-run games.

Manager Chris Woodward said on the Rangers postgame show that the team isn’t ignoring its lousy record in one-run games, saying that the team needs to talk it out.

But there is growing frustration in the clubhouse, Woodward said.

He pointed to “the little things.”

On Monday, one ball got past Lowe at first base that could have been scored an error, and catcher Jonah Heim blocked an Otto pitch with a runner at third but it bounded just far enough away for Eugenio Suarez to score.

“Everything in the game is important,” second baseman Marcus Semien said. “There’s been a lot of games that haven’t gone our way. You think back on the things that could have gone better, and you come back tomorrow and work on that.

The bigger issue? The Rangers were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, including three misses in the ninth with the potential tying run at second base.

Doggy video!

There’s got to be an easier way (hint: there is). 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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