Tuesday Newsletter time: What do the Texas Rangers need to do better? Everything.
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Chris Woodward doesn’t mince words after games, whether the Texas Rangers have won or lost.
The manager was fairly resolute Sunday after the Rangers dropped their third straight game and, in his opinion, didn’t give themselves a chance in the last two.
“We didn’t play well enough at all,” Woodward said.
He wasn’t done. When asked where the Rangers need to get better, he had a quick reply.
“There’s a lot of things we need to improve up on,” he said.
The Rangers get their first chance to get better tonight at Seattle after a 2-7 start. Right-hander Jon Gray (blister) is expected to come off the injured list for his first start since Opening Day.
Though he likely will be on a pitch count, having his buildup after shortened spring paused by the IL stint, he can establish the benchmark for others to follow by throwing strikes and working efficiently for however long he’s allowed to go.
Woodward said the starters weren’t good enough the last time through the rotation to pitch deeper into games. That must change to help restore order to a bullpen that has been overworked early on, and the starters will get a chance to do that.
“They’ll be stretched out,” Woodward said. “We just have to pitch better.”
Too many walks, too many errors and too many passive at-bats suggest to Woodward that the Rangers aren’t playing aggressively enough. He wants them to attack — be it on the mound, in the batter’s box, on the bases or in the field — and he hasn’t seen that.
Maybe some of that is youth. Maybe some of that is players, especially pitchers, not comfortable with their stuff after the short spring. But these players are in the major leagues and need to start playing like it.
“We’ve got to play better if we expect to compete and win major-league baseball games,” Woodward said.
Not even Frank Drebin would have called a strike Sunday on the pitch to Willie Calhoun that plate umpire Adrian Johnson did.
So far, it rates as the worst strike call of the MLB season, according to the Twitter account Umpire Auditor.
The call came in the eighth inning, with two outs, two on and Calhoun ahead in the count 1-0 against Angels right-hander Jamie Barria.
Calhoun took an 85 mph slider, but Johnson called it a strike even though it was 6.23 inches outside. Calhoun grounded out on a full-count pitch to end the inning.
His response to the tweet? “Uhm, excuse me?” he wrote, with face-palm emoji.
Uhm, excuse me? 🤦🏾 https://t.co/IvWF8jiwVI
— June Calhoun (@11WillieCalhoun) April 18, 2022
Drebin, the Naked Gun character portrayed wonderfully by the late Leslie Nielsen, loved calling strikes, except in the top of the seventh inning.
New at Rangers Today
Good things continue to happen at this website.
Fewer and fewer people are having technical issues, which is allowing us to focus on enhancements to the email system and giving me more time to write. More folks have become paid subscribers since the launch, and you can join them here.
I did not take this road trip. It’s a busier-than-normal week for the family, and that grass isn’t going to cut itself. Don’t worry. I have phone numbers and a streaming service that delivers Rangers games, so I won’t be taking the week off.
Plus, being here allows me to be on hand for the second in-studio episode of the Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast. Our guest? Double A Frisco reliever Chase Lee, a candidate for his MLB debut later this season.
Check out the first episode, with Jon Daniels, below.
Husky wins! Enjoy. See you Wednesday.
Hungry Husky Hippos ❤️😍😆
Sound On 🔊 pic.twitter.com/C2MG6QGJc9
— 🎪🤹♀️CLASS CLOWN🤹♀️🎪 (@Classclown66) June 19, 2020
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com
I love the podcast as well sir, cheers.
Appreciate ya. It’s definitely taken on a whole new look.
The umpiring seems to have taken a turn for the worse this year. Maybe they needed a full spring training too? Or maybe the time line for implementing robo umps has accelerated.
That’s an interesting theory on the umps, and maybe it has an effect. I don’t really want robo umps. I think they’re inevitable, but I umps are usually pretty good.
Jeff, can you tell me how Kyle Cody is progressing in his rehab?
He hadn’t thrown off a mound when we saw him in spring training, but the latest I heard is he’s going to be available in July.
Jeff, Joe McCarthy is still listed on the Round Rock Roster, but he hasn’t played. What’s the latest on him?
It’s confusing me, too. As of Opening Day, the Rangers were expecting him to sign with a team in Japan. To that end, I don’t believe he has reported to Round Rock. I’m not sure what the holdup is, but you’ve given me something to look into.