Wednesday Newsletter time: How home-run robbery forced Texas Rangers to press relievers
(Associated Press photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — Corey Seager was about to round the bases Tuesday for the first time since signing with the Texas Rangers, until Rockies center fielder Randal Grichuk leaped at the wall in front of the Rangers’ bullpen in the fifth inning and took away a home run.
It would have been a three-run homer had Grichuk been a step slower, and the Rangers would have taken a one-run lead in a game they lost 4-1.
Instead, the terrific catch kept the Rockies in the lead at 3-1 and prevented the Rangers from turning to the relievers they like to use with a lead. That meant that relievers who typically don’t work with a lead had to pitch for a second straight day.
Ordinarily that isn’t a big deal, but this is no ordinary April. All 30 MLB teams are short on innings from their starters, and the Rangers used the two extra spots on the expanded roster for relievers.
The idea was to avoid using any reliever on back-to-back days. However, the Rangers have already been forced to scrap that plan.
Greg Holland and Spencer Patton were used Monday and again Tuesday. Joe Barlow went back-to-back Sunday and Monday.
The Rangers are off today ahead of a four-game series against the Angels that starts Thursday. Every reliever should be fresh, and the starters should be able to manage a higher pitch count as the Rangers go through the rotation for a second time.
Dane Dunning, the only starter to finish five innings so far, is scheduled for the opener against Shohei Ohtani.
Mike Trout is healthy and known for robbing homers.
For the bullpen’s sake, Rangers hitters need to eat their Wheaties.
Still irked by call
Not even 24 hours had passed between media sessions for manager Chris Woodward, so the call that ended the home opener was still a fresh wound Tuesday afternoon.
Woodward wasn’t as hot as he was Monday, when Mitch Garver was deemed to have violated the “Utley Rule” with a slide at second base that to the naked eye of the umpiring crew appeared clean.
It was clean, but call by the replay umpire isn’t why the Rangers lost 6-4. It didn’t help, but it wasn’t the reason.
Woodward continued to defend Garver and the slide into Rockies second baseman Brendan Rodgers.
“Mitch Garver tapped him. He literally tapped him,” Woodward said. “Rodgers, I don’t think, spent any time in the training room.
“There was no intent by Mitch Garver to hurt the guy. So I don’t think the way the rule was written and what it was designed for it was applied for that last night.”
But it was applied, and Woodward expects for the slide to be applied the same way the rest of the season. In fact, Woodward said that he will challenge every slide that his middle infielders believe matches what the umpires said Garver did — coming in higher than the infielder’s knee and not maintaining contact with the base.
“If it’s written in the rules, and they’re going to go strictly by word for word, I’m going to manage accordingly as well,’ Woodward said. “So when our infielders feel like, ‘Hey, that guy disengaged from the base,’ we’re going replay that. And if they’re not consistent with it, I might not be in that game.”
Hearn family awwwws
Taylor Hearn did well to allow only one run Monday in his 2022 debut, which just happened to be the home opener for the Royse City native.
His family was in attendance, and his sister, Robyn, was in the press box.
She is a TV reporter in Wichita Falls, and the Rangers approved her credential for the game.
Hearn came onto the field before the game, a rarity for an MLB starting pitcher, to chat up his sis, and they exchanged a light-hearted and poignant moment in the interview room after the game.
Watch it for yourself below. It’s pretty cool.
Never been so proud of my little sister to make it this far and it’s only the beginning of What God has in store for her! 🙏🏾🙏🏾 https://t.co/i13UFTMOQX
— Taylor Hearn (@thearn14) April 12, 2022
This is either a tiny dog or a giant pool table. I’m going to go with giant pool table. Enjoy. See you Thursday.
Cue ball…corner pocket. 😏😂🐶⚪️ pic.twitter.com/lKJHuHeKbt
— Fred Schultz (@FredSchultz35) April 11, 2022
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org