Wednesday newsletter time: Jacob deGrom news is no fun, but Rangers keep winning
(AP photo/Stephen Hawkins)
ARLINGTON — Winning baseball is fun baseball, and the Rangers have put together a fun first 60 games.
It could have been more fun had the bullpen not melted down too many times in late April and early May. Even though the Corey Seager injury was not fun, watching Ezequiel Duran emerge in his place was.
Tuesday wasn’t fun, at least off the field. Right-hander Jacob deGrom will miss the next 12-15 months because of a torn elbow ligament that requires Tommy John surgery. He is expected to undergo the operation next week.
He met with the media after general manager Chris Young broke the news, and that wasn’t fun at all. It was emotional, as deGrom choked back tears in talking about how much he’s going to miss playing with his new teammates.
There was probably some sense that he has let down the Rangers, who gave him life-changing money and took a chance on him despite his recent injury track record. It wouldn’t be a surprise if his frustration with the injuries has worn away his nerve.
Whatever deGrom was feeling is going to serve as motivation to get back as quickly as he can. Young expects that deGrom will attack the rehab process, at least as much as doctors and trainers will allow, and be back in time to contribute late next season.
If current trends continue, he would return in time to help the Rangers to their second straight playoff appearance.
The Rangers wanted him back this season, but they haven’t missed him much since he was first injured April 28. They’ve gone 25-9 without him.
That doesn’t mean that the Rangers won’t look at which starting pitchers might be available at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. They should because they will need to fill deGrom’s rotation spot much of next season, too.
But even though the sky has fallen on the deGrom’s elbow, it hasn’t fallen on the Rangers.
That’s five straight
Dane Dunning wasn’t at his best Tuesday, surrendering four runs on three homers in 5 2/3 innings, but he didn’t have to be. The Rangers’ offense had enough once again, and the bullpen delivered a strong outing in a 6-4 victory over St. Louis.
“The offense has been amazing,” Dunning said. “They really picked me up today.”
Adolis Garcia went 4 for 4 with a solo home run, and Nate Lowe also connected as the Rangers won their season-best fifth straight game and pushed their lead in the American League West to 4 1/2 games.
Josh Sborz was the bullpen star, striking out four in 1 2/3 innings to set up closer Will Smith for his 11th save.
The Rangers are 40-20. Yes, 20 games over .500 and, yes, a .667 winning percentage.
“I don’t think about that number,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re in June right now, so I’m not really thinking about that.”
With a two-run double in the fourth inning, Marcus Semien pushed his career-best hitting streak to 25 games. That’s the highest in the majors this season.
He also ranks first in the majors in runs (55) and second in hits (76). His FanGraphs WAR (fWAR) was the best in the majors (3.2) entering Tuesday. Oh, he’s also tied for the most Outs Above Average (5), a Statcast defensive metric, at second base.
If he isn’t the starting second baseman next month in the All-Star Game, there needs to be an investigation.
Semien’s offensive prowess brings Shin-Soo Choo to mind. In 2018, Choo had a 52-game on-base streak that catapulted him to his only All-Star selection. Choo, who turns 41 next month, continues to play for SSG Landers in the Korea Baseball Organization, but he’s hitting only .202 this season and is out with a finger injury.
Not exactly one ear on the ground, but close. Enjoy
His One Ear Is Tuned In To His Favorite Words pic.twitter.com/tioMhoE6ie
— Madeyousmile (@Thund3rB0lt) May 30, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org