Wednesday newsletter time: Josh Jung 5, Mariners 0 as Rangers win series opener
(AP photo/John Froschauer)
Maybe all Josh Jung needed to get out of his slump was facing a Cy Young winner.
Granted, the third baseman did have two hits Sunday to snap an 0-for-20 skid, but he was the offense Tuesday night against the Mariners and left-hander Robbie Ray in a 5-0 victory.
Jung 3 for 4 with two home runs and drove in all five runs as six pitchers combined on a five-hitter. The left-handed Ray won the American League Cy Young last season but retired Jung only once in three at-bats, issuing a 419-foot solo homer to left field in the second inning and a two-out RBI single in the fifth.
The big blow, though, came in the eighth against right-hander Diego Castillo. Jung smoked the second pitch, clearing the fence in center field for a three-run homer. Throw in two walks over the weekend against Cleveland, the first of his career, and Jung is trending the right way.
Time for a brake check: It is only a two-game hitting streak, so it’s way too early to think he has it figured out.
It was also way too early to think that he was the next coming of Joey Gallo amid 25 strikeouts in his first 45 at-bats.
Yeah, you know who you are.
It would be stunning for Jung to not be the Opening Day third baseman in 2023. If he can keep his head above water over the final week, it would serve as a springboard to the offseason and spring training.
Congrats are in order for Double A Frisco, which rallied twice in the eighth and ninth innings Tuesday en route to a 7-5 victory in 10 innings to capture the Texas League championship.
It is Frisco’s first title since 2004.
But it wasn’t easy in Game 2. Frisco trailed 2-0 after seven but scored twice in the eighth, only to see Wichita score in the home half of the eighth. Down to their final strike, the RoughRiders stayed alive as Thomas Saggese singled to right field to drive in fellow infielder Jonathan Ornelas with the game-tying run.
Frisco plated four in the 10th inning with outfielder Evan Carter driving in two. Wichita scored twice in the 10th to make Frisco sweat a little.
Jack Leiter struggled in the final outing of his first professional season. The 2021 first-rounder (second overall) allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings but walked four, including three straight with two outs in the second. He walked 10 in five postseason innings.
Owen White was one of six relievers used by Frisco and was by far the most dominant. White pitched two perfect innings and struck out all six batters he faced.
Frisco went 4-0 in the playoffs.
The Rangers transferred left-hander Brett Martin from the bereavement list to the 15-day injured list (shoulder strain), ending his season. Martin left the team last week after his father-in-law passed away unexpectedly.
Martin was evolving into a pleasant development in the first half as he spent some time as closer, but things got away from him during a miserable stretch after the All-Star break. He ends the season with a 1-7 record.
The Rangers need to make changes to their bullpen this offseason, at least if they want to be the contenders the owner and general manager say they are going to be. Martin will be eligible for salary arbitration for the second time and should be affordable at less than $2 million. That doesn’t mean he’s assured of a spot for 2022, but he has been effective when put in the right situations.
It will be interesting to see if there is a change in philosophy toward the closer’s role with Chris Young at GM. Jon Daniels signed Joe Nathan as a free agent after the 2011 season, as Neftali Feliz became a starter, but that rates as his only big bullpen expenditure.
Young played with Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman and won a World Series as Kansas City leaned heavily on closer Greg Holland.
Jose Leclerc, who appears to be the current closer, might not return. The Rangers hold a $6 million club option on the right-hander with a $750,000 buyout.
My kind of speed. Enjoy. See you Thursday.
Mastiff in an agility competition
(Still a very good boi) pic.twitter.com/wcH57c1X2i
— Heckin Good Dogs (@HeckinGoodDogs) September 27, 2022
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org
I would really like to see the Rangers change their philosophy regarding acquiring relief pitchers. Go out and sign or trade for relief pitching and quit converting starters into relievers prematurely. Sure Brock Burke is an effective reliever. Kyle Cody could be too. They would be more valuable as starting pitchers though. Make sure those guys cannot hack it as starters before putting them in the pen. Cody and Burke should both be given a chance to be in either the Rangers rotation or in Round Rock’s rotation next spring. Go out and sign relievers in free agency.