Wednesday newsletter time: Max Scherzer, Rangers take care of business in Oakland
(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
The Rangers come to the ballpark expecting to win, which is a vast departure from the past three seasons.
As bad as the Rangers were in 2020, 2021 and 2022, they were no near as bad as the 2023 Oakland A’s.
But the feeling has to be the same, showing up to the ballpark knowing full well that they don’t have much of a chance to win.
That was the case Tuesday night. Max Scherzer was pitching for the Rangers, and the A’s had no chance.
They got one run against him in seven innings, but he cruised and Corey Seager homered as the Rangers won their eighth straight game 6-1.
The eight-game run is the Rangers’ longest since 2017. They are 22 games over .500 at 68-46 to match the mark for the best record in club history after 114 games. The Rangers won only 68 games all of last season.
Seager collected three hits, and Robbie Grossman and Nate Lowe had two doubles apiece. They provided plenty of support for Scherzer, who allowed three hits and two walks while striking out six in his second start since being acquired July 30.
The one run came on a homer by J.J. Bleday.
“He threw a beautiful game, didn’t he?” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s so prepared. He has such a good mix. He knows what he wants to do in any count.”
The Rangers, who haven’t lost this month, go for a third straight series sweep this afternoon as Jordan Montgomery makes his second start since being acquired before the trade deadline.
With the Astros rallying late for a victory at Baltimore, the Rangers’ lead in the American League West stayed at three games.
Here’s the catch
Jonah Heim took batting practice Tuesday, according to the reporters fighting off the possums this week, and that is very good news for the Rangers. As recently as nine days ago, there was concern that Heim might be lost for the season.
He’s not ready yet, but each new baseball activity moves him that much closer. In the meantime, Mitch Garver and Sam Huff are picking up the slack at the plate.
It was Huff’s turn Tuesday, as the designated hitter. He singled in his first at-bat and doubled in a run in his second at-bat, and also scored from second on an infield hit by Marcus Semien. Huff has two multi-hits games in the past week.
Garver, who caught Scherzer, saw his eight-game hitting streak snapped, but he did the heavy lifting Monday with three hits, two of them doubles, and two RBIs. His non-double was a leadoff single in the eighth that sparked the winning two-run rally.
Rangers on the Grid
Tuesday was a good day to play Immaculate Grid, the game that has taken the baseball world by storm. That’s right: The Rangers were on it again.
As always, the goal is to make the most obscure pick possible, though it was very difficult to do that on this grid. Why? Because the Rangers have only three pitchers with 20-win seasons.
I went with Rick Helling rather than Kevin Brown or Ferguson Jenkins. Only 15 percent of players guessed Helling.
There were three painfully obviously answers for players who spent time with the Mets and the Rangers — Nolan Ryan, Jacob deGrom and Scherzer. I was pretty happy with Lee Mazzilli.
My regret is with the Blue Jays-Rangers square, though Tom Henke wasn’t bad at 4 percent. I later remembered Anthony Bass, who was a good dude to me when he pitched for the Rangers long before his Blue Jays ouster earlier this season..
He attacks with licks and tail wags. Enjoy.
"Beware of the dog!"
— out of context dogs (@contextdogs) August 8, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org