Wednesday Newsletter time: Miscues costly behind Dane Dunning, but Rangers see road plate woes continue
(AP photo/Mark J. Terrill)
ANAHEIM, Calif. — All four fourth-inning runs Tuesday night against Dane Dunning were counted as earned, and indeed the Angels hit a couple balls hard against the Rangers right-hander.
But the Rangers didn’t make a couple plays they should have, and a very reasonable case can be made that the Angels shouldn’t have scored at all.
It was one of those innings, which saw a leadoff double fall between Adolis Garcia and Kole Calhoun, and later an error on shortstop Corey Seager on a ball first baseman Nate Lowe should have caught.
The miscues led to a 5-3 loss at Angel Stadium.
“It came back to bite us,” manager Chris Woodward said.
Of more concern, though, is an offense that has scored 17 runs in its past eight road games. That’s not good.
The Rangers managed only four hits against Noah Syndergaard, who got his revenge after being knocked out in the first inning last week at Globe Life Field.
He was spinning a shutout Tuesday until Jonah Heim started the eighth with a home run. Mitch Garver, who was robbed of a homer in the third, connected off Aaron Loup in the ninth, and the Rangers added a run as Garcia doubled with two outs to score Calhoun.
The Rangers threatened in the fifth as Garver and Heim collected one-out singles.
Garcia and Lowe were on the corners with two outs when Andy Ibanez came to the plate. He’s the Rangers’ coldest hitter, and he struck out to end the threat.
Ibanez is batting .180 while mired in a 2-for-40 skid.
“We’ve got to take it at-bat by at-bat,” Woodward said. “We couldn’t get a ball in air.”
Woodward said that he started Ibanez over Charlie Culberson because he’s playing well defensively and can handle right-handed pitchers better than Culberson. Sheesh.
The Rangers have only one infielder in the minors who is on the 40-man roster, the hot-hitting Ezequiel Duran at Double A Frisco. He’s never played above Double A, so he would likely have to go to Triple A Round Rock before being called to the majors.
He also hasn’t played third base this season.
The Rangers could swap out Ibanez for outfielder Leody Taveras, who is on the 40-man, and go with a Culberson-Brad MIller platoon at third.
Ibanez, though, occupies only one spot in the lineup. There are several others who haven’t been hitting on the road.
Leclerc getting close
Right-handed reliever Jose Leclerc, who underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2021, will begin a rehab assignment at Frisco on Wednesday. He was scheduled to start it Tuesday, but the RoughRiders’ game was postponed by rain.
Leclerc will spend this week with Frisco and go to Round Rock next week as it returns home.
Woodward said that the Rangers want Leclerc to be built up enough to be able to pitch on back-to-back days so that the Rangers don’t have to give him a day off after he pitches. The same goes for Jonathan Hernandez, another Tommy John guy who is about 10-14 days behind Leclerc.
Woodward also said that he expects Joe Barlow to remain as the closer once Leclerc and Hernandez return. One reason? To ease them back into the late innings rather than just throwing them back into the highest-leverage situations a reliever can face.
Even more videos
The latest episode of the Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast is really good, thanks to right-hander Jon Gray.
And we eventually got to him after a scheduling issue and the kind of technical issues you’d expect from a print writer trying to get fancy with video. It all worked out in the end.
The video is posted at the Texas Rangers Baseball Podcast channel, along with a new batch of clips (thanks, John Moore) from the episodes we have filmed at the Roxo Media House studios in Fort Worth.
Go check them out, and subscribe (for free!) to the channel while you’re there. The more subscribers the better and the more views the better as Rangers Today continues to expand its reach.
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And, now, a dog wearing a golf shirt, laying down and eating pizza. Enjoy. See you Thursday.
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