Wednesday newsletter time: Nathan Eovaldi, Rangers starter and closer
(AP photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Nathan Eovaldi gave the Rangers exactly what they needed Tuesday night: a win and a night off for the bullpen.
The right-hander continued his terrific May with another complete game, this time allowing only one run in a 6-1 victory over the Pirates the night after the bullpen let a close game get away.
Eovaldi’s hot streak actually started in April with a shutout of the Yankees the day that Jacob deGrom landed on the injured list. Yes, deGrom has been missed, but Eovaldi has taken over as the ace of the staff.
He allowed one run on six hits and a walk against Pittsburgh, striking out five and needing only 104 pitches to cover 27 outs. He improved to 6-2 overall with a 2.60 ERA and to 3-0 with a 1.10 ERA this month. He has struck out 27 and walked four.
Josh Jung homered for the third straight game and drove in three runs to pace the offense, which made left-hander Rich Hill throw 98 pitches in 5 1/3 innings. That almost matches his age. His stuff was good, as he struck out nine, but he allowed five of the Rangers’ six runs.
That was plenty for Eovaldi, who kept the relievers on ice ahead of a day game today. Everyone should be available, which might not be a good thing. Closer Will Smith warmed in the ninth, but expect him to pitch today regardless of the situation as he hasn’t pitched in a week.
Eovaldi was the Rangers’ closer Tuesday night.
The Rangers’ sales of Low A Down East and High A Hickory were made official Tuesday, though the transactions with Diamond Baseball Holdings had been in the works for months.
Why did the Rangers sell? The reasoning is pretty simple.
Ever since MLB restructured the minor leagues, eliminating clubs needing to barter for affiliates every few years, the Rangers felt like they didn’t need to own Down East and Hickory to insure uninterrputed player development ageements with team. MLB also put its thumb on affiliates to maintain adequate facilities, and the Rangers believe Diamond Baseball Holdings will do that.
Diamond has been gobbling up affiliates for a few years now. That group is not related to Diamond Sports Group, which has driven Bally Sports into bankruptcy and has skipped payments to the Rangers for its rights to games.
The Rangers are putting money in their pockets with the sale of the two Class A teams to Diamond Baseball Holdings.
Going to Church
Speaking of the minor leagues, Rangers Today has some explaining to do.
Last week’s Friday on the Farm mistakenly failed to include Double A Frisco right-hander Marc Church as a possible solution to the bullpen woes. He’s now Triple A Round Rock right-hander Marc Church, and that’s a significant bump.
Church impressed during his first big-league spring training. He even made time for the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast. Church was promoted with a 4.00 ERA in 13 games/18 innings, but four of the eight runs he allowed game in one appearance.
He struck out 31 hitters in those 18 innings while walking 10.
A reader left a comment on Tuesday’s newsletter, which mentioned that right-hander Jacob Barnes had been released from his minor-league contract at Round Rock. The reader wanted to know what the Rangers would let a reliver with a sub-3.00 ERA go.
There are a few possible answers, including that Barnes might have had an out in his deal coming. He also might have a major-league opportunity elsewhere, and it’s common practice for clubs to not stand in the way in those scenarios if they have no intention of calling up the player.
I don’t know what’s going here, but how much do these owners spend on dog food each month? Enjoy.
Interrupting their very important meeting pic.twitter.com/f1w42CPSPC
— Heckin Good Dogs (@HeckinGoodDogs) May 17, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org