Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers finally break through with timely hits
(AP photo/LM Otero)
ARLINGTON — Those who have followed baseball long enough had heard the refrain from Rangers manager Bruce Bochy.
No, the Rangers weren’t getting timely hits during their three-game losing streak, but they were putting runners on. As long as the Rangers were doing that, the dam was going to break.
Bochy was right. It broke Tuesday night.
Ezequiel Duran swatted a solo home run in the eighth inning to put the Rangers ahead, and they scored four more times to put away the Tigers 8-3. Adolis Garcia hit a two-run homer off the top of the center-field fence to cap the scoring.
Included in the Rangers’ highest scoring game since June 18 were hits with runners in scoring position by Josh Jung, Leody Taveras and Nate Lowe and an RBI double by Corey Seager. The Rangers entered the game 4-for-29 in those situations during the skid.
The Rangers scored six times with two outs, but the pinch hits in the sixth inning by Jung and Taveras and Duran homer on the 12th pitch of the at-bat had an immediate effect and could lead to a lasting effect.
“That’s what we’ve been missing,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It kind of loosened things up, and it got contagious.”
Jung and Taveras were given a day out of the starting lineup after struggling the past few games, but the Tigers played into Bochy’s hands when they brought in left-hander Casen Shreve. The Rangers sent three straight right-handed hitters to the plate: Jung singled to right, Duran beat out an infield hit and Taveras brought home Jung for a 3-2 lead.
The Tigers tied the game on a Spencer Torkleson homer in the eighth, but Duran launched a hanging slider into the second deck in left field, and Marcus Semien started a two-out rally two batters later with an infield hit.
Seager followed with a double to left, Lowe rifled a single to center and Garcia clubbed his 18th homer.
“It just starts building,” Jung said. “It’s like a snowball effect. When our offense is doing that, everyone starts relaxing and you can see what we can do.”
David Clyde returned to Arlington on Tuesday night, 50 years after the biggest night of his career and one that led the premature end of his career.
He wasn’t injured June 27, 1973, when he made his professional debut at Arlington Stadium at age 18. Only 20 days earlier he had been the first overall selection in the MLB draft.
Rather than develop the young left-hander in the minors, the Rangers made Clyde a ticket stunt for a fledgling franchise that had never had a sellout until his debut against the Twins. The plan was to give him two starts and send him to the minors, but he pitched well and altered the Rangers’ thinking.
He was the winning pitcher in his first game with a confounding pitching line: Five innings, one hit, two runs, seven walks and eight strikeouts.
Clyde hurt his shoulder in 1975, then finally went to the minors. There’s an obvious lesson there.
“The biggest thing I think baseball has learned from it is, ‘Let’s not do that again,'” said Clyde, 68. “We have to understand first and foremost that baseball is a business. It’s even a bigger business than it was 50 years ago. But we also have to realize that a lot of times when we draft young players, we’re investing in the future.”
Clyde wasn’t effective in the minors and was also dealing with alcoholism. The Rangers gave up on him and traded him to Cleveland, where he pitched in 1978 and 1979 before finishing his career with an 18-33 record with a 4.63 ERA.
He can’t believe 50 years have passed.
“The memories are just like it happened yesterday,” he said.
The first round of results from Phase 2 voting for the American League All-Star team provided good news for the Rangers, who saw four of their five finalists in the lead to be starters in the July 11 game in Seattle.
Catcher Jonah Heim, second baseman Marcus Semien, third baseman Josh Jung and shortstop Corey Seager held leads, and Garcia was fifth among the six-man outfield group.
Heim has the slimmest lead, 54 percent to 46 percent over Baltimore’s Adley Rutschman. Garcia has only 12 percent of the vote, but the two players immediately ahead of him, Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez, aren’t expected to be able to participate and Garcia could improve if fans take that into consideration.
The Rangers continue to offer a ticket deal for the rest of the Tigers series and the three-game series next month against Tampa Bay for anyone who votes. Do so here.
Where did you get that dress? It’s awful. Good boy, though. Enjoy.
Thought she was a tennis ball… pic.twitter.com/Ev29MV3iHQ
— Heckin Good Dogs (@HeckinGoodDogs) June 27, 2023
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org