Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers had a lot to unpack after a wild Tuesday
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — Jacob deGrom was going to the be story Tuesday night.
Then, it was Corey Seager.
Then, it was the bullpen faltering.
Then, it was Jonah Heim walking off the Royals.
All of the above is the story of the Rangers’ 8-5 win, a third straight victory that pushed their record to 7-4.
“A lot happened,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Heim’s blast was needed in the 10th inning after the Royals rallied for two runs in the eighth and ninth innings once deGrom departed after going a season-high seven frames. The right-hander struck out nine and was dialing up 100 mph fastballs to his final batter.
He liked the outing and said that he continues to head in the right direction.
“A couple pitches I wish I had back, but I kept us in the game and we got a win,” deGrom said.
The Royals scored twice against deGrom, including a fourth-inning run after two hits that could/should have been caught in the outfield. Their run in the eighth was charged to Jonathan Hernandez, who faced three batters and allowed a single, a walk and a single.
Neither of the hits was well struck, but left-hander Will Smith had to come in and clean up a a mess to preserve a 4-3 lead.
Smith was charged with the Kansas City run in the ninth after allowing a leadoff single that Jose Leclerc couldn’t strand. Leclerc was charged with a run in the 10th, but the Rangers got him off the hook.
Adolis Garcia plated Marcus Semien with a two-out single, stole second and was there after Josh Jung walked. Heim crushed a 2-0 pitch from Scott Barlow for his the third walk-off homer of his career.
“That was a good one,” Heim said. “We don’t get there unless Adolis and Jung do their jobs.”
The Rangers completed their comeback without Seager, who left the game in the fifth inning with left hamstring tightness while legging out a double.
Seager is batting .357.
“He’s been swinging the bat so well,” Bochy said. “You hate to see it.”
DeGrom wasn’t the only big right-hander pitching in the organization Tuesday. Kumar Rocker made his full-season affiliate debut for High A Hickory and was nearly unhittable.
The third overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, Rocker allowed two hits and struck out eight over five scoreless innings. His fastball sat at 95 mph, and he needed only 53 pitches to mow through five innings. He threw 41 strikes.
The Rangers considered starting Rocker at Double A Frisco, as they did last season with 2021 No. 2 overall pick Jack Leiter. It didn’t go well for Leiter, who was Rocker’s teammate at Vanderbilt, but the Rangers insist that Leiter’s first-year troubles at Frisco did not influence their Rocker decision.
Just a thought here, but Rocker might be good for Leiter. They competed against each other in college, with Rocker pitching Friday nights and Leiter hoping to top him the next day. Leiter might have a little more focus when he pitches for Frisco later this week.
Another pitching performance of note Tuesday was that of right-hander Ryan Garcia in his Double A debut. The 2019 second-rounder (UCLA) allowed two runs, both on solo homers, over five innings.
Garcia was one of the pitching stars of spring training, if not the star.
On the YouTube channel
The Rangers Today Baseball Podcast YouTube channel is so much more than just podcast episodes, which now number 78. Hard to believe.
John Moore, the Recliner Nerd himself, has been keeping the channel stocked with fresh content from both the major leagues and minors, and he’s even gone to the visiting dugout for his Home Run Game.
Bobby Witt Jr., the Royals shortstop from Colleyville and son of the former Rangers pitcher, played it Monday.
And Mr. Nine Straight Strikeouts, Andrew Heaney, gives an honest assessment of his performance Monday.
With friends like these, who needs enemies? Enjoy.
— Moody_Driver©️™️ 🚏 🚍 (@N0TINSERVICE) April 7, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com