Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers hit new low in blowout loss to Astros
(AP photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — Signs that the Rangers might have hit rock bottom Tuesday night in their 14-1 loss to the Astros:
Jose Altuve connected for three home runs … in the first three innings.
Nathan Eovaldi, fresh off the injured list, allowed as many runs as he recorded outs in 1 1/3 innings. He allowed two of the Altuve dingers.
Dane Dunning, working in relief, allowed as many runs as he recorded outs over his first 1 2/3 innings. He allowed two homers to the .188-hitting Martin Maldonado in his outing.
Corey Seager was removed after two at-bats, both strikeouts, with the Rangers down 9-0. He’s healthy, the Rangers were quick to report, but things looked so hopeless after three innings that the shortstop was given the rest of the night off.
Jonah Heim was done after five innings.
Catcher Austin Hedges pitched for the second straight game, the first time in club history a position player has done that. He didn’t allow a run in either appearance. The outing was Hedges’ third of the season, the most by a Rangers position player in a single season.
The biggest development is that the Rangers fell out of a postseason berth, as the Blue Jays beat the A’s to take a half-game lead for the final wild-card spot.
Technically, things can get worse. Tuesday, though, was as bad as things have been all season.
All the Rangers could do after all of that was believe.
“The worm’s going to turn here,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re right there. That’s how we have to feel.”
Eovaldi echoed those thoughts after his first start since July 17. He didn’t have much command, which should have been expected, and he was on a short leash, which also should have been expected. His outing amounted to a starter’s first spring outing — two innings or 30-35 pitches, whichever comes first.
Dunning took one for the team in pitching into the seventh. Ian Kennedy, promoted earlier in the day, and Hedges finished things off and in so doing gave the bullpen another day’s rest.
Heim looked good batting right-handed for the first time since July, and Leody Taveras had a couple hits as he tries to fend off some Evan Carter talk (more on that below).
Ch- ch- ch- changes?
Everything is being evaluated, like breaking the four-catcher clog.
The issue is that there might not be anyone who would be a huge upgrade.
Sam Huff and Hedges aren’t playing much and aren’t going to play much. If neither were to be on the roster, their replacements wouldn’t be playing much either.
It makes sense to part with one of them, though. Keeping a third catcher would allow Bochy the ability to use Heim and Mitch Garver in the lineup at the same time and still be able to pinch run for one of them without losing the designated hitter.
If the Rangers tumble completely out of contention, maybe a prospect can be called up for a taste of the big leagues. Justin Foscue, for instance, needs to be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason to avoid being exposed to the Rule 5 draft, so adding him for the final week or two of potentially meaningless games would make sense.
If the Rangers think that Carter is going to be on the team next spring, it would make sense to add him if things continue to trend negatively.
The Rangers might be only another bad week from reaching that potential turning point.
Scherzer vs. Verlander
The Rangers will turn to Max Scherzer to avoid a three-game sweep, and the Astros will turn to Justin Verlander to pull off the sweep. It is the first time that the former Tigers and Mets teammates have faced each other.
Of course, Scherzer said he won’t be facing Verlander but instead is facing the nine Astros hitters. That’s a tall enough order. But Scherzer has an appreciation for facing off with the best of the best from his generation.
He’s among the best of the best.
Moreover, Scherzer understands the importance of the game.
“This is a big game, isn’t it?” he said.
Scherzer is making his start on time after admitting to some forearm pain after his start Friday. He said that he typically deals with shoulder and back soreness, and that it’s been a while since he’s had to manage his forearm.
“I’m going to be OK,” he said.
The Rangers sure hope he is.
Me, when I hear there will be chips and salsa. Enjoy.
i know a snack when i hear one
(jukin media) pic.twitter.com/XNOxNKRZa4
— theworldofdog (@theworldofdog) September 5, 2023
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com