Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers’ lead shrinks after another close call
(AP photo/Eric Christian Smith)
No matter what happens tonight at Minute Maid Park, the Rangers will be in first place in the American League West.
They might be tied for first place with the Astros but still in first place.
Houston is in position to catch the Rangers with a win in the finale of a three-game series. The Rangers’ lead is down to one after a 4-3 loss Tuesday night in which instant replay again went against the Rangers.
The Rangers thought they had scored a run in the eighth inning with Marcus Semien called safe at home on a double by Travis Jankowski. The Astros challenged, and the call was overturned even though TV replays didn’t show conclusive evidence that the safe call was wrong.
Mitch Garver hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to close the Rangers’ deficit to one run, and Leody Taveras followed with a line drive to right field at 107 mph that was caught by Kyle Tucker.
The Garver homer put more attention on the overturned call, which came the night after the Rangers’ challenge of a safe call at home on the game-winning run was not overturned.
Yes, MLB has different replay angles than the team’s broadcast partners, but the Rangers seemed frustrated by another call that went against them at the MLB replay center in New York.
“With the luck we’re having there, I was nervous about it,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Obviously, a big call.”
Replay wasn’t the only problem, nor was pitching as Yerry Rodriguez, Cody Bradford and Spencer Howard did well while filling in for Nathan Eovaldi. Bad luck continued to haunt the Rangers, who saw several hard-hit balls snagged by the Astros.
The good news is that Adolis Garcia was back in right field after missing two games with a sore right hand. The bad news is that the Rangers didn’t get runner to second base until the sixth inning.
More bad news? The Astros are expected to have All-Stars Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez back from the injured list and will throw ace Framber Valdez as they go for a sweep. The Rangers will counter with left-hander Andrew Heaney, who tossed six scoreless innings in April at Minute Maid.
The Rangers sent Alex Speas back to Triple A Round Rock less than a week after he made his major-league debut and the night after he allowed the game-winning run in the ninth inning of a 10-9 loss.
Speas was told that he needs to continue working on his fastball command. He pitching almost exclusively with his cut fastball, and he had trouble landing that consistently in the strike zone.
The Rangers recalled Howard, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning, but he rated as an interesting choice with Jonathan Hernandez still at Triple A. He has a 1.88 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings, but he has also walked 12.
Taylor Hearn is no longer an option after he was designated for assignment last week to create a spot for Speas and then traded Monday to the Braves.
Relief help should be coming soon with the trade deadline in six days. The Rangers need two relievers and would benefit from another starting pitcher.
Tee it up, Part I
Monday marked one month until the annual Do It For Durrett fundraiser, which this year is being held in conjunction with the NextStep Recruiting golf tournament that benefits DIFD.
The Do It For Durrett Doubleheader is scheduled for Aug. 25 at Rangers Golf Club in Arlington. The usual dinner/auction will take place after the golf. Booze will be served.
The silent auction will take place online beginning Aug. 11. A link will follow in a couple weeks. The live auction, which last year featured a pair of autographed game-used Luka Doncic shoes selling for $50,000, will be held around dinnertime.
Help out a wonderful cause that keeps the legacy of former DFW sports personality Richard Durrett alive as DIFD helps are families affected by the sudden loss of a parent.
Tee it up, Part II
Our good friend Josh Sneed, the comedian/Reds fan who appeared on Episode 80 of the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast, also owns a T-shirt company called In the Clutch, and Rangers Today is now an affiliate for Rangers-themed shirts.
Check out the shirts here. There are some pretty good ones, including the clever New Zeke in Town shirt featuring Ezequiel Duran. Once you find one you like, enter the promo code RANGERSTODAY for 10 percent off.
What a real sweetheart. Enjoy.
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Jeff Wilson, email@example.com