Wednesday Newsletter time: Rangers swat four home runs after Martin Perez buys hitters time
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
ARLINGTON — Four home runs, all by the guys who are supposed to be hitting home runs.
The all-important tack-on runs, which frequently elude the Rangers after they have taken a lead.
A home victory, which have been more uncommon than on the road.
All of the above was made possible by Martin Perez.
The left-hander tossed six scoreless innings and matched Phillies starter Kyle Gibson for four innings before Rangers hitters found their footing against the former Rangers All-Star.
Nate Lowe and Jonah Heim hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth, and Marcus Semien and Kole Calhoun connected for two-run shots in the eighth as the Rangers pulled away for a 7-0 victory.
The only run that wasn’t on a homer came in the sixth as Corey Seager hit a 64-mph dribbler away from an infield shift, scoring Semien after he had doubled.
“I don’t think we’ve scored a ton for him early,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He does a good job just keeping us in the game. With the way Gibby was throwing we knew runs were going to be hard to come by.”
Perez received a huge boost in the sixth from Calhoun, who made a diving catch in left field on a flare by Matt Vierling with runners at first and second with one out. Perez also wiggled out of trouble in the first after the first two batters reached, by getting Nick Castellanos to bounce into a double play.
“Big,” Perez said of the Calhoun catch. “He saved me at least one run.”
Part of that is because Perez works quickly and keeps defensive players in rhythm. Shortstop Corey Seager said earlier in the season how much he loves to play behind Perez because of all the action he tends to create.
The six scoreless innings lowered Perez’s ERA to 1.96 and further cemented his bid for the American League All-Star team next month at Dodger Stadium.
He might be the only Rangers representative.
More on that below.
Moves create logjam
The Rangers were busy Monday afternoon, making a series of transactions that included activating Mitch Garver and Josh Smith from the injured list.
With Garver back and still able to only hit, Woodward no longer can use designated hitter to create at-bats for Sam Huff. So, Huff was optioned to Triple A Round Rock
Smith was not optioned to Round Rock. He and Ezequiel Duran are both on the active roster, and Woodward will have to figure out a way to get both of them enough at-bats to not derail their development.
“That’s a good question,” Woodward said. “It’s like a Rubik’s Cube.”
Expect to see both in left field at some point in addition to third base and possibly shortstop and second base. Duran made his first MLB start at second base last week.
Smith made the start at third Tuesday ahead of his good friend Duran. They played together with the Yankees beginning in 2019, the year Smith was drafted, and they were two of the four players acquired in the Joey Gallo trade.
“It’s awesome because we came over together,” Smith said. “When I go down, he comes up and nothing really skips a beat. He shines.”
Get out the vote
If the Rangers are going to have a starter next month in the All-Star Game, fans need to get to the ballot box.
These days the ballot box is online at texasrangers.com/allstar. Fans can vote up to five times a day.
Seager is in the best position, if you can call it that. He’s seventh in voting a shortstop, while Heim is ninth at catcher and Semien is 10th at second base.
There aren’t six better shortstops in the league than Seager, or eight catchers better than Heim, or nine second baseman better than Semien (yes, I’m being serious). Adolis Garcia isn’t even in the top 20 in the outfield vote (he should be).
The first phase of voting runs through June 30, at which point the top three at each position move into the finals (or Phase 2).
When life gives you lemons, kick some ass. Enjoy. See you Thursday.
…🐕🍋😏🤣when you let a dog eat lemons pic.twitter.com/K4nbX2U3iH
— Nature campanion (@naturecampanio_) June 11, 2022
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com