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Wednesday newsletter time: Rookie’s debut adds to fun of this Rangers season

(AP photo/Carlos Osorio)

 

Rangers baseball has been a bunch of fun this season. Winning will do that.

So will a little-known reliever striking out seven batters in 2 2/3 innings of his MLB debut.

That’s what Grant Anderson did Tuesday night at Detroit, where the Rangers won 10-6. He did so in relief of left-hander Martin Perez, who didn’t have a good game and was pulled with two outs in the fifth in favor of Anderson.

“He picked me up,” Perez said.

Anderson picked up the Rangers, who might not have won that game without him. His efforts earned him the win in his first big-league game, and he shattered the Rangers’ record for most strikeouts by a reliever making his debut. The previous record was four.

The Rangers haven’t had much to cheer the past three seasons. They haven’t finished above .500 in the past six seasons. There were individual accomplishments to cheer in that time, like Adrian Beltre collecting his 3,000th hit in 2017 and Josh Jung hitting a home run last season his first MLB at-bat.

This Anderson moment would have been special amid the 102 losses and 94 losses the past two seasons.

But he did it with his team in first place, with the bullpen struggling and in a tough situation with the tying run at second base. That’s really fun.

It’s safe to say that Anderson, who is from Port Arthur, has earned some more time in the bullpen. He won’t do what he did every time out, but as long as he is effective in a bullpen that had had plenty of hiccups the past month, he could be looking at a long stay.

That would fun, too.

More fun

The win at Comerica Park moved the Rangers to 35-19, which just happens to be the best 54-game record in club history.

The victory also clinched a sixth straight winning road series, which is also a club record.

Yes, they’re good.

It’s strange to have so much good stuff to write at Rangers Today and say on the Rangers Today Baseball Podcast. Not being a homer has always been a point of pride, but it’s hard to not look like a homer when the home team is doing far more good than bad.

Winning on the road is something that has escaped the Rangers the past few seasons. Bad teams struggle everywhere, but bad young teams especially struggle away from home. Experience counts for so many things in baseball, and road success is one of them.

It’s not like the Rangers are the oldest team in the league, but even a few years makes a difference.

More offense

The Rangers have been making life miserable on opposing pitchers all season, but most of the time the lineup was doing its thing in blowout wins.

On Tuesday, though, the Rangers had to pick up Perez and win a high-scoring game.

No problem.

Jonah Heim drove in four runs, Adolis Garcia collected four hits and scored three times, and Jung hit a two-run homer and also scored three runs. Marcus Semien doubled to extend his career-best hitting streak to 19 games.

The Rangers continue to have the best run differential in baseball at +132, and they have an MLB-best 14 games with at least 10 runs.

It’s not like the Rangers were bad offensively last season, but they didn’t hit well against good clubs. They have found more success against those clubs this season and are punishing the mediocre teams.

The hottest lineups will run into a pitcher who will cool them down. Take the opener of this road trip last week at Pittsburgh.

Even then, it feels like this offense is going to put up runs, and it’s somewhat surprising when it doesn’t.

Doggy video!

That dog in the back could not be any less interested. Enjoy.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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