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Wednesday newsletter time: Rangers, Dbacks go at it again, with same outcome

(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

 

The last baseball game that mattered in 2023 featured the Rangers and the Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the World Series.

The Rangers scored once in the seventh and four times in the ninth to win the first World Series in franchise history.

The two were matched again Tuesday, and the outcome didn’t matter all that much. This is spring training. Only a handful of players in the lineup were regulars in the Fall Classic.

But the Rangers won 10-3. Marcus Semien, who homered in his final at-bat of the World Series, started Tuesday with a home run on the game’s first pitch, and Andrew Knizner hit one in the second inning as the Rangers knocked around left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.

Knizner finished with five RBIs. Nathaniel Lowe drive in two with a third-inning double.

Semien has reached in five of his eight plate appearances this spring, and Wyatt Langford collect his first spring hit.

Evan Carter, who was playing right field, cut down a runner at home to end the fourth inning and limit the Diamondbacks on only one run against Jack Leiter. Carter also stole his second base.

We’ll circle back in a few days, but the Rangers are playing well to start the Cactus League schedule. Wins and losses don’t matter, even in a rematch of World Series teams, but it’s time to start watching the individual performances of those who are competing to be on the Opening Day roster.

Split decision

Dane Dunning didn’t seem too happy with his outing against Arizona, allowing two runs in two innings.

He said he felt sluggish, that his legs weren’t working right and that he experimented on a couple pitches and didn’t care for the results.

That’s not entirely true, though. He threw his new pitch and actually got a pop out to center field on it.

While Dunning still wouldn’t say what the new pitch is, Statcast sure did. It registered as a split-fingered fastball, which has been the popular guess as to what the mystery Dunning offering is.

Maybe it’s a variation of a split, which is the en vogue pitch with the Rangers. Nathan Eovaldi and Kirby Yates have two of the best in the game, and Marc Church and Cole Winn have said they are toying with the pitch.

Dunning seems committed to getting the feel for it so that he can throw it in any count. He’s also hoping to see an uptick in his fastball velocity by a mile per hour or two thanks to some mechanical work he did in the offseason.

 

Coming to Globe Life Field

For those who of you locally who can’t make it to Surprise but are itching to see some baseball, head over to Globe Life Field this weekend for the Kubota College Baseball Series.

The four teams participating are Texas A&M, Arizona State, Jared Sandler’s USC Trojans and TCU. The Frogs are ranked fourth nationally and have opened the season 9-0. They go for 10-0 tonight at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth against an Arizona team that can really pitch.

The weekend schedule is here. Curiously, A&M and TCU are not playing. The Aggies are coached by Jim Schlossnagle, who left TCU two seasons ago. Kirk Saarloos, the former MLB pitcher, took over and has guided the Frogs to back-to-back Big 12 championships and a trip to the College World Series last year.

TCU was eliminated in Omaha by Florida, whose lineup included Wyatt Langford.

Doggy video!

Probably ought to check the alternator, too. 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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