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Wednesday newsletter time: With Marcus Semien at his best, Rangers again flirting with .500 record

(AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

 

Marcus Semien’s best day since joining the Texas Rangers came earlier this month, June 7, when he collected seven hits and three home runs in a doubleheader at Cleveland.

His best game, though, might have come Tuesday night.

Semien launched a three-run homer in the third inning, drove in another run with a sacrifice fly, went 3 for 4, scored three runs and made a couple terrific defensive plays to help lead the Rangers to an 8-3 victory at Kauffman Stadium.

“Winning is fun,” Semien said on the postgame show. “I felt good out there. I’m just trying to hit the ball in the middle, hit the ball hard and play good defense.”

Jon Gray allowed one run over seven innings, in the process dropping his ERA to 3.89. He held the Royals to only five hits and two walks while striking out eight.

Semien’s performance came as he batted behind Corey Seager for the first time this season. Josh Smith led off and was followed by Seager and then Semien. He and Seager have batted either 1-2 or 2-3 this season.

Manager Chris Woodward said he wanted to have to left-handed hitters at the top against Royals right-hander Jonathan Heasley.

“I think we’ll go back to the other way,” manager Chris Woodward said. “Either way, those two guys back-to-back, either way you put them … .”

The same might be said about Gray and Martin Perez, who has a 2.22 ERA. Perez has been starting ahead of Gray for most of the season, and they give the Rangers a chance to win a three-game series every time. They were on the mound last week in a sweep of Philadelphia and picked up wins Monday and Tuesday to give the Rangers a series win against the Royals

Gray’s velocity has been trending upward, and the new grip on his slider has made that pitch a very good second pitch. He has a curveball and changeup, too, and was using everything against Kansas City.

“It was pretty good early on. I still want it to be a little bit better, but it’s pretty good right now and is giving hitters trouble,” Gray said. “We had a good mix early, and we didn’t show everything. We were in the zone enough. I think I walked too many guys, but overall I”m pleased with the outcome.”

.500 again?

The Rangers are flirting once again with pulling back to .500 for the second time this season. All they have to do is sweep the Royals (off their feet? Sorry.) this afternoon.

The victory Tuesday upped the Rangers’ record to 36-37. They also improved to 12-13 since the last time they were .500 on May 31.

They promptly lost 7 of 9 after their best month since June 2019.

Back on May 31, Seager said that the team shouldn’t look at .500 as a big deal. The Rangers want more than that — to contend for the posteseason.

To do that, though, they have to get to .500 and then figure out a way to not lose seven of their next nine. A win today would give the Rangers a happy flight to New York for a Thursday off day ahead of a three-game series against the Mets, who are very good.

Film breakdown

You can’t just watch the video below once. Impossible. There’s too much going on to see everything the first time.

Immediately, you think the batter just flat skipping first base is cute-funny, but his swing spun him around and he threw the bat right into the coach’s ankle. That’s funny.

The players in the field, pretty much all of them (funny), actually attempt to make the right play by throwing to first. The problem is the first baseman takes the throw to the melon and goes down like he’s been shot (laugh-out-loud funny, sorry). Rightfully, he is tended to immediately.

Meanwhile, the runners at home have collided in some manner (funny), and the runner who wasn’t flattened is running like he just scored the winning run of the World Series (funny). The two players on the “bench” he runs in front of appear to have no idea what is happening.

It’s a lot to unpack, but it’s worth watching five or 10 times.

Doggy video!

I can relate, and it’s only Wednesday. Enjoy. See you Thursday.

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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