The Rangers are 39-33

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It’s been a crazy couple of weeks on the home front, but I’m back!

  • Lance Lynn started for the Rangers tonight against the Cleveland Indians, and tossed yet another fantastic game. He cleared 7.0 innings on 6 hits, no walks, and only 1 run while notching 9 strikeouts.

  • Lynn’s ERA on the season is down to 4.16, and his FIP is much nicer at 3.01. This isn’t to take anything away from Mike Minor, but Lance Lynn has looked like the better pitcher recently. The fact that it can even be a point of debate just goes to show how this season is going much better than many — myself included — thought it would.

  • The lineup compiled 8 hits and 4 walks on the way to scoring 7 runs, bolstered by a 3-run home run by Danny Santana and a 2-run double by Elvis Andrus.

  • Santana’s wRC+ on the season is back up to 111, and the Rangers are getting more production out of him than they could have expected.

  • Which brings us to Rougned Odor. Another game, another goose egg for the Texas second baseman. His wRC+ is back down to 50, and I have to believe that, if not for all of the recent injuries, Odor would be the first man down in a roster crunch. He’s just not been very good at baseball, and for all the talk about how he’s been better, his improvement hasn’t been marked enough to merit even a bench role right now. Not for a team that is now solidly in the playoff picture.

  • The only other run Texas surrendered on the night was a home run given up by Jose Leclerc. Perhaps more importantly, the Rangers didn’t surrender a walk on the evening. After being a rough spot a year ago, watching this pitching staff appear to stay ahead in counts has been a welcome change.

  • The final score was 7-2, and Adrian Sampson will get his turn in the rotation tomorrow evening.

The Rangers are 31-28

Are we ready for the Orioles series to be over yet?

  • Another game against the Orioles that was probably closer than you’d like it to be, this one going twelve innings to decide the outcome.

  • Mike Minor went 5.2 innings today, and realistically, he pitched well enough to go deeper into this game. While he didn’t allow any runs, he had some trouble getting into the 6th inning, much of it due to the Orioles having a BABIP of .438 on him. He struck out seven Orioles, five of them coming in the first two innings. He added two walks and hit two batters, but overall, he looked better than he had — at least to me — than his previous two starts.

  • The main issue for Texas tonight was the offense only having four hitters notch hits in the game. Only three players — Delino DeShields, Elvis Andrus, and Asdrubal Cabrera — had hits prior to extra innings.

  • That’s why I can’t fault Shawn Kelley too much for giving up the game-tying home run in the top of the 9th inning. The Rangers had only scored a single run all night against the worst team in baseball, and it felt somewhat fitting, not to mention Kelley has actually been pretty good.

  • I’ve been pretty critical of Rougned Odor this season, and it was questionable, at best, to pinch-hit him in the bottom of the 12th inning against a lefty. However, the guy he pinch-hit for in Jeff Mathis is a testament to just how awful Mathis has been on the season. Signed for his defense, Mathis has been only average in that area, while posting a wRC+ of 4 after tonight. 96% worse than a replacement-level player at the plate. I get that the Rangers want him to work with the pitching staff and perhaps even Kiner-Falefa, but it’s difficult to justify at this point.

  • But hey, a good game for Delino DeShields!

The Rangers are 30-28

It was awful. Then it was fun. Despite the result, it was mostly fun.

  • Unfortunately for the Rangers, they were playing catch-up for most of the evening due to Drew Smyly getting the start. Smyly gave up 4 runs in the 1st inning, another in the 2nd, and by the time his line was closed for the evening, he’d been tagged for 7 (all earned) on 8 hits, 2 walks, and only 2 strikeouts while giving up 3 home runs.

  • It marked the 7th time in 10 starts that Smyly has failed to even go 5 innings, and he’s only managed to go more than that one time. Keep in mind, two of those “starts” came pitching behind an opener, so for our purposes, I’m including them.

  • The bullpen wasn’t much better, with David Carpenter giving up two runs, Shelby Miller giving up two runs, and Brett Martin giving up one.

  • By the time the Rangers were down 11-4 in the top of the 7th inning, I figured all bullpen options would be available, to include Kyle Dowdy. Then I remembered that Howdy Dowdy was placed on the IL today with a sudden elbow injury despite having not pitched in a game since May 26, and May 18 before that. I suppose when an organization is incredibly determined to keep a Rule 5 guy…

  • The offense came alive late, scoring six runs in the bottom of the 9th, helped by the fact that the Orioles tossed the ball around for four errors on the night. It was perhaps the first time this season I’ve seen Hunter Pence look a bit out of sorts at the plate, as he appeared to be pulling his front shoulder back while trying to hit the outside pitch. It’s one game, but something I noticed nonetheless.

  • Rougned Odor’s wRC+ now stands at 39 on the season, going down a tick tonight despite tallying a hit (on a bad swing, no less). It certainly doesn’t look like he’s anywhere close to turning that invisible corner.

  • All told, an offense that was good enough to beat the worst team in baseball, but a pitching staff that appeared set on making it an uphill battle on the way to a 12-11 loss.

  • Chris Woodward said after the game that he intends to keep Drew Smyly in the starting rotation. I’m not sure what aspects of Smyly’s performance thus far in 2019 lend confidence in him having a roster spot, much less a starting role, but here we are. I get that you have to have someone to replace him with, but I’m not sure how much longer you can just hurtle him at the proverbial wall and watch him fail.

  • They’ll give it another shot tomorrow evening (assuming there isn’t a rainout), with Mike Minor taking his turn on the mound.

The Rangers are 29-27, Gallo Exits with Left Oblique Injury

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That’s pretty much how I’m feeling right now, in spite of another Rangers win.

  • Lance Lynn took the mound for Texas, and had another solid outing. He tossed 6.1 innings on 102 pitches with 7 strikeouts, while only giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and no walks. It’s hard to not be impressed with the way he’s managed to become an innings-eater for Texas. Between Mike Minor, Ariel Jurado, Lance Lynn, and Adrian Sampson, the Rangers have a nice group of guys that have been giving their team a chance to win when they take the mound.

  • The highlight and lowlight of the game both came courtesy of Joey Gallo. In the bottom of the 4th, Gallo hit a 2-run home run as part of a 4-run inning for Texas.

  • Of course, by the time Joey came back to the plate in the bottom of the 5th, he appeared to grab his left side on consecutive pitches, prompting Chris Woodward to come out of the dugout. Gallo attempted to stay in the game, but was eventually convinced to exit. The injury is being termed left oblique tightness, so hopefully this is the sort of injury — with a day game tomorrow and off day on Monday — that will resolve within a few days. It would be a huge blow if it ends up being the month-plus variety.

  • Another multi-hit game for Hunter Pence. It’s almost become routine at this point. Shin-Soo Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Nomar Mazara also added two hits apiece. The offense piled up 11 hits and 4 walks on the way to another 6-run game, so overall a pretty good day for the lineup.

  • After Lynn exited with one out in the top of the 7th inning, Jose Leclerc came on and struck out two Royals, continuing his trend of stringing together solid outings. The 2-run home run to Seattle on the last road trip aside, he’s been very solid lately.

  • Chris Martin came on and worked a scoreless inning, leading the way for Shawn Kelley to handle the top of the 9th.

  • Kelley came on and worked a clean 1-2-3 9th inning to preserve a 6-2 Rangers win. The Rangers avoided dropping back down to .500 this time, and will have an opportunity to win a series tomorrow afternoon.

The Rangers are 28-27, Joey Gallo Unleashes the Thunder

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Baseball games like tonight’s are like that amazing shot in a round of golf (at least for those of us that aren’t actually very good at golf). No matter how your round has been, those are the ones that keep you coming back for more.

  • Ariel Jurado was the starter tonight, and once again, was pretty solid. He went 6.0 innings on 101 pitches, 5 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, and most importantly, only 2 runs. He really kept Texas in this game.

  • The big story of the night was Joey Gallo. Joey had some rough plays out in center field, but that was all wiped away in the bottom of the 6th inning. The lineup kept working counts, grinding out fantastic plate appearances, and after Nomar Mazara walked with the bases loaded to tie the game at 2-2, that brought Joey up with the bases loaded. He proceeded to launch the ball 457 feet at a velocity of 113 mph to center field. The Rangers suddenly led 6-2, and never looked back.

  • Joey Gallo also redeemed himself a bit in center field to end the game with a fantastic diving catch for the final out. Way to go, Joey.

  • Hunter Pence was, once again, solid, adding another 2 hits to his big season.

  • Otherwise, the offense didn’t unleash a ton of hits, but working Danny Duffy in that 6th inning was enough to plate 6 runs.

  • A solid outing for the bullpen! Jesse Chavez, Chris Martin, and Shawn Kelley each worked an inning apiece, collectively giving up only 2 hits, no runs. Good job, guys!

  • Perhaps the biggest news of the day came hours before first pitch, with Chris Woodward talking candidly about Rougned Odor. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d implore you to do so. Woodward was very pointed, fair, and critical all at the same time, and it appears that if things don’t change soon, the Rangers could look to make a change from their end.

  • All in all, a great evening for the Texas Rangers. They’ll go again tomorrow at 3:05 PM, with Lance Lynn taking the mound for the Rangers.