The Rangers went 2-2 last week with a rescheduled game due to the weather. They started off on the road in Arizona facing the Diamondbacks and finished the week against the Athletics at home. The series against the A’s kicked off a nine game homestand.Here’s how the good guys fared:
Series versus Diamondbacks
Game 1 – The Rangers traveled to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks and their ace Zack Greinke. Greinke was roughed up early by Elvis Andrus, who had a two RBI double in the 1st inning. Andrus also smashed a single to center when the bases were loaded in top of the 2nd to make the game 3-0. Mazara followed with a tough grounder up the middle that scored another run. Mike Minor looked like a legitimate ace. He changed speeds well. He located his pitches well also. Minor went 7 strong innings, giving up two solo homers. Chris Martin pitched a scoreless 8th inning. Jose Leclerc then came in and had his worst start in 10 months. Leclerc was wild and gave up the lead. Jarrod Dyson ended the game with a walkoff homer to right field. The most important thing about this game was the potential adverse effects it could have on Jose Leclerc. Closers are very prone to sharp declines. Often times a string of bad appearances can ruin the career of a closer. Some closers are demoted and never reclaim the magic they had when they were an effective closer. Considering Leclerc is the Rangers best bullpen option by far, and they just signed him to a contract extension, his recovery is of extreme importance. Loss 5-4
Game 2 – Lance Lynn and Robbie Ray were both exceptional in their starts. Lynn went 6 solid innings and only gave up 1 run. He struck out 9. Ray also gave up one ER. He lasted 5 IP and had 10 strikeouts. Lynn threw very hard in this game and looked vastly improved compared to his previous performances. He had a sharp breaking ball working for him in this start to compliment his heater. Robbie Ray actually took a no hitter into the 6th inning, but a Delino DeShields single ruined the no hitter. Deshields would go onto to score and an obviously disappointed Ray exited the inning after blowing the lead and not recording an out. Delino provided the damage again during the 7th inning when he hit an RBI single to right field. Hunter Pence hit a solo shot into a hot tub to make the game 3-1 shortly after. Rougie Odor had an RBI infield single to make the game 4-1. Then Logan Forsythe poured it on with another single to make it 5-1. These runs were important, as Jose Leclerc came in and was very erratic. He looked as though he abandoned his fastball early on in the outing. Plucky southpaw prospect Kyle Bird came in and cleaned up Leclerc’s mess with the help of Forsythe’s defense. Win 5-2
Series versus Athletics
Game 1 – The Rangers blew a 6-1 lead at home against the Oakland A’s to lose on Friday night. The Rangers touched up talented rightie Mike Fiers for 6 runs. Fiers lasted 5 IP. The A’s bullpen was shutdown behind him. They did not give up a single run. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo both failed to reach base. Drew Smyly was passable, but his bullpen fell victim to Oakland’s offense. Jesse Chavez came in to relieve Smyly and gave it the Jesse Chavez Special- he immediately gave up runs. Shawn Kelly gave up a run too after Chavez. Chris Martin did the same. The Rangers badly need Chris Martin to step into the roll of setup man. This seems to be how Chris Woodward intends to use him at least. Martin gives up runs too frequently and does not have overwhelming stuff. Jeffrey Springs allowed one run without even recording an out. Oakland scores in four straight frames as Blake Treinen and company shut the door on the Rangers. Loss 8-6
Game 2 – The Saturday game was rained out and postponed. Adrian Sampson was awful in his Sunday start for the Rangers. He gave up 7 ER over 4 IP. Solid A’s starter Brett Anderson was on the mound. He was touched up in the 1st inning by the ridiculously consistent Elvis Andrus. Andrus smashed a 2 RBI triple to give Sampson back the lead early. Without a lead to squander, Jesse Chavez turned in a scoreless frame. Jeanmar Gomez, Jeffrey Springs, and Jose Leclerc all followed with scoreless outings. Most importantly, Jose Leclerc got his groove back. He looked like the old Leclerc and struck out the side. Delino DeShields made exceptional use of his speed this game. He was used to steal home, and was later used on a bunt squeeze play. Denny Santana was used as a pinch hitter and had a huge hit late in the game. Win 8-7
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
4/15 vs Angels 7:05 p.m.
4/16 vs Angels 7:05 p.m.
4/17 vs Angels 7:05 p.m.
4/19 vs Astros 7:05 p.m.
4/20 vs Astros 7:05 p.m.
4/21 vs Astros 2:05 p.m.