Texas Rangers: Still Hanging Around

The Texas Rangers need to take care of business on their current home stand. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Wiley Singleton

The Texas Rangers continue their hunt for the second AL wild card slot. They opened the week against the powerful Red Sox, the primary threat for the second wild card seed. The Rangers got to play them four times. This was a huge test for the Rangers and an important series. The Rangers followed that up with a series against the Reds. Let’s see how the week turned out for the good guys…

Series at Boston

Game 1 – The first game of the series was a potential wild card game preview. Mike Minor faced off against Chris Sale. This was Minor’s chance to prove he was a legitimate ace, capable of winning the Rangers a best of one. Minor pitched very well, lasting 8.0 IP only giving up 2 runs. Shawn Kelley relieved Minor and gave up a run. Jesse Chavez continued his excellent streak after his rocky beginning. He pitched a scoreless inning along with Chris Martin. Sale was excellent, fanning 10 batters with his signature hard slider that dominates righties. Brandon Workman turned in an inning of scoreless work after Sale’s 7 innings. The Red Sox lost their star closer Criag Kimbrel in the past offseason, along with flamethrower Joe Kelly. Matt Barnes blew the lead on a Nomar Mazara smack to left. Shawn Kelley, who has been the main player closing games of late, has a style and appearance akin to Deadwood’s Dan Dority. Brock Holt, who looks like a linebacker version of Tyler Clippard, smacked a hit to left to tie the game. Nomar Mazara played Nelson Cruz defense to let a pop fly drop in right field. He continues to be subpar defensively. Holt blew threw a stop sign after his key hit to get the 3rd out on the fly ball. Jesse Chavez was excellent in relief until Elvis Andrus stroked a single to give the Rangers the lead. Chris Martin closed it out in an inspirational opening game. Win 4-3

Game 2Ariel Jurado turned in a quality start in Game 2 of this series. Hunter Pence was incredible in this game as well. He walked three times, had two RBI, and two runs. He continues to build his case for DH for the all star team. Jose Leclerc gave up a run in relief. Young prospect Darwinzon Hernandez was popped early. He had control issues and walked 5. 3 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits. He did strike out 7. The Rangers battered the Red Sox bullpen to pad their lead. Peter Fairbanks struck out three in his one inning. Chris Martin pitched the final inning. Win 9-5

Game 3 – Former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello faced off against solid rightie Lance Lynn. Lynn peppered the strike zone and struck out eight. The Rangers failed to cash in their runners. Asdrubal Cabrera had a very poor day, going 0-4. Andrus had a key sac fly late. Hunter Pence had a surprising late strikeout with two men on. Jesse Chavez had his scoreless inning streak broken when he walked in the winning run with Mookie Betts at the plate. Loss 4-3

Game 4 – All time leader in Rangers HBP Shin-Soo Choo was hit twice early. David Price faced off against the Rangers. Price was featured in many of the Rangers biggest games in the last decade. Price was shelled and yanked early. The Rangers established a 6-1 lead but Adrian Sampson struggled badly, giving up 6 runs. The Rangers had trouble with clutch hitting again and lost the game in disappointing fashion. They blew their chance to beat the Sox in a series to extend their lead on them in the Wild Card chase. Loss 7-6

Series at Cincinnati

Game 1 – The rare series against the Reds began next. The Reds have a good bullpen and exciting players. The Rangers opened with Jesse Chavez, who was excellent in 3 IP and got a hit. Tyler Mahle started for the Reds. Rougie Odor was the star of this game. He walked three times and had a grand slam. Joey Votto was coming off of a back injury and looked slowed. Tim Federowicz had two hits. Win 7-1

Game 2 – Mike Minor turned in a quality start in this close game. Tanner Roark was better, pitching 7 strong innings and giving up 2 runs. Thanks to sloppy defense in the first, he suffered some unearned runs. Mike Minor gave up a 2 run shot to Yasiel Puig. Shawn Kelley pitching fast and well enough to earn the save. Jose Leclerc was solid in the 8th, striking out a pair. Win 4-3

Game 3 – Ariel Jurado was shelled and gave up 7 runs to cap a disappointing week. Jeffrey Springs was also awful in this outing. Miller was excellent but the game was over. Pence had 2 RBI. Loss 11-3

Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
6/17   vs Indians        7:05 p.m.
6/18   vs Indians        7:05 p.m.
6/19   vs Indians        7:05 p.m.
6/20   vs Indians       1:05 p.m.
6/21   vs White Sox   7:05 p.m.
6/22   vs White Sox   8:05 p.m.
6/23   vs White Sox   2:05 p.m.